5 ways to build continuous improvement into your digital transformation

Digital transformation has become a commonplace term in recent years. It describes how an organization leverages the people, processes, and technology available to revolutionize its business performance.

Despite this ‘buzzword’ status, research suggests that only half the people using it really understand what digital transformation is, and even less know whether it’s part of their company’s strategy and structure.

According to the study, 67% of managers had visibility over their teams’ efforts towards digital transformation, but barely a quarter of non-management staff understood what was going on. While numerous leaders report improvements coming through digital transformation initiatives, the fact that those on the front line don’t entirely understand what’s happening highlights the fact that communication from the top down is a significant challenge for these organizations.

What’s needed is better communication that actively engages teams at every level, building change-fit teams that are both informed and active in the transformation process. When that happens, businesses stand a far greater chance of seeing significant success from digital transformation.

5 pillars to support your change initiatives

Like any change, digital transformation needs people to provide momentum. These strategies can encourage teams to welcome change and support it in their context.

1. Welcome the challengers

Change can’t happen if the status quo is sacrosanct. Where ‘business as usual’ is enshrined, innovation will stagnate and that’s the enemy of positive change. However, where people are encouraged to review what is done and offer suggestions for improving it, they are empowered to bring positive change – and they will.

Harness your human capital by providing avenues for feedback, and give it validity by engaging with the suggestions. The people that know your processes best will help eliminate non-value-adding activities and improve on those that do add value, and as you normalize the practice you’ll find an organically growing culture of continuous improvement.

2. Be light on your feet

Change brings opportunity, but in order for those opportunities to be realized, a business needs to seize them and act upon them quickly. Whether it’s a new technology, consumer trend, or market segment, it’s up to the organization to remain abreast of the developments in their industry and associated fields.

Once an opportunity has been identified, you’ll need streamlined processes to capitalize on them, allowing you and your people to move quickly and avoid getting bogged down in clumsy procedures or extraneous paperwork. Identify tools that increase your agility, integrating multiple objectives or approaches you want to embrace, and that facilitate moving you towards the level of responsiveness you want to achieve.

3. Keep the goal in sight

Strategies are essential for directing your business, but without the support of good processes, engaged people, and functional tools, even the best strategy can’t reach its goal. Keeping the strategic objectives of your organization in mind will help you with everyday decision making, which will propel the change you want.

That could mean putting the right staff in place for product development to accelerate the production process or implementing technological solutions for better process execution, such as automated workflows and RPA software. Whatever the focus, clear and effective processes that drive towards the strategic goals help maintain the momentum and keep the initiatives on track.

4. Work with your people

The greatest process resource you have is the people who use your procedures in their everyday work. They know them intimately, and engaging them in process improvement should be one of the key objectives of any change initiative. Be clear about what it is you are trying to achieve, and bring teams on board to improve what they do every day.

Inspire collaboration across team and division boundaries, and ensure organization-wide buy-in by celebrating process heroes, providing training where needed, and keeping the profile of continuous improvement high in people’s minds.

Use gamification, incentives, and competitions to make it fun for teams to participate, and communicate value when positive change is suggested and implemented. When people realize they are accountable for their processes and their contributions are worthwhile, they’ll be much more engaged in continuous improvement.

5. Communicate clearly

According to the study mentioned earlier, about a third of decision-makers believe digital transformation is hindered by a lack of effective communication. While many organizations appoint a senior manager to head up a change initiative, that’s not really enough to ensure the message is being communicated widely. They need support.

Specific departments and business units should have appointed leaders responsible for driving the continuous improvement message. They can ensure that the messaging is clear and consistent, and getting through to their people. They also need executive support, inspiring people to participate, and addressing issues or concerns that could arise. Introducing accountability for communication ensures teams understand the purposes and plans your organization has for digital transformation, and what part they can play in it.

Famed biologist Charles Darwin once said, “’It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.” It doesn’t matter whether your business is a fledgling start-up or an established enterprise, change remains a constant and essential element for any organization to master if it wants to survive and remain competitive.

By cultivating a culture of continuous improvement, your business can build the capacity to respond to the rapidly changing market and technology landscapes. With the right strategies in place, digital transformation will go from a buzzword to best practice and propel your organization – and your people – on to success.

 

 

Interested in learning about the Nintex Platform and how it can help with your digital transformation journey? Click here to request a live demo.

 

 

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