Is Technology Helping Or Hindering Change Management?
The question of whether technology helps or hinders change is not an easy one. It is, after all, a question that depends entirely on how you use what the technology enables you to learn, and how you handle that knowledge.
You may ask why we say that. Undoubtedly, the process of change management should be heavily people-oriented, as figures show it is resistance and lack of buy-in from a workforce that is a major contributory factor to change initiatives failing, so does an emerging bunch of technology help or hinder? Indeed, the more you know, the better off you are when it comes to change management.
Taking the emotion out of change – is it really that simple?
The long-held view has always been that people present an intangible aspect to any change management initiative. Take out the emotions, actions and lack of predictability that people bring to an organisation and you would then simply be able to mandate and action change without issue.
If only it were that simple, this is why change management has a requirement to combine the science of change with art to enable it.
Technology is already in use for many scientific aspects of change, providing tools to manage time and budgets, set up procedures, and understand data to generate answers. Art, however, has always required human skill and understanding of the intangible and variable aspects of managing people through change.
We are now seeing a rise in artificial intelligence (AI) platforms and smart capability offering innovative solutions that could see this change, so we ask how much will this help or hinder change managers in the future.
Help or Hindrance?
Innovative changes are bringing customised change programs underpinned by vast quantities of data gained from many new technologies to get a newfound element of more fact-based precise data.
There are now more tools available to understand where, when and how the change is taking place, it is simple to gain a fully circular data-fuelled analysis in real-time.
We believe this will help the change management drive to bring a purpose-driven approach through insights and tools that can guide the journey more accurately than has previously been possible.
Organisations must continue to deliver a purposeful change management experience that remains personalised and immersive – starting with and revisiting the ‘why’ throughout the process will see technology guidance helping cut some of the leg work.
The complexities of employees go beyond their working day and numbers and technology will never be a substitute for human contact. Suppose we are to avoid technology, numbers and data becoming a hindrance. In that case, we must not see people involved simply becoming numbers on the journey from A to B.
Using the numbers to define required changes and identify how the changes are affecting results can help with intelligent segmentation of groups and interactions. Learning how groups interact, communicate and work with each other will give insight into their experiences with proposed changes.
These new approaches can analyse factors beyond hierarchy, function and business units to assess beyond these demarcations. Psychological factors can be measured to gauge how and where the change process is supported, where more interaction is required, and identify early where intervention may be needed.
Organisational structure and influence are not always as the hierarchy chart would have business owners and change managers believe. These new technologies and methods reveal who is communicating and influencing who. Often those you believe to be the movers and shakers, the real leaders on the floor, are not those that title or rank alone indicates.
This knowledge of relationships and information flow gained from the numbers and data in conjunction with a people-centred approach will undoubtedly be advantageous.
Communication with the humans impacted using the soft skills that every change manager should demonstrate to be effective will find technology-driven data can take some guesswork out of the process, yet still, leave room to account for people as individuals.
Art and Science?
Art, the soft skills required by ChangQuest change management consultants, will never become redundant as they are fundamentally core skills that keep relationships and communication alive and personal.
Yet, it seems that bringing the science available from AI connections with human intuition, innovative technology, and the ability to number crunch to initiate, manage, and track change into the process is now a good thing.
Without a doubt, these tools are here to stay. As with all technological advancements, we will see these tools improve and become more heavily integrated as businesses learn to use and incorporate their people-focused data into their change programs.
They are and will grow to create an environment for change where people can thrive through change. With businesses being forced to adapt and change faster than perhaps ever before, they must seek an agile approach to change management and develop an ethos for continuous change.
Coupled with a more diverse and adaptable workforce, we are sure that we will see a more significant number of projects reach a successful conclusion. The new technology, when used to improve our people-centred approach rather than replace it, will help.
Having the expertise required to keep on top of the changing demands on those effecting and managing change within your organisation may see individuals within your business benefit from the skills learned on ChangeQuest change management courses. Ensure you have the right people in the right jobs with the skills needed to deliver your organisational change smoothly.
Without a doubt, a business that has survived the changes that Covid-19 has brought and perhaps some of the most significant changes overnight to their operations, procedures and technology are not unfamiliar with the need to change and adapt rapidly.
We now face an era where the only consistency is change. How we deal with it will be the difference between success and failure. Change management is a critical driver of competitiveness. Adapting to new technology within change management to support this will aid the removal of assumptions that have limited our ability to adjust and see many initiatives succeed.
People are not changing, but the better insight we have into their thoughts and actions, the more effectively it can be managed through change. If that is in the form of intelligent data and real-time interaction analysis, then we need to roll with it.