Optimising financial processes

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5 Essentials for Driving and Sustaining Change – System, Process, or Capability


With our focus on “agile“ methods and delivery of  “products”, it is easy to forget that business value does not accrue until the business changes in some way.

That change may be the result, in part, of a new system, process or way of working.

How many times have you seen a system go “live” after a few months, but the anticipated business value takes years to deliver, if ever?

There are a number of reasons for this.

  1. We sometimes fall into the trap of building a business case based on the best possible outcome described by a supplier and their best reference case.
  2. We often fail to plan effectively for the “adoption” of the system or process, or for the “change” required to deliver the business outcome.
  3. We may underestimate the challenges of changing human behavior, individually or at scale.

The answer lies in building and refining a robust plan that covers all the bases.

Think about a personal challenge, such as getting fit, losing weight, learning to play a musical instrument, writing a book etc . . .

To take the first example, we have probably all experienced or observed the aspiration for personal fitness. We take out a gym membership, buy some new gym gear, a new set of training shoes, maybe a Fitbit, and the list goes on. These acts of preparation can help develop our desire and give us a feeling of achievement.

But NOTHING is achieved (apart from spending money) until we are into a discipline of executing our plan and actually driving results. 

This is hard.

Success results from consistent action taken over long periods of time”.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to stay the course. It can be tempting to procrastinate as we get distracted by the myriad competing responsibilities vying for our attention.

Sustainable change requires new habits. So we should plan for that. It comes as no surprise that of the millions of “New Year’s Resolutions” every December 31st, a minuscule percentage are still in play after 3 weeks.

There is a debate as to whether it takes 3 weeks or 3 months to formulate a new habit, but. with habit, we execute the new behavior somewhat autonomously.

This is what we need to master if we are to deliver successful, sustained business change, both for ourselves AND for all participants, enablers and stakeholders.

How do we form and sustain the habits we want and need?

We are lucky as humans, to have an extra tool to help here. Dopamine is the mood-boosting hormone that is released after you reach a goal. This explains why achieving small, daily goals is important (and pleasurable) in sustaining ourselves towards achieving longer term objectives. 

There is a proven 5 step approach to driving successful, intentional change, addressing these key foundations;

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

“We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. Instead, success requires making a hundred small steps go right – one after the other, no slipups, no goofs, everyone pitching in.” ― Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance.

Jack Welch, one time CEO of GE was hailed as a “prophet” business leader who could do no wrong. Whilst some of his approaches probably don’t stand the test of time, he had a clarity of purpose in a class of its own.

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion”

Which brings me to this week’s article, “5 essential tips to help you stay the course and achieve your goals”, a 3 minute read. If you want to raise your game in leading and driving change, take a little time and read this, and share it with your colleagues, customers, stakeholders and team members. You can read it here . . .

Thanks for reading . . .