Optimising financial processes

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The role of HABIT in Transformation and Change

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 slip-ups, no goofs, everyone pitching in.”

We like to think that our latest technology implementation plan will herald a newly integrated set of end-to-end digital processes that will infuse our business, our people and our customers with the delight of eliminating all of the error, waste, cost and frustration of the old ways.

But it just ain’t so, as the renowned Atul Gawande wrote in “Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance”, from which the quote above is taken.

It’s no harder to be successful at business change than it is to lose weight or to give up smoking.

However, to be fair, business transformation and change is a collective endeavor, which provides both extra advantages and disadvantages. 

I discussed this in a recent talk on “The Dunning Kruger Effect & Other Cognitive Biases that Limit Our Performance” which you can see here . . .

Success at any of those ventures depends on changing daily routines and behaviors.

HABITS . . .

It’s just that straightforward. And it’s just that difficult. It’s easy enough to plan and execute a project, even with all the hurdles associated . . .

The hard part is permanently leaving behind the behaviors of the old ways and building new habits that will keep us on the new path . . . .

If you think I am over simplifying, try doing some root cause analysis on some of your most pressing business issues, and ask the deceptively insightful “5 WHYs” in digging into the origins of the most compelling elements of the case for change.

Seeing transformation and business change as “events” rather than “habits” is a common cause of failure.

At least 70% of transformations and change programs fail to deliver the value stated in the business case.

I was reading an article about experiences in implementing Lean, considered a core philosophy of continuous improvement. A lean organization focuses on increasing customer value, the elimination of waste and optimizing operations. Lean is also about building a culture, one that respects all employees and enables them to pursue opportunities to improve their work and share ideas for continuous improvement.

Given the focus of building a culture, (a set of organisational habits), one would assume that Lean transformations suffer a lower failure rate than most.

It turns out not to be the case, but the essence of the challenges resonated with me deeply. You might want to read Rick Bohan’s article here . . .

If we focus on the required new habits and behaviors, we will increase our transformation success rate significantly.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for your coming change and transformation outcomes!

Thanks for reading . . . .