Every change project is more than just the task at hand; it’s a chance to instill a deeper culture within the organisation. Instead of viewing projects as standalone events, it’s essential to see them as building blocks. Each successful project sets the foundation for the next, ensuring that we’re not starting from scratch but building on previous successes. This iterative approach can lead to profound, compounded value for your organisation.
#1 Infusing Change into the Organisational DNA
Truly innovative organisations share a trait – they make change an intrinsic part of their identity. They foster an environment where team members, regardless of their roles or levels, are encouraged to seek constant incremental improvements.
Perhaps more significantly, there is an unusually high tolerance for risk, and even failure. Of course these are not reckless ventures, but as long as the initiative was well considered and calculated, there is an understanding that things won’t always go to plan. As Mark Zuckerberg described in Facebook’s early values – “We move fast and break things.”
When small experiments and innovations become routine, the need for larger, more drastic transformation diminishes. For such a culture to take root, it must begin at the top. Leaders need to be champions of innovation, setting examples not just in their strategic decisions but in their daily actions. They must create an environment where mistakes are viewed not as setbacks, but as learning opportunities that make the team smarter and stronger.
#2 Prioritising Customer Feedback
All too often, the customer is the stakeholder group most overlooked when considering future transformation – and they’re the most crucial stakeholder of all. Engaging with customers shouldn’t be a sporadic activity based on particular project needs. Instead, there should be a structure in pace for ensuring constant customer feedback on both the realities of today and the possibilities of tomorrow.
Brands must establish mechanisms to keep this information flowing into the organisation. By doing so, they can ensure that the future direction of travel is shaped by real customer needs and insights, rather than just validating pre-determined guesswork.
#3 Harnessing the Power of Data
Data is at the heart of innovation, and therefore poor data management can be a significant barrier to change.
The solution? Rather than viewing each project in isolation, it should be viewed in the context of a larger overhaul and development of the organisation’s data management.
Legacy data, particularly within large, well established organisations, tends to be disorganized, non-compliant, inaccurate or just inaccessible. There is a temptation to overcome these issues with quick fixes, as projects tend to be judged in narrow terms rather than their impact on deeper data issues. This temptation should be resisted.
Cultivating a culture of change is not simply about nailing your next project, but about addressing the deeper cultural, operational, and data limitations that are holding your organisation back. With a foundation built on experimentation, customer-centricity and data proficiency, organisations can accrue deep, compound value that sets them apart in today’s (and tomorrow’s!) competitive landscape.