Change as a continuous process

opinion September 11, 2012 00:00

By Yanyong Thammatucharee

2,836 Viewed

For many companies, making changes in business management is considered non-routine - a rare necessity in the course of normal business operations.



 

Such a notion needs to be changed under today’s market competition. These days, organisational change is rapidly becoming part of the day-to-day routine of everyone. It is necessary for the management to ensure that the company effects important change in a timely manner to ensure the long-term survival of the business. Practices that were effective yesterday can easily become obsolete today. 
For example, the traditional budgeting process that takes months to be finalised and confirmed may be irrelevant by the first day of the new fiscal year. Decision-making concerning investment, which uses several financial indicators, is being challenged by non-financial factors such as uncertainties, speed of events and lessons learned from the past. Meanwhile, the work routine in the back-office may feel pressure to make changes in order to keep up with the speed of front-line operations. 
There are a number of obstacles that can prevent a company from moving forward to make positive organisational changes:
_ The need for change is considered non-urgent  – whenever change is mentioned, company staff seem to be of the impression that it would take time to make it happen. Thus change is something that “can wait”. 
_ Change is considered a big issue – the transformation from one state to another is considered a huge issue for many people. In fact, the magnitude of change is not an issue. A small change can have a big consequence at a later stage. 
_ The change-makers are not clearly identified – it is commonplace for the leader of an organisation to simply ask for change, but without ensuring the clear-cut roles, expectations and determination to make it happen. This kind of strategy tends to end without any fruitful result. At least a few agents of change should be identified and issues be addressed clearly so that progress can be properly monitored. 
_ Change is not seriously addressed and followed up on – when requested change does not occur, there is no impact to concerned people in terms of reward or punishment. It may be worth making the delivery of change a key performance indicator for everyone. 
_ The “change mindset” is too difficult to institute – as supervisors are a key factor in triggering change, it is important that they have the correct mindset. Change should not be considered negative. Instead it should become a normal thing that is inevitable for everyone.
   
Change is not only broadly necessary in today’s business environment, its pace also needs to be calibrated according to the needs of different areas and expectations in a business. It is good practice for everyone to ask the important questions that can lead to logical changes. For example:
_ What is the purpose of the routine task we keep doing? 
_ Will the current practice add any value to the business?
_ Is this practice the most efficient and effective way?
_ Is there a better alternative? 
_ How can we respond positively to increasing market competition?
 
By asking the right questions, we may discover improvements that can keep us ahead of the competition. Instead of waiting for change to be forced upon us, let’s direct it ourselves. In the near future, responsive change will likely become part of the routine job for everyone, so that ultimately change will become a dynamic process in itself. 
 
Yanyong Thammatucharee is senior vice president for Accounting and Finance at Central Marketing Group.