If there's one lesson that became clear above all in 2020, it's that change can happen fast. When the Coronavirus outbreak caused widespread disruption, it quickly became clear that some companies had the ability to implement change quickly, responding to new challenges in an agile fashion... and some did not.
In our years of experience helping companies manage extended ecosystems and global-scale operations, we've noticed that a lot of this boils down to how each company handles change management. Change only begins with having a solid proposal - whether it gets implemented properly largely depends on how the change is handled.
These are some of the key areas we advise our clients to focus on.
Four Key Elements To Successful Change Management
1. Unified Communications Across All Channels
Possibly the worst thing that can happen to a solid proposal for change is the "telephone game" effect. All it takes is one person misunderstanding the proposal, spreading incorrect information, and then no one is entirely sure what's being changed or why. It's absolutely vital to have a solid detailed proposal, and then ensure that everyone on down the line has access to that same proposal and information, without distortion.
For example, we helped one of the world's biggest trucking companies pull off a top-secret project, with unified communications, across an ecosystem that spanned the world.
2. Use appeals to logic and emotion
Some people respond to logical arguments based in facts, figures, and data. Others want an emotional appeal, focused on ideas which are more immediate and less abstract. Good change management should look to appeal to both sets of people. Be sure you have plenty of data and evidence to back up your proposal, but don't let your presentations become dry numeric recitations. Tell a story, an exciting story of overcoming challenges to achieve success - but one with plenty of data as well. This appeals to both types of thinkers.
3. Keep the focus on why, not what
Inertia and resistance to change are major factors within any large organization which will deter attempts at change. The best way of overcoming this resistance is to focus on why the change should be made. In other words, focus on the problem, and the further problems created by that central problem. The change being proposed should be put forward specifically as a needed remedy.
Otherwise, it's all too easy to start pushing change simply for change's sake, or to adopt some trendy new idea that may not actually be needed. Focus on the why to stay on-track.
4. Leave room for feedback and refinements
No proposal is perfect, especially when it only exists on paper. Often, managers or workers will like the idea behind a proposed change, but they'll have practical objections based on their own experience. Don't discount this sort of feedback! Often, you can end up with a much better plan by taking advice and feedback from those who will be most affected by it. Plus, showing that you're willing to listen and adjust plans will make it easier for people to work with you going forward.
Understanding the Need to Adapt and Change
Today’s industry leaders have the opportunity to radically innovate the distribution channel by tossing out the status quo and embracing transformation.
When it comes to transformation, manufacturers are often focused on improvements associated with supply chains and the factory floor. Our approach, however, is focused on impacting customer success through a manufacturer's dealers and distributors. If reading between the lines this means deepening customer understanding and insights, and connecting with customers in new ways.
Success requires adaptation of mindset, technology, reporting and collaboration models for industrial manufacturers. One theme resonates: the status quo is increasingly ineffective.
This resource below provides some practical steps towards improvement by:
- Establishing the current state of your dealer and distribution network through an internal and external perspective.
- Developing a roadmap for moving forward.
- Aligning all parties through a formal communication plan.
Click below to view our approach to assessing the state of your distribution channel.
Our software and consulting services are focused on one task: helping you manage your ecosystem more effectively with better communication, collaboration, and training. If you're facing difficult challenges keeping your ecosystem unified and on-target, contact LogicBay for help!