Today's businesses face a competitive market unlike anything we've seen before. Unfortunately, a lot of corporations haven't learned to adapt to this changing business environment. They're still thinking and behaving like giants who are too big to fail instead of adapting into the nimble, flexible organizations that thrive today.
Although the specifics change from organization to organization, there is a prevailing corporate culture that encourages many organizations to tackle big projects instead of taking incremental steps. It's crucial for businesses to recognize that the world has changed, and that they must build an enterprise transformation factory to keep up.
Corporate Culture: Why Big Projects Always Fail
Let's start by looking at one of the biggest blunders modern corporations make. Many of them want to roll out mammoth changes within a limited time frame. They may spend months or years suffering under inefficient policies and organizational structures as they wait for the perfect moment to change as much as possible as quickly as possible. They wait until entire departments have reached their breaking points before they tackle difficult problems.
This waiting period leads to failure. Today's business ecosystem demands quick change, and yet they wait as the pain grows too intense for them to meet basic goals. Then, and only then, do they try to bring substantial change to how they operate.
It is the opposite of what today's business world demands, and so they fail time and time again without moving forward.
Building an Enterprise Transformation Factory
To find a solution to this problem, we need to take a realistic look at the business ecosystem to determine what qualities an enterprise transformation factory needs. If we're aiming for the opposite of organizational maturity that relies on slow, cumbersome changes, it becomes crucial that we consider the features that make composable businesses so successful.
IBM publicly announced its support of composable business models in early 2014, noting that today's businesses must:
constantly re-invent and innovate processes
integrate processes across the organization
make smarter decisions based on real-time actionable insights
move to the market faster
It's as if business leaders have forgotten, or never learned, that success relies on speed and agility.
Constant Change is Always Better Than Paralysis
To make the most of these qualities, businesses need to constantly re-evaluate their policies and processes. By doing this, they can adopt new strategies based on the market's evolving demands.
Let's make something very clear: constant change, even when it includes several failures, is better than analytical paralysis. It's better to take a risk today than continue a policy you already know offers ineffective results. In essence, fail fast.
A nimble business may go through several failures before it finds the right strategy, but it will go through those failures quickly while the lethargic organization continues to test and retest ideas. Each time you fail, you learn something new that you can apply to process improvement. Since you aren't committed to each strategy, you can dispose of them quickly. Organizations that spend years developing new processes bet everything on one strategy. It's quite insane when you think about it from this perspective.
Maximizing Efficiency With an Enterprise PMO
Some businesses quickly find streamlined processes that work for them, so they think they're doing well. Some of them think they're doing so well that they fail to create a central delivery team (project managers, process managers, change managers etc.) or eliminate it altogether.
That's another mistake that leads to slow, ineffective change.
Establishing an enterprise PMO makes it possible for a centralized department to scrub the organization of duplication, lost productivity and other inefficiencies. By looking at every dimension of the business, an enterprise PMO can reveal problems that no one knew were slowing the company down. The trick is that the enterprise PMO continues to question every aspect of the business. Its work is never done because its work is crucial to prolonged success. These are the experts who specialize in change, delivery and transformation and can help keep a firm disciplined while being pragmatic with regards to change.
In our modern, highly technological economy, businesses have to let go of the past and face the future. That means working tirelessly and failing fast and without fear. Those who evolve can thrive. Those who lumber along will find themselves in the evolutionary wastebasket.
*Factory image curtesy of Hanspeter Klasser