Beginners guide to change: 10 drivers for transformation

In our last article on the 20/50/30 tool, we discussed the use of the tool in the context of change management. In this article, we will again look at change management but this time we’ll investigate the key drivers behind change in organizations.

Change happens in all businesses. Some cope well with it and some don’t. Business change, or transformation is not usually a short journey (indeed some can take years).

In the end, I believe that it’s usually down to management foresight that some level of business change is inevitable and therefore a level of both structure and planning is required to ensure the business remains a success.

As we described in the article referenced above, to facilitate success, I don’t believe you can over-communicate whether that’s to your own employees, your customers or other stakeholder groups.

It does help though to review the key drivers for change as part of process development. Inevitably there ends up being a burning issue that motivates the transformation. This issue becomes of such crucial importance that the organization cannot stand still.

So let’s jump to it, here’s our list of 10 drivers for change in business.

1 Customer
One of the primary reasons for the change is where the customer requires something that the supplying business doesn’t currently provide. This could be a change in requirement (I’ll only buy red widgets not blue) or compliance requirement (I want a pink delivery note with every item or I won’t pay my invoice!) or a myriad of other things.

2 Legislation
The next most common change driver is legislative changes. Updates that drive compliance issues will usually drive transformation to business processes/systems.

3 Innovation
Most businesses have a continued drive of continuous improvement and innovation. These ongoing transformation programs are typically introduced with associated changes to processes and/or systems.

4 Leadership
Often when Leadership changes within a business targets and strategy follow suit. These corporate change programs seem to be neverending (especially where there is frequent change in leadership) and this can include elements of the business such as organization, customer strategy, systems & processes.

5 Disruption
Disruption can be thought of in the same way as risk. For example, you may have an incident where a factory burns down and the business has to change to compensate. This generally involves something happening that wasn’t planned and the business needs to evolve to cope with the results (be they short or long-term).

6 Competition
When the competition does something that affects the market place (through the introduction of innovation as an example) then the rest of the market players generally react in some way. This can be either copying the change or by deploying some form of countermeasure. Similar to disruption sometimes these elements happen without notice and can have far-reaching ramifications in some industries.

7 Investors
Similar to changes in leadership, investors (especially large investors) can impact the strategy and policies of a business, where returns are not as required then they can illicit changes on the business to improve these.

8 Financial
Financial impacts such as, in particular poor performance, can often drive dramatic change into a business.

9 Obsolescence
Many change programs see the light of day when something that was previously available is no longer. This could be for a variety of reasons from the supplying company closing through to innovations driving change to products or services previously available.

10 People
It’s not just leadership that drives change, personnel or external groups can exert change also. Pressure groups/lobbyists are an ideal example of drivers for change whereby pressure is put upon a company (or group of companies) to adapt.

So there’s our list of 10 motivators for change. Have your own ideas? Let us know in the comments section below.