When speaking on change, one speaks on all changes throughout an organization, think of changes within IT – or Business processes, people or data. The human aspect of change touches on the culture within an organization; the beliefs and actions. It’s possible to set-up guidelines for said change and allow the companies’ stakeholders to fill in its meaning. However, a shift in culture involves behavior, and behavioral changes are known to be significantly more time consuming. The more cultural disparity, the more time and effort it will take to bridge the gap.

Regardless of which changes have to be implemented, it remains essential to develop a specific process or procedure to successfully facilitate change. It is of the utmost importance to properly define change in such a way that implementing it within an organization brings along input from various employees to make sure that there’s a vast and concise understanding of said change. More often than not, thought seems to be trapped in cells. Roger Wegh, a partner of Squadra, points out that thinking in cells “Results in insufficient awareness throughout a company’s entire structure, and change’s impact is therefore often neglected or underestimated among various departments. Integral thinking and operating is required to successfully implement changes”

“Change requires integral thinking and operating”

Culture is behavior and behavior is influenced by knowledge. Behavioral change requires a set course, guidance that requires knowledge, a different way of thinking, responding and leadership. “When people don’t adhere to desirable behavior, leadership is crucial”, says Teije de Haan, Associate of Squadra. Teije states that when undesirable behavior isn’t reprehended, change inherently becomes undermined at its core. It’s important that the essence of change is clearly defined and repeatedly communicated as well as elaborated on. Furthermore, it’s important for managers and board members to lead by example.

It’s crucial for agreed upon decisions to be embraced and carried out by management as well as employees. Roger points out that “more often than not organizations tend to assign change management to the bottom of a company’s hierarchical structure. However, this part of a company isn’t always capable or willing to give up their old ways. Cause being that new goals are perpendicular to performance benchmarks from the past. Naturally, a company would wish to involve the entire organization within the process of change management, however, this seems to be rather complex in some cases. Inevitably, it can be required to instill a top-down approach that facilitates change with its invisible hand.” Mark Cartigny, Associate of Squadra, concludes that it’s impossible to abruptly leave old ways behind in a whim, on the flipside management is required to adhere to their own set of rules as well.”

“One can’t simply leave behind old work procedures and top-management is to adhere to their own rules as well”

When an organization maps out a new data strategy involving behavioral change, it’s important to create this strategy in a way that’s as clear and concise as possible. “This is often a challenging step, and an important factor change management.”, says Roger. Often it helps to start with a Proof-of-concept (PoC). The goal of such a PoC is to visualize business advantages, as well as emphasize the importance of data and allude to formulating a new data strategy. Furthermore, a PoC makes sure to involve everyone in such a way that allows multiple iterations of cyclical change, allowing those involved to gain experience and share lessons-learned. Within this train of thought, Squadra MDM often follows de philosophy of, “start small, but concise. Experiment with the things that are going well within an organization and learn from past mistakes before taking the next step.”

To successfully implement change in regards to data management, it’s important to increase knowledge and understanding of data. This also goes for top management. Coaching senior management can offer assistance in this case. There needs to be a realization that there are priorities transcending revenue, and instead quality data is needed to generate said revenue. To further drive this point home, instating quality reports is a viable option to allow for more consistent interaction with data. this way people will realize the true value of good quality data and its invaluable role in securing good company-wide results.

“Culture and change management don’t fall under technical savviness”

Squadra regularly supports businesses in implementing and setting up new data strategies. Our experts therefore carry with them the necessary skills and experience in regards to culture and change management. These kinds of projects not only strive to provide a solution, but carry out a complete and all-round approach from beginning to end. “Culture and change management don’t fall under technical savviness. It’s no rocket science, but it’s the human factor which makes sure that all systems are provided with the right data, both real-time and for the foreseeable future. This human factor is essential in making sure change management has any chance of resulting in a success.” determines Teije.

All in all, clear meaning and a collective approach are ultimately of great importance. To reach this desired destination integral thinking and operating are crucial. The goal of change needs to be clear for everyone throughout an organization, and it is important that there’s a collective need for everyone to adhere to desired behavioral standards and rules. Furthermore it’s important for hierarchical leaders to lead by example in these matters. A change strategy has to be as concise as possible at all times to facilitate change in a smooth and beneficial manner. We recommend starting out small and scaling up when need be. PoC’s can be used to scale-up in terms of data knowledge, especially when the subject of “data” is repeatedly brought under attention. Lastly, Squadra remains ultimately willing to lend a helping hand and ensure that you too, can implement change in a successful manner!