You can’t design the future — but you can design for the future you want.
Merrill “Pete” Miller, ex-CEO and chairman of National Oilwell Varco, has said that when redesigning or changing company processes, you should imagine the future you want, then build a bridge back to where you are.
In today’s world, one of those bridges is made of blocks.
Seismic shifts are anticipated with the implementation of powerful, innovative blockchains across a variety of global industries. According to the World Economic Forum, 10% of the world’s gross domestic product is predicted to be stored on blocks by 2027. As a platform for truth and trust, blockchain is catalyzing immediate change and, as more value is realized, sure to see an increase in adoption. Why then, are businesses lagging on implementing blockchain technology?
For starters, change management issues. Lack of digitization and a hesitancy to tackle bad processes is a recipe for disaster for those tasked with focusing on growth. Sussing out a strategic game plan that incorporates new technology like blockchain requires organizations to examine, evaluate and address current processes. When the internet first arrived, it catalyzed vast changes for global commerce. Following that same pattern, blockchain is poised to re-imagine business as we know it.
Those who are open to embracing change will benefit from first-mover advantages. Here’s how to start.
Cultivate urgency. To rally support for any type of change, particularly that of implementing a blockchain, make sure you clearly convey the opportunity by way of a detailed use case application. Follow this up with the why — the rationale dictating why the near future is the best time to make this change.
Build on the believers. Once you have buy-in and momentum from effective team members and managerial leaders, work together to coordinate and communicate activities to further gain steam (along with approvals, budget, project scope and guidelines).
Link to vision. Work set for execution needs to line up strategically with the company’s larger vision. By mapping to future changes and defining the concrete steps necessary to achieve results, companies can capitalize on momentum and tether a project to a why, why now, and why for us.
Remove barriers. Inefficiencies are often chock-full of processes that require massive amending or augmentations to streamline. For blockchains, barriers will most likely be determined by workflows and data silos, lack of integrated technologies, and interoperability issues.
Recognize short-term progress. Tracking the progress of implementation and highlighting early garners enhances excitement and generates energy. Figure out how to showcase positive benefits to the wider company, and ultimately industry, to generate sustained belief and future investment.
Improve structured processes. Once a few early wins are achieved, the moment is opportune to address the structures and policies in play to ensure the longevity of your success. This is when digging out of outmoded approaches to data, and honing in on a big picture, works. Remember, blockchain doesn’t fix bad processes; it just speeds up results.
Sustain change. Changing technologies requires a new modus operandi. From individual behavior to organizational structure and talent, show the connection between blockchain and its benefits by communicating ROI, and forging a plan that takes company procedures forward.
Holdouts against change can hinder operations and put companies at risk of losing out on the competitive advantages available with innovative technologies. In fact, the failure of 70% of change efforts can be attributed directly to resistance. Major changes are often accompanied by fears revolving around future unknowns.
With blockchain, as proof of concept gives way to tangible, repeatable results, managers and I.T. leaders must figure out how to navigate workplace dynamics, personalities and responsibilities. Identifying a specific use case and laying out the sequence of actions necessary to achieving buy-in from stakeholders is a critical first step.
Over the coming year, change-management experts will partner with blockchain innovators to take solutions live. You can either sit back and wait or get started imagining the future that you want, then set to work on building your bridge.
Andrew Bruce is founder and CEO of Data Gumbo.
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