"The sense of togetherness decides"

The world is changing, and many companies feel that they have to move too. But wanting change is easier than living change. Gundula Pally from Kerkhoff Consulting explains why change processes often fail and how it can work.

What companies want to change: Digitization is currently the big issue - really everywhere. Companies want to become more efficient and automate as many processes as possible. What is new is that this requirement does not only affect individual departments, but the entire value chain.

Why change is often difficult: Because change processes now affect the entire company, many employees are involved. This makes it extremely complex. In addition, many companies start from an unfavorable position because they have neglected their homework on the way to an efficient and digital process. The gap between the target and the actual situation is often enormous.

How to get employees on board: In order for change processes to succeed, the workforce needs to be aware of the necessity and then fully committed. Employees need to recognize the impact their actions have on the entire supply chain. All those involved in the value chain must really work on the target process. Of course, this is also a cultural challenge, as employees from different units and functions have to work together and open up.

How to create understanding for change: A simulation of corporate processes - for example with the help of a learning factory - can playfully show what others need, what you can do yourself and how which measures have an effect. When companies involve their employees in this way, they can more easily recognize what needs to change and are much more willing to go along with it.

What processes often fail because of: Change is often thought too small: Only a single, small area is to be reformed, or essential interfaces are hidden. Just as wrong are completely exaggerated expectations or unrealistic timing. The biggest mistake is to ignore employees and present them with faits accomplis.

When the process succeeds: Change is successful when it makes all processes transparent and sustainably promotes cooperation. After all, it is not least a question of constantly questioning oneself. To achieve this, a culture of openness must be created. Incidentally, management should always be at the top of the list. If the boss is not behind it, every process is guaranteed to fail! If the conviction is lacking, the employees will also feel it and differentiate themselves.

Interview Stephan Strzyzowski
Die Wirtschaft

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