Transformation has been a buzzword for a few years now. Much of the time we see it applied to digital and technology. The idea of â€˜digital transformationâ€™ has almost become synonymous with â€˜digital disruptionâ€™.
But what if I were to tell you that just bringing in your fancy, new tech is a waste of time and money?
Technology is a tool, not an impetus
As much as we strive to shape our companies into machinery – things weÂ drive, whichÂ crunchÂ numbers and give usÂ deliverablesÂ andÂ outputsÂ – the truth is that theyâ€™re living things. Theyâ€™re alive because a company is a group of people who (ideally) have the same vision, and work together to achieve it.
To achieve whatever this collective vision is, we have to do a whole lot of things. Technology of various kinds forms the toolkit that lets us achieve those things more efficiently. Itâ€™s notÂ the wayÂ we do business, but itÂ amplifies and speeds upÂ the way we do business, when itâ€™s already working.If your business isnâ€™t working, then just applying technology isnâ€™t going to help you. Click To Tweet
Transformation isnâ€™t about the technology
Great companies, that have been through significant transformation, werenâ€™t transformed on the back of the technology. On the contrary, they changedÂ and then decidedÂ which technology could help.
This was one of the key findings by Jim Collins in his exploration of what makes a great company:
â€˜If technology is so vitally important, why did the good-to-great executives talk so little about it? Certainly not because they ignored technology: They were technologically sophisticated and vastly superior to their comparisonsâ€¦ Yet the executives hardly talked about technology.’
The primary factors in transformation in at least one of Collinsâ€™s case studies were the consistency of the company, and â€˜the ability to project its philosophies throughout the whole organizationâ€™. (p.156)
On a similar theme, a TechCrunch article from 2015 argued that digital transformation isnâ€™t about digital at all. That, instead, â€˜itâ€™s a philosophy that all must adoptâ€™, that itâ€™s re-imagining of the entire process. Itâ€™s not just applying technology to them.
Slightly more bluntly, Stefan ThomkeÂ wrote in theÂ Harvard Business ReviewÂ that tools and technology wonâ€™t automatically improve your operations. Instead, they â€˜must be integrated into systems and routines that are already in place.â€™New tech must be integrated into systems and routines that already work. #business #technology Click To Tweet
Successful transformation changes your people
Your people are one of the critical â€˜resourcesâ€™ in your business, and also the one â€˜resourceâ€™ that you donâ€™t control. You can give them the right environment and skills, but you canâ€™t control them. Theyâ€™re not like a machine with a known service requirement. Your people are the weakest link in your chain, because you are one of them, so itâ€™s harder to see what they need.
Why do you train? You train toÂ change
If you didnâ€™t want a behaviour to change, you wouldnâ€™t train people. That behaviour might be directly related to a process. Such as, How to use The Widget to Help a Customer. That behaviour might be less about process, and more about company values. Such as, How to handle conflict to create happy customers.All #training is about change. Itâ€™s entirely why training and development are critical to a successful #transformation. Click To Tweet
When people come together, they create a culture. Training isnâ€™t just aboutÂ how do we do this thing, but also about personal mastery. Itâ€™s about creating people who are capable, resilient, positive, and engaged; about enabling their leadership to give them the right environment that helps them to thrive. When your people thrive, your business thrives.Â Your people can make or break your business.
Great training has direct, measurable outcomes for your business
Many executives fail to see the role that training and development has for their businesses. At Training x Design, we believe that this is because they havenâ€™t been given the tools to see them. Very often, training is handled by a learning & development manager, or someone in Human Resources. Itâ€™s not often something youâ€™ll find discussed in the C-Suite.
Great training is measured and has a real impact. A great example is the customer service training we developed for one of our national clients. Their investment in the training was approximately $2000 per person ($1000 in lost work time, $1000 training cost + incidentals).
Before training, their team members were averaging 22 up-sells per quarter, at a value of $25 each.
After training, that had increased to 150 up-sells per quarter, resulting in $3,200 more income generated per person, per quarter. Over the course of a year, thatâ€™s an astonishing $12,800 of revenue generatedÂ per person trained. And all because of aÂ behaviouralÂ change.
What areÂ youÂ leaving on the table by failing to see training as a strategic exercise?
The CEOâ€™s guide to the business of training
In the coming months, we are bringing you a series of articles about the business of training.
Designed for you, the CEO, it is a series that takes you from strategy to longevity. It gives you the nuts and bolts you need to consider training and development as a key strategic tool.
Far from the â€˜how to create training that worksâ€™ articles, the Business of Training is about the stuff you care about: Profit and loss, growth, and sustainability.
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Collins, J. 2001.Â Good to Great. Harper Collins: New York. pages 155-6.