Lynn Plummer and Bob Green – SingerLewak SL Business Informatics
Photo Credit: Martin Dusek

The last year demanded flexibility among individuals and organizations alike. Dramatic, forced change, coupled with unwavering uncertainty, became commonplace. We have been fortunate enough to work with our clients amidst this challenging landscape and are continuously impressed with the resilient leadership and employee performance. Establishing a culture of continuous improvement in any condition, including the present pandemic, enables organizations to be more agile in the face of change. The first step in accomplishing this goal must be to persistently translate learnings into proactive initiatives. Here are a few high-value areas to explore:

  • Break Down the Roadblocks – Without the luxury of working in the same physical location, organizational inefficiencies become increasingly apparent. Any business in its pre-pandemic state can be guilty of one or more of these inefficiencies: too many cooks, too many meetings, red tape that hinders progress, and/or insufficient accessibility to critical data and documents. These instances likely seemed easier to circumvent or were just accepted as the industry norm.  What can be done to permanently resolve or reduce them now that they are out in the open? As you look forward, consider process and policy changes in order to mitigate now exposed inefficiencies.  In addition to being impactful, often we observe relatively simple changes in roles, protocols, and processes can become motivational to all if properly executed.
  • True up your Tech Budget – If you’re among the many organizations that historically prioritized other initiatives or budget cuts over properly maintaining your technology footprint, you likely paid for it last year in terms of business disruption, frustration and dollars. Technology, whether your business software or the workstations utilized by staff members, is never set and forget. Technology requires sound internal controls, security, maintenance, patches, upgrades … and eventual replacement. How healthy is your IT Strategy in the face of this new normal? Does it remain in alignment with, and in support of the execution of your (now likely evolved) Strategic Business Plan? Do you have a realistic IT budget in place which will prevent the organization from falling behind again?
  • Build Change Readiness– The pandemic represents a massive, disruptive “change initiative” which many leaders were not adequately prepared for. Evaluate yourself, your leadership team and solicit direct feedback. What was effective? What didn’t resonate well or caused confusion? Translate these learnings into strategic actions which will enable your organization to transform into a change-ready culture.

Look for opportunities to increase engagement at all levels of the organization beginning with visibility and awareness. Ensure the vision and mission are so clear that they trickle down into your employee’s day-to-day efforts. Communicate strategic initiatives to employees early on, sharing key objectives and timelines.  Consider replacing rigid performance reviews with collaborative goal setting and real-time coaching. Assess the opportunity to expand upon the use of digital collaboration, communication and social tools. Your goal: to establish and maintain a consistent and authentic feedback loop that proactively surfaces challenges while celebrating new ideas.

We hope the insights we have shared are pertinent to what you’ve been facing as we emerge from this environment, and that they give you reason to consider how to action your learnings from this challenging time. We wish you well and are always available to assist organizations in business process improvement reviews, change management advisory, and IT leadership. Good luck – and stay safe!

Lynn Plummer and Bob Green, CPA.CITP serve as a Director and Lead Partner, respectively, for SingerLewak’s SL Business Informatics service line. They specialize in guiding clients through technology-enabled business transformation initiatives. They can be reached at [email protected]