Adaptability: The key to effective change management during uncertainty

Adaptability is an essential skill to help address and manage change successfully during periods of uncertainty

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The COVID-19 pandemic taught every business one key lesson: The nature of work can quickly change, and it has, with no signs of slowing. Scaling rapidly from a single-project approach to broader cross-system initiatives relies on developing a flexible, adaptable approach to processes based on teams, their needs, and day-to-day challenges.

The nature of work has changed

Recent findings by McKinsey points to the need for adaptability to an avalanche of change as one of the key areas companies need to excel in to make their workforces more agile. The vast majority of the American workforce, almost 83 percent, have successfully shifted to working remotely. The nature of work has changed and how work gets done in the future will need to be revisited and adapted to a new normal — the remote workplace.

With remote work and automation trending upward, more of the workforce is likely to change jobs, the way they work, and learn new skills, making adaptability an essential element for teams, leadership, and companies. Adapting to a remote workforce requires revisiting and modifying business processes to ensure sustainable outcomes.

Adapting business process to address change

The balance of people, processes, and technology has always been essential to optimize performance. Many organizations need to focus on workforce transformation initiatives that will involve three elements:

  • The people who do the work.
  • The processes that enable the work.
  • The technology that automates processes. 

Team structure and skills

How teams are structured and skill set availability have a significant impact on process effectiveness: it’s estimated 34 percent of less experienced workers struggle with productivity. With more companies leaning toward fully remote or hybrid workforces, processes need to do more heavy lifting to counter inexperience or dispersed teams.

Team needs constantly change

Working remotely, teams need to be more flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and working methods. Their success and connectivity are dependent on process automation and technology, along with increased support, training, guidance, and mentorship.

Team challenges

Many processes will no longer meet changing requirements. Team members are being pushed to do more with less, making it vital to redesign and automate as many routine processes as possible to match new working methods. Workflow and process automation can free up valuable hours to quickly scale-up higher-priority initiatives.

Rapidly scaling to broader, cross-system initiatives

As the speed of change increases, so does workforce management complexity, which impacts resourcing. Leaders and their teams need to develop new mindsets, behaviors, and values that improve clarity around:

  • What has changed?
  • How have changes impacted initiatives and direction?
  • What should be done to address the impact?
  • Who should be involved?
  • When and where resources and efforts should be focused?

Adaptability holds the key to effectively identifying and managing changes that impact broader initiatives. Becoming more adaptive ensures teams can rapidly and successfully scale their efforts from single projects to cross-system initiatives to improve company-wide performance.

This post is brought to you by Smartsheet and IDG. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Smartsheet.

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