The Truth about Transformation
Organizations, whether private companies, non-profits, charities or governments seek to transform to take advantage of new opportunities, including technological advances. Often, technology is the major driver of change that results in transformation. As a result, the organization often fails to achieve its objective and goal to truly transform. You see, technology remains an enabler, not a silver bullet. True transformative change requires understanding of the human factors at play, human conscious and subconscious behaviors, how humans inter-relate and how society itself and all of its members are changing.
Our workforces are changing, the expertise we need is becoming harder to acquire and roles are shifting. In addition, before and because of Covid in 2020, the world around us is becoming very different, a new reality is taking hold, one that will fundamentally change who we are, how we work and yes, how we seek to ensure organizations transform for today and for the future.
The Truth about Transformation, a new book by Kevin Novak, is now available from Amazon. Get your hardback or ebook version today.
The Truth about Transformation
The Truth about Transformation is an educational how-to primer on transforming an organization and its business model. Accessible and entertaining, the book tackles the most prevalent and persistent problems in legacy businesses particularly focused on the human factor as an inhibitor to successful transformation. Clear, cogent and compelling information, insights and guidelines are delivered by Kevin Novak, one of the most innovative, successful business consultants with a strong track record of working with traditional associations, governments and media businesses to grow relevance and/or become competitive in the digital marketplace and transform. Novak has over three decades of experience in helping top executives master the mindset, workplace culture, tools and expectations of doing business in the digital age. The book serves as a playbook for leaders and their teams to understand how to deconstruct their current business models and rebuild them to leverage the power and principles of digital while understanding, educating and bringing forth the critically of the human condition.
The Human Condition
Full-scale transformation, pivoting and even simple change can often be hard for a business. As human beings, we like consistency, seek security and relish comfort. Our penchant for stability, predictability and what most would define as “normalcy” stems from our evolution and is deeply embedded in our genes. With stability comes a sense of balance, grounding and the emotional and psychological state to comfortably grow and flourish.
But there is a flip side to stability. We often miss recognizing how wedded we are to our personal defaults which make us resist change, risk and accepting “the different.” Our “fight or flight” evolutionary programming is ever present subconsciously when we enter a new room, perform new tasks out of the norm or when we meet new people. The fight or flight response increases hormonal levels including adrenaline, which is not sustainable over the long term at high levels. The immediate response raises our awareness for a brief period of time in order to handle perceived danger, unexpected change, new situations or the like. Our instinct is to return as quickly as possible to our baseline of consistency, security and comfort.
Our predisposition for stability is made more complex with the contradiction of our desire for new things and enjoying new experiences. When we are experiencing something pleasurable, the body produces dopamine that makes us feel good. Those dopamine bursts occur on the conscious level and motivate us to attain goals and complete tasks. The burst is short lived, which often makes us crave more of it (hence addiction). Yet humans cannot sustain long-term high levels of dopamine or adrenaline. The subconscious remains a major driver in returning to the default state of predictability and comfort.
Change and comfort beget different emotional responses, release different hormones and bring forth different behaviors. We as humans may want “new things and experiences” but we rarely equate either to personal or professional change. We are complicated by nature and must recognize behavioral complexity both internally and externally if a business seeks to successfully transform.
The push and pull of desire also influences our businesses. As human creators, employees, leaders and managers of an organization, company or what most would generally term a “business,” we behave and make decisions based on the same evolutionary programming in terms of how our business acts, grows and matures. Our constant and ever present need is to have predictability, correlating the present to the past with a comfortable expectation of how things run and what results we can expect. At the same time, we’re not comfortable in stasis over the long term. We desire new experiences and new challenges. The key is to balance the two.
What does all of this have to with your business?
Leaders, managers and employees face an existential challenge when it comes to transforming a business and business model. Resistance to change and not taking risks is the intuitive norm, and therefore sets up roadblocks that increase drag or completely prohibit change. A resistance and series of roadblocks that even technology cannot overcome.
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