Why you need to embrace change (and how to do it successfully)At our very first "Apollo Solutions Talks: Leading Organisations into the Digital Era", IT Transformation Director Kuldip Sandhu and former Premier League Footballer Michael Duberry discussed our fast-changing digital world, and how to flourish within it.
The average football career lasts eight years. Michael Duberry’s lasted twenty. Now an Executive Coach, former Central Defender Duberry played for the likes of Chelsea, Leeds United and Stoke City, under different managers and with hundreds of different players. He spent much of his sporting career at the top of his game; a career that was subject to a lot of change and uncertainty. At the same time, Digital Transformation expert Kuldip Sandhu has made it his mission to be an architect of change in the fast-paced world of business. For over two decades, Sandhu has been delivering complex (digital) transformation programmes to top global firms, helping them tackle today’s challenges in preparation for tomorrow.
Change is everywhere. But how do you deal with it?
The digital revolution is causing the world to change at an incredible rate, often leading to instability and uncertainty in and outside of the workplace. With technology redefining day-to-day life, learning how to deal with change efficiently is quickly becoming a necessity.
Michael Duberry: “In twenty years of football, there was one thing that never changed, and that was change. Big, small, important, unimportant, there was always change. Every season, every week, every day. And when it happened, you weren’t surprised.”
Duberry and Sandhu shared their top three tips for successfully managing change in today’s digital world:
1. Focus on what you can control
Whether it was man-marking Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo at Old-Trafford or being asked to train with the youth team by a disgruntled manager at Wycombe Wanderers, Duberry was continuously put into situations that were beyond his control. To deal with uncertain or unstable situations, Duberry says it’s essential to be at the top of your game and to have confidence in your skillset. There will always be things that are out of your control, but if you put time and effort into personal development, you will ultimately succeed in the long-run. After all, form is temporary, but class is permanent. In addition to this, Sandhu emphasized you have to set yourself a clear goal and then apply yourself, being almost selfish in the pursuit of your objectives to be successful.
2. Resilience and flexibility are more critical than ever
In today’s digital world the likelihood of change is higher than ever before, or as Sandhu put it: “Change is constant”. In any position, you can expect to be continually learning to adapt to and utilise new technologies and ways of working, or else risk falling behind. To maintain a high level of performance, it is crucial that you remain resilient in your commitment to learning and development. At the same time, you need to be flexible and adapt to changes, no matter how big or small.
3. It’s okay to fail
Both football and business are results-driven. However, much like you won’t win every game, not every initiative you take will be a success straight away. Success boils down to attitude, so when dealing with failure, Duberry recommends asking yourself: ‘What can we learn from this?’ rather than ‘Who is to blame?’. Sandhu agrees. As we move forward into the digital world, emphasising collective learning over-and-above individual errors helps you obtain the confidence to pick up new tools and grow.
Organisations must adapt quickly, and so must their workforce. It is down to those in leadership to encourage a culture of positivity and optimism, and then to step back and see the incremental improvements, rather than be reactive to one-off results (or blame individuals when the initiative has failed). Through doing this, a workforce’s desire to embrace the new can overcome resistance to change, according to Sandhu.
Kuldip Sandhu: “Most IT projects, most transformation projects fail. All the data out there says that about 75 or 80% of change projects fail. Why? Often it is down to leadership and culture. Change is hard, and mindset is the hardest thing to change. Trying to get people to think in a different way: strategic, agile, innovative.”
Keep calm and embrace change
Change has become the norm. However, you can take comfort in knowing that the tools to succeed in this ever-changing world are not new. If you are resilient, remain positive, and invest in your personal development, you should be well set to successfully manage change and thrive in today’s fast-paced digital world. And the best thing? It’s okay to fail. Failure is just another opportunity to learn and move forward.