Organizations don't change – people do

31 July 2019

digital transformation
digital flow

At the end of June we held the first module in our Digital Flow Masterclass at the Havenhuis in Antwerp. Our focus was on the cultural aspect of the digital transformation 4.0. Does your organization have the capacity to keep up with the digital transformation? In a rapidly changing world, how do you retain sufficient focus on the best employee experience and what does it look like? Experts worked on this topic with decision makers from a wide range of companies.

The port as background

The Havenhuis, designed by the architect Zaha Hadid, provided the perfect backdrop for the day. The building symbolizes the dynamic, reliable, ambitious and innovative nature of the port of Antwerp. These are also some of the values embodied by Port of Antwerp, the site manager of the port, which were critical to its most recent transformation. As the host of the event, Erwin Verstraelen, CDIO Port of Antwerp, recounted the port's very inspiring story. Besides Erwin, other speakers included Tim Claes (CCO Realdolmen), Peter De Prins and Kurt Verweire (Vlerick Business School). The latter two gave a presentation on the ‘Six Batteries of Change,’ an integrative and inclusive framework for change implementation in the 21st century. Collectively, they provided a balanced combination of theory and practice, with academic insights being directly applied to each participant's own business case. We are pleased to present highlights from each speaker to get you thinking about these topics.

Finally: training that delivers the best value for money. Excellent topics, interaction, pacing and, above all, the ability to implement them directly on the work floor. Great!
Cindy Vanderstraeten, De Watergroep

The digital transformation 4.0 in practice – Tim Claes

  • The digital transformation is in a state of transformation. We are currently at version 4.0, which is centered on injecting a both-and digital attitude.
  • From now on, technology will be a permanent guest at every business discussion. It has taken on an unmistakable strategic dimension.
  • Technology is not isolated: there are interfaces with individuals, organizations and business, as advocated in other flows like Service Design Thinking and Agile.
  • Digital Business Agility provides guidelines for introducing a both-and attitude in practice. Hyperawareness, informed decision making and fast execution are the three imperatives that keep recurring. These terms from Michael Wade indicate what a company needs to survive and thrive in today's business environment. Hyperawareness involves being extremely alert to your internal and external environment, and specifically to changes that are brought to light by opportunities or threats. Informed decision making is all about collaboration and empowering individuals to make evidence-based decisions as soon as possible. The last imperative, fast execution, means making quick decisions in practice, dynamic mobilization of resources and continuous monitoring of options and progress with respect to the goals.

The transformation of Port of Antwerp – Erwin Verstraelen

  • Life is for those who dare. Sometimes, bold decisions are required to be able to bring about genuine change at all levels. For that reason, the top management had to re-apply for their job during the transformation. This is the only way for those who are versatile enough to remain.
  • Always paint a picture. Don't get stuck in the dreaming and planning phase. Go from the abstract to a concrete application as soon as possible to make it easier for people to assess the question of ‘what’s in it for me?’. In this context, Port of Antwerp created a virtual port assistant, APICA (Antwerp Port Information Control & Assistant), to clarify its ideas as far as the future of the port is concerned.

Digital transformation and change? – Peter De Prins & Kurt Verweire

The participants worked all afternoon with the ‘Six Batteries of Change’. There are three rational batteries that focus on the ‘hardware of change’: strategy, management infrastructure and project & process management. In addition, there are three emotional batteries that highlight the 'software of change': the dynamics in the top team, people and culture. All of these batteries have to be charged to be able to change successfully.

module 1

Working in groups, they analyzed two related batteries and investigated what they energized or depleted for their own enterprises. How much energy does each battery have right now? What is the reason for that particular energy level? By sharing these insights, the participants exchanged multiple recommendations and best practices with each other. Each one went home with a great deal to think over and was energized in terms of everything to come.

  • Clarity and energy are the factors for success in change processes. The greatest reason for resistance to change is uncertainty, and clarity is even more important than 'truth'. You can also boost your company's energy with change, giving the message in an inspiring and passionate way.
  • Very rapid changes can cause trauma. Stability management is just as important as change management; after a change, it is best to have a period of stability that includes organizational silence.
  • Nothing exists on its own. The model with the six batteries is a serial model: all the batteries have to be charged to a reasonable level. Otherwise, the engine stops. Change has an impact on everything; every element has to move with it.
  • The trick is to emotionalize rationale and to rationalize emotion, ensuring clarity and trust.
  • At the end of the day, it is all about motivating and connecting people, thereby allowing you to create bright spots.

Within the space of a few hours I obtained clear new insights into how to manage and apply change within our organization.
Olivier Knockaert, Vanheede Environment Group

What's next?

Besides change management, it is important to ensure that your enterprise is still relevant in 3, 5 and 10 years. This is the focus of the second module of the Masterclass – we examine how new business models can be created through technology. In the third and final module, we go deeper into the digital attitude your enterprise applies within a digital flow, and pay a visit to our innovation center in Paris.

Each module is independent, you can still register for module 2 and/or 3.