Succeeding in VUCA times: Making change happen: A CII-EY report


Over 50% organizations today believe that they will undergo major disruptive and radical changes in their business models due to innovation and technology. 64% of leaders have claimed that the biggest impediment to managing change effectively is their inability to anticipate these changes. Yet, more than 70% of organizations grossly under-invest in managing change formally. These observations are part of CII-EY’s report titled ‘Succeeding in the VUCA paradigm: Making change happen” which shares key lessons from successful organizations in India on accelerating adoption and managing change in today’s business scenario. The CII – EY study, unveiled at National Leadership Conference on “Leading and Managing Transformation” organized by CII Suresh Neotia Centre of Excellence For Leadership in the financial Capital of India – in Mumbai.

CII SNC National Leadership Conference on ‘Leading and Managing Transformation’, is based on responses from C-suite executives, HR executives and change managers from key leading organizations across sectors. The study identifies four key levers to help Organizations be better prepared for change; these levers are role of leadership, need for cultural alignment, internal capability building and application of technology.

According to Dr. N S Rajan, Chairman of CII on National Committee of HR and Group Chief Human Resource Officer, Tata Group said “Today, change in organizations is a continuous process and not merely event driven. Key question here is how do successful organizations maximize change adoption and build a change ready culture”. He highlighted the role of the Leaders to proactively envision the change and rally the Organization to internalise and drive it. He further emphasized that HR has a key role to play in partnering with business and driving the Change agenda. According to him, leading and managing change is an amalgamation of the right culture, the right processes, structure, skills and technology. But the most important element is the belief that ‘We can win’.

Mr. Gopal Nagpaul, Partner at EY, People Advisory Services said, “When it comes to managing change in the VUCA world, the role of a leader is the most critical. The Leader needs to prepare the organization, shape the leadership and leverage technology (especially analytics and business intelligence) to anticipate and drive change.” He emphasized that the leaders need to set clear objectives for the organizations and break down the change into smaller manageable steps. Every organization has a finite change capital and it should utilized judiciously. According to him, HR functions should complement the role of leaders by playing their part in capacity building and change advocacy.
The study offers valuable insights to business leaders on how to prepare, plan and execute change. Key findings from the study are as follows:

1. The role of a leader: Over 69% of organizations believe that top leadership’s role in should increasingly focus on manage complexity and contradictions. Successful leaders are those who can anticipate change, are execution focussed, coach future leaders and build change stamina
2. Building internal capability: 70% of the organizations rely on leveraging cross functional mobility to build up teams or “readiness groups” responsible for driving the change on the ground. 64% believe that HR has a critical role to play in building internal capability
3. Aligning the organizational culture: More than 60% of the organizations feel that the lack of cultural alignment is one of the biggest reasons for failure of transformation efforts in VUCA times. Still, it continues to be one of the most neglected aspects while managing change in organizations.
4. Leveraging technology: While 75% of the Organizations still believe in application of technology for traditional purposes such as Communication, Training and remote management, we see an emerging focus on use of technology for anticipating change using analytics, improving speed of adoption and increasing transparency.



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