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Practically Speaking: Building Cultures that Embrace Change

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About the Episode

Welcome to Practically Speaking, a show dedicated to highlighting practically genius ideas in less than 15 minutes. Get takeaways from John Kuforiji’s Genius Spotlight episode on change management, like why post-launch processes are just as important as pre-launch planning. Lindsay and Ryan then dig into data from Formstack’s State of Digital Maturity report. This week, they cover how the most optimized organizations build cultures that embrace change. Use this data to help your organization learn to thrive through innovation, iteration, and disruption.

Episode Highlights

Meet Our Guest

Our featured Genius Spotlight guest was John Kuforiji, an IT project manager and change management advocate with nearly a decade of experience. He’s helped organizations like IBM and PwC Canada better manage change and large-scale digital transformations. Listen to his episode Change Management Is More about People than Process now.

Episode Transcript

Lindsay: Hey everyone. Welcome to Practically Speaking a show from Formstack where we dive deeper into the topics that matter to change makers. Like you.

Ryan: And I'm Ryan.

And on this episode, Lindsay and I are reflecting on our conversation from last week with PWC’s John Kuforiji and the topic of building cultures that embrace change Lindsey. I love the conversation. What were your big Takeaways

Lindsay: I think the most important thing John brought up was this idea of entering each phase of change with empathy. I think a lot of times we just get caught up with trying to make a change, trying to have the next big cool thing. Maybe sometimes we're distracted by a new piece of technology and we don't actually keep people first in our mindset when rolling out that new change.

And even if you have a plan or a process, you follow, sometimes you still lack the insight to put the people first in each of those steps of the process. I loved how he stack, ranked everything too. Instead of starting with technology or the processes, he put people first. and if you build everything around that, I think you're going to have way more success.

Ryan: one of the big things that I took away, he mentioned the, of a project is only realized when the solution you're deploying is being used and you're getting the value. And I thought that really stuck out. He said it deeper into the episode, but it really is all about whether there's a value being driven from the change that you're creating.

Right. Sometimes we get so stuck in. Creating change or the new process or the new technology we're going to bring in and we get excited. Maybe we even have in the launch buildup and the launch day, and maybe there's some fanfare and some coms that go out and. That's it. And then we get asked maybe a month or two later, how was that?

Is it being adopted? What is the success of that project? And, um, if we don't build those mechanisms in early and have reporting and, milestones even post-launch, um, we'll never know if it's truly. Valuable. We've seen plenty of projects die in a Google doc or Diane, a Salesforce instance and never get used.

and I think understanding that ultimately we're graded where the value is. Um, and, and making sure that we're building that into, to the process.

Lindsay: I don't think I've really put a lot of thought into what are the actions that I need to take, or I need to ensure happen after I've launched this change. There's so much, like you said, pomp and circumstance getting up to that change and here's a rollout and here's the whole today.

All of a sudden, a lot of times it's like poof and nothing. And here you go, there might be some training. There might be a few, you know, comms 90 days out, you know, six months out. But it really is impactful to put time on that back end after the change too. So that was great.

Ryan: Yeah, I love that. The other thing that I took away from it, was. If you're creating a culture of change, how do you hire for that? How do you train for that? because ultimately if it does come down to people, um, how are you attracting the folks that are most likely to be able to adjust to change over time?

Because that's the only constant is actually change. I know one of my favorite interview questions that I love to throw out is when is the last time you changed your mind?

it just gets to the core of like, if you have these strong beliefs that it always has to be this way, or I only fundamentally believe this way and you're not open to new ideas or new change. then that's where organizations, people get stuck.

Lindsay: are there going to be some like maker buzzwords on resume soon as employers are beginning to realize that. Being adaptable, flexible and open to change is so crucial to success. You know, are there going to be like those like rockstar terms that come out that people are going to need to have on their resume or having, a job posting to

Ryan: I think so. I think you already see it a little bit. the different titles that we saw with no-code workflow automation and no-code operations. So I think you see it definitely in specific titles, but yeah, from a quality, standpoint from a new hire, that would definitely bump it up in my mind.

so Ryan, as you know, I've been deep in the weeds of our 20, 22 state of digital material report that just launched. And I've been really fascinated by some of the data we found around the topic of change management. So let's take a moment to set the stage really quickly.

Lindsay: Before we dive into some of this data, what would you consider to be an optimized organization?

it's a continuous state. So it's not a in state that you ever arrive at. But what we try to outline, at least in this survey and the report was imagining an organization that. Extremely efficient. So one that had streamlined a lot of their internal and external processes.

Ryan: Employees are no longer bogged down with those manual repetitive tasks that we know that take up quite a few hours of employees time. They were able to spend more of that time on more higher impact projects and initiatives impacting the customer experience. And then they're seeing, and just overall improving the customer experience.

And thanks to that level of efficiency the company as a whole is able to quickly scale or adapt to address changing customer needs and market shifts. because they're starting with the people and helping them become more efficient in their day, more productive in their day. the data we are talking about here comes from our 2022 state of digital maturity report. That report survey 2000 knowledge-based workers in the U S and we then use a digital maturity model to score their answers on a digital metric. Scale. And so this data is coming from the most optimized organizations.

Lindsay: So like Ryan said, those ones who have eliminated a lot of the inefficient workflows have fully digitized, uh, most, if not all of their work, they're the ones who really. Eliminated these repetitive tasks that seem to derail a lot of organizations with a lot of their important projects and workflows. And so the first one that I want to talk to you about Ryan is that we found that optimize organizations, 83% of workers feel encouraged to continually learn and test ideas.

it's higher than I would have expected. Uh, first of all, and. thankfully, I've been part of organizations that kind of foster that either in the core values or maybe just the teams that I have been a part of over time, especially in marketing, you even technically should set aside a portion of your budget to test and learn new ideas and new channels that, might be working on the marketing side.

it's speaks a lot to those organizations because they. fostering change. They understand that the way things are going right now might have, led to some success that has led them to where they are now. But those don't necessarily mean that that's going to be, what's going to get them over the hump the next 2, 5, 10 years.

one of the other data points that stood out to me about the most optimized organizations was 63% report having autonomy in their work. I think hearing that out of the gate, it might sound a little low, but I think when we compare it across the scales, of those phases of digital maturity, it's better in context. So 63% of people in optimize organizations. Report a sense of autonomy in their work. But then as you go down the scale as less digital mature organizations, it gets less and less.

Lindsay: And when you look at the limited group, which is the least digitally mature of everyone, only 44% report that. So that's over 20% gap. Yeah. Pretty substantial, I would say, although I'm not good at statistics, I don't quote me on that, but the job market is still so influx right now.

And there's the saying that people leave their bosses, right? And I think this stat is important for becoming more digitally mature and for advancing your organization, because the more autonomy that you allow your employees to have in the decisions around their day to day work to decisions in the processes, the tools, the strategies that they employ.

I think the more fulfilled and just more proud they'll feel in their day to day, and that will make them stick around, invest back in the organization, uh, and just kind of build on that over time. And so Ryan, I think both of these stats kind of build into this final one that we want to talk about today, but we found that 94% of employees at optimize organizations often share ideas across departments. why do you think this is crucial to, to these organizations success?

I think overall, we talk a lot in technology world of data silos.

Ryan: Uh, I think you can often see that with knowledge silos inside of organizations. And so it that's, um, Pretty all inspiring to know that many people, that large percentage of optimized organizations are sharing those ideas across departments, whether that be through loom videos or holla employee meetings or company memos to help people understand what's going on inside of the department.

So other people understand that and can benefit from that. So it's very interesting to see that many people.

Lindsay: And I think something too, that was interesting in the report is the amount of different ways organizations also communicate this.

So it's not just through a one-off meeting or maybe a few emails. They do communicate. Not only often, but through a variety of channels and facets and formats, which I thought was really interesting. And like you said, I think that asynchronous work, those videos, things that you don't have to be all together to read and communicate at once.

It's really on the rise going to help a lot of organizations implement these big scale changes faster.

thanks so much for joining us for this episode of practically speaking tune in next week, to hear my discussion with about how to use automation to scale your organization, make sure you check out the show notes for a link to our 2022 state of digital maturity report. And as always you can find your next practically genius idea at

Hosted By
Lindsay McGuire
Senior Content Marketing Manager
Co-Hosted By
Ryan Greives
VP, Brand & Communications

Practically Genius is a show built for innovators championing digitization within their organization.

Hosts Lindsay McGuire and Ryan Greives host conversations with real-world innovators sharing stories of digital transformation while also providing helpful advice and insights to listeners.

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