In the modern world nothing stays the same for long. We live in a state of constant change; new technologies, new trends and new risks. Yet it’s a commonly held belief that people don’t like change. Which led me to wonder, why do we persist in calling change management initiatives “change management” if people don’t like change.
In my experience I have not found this maxim to be true. Actually, nobody minds change, we evolve and adapt naturally but what we do not like is being forced to change. As such, when we make a choice to change, it is often easy, fast and permanent.
To put that into context, change is an external force imposed upon you. For example, if I tell you I want you to change your attitude, you are expected to adapt your patterns of behaviour to comply with my idea of your ‘new and improved attitude’. This is difficult to maintain and conflicts with your innate human need to exercise your own free-will. However, if I ask you to choose your attitude, this places you in control of your own patterns of behaviour. You can assess the situation and decide the appropriate attitude you will adopt. This makes it far more likely that you will maintain the changes and, as a result, will reap the rewards.
Perhaps you’re wondering what this has to do with the data quality and data quality management of your organisation?
Quite simply, the need for choice applies to every aspect of life. Making positive choices for our health and wellbeing, choosing to make change that improves our environmental impact and making changes that will positively impact the financial, reputational and commercial wellbeing of your business – one of which is data quality management. The ultimate success of these initiatives stem from one thing – the conscious choice to change.
It’s a simple case of cause and effect.
So back to my original point of choice management, not change management.
An organisational choice owned and performed by everyone, to improve your data quality and data cleansing, driven by a thorough understanding of the beneficial outcomes, will reap untold business rewards. After all, over 2,000 years ago Aristotle gave us a clue by saying “We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
When you choose to improve and maintain the quality of the baseline data that is relied upon for business decisions:
- Your business outcomes will improve because you will have a better understanding of your customers’ needs:
- You will reduce wasted effort by communicating directly to a relevant and engaged audience:
- Profits will increase as a result of data cleansing and reduced duplication of effort coupled with increased trust in your brand: and
- Customer, employee and shareholder confidence and satisfaction will rise.
Bringing your team with you on a journey of change and helping them to make the choices to effectively implement those changes, will require you to travel the ‘Change Curve’ together. As a business leader, you will be at the forefront leading the way and coaching your staff to join you on the journey.
We can all find ourselves at the start of the change curve at times, in denial of the need or issues you know need to be tackled. You, and your team, may feel angry or overwhelmed by the scale of the change that you need to achieve. However, the key is choosing to accept the need to change, adapt and evolve. That way, you will move in your new direction much faster, taking the action to make your goals a reality.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you feel that you have a mountain to climb and it can be easy to make decisions based on where you are now. However, choosing to make business decisions regarding your data quality and your need for data quality tools, that are based on where you want to be, is where the true power lies and that is where you will unleash your winning formula.