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Whatever motivates you and your leadership team to embark on a transformation, it’s often easier in the immediate term not to undertake the challenge or delay the decision for just a little longer. This is often why stories of successful corporate transformation efforts are so rare. Yet strategic transformation, adapting a core business to disruptive change while also creating growth around new products, services and business models may be the leadership imperative of the 2020’s.
The cost of getting a transformation wrong in all these scenarios ranges from stalled or lower growth, reputation damage and job loss to lower shareholder value and disillusioned investors.
With only 30% of business transformations achieving their intended outcomes, the stakes couldn’t be higher. So how do you do this?
★ Determine what your transformation objectives are. Every aspect of performance should be on the table. The magnitude of the ambition needs to be a huge step change in performance. The companies that are doing transformation well have an all-encompassing mentality from the start and are not just focussed on incremental improvements.
★ Lead the transformation from the front as the CEO. It’s important to show ownership by mandating involvement and getting into the details. Transformation shouldn’t be just focussed on senior leaders but rather involve all levels including those on the edges. Building execution discipline from the start by focusing on the immediate activity can help build credibility in the business.
★ Over index on people and culture. There needs an even greater focus on leading with purpose and humanity, with EQ skills coming more strongly to the forefront in transformation efforts. It’s important to invest in people and culture right from the start. It’s the hardest part to get right and even harder to get a read on culture when people are dispersed, often working remotely. Linking the transformation journey to the organisational purpose will become an imperative in the communications of ‘Why?’ we are embarking on the journey.
★ Personally find where resistance will come from and tackle it early. Consider upfront what will it take for the organisation to take seriously, build conviction, and get people on board with the transformation. It’s also important to understand whether you and your team are up for the challenge and have the energy to sustain over the long term. Consider where does the transformation feature on your personal priority list and if it’s not one or two then delaying the timing may potentially be the right option.
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