Saturday, January 25, 2014

Common Denominator for Transformational Change

Transformation is the momentum from quantitative accumulation to quantum leap.

For many organizations, digital transformation is on the way. Transformational change implies something that is deep and broad and gets to the heart of the business or person. As the effects are meant to stick, the change has to have gone to the root of what people do, how they do it and how they think about what they do. Transformational change is that an organization is fundamentally different at the end of the change. It's like the cocoon transforming into a beautiful butterfly. As such, transformational change is high-risk, high failure, and takes a long time to achieve. The common denominators for any transformational change may include:

  • Vision, objectives and clear rationale: The term transformational change, when applied to a firm, carries with it a sense of "evolution" which means, a renewed understanding of the future of business; what’re the disruptive trends; how your organizations catalyze the positive and progressive changes and how much better one can do. 
  • Strategy: That addresses and integrates the hearts and minds of stakeholders
      - stakeholder understanding and consensus as to the non-linear nature of the process
      - An organizational commitment to developing strong change capabilities, such as leadership,      innovation, trust, adaptability, organizational learning, empowerment, diversity, forward thinking, risk tolerance, and accountability. 
  • Trust must be in place at the start, and must then extend from a healthy and aligned leadership team across key team members and processes. Trust is a prerequisite to change, as an emotion; it predisposes people to work together. All parties feel that their voice has been heard, and there’s development or deepening of the trust between them. 
  • Compatibility: always ask how the proposed transformation programs supports your understanding of the corporate purpose and vision: if you cannot see the explicit links, challenge the need for change or seek further clarification of the change program and / or the corporate purpose and vision. 
  • People: Everyone involved and impacted by change starting from the leader to the executor to the person who is outside the change cycle but will be affected. Vision, stakeholders, sponsorship, strategy etc are all secondary - they are affected by People and hence they are common denominator 
  • Cooperation: Engage the people affected by the change as early as possible and keep working with them - let them help shape the changes and indeed promote the change to their colleagues. If those who have to live with the effect of the changes are unwilling or unable to actively support your activities, it is unlikely to be wholly successful. 
  • Culture: Willingness to accept new ways of acting and thinking and feeling. The ability to let go of old ways of acting, thinking and feeling. Culture like soil; without it being there in the first place, transformation will be very difficult. 

  • Belief: Belief in self, in the organization, in the change, in the desired outcomes. Without addressing what individuals believe, at best we can hope for adaptation, in which people modify only those behaviors needed to survive. For a transformational change which will have lasting effects, people most affected will look up the organization to see what impact the change is having there. If none, belief gets fixed on avoidance rather than motivation.  
  • Capacity: it's really important to be able to assess to what extent the organization has the capacity to change; in terms of people, finances and manageability- the ability for a business to continue operating in the business-as-usual mode - satisfying its customers and continuing to deliver its commitments to shareholders - whilst putting itself under the pressure of substantial change. 
Transformation needs to touch both the heart and mind of people. The better communicated the vision and strategy is; the wider the understanding of who and what a stakeholder is, and the capacity to have credible engagement, the greater the opportunity for Transformational Change.


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