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A roadmap for your business transformation

A business transformation is a project that calls for preparation. To help you chart the best way forward, we are launching a blog series this fall on our FLEX™ Transformation Roadmap.

The articles will focus on three broad objectives:

1.      Understanding your transformation

2.      Getting organized to achieve your goals

3.      Getting yourself and your employees engaged in the process

Today, as an example, let’s draw a parallel with the General Manager (GM) of a professional hockey team that, year after year, fails to achieve its ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup. The GM finally comes to the conclusion that if he ever hopes to see his and his players’ names engraved on the Stanley Cup, he’ll have to transform his organization.

Understanding your business transformation: you have to make it make sense

Whenever you embark on a transformation of any kind, you need to be clear about why it is necessary. You need a vision – an inspiring, mobilizing, unifying vision. A vision that can be broken down into specific goals achievable through a series of actions.  

Example:

  • Finish first in the division for the next five years
  • Win the Stanley Cup

I should point out that our GM is under a lot of pressure. To make money, you need to win. There have been rumours lately that the team might be sold. The way the organization is managed has to change. Changes need to be made to the team.

His vision is simple: To be perceived as the most dreaded team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

His objectives are few but explicit:

If you are looking to get a better grasp on your organization’s transformation, the following blog topics might be of interest to you – and to our GM, for that matter:

  • Transformation without change is impossible
  • Guiding principles for a business transformation
  • A simple tool to reassure your managers and help them be reassuring
  • Growth through acquisition and the transfer of power: making it meaningful
  • Transformation and the conservative corporate culture: making it work

Getting organized to stay the course:

"Before undertaking change in your organization, it’s best to be prepared – and overprepared is better than underprepared."1

Having a vision and clear objectives makes it easier to stay focused on your target. Day-to-day operations is one of the factors most likely to knock you off course.

So, make sure you have a firm handle on your capacity to deliver and to integrate. The pace of your transformation should not be dictated just by your capacity to deliver your projects and manage your operations. It should take into account your employees’ capacity to integrate the changes that they will be presented with.

There are often multiple projects at once, so you need to know how to prioritize. Taking on too much at a time often means finishing nothing, because you don’t take the time required to follow up. If you expect new behaviours as a result of your transformation, you have to follow up until they are firmly entrenched!

Alignment with the leaders in your organization is paramount. They are the ones closest to the employees. Make sure you have cast your people in roles that are aligned with the transformation of your company, at every level: management and employees.

Example:

Our GM certainly has a whole host of internal projects to complete. Given the financial challenges he faces, tight management of his operations is undoubtedly a daily priority for him.

Together with his executive committee, he will need to sort out what belongs to operations and what will allow him to change his organization to achieve his ultimate goal. It’s probably not just a matter of changing the players or the coach!

Remember, transforming an organization requires a change in management style. Most notable, “finger pointing" culture has to go.

Some changes to the team will probably be needed. More importantly, behaviours and methods will need to change to ensure that the transformation succeeds. For instance, team members who make unconstructive comments will be asked to rephrase. Late arrival to practice and meetings will no longer be tolerated. Practice sessions will need to be reorganized. Off-ice team building sessions will need to be added to work on the team’s mindset. And so on.

Obviously, our GM can’t deal with all this at the same time. He will need to establish monitoring and decision-making mechanisms. He and his management team will need to set priorities and then communicate and track them.

He will probably want to look to the following blog topics for ideas to help him stay the course:

  • Managing capacity
  • Managing priorities
  • Consolidating gains

Getting yourself and your employees engaged in your transformation:

“Every employee needs to know how they add value to the organization.”2

On-the-ground experience confirms that a large number of transformations are failures or semi-failures because of a failure to remove the obstacles to engagement.

Example:

Our GM will never see his name on the Stanley Cup unless he can get his coaches and players to engage. To achieve that, though, he will need to let all those great people know what is expected of them.

He has to be clear about what he expects from his coaches. He has to be clear about each player’s contribution to the quest for the Stanley Cup. It’s not just about the rink. Behaviour in the locker room needs to change! And everyone has a role to play!

He will need practical tools to mobilize his players and coaches. He would find some in the blog articles on the following topics:

  • Tips for revving up employees
  • Keeping the conversation engaging
  • Storytelling and behavioural change

How can you clarify your transformation roadmap in the light of your specific challenges?

To help you take the next step, take a look at the questionnaire from our book Dare to Transform Your Business: Seven Keys to Clarify Your Roadmap. It will help you assess where your organization and your employees stand with respect to the challenges of executing your organization’s transformation. To succeed in your transformation, you will have to identify and manage all the challenges it presents.

Completing the questionnaire helped our GM realize that there were likely more challenges than he had initially thought. He decided to keep an eye out for the next Aplus blog posts for more tips.

Let’s bet that his name ends up on the Stanley Cup, alongside the name of his team! The stars are now aligned!

What about you? Do you have a well laid out roadmap? Follow us to discover analytical tools that will support the success of your transformation.

  1. Les Affaires – September 2018: Réussir votre transformation organisationnelle (In French only)
  2. Les Affaires – January 2020: Vos employés connaissent-ils leur rôle (In French only)

Natalie Hubert

Director and Senior Consultant
Aplus

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