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Are the case for change and the vision of your transformation clear?

A transformation that does not live in the organization is not progressing. If you find it difficult to move forward with your transformation under the pressure of day-to-day operations, maybe your people have not clearly understood the case for change or the vision of the transformation. You need to create momentum.

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many leaders find that initiating a transformation and mobilizing the efforts required to execute it are two very different things. How can you change the dynamic? We suggest two possible solutions.

Support transformation with an indisputable diagnosis of the need for change

As outgoing GE Chairman Jeffrey R. Immelt says, “Make your transformation existential”.

To give your transformation momentum, you need to clarify and share an indisputable diagnosis of the case for change, the “WHY?”. Through your stories, determination and data, show that the status quo is not an option, that being satisfied with the present will lead to a future that no one wants. I can still hear a CEO tell his management committee: “If nothing changes, I foresee a catastrophe within three to five years”. He got their attention.

Develop a simple, inspiring vision based on a few priorities

Do you have a compelling purpose, an inspiring aspiration? One that gives people the urge to be part of something bigger? I’ve seen many organizations call a series of loosely related projects “transformation”. The result? Everyone is overwhelmed by an overload of initiatives, with no vision to give direction to all the commotion.

A shared case for change and an inspiring vision are the basis of a good transformation strategy, providing the direction and focus needed to execute transformation in the midst of the hustle and bustle of day-to-day operations.

Here are some ways to provide direction and focus:

  • Conduct one-on-one interviews with key players in the transformation, structured around three questions: Why do we need to do this transformation? What is the vision for the transformation? What are the main goals?
  • Share the outcome of the interviews within teams so that everyone can measure the extent to which their diagnosis of the current situation and their understanding of the vision and goals is shared by others.
  • Next, build a business case that encapsulates the need for change.
  • Develop a simple vision that can be described in just a few words.
  • Identify three main objectives for transformation. Apply the rule of three advocated by Brad D. Smith, president of Intuit, who said that people have trouble remembering more than three items at a time.
  • Develop a strategy to engage your stakeholders in conversations about the why, the vision and the goals.
  • With a why, an inspiring vision and clear goals, you will have set in motion the engine of transformation.  All that is left is to make sure you have engagement - the fuel you need to drive your transformation.

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