The leader’s voice #2

While preparing for our book Osez la transformation d’entreprise, I had the privilege of interviewing transformation leaders about their lessons learned. Here is some of what they had to say:

What are your main lessons learned?

  • Patience. I had to learn to be patient, to accept that it’s normal for people not to immediately grasp what you’re trying to explain to them, and that it takes time to choose the right people, establish good practices and introduce more efficient processes. I also came to realize that when you are impatient, you create irritants that become obstacles to the transformation process.
  • Give yourself time. Transformation doesn’t happen in just one year. It is important to remember that what is a problem the first year can prove to be an opportunity the second year, and also to understanding that today’s frustrations, delays, misunderstandings, resistance and obstacles will help us understand what isn’t working well  they are often the springboard or foundation needed to get to the next level. It’s sometimes necessary to hit a wall and experience failure to understand and accept a management practice. For instance, take the time to inform, consult and involve others, rather than imposing your ideas on the pretext that it’s faster. In our case, we planned a kick-off to launch the second year of the transformation precisely to give ourselves an opportunity to review the lessons learned and agree on our priorities for year two.
  • Accept chaos. Managing a transformation is not like managing a project or program that has a beginning and an end. By definition, a transformation brings chaos, confusion, realignment and, eventually, responses. It is important to accept that things will be imperfect.
  • Initiatives that highlight problems. Introducing new structures like a project office or lean practices often reveals issues that were previously unrecognized or ignored. It is normal that bringing such issues to light triggers a range of emotional reactions and adds to the complexity of the transformation.

Space for reflection and action

Take a few moments to consider these three questions:

  • Which aspects of our transformation require more patience?
  • What are the main obstacles preventing us from moving forward with our projects?
  • What actions can we take to remove those obstacles and accelerate the progress of our projects in the coming months?

Marcel Auclair,
Cofounder, Vice President and Strategic Consultant
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