5 Steps to a Successful Business Transformation
How do you ensure your business transformation programme goes the way you want it to? Here are five key check points to set you in the right direction.
1. Get an outside perspective
Your staff are great at what they do because they know the business and their jobs inside-out. This includes everyone from on-the-ground workers to senior management, and is especially true for those who have been with the business a long time.
Organizational knowledge is important, but the downside is that an objective point of view may be hard to find within your current workforce. Permanent staff are quickly embedded in culture and process, which can make the need for change hard to see.
The remedy is an outside perspective. Someone with plenty of experience in a similar environment, but not your business specifically. An interim or transition manager has no other motive than to make your business successful. They are not interested in company politics and are free of biases and habits that may be holding your business back. This fresh perspective is integral to making long-term change.
2. Form a clear vision
A business transformation programme isn’t something to be made up on the go. Yes, there may be some flexibility needed to make aspects of the process work, but the end goal should stay the same.
Before starting anything, you should know exactly what you would like the transformation to achieve. A more cost effective operating model to increase profits, for example, or a full re-brand to reach new markets.
An interim manager can help you define objectives, but ultimately they should be agreed upon internally. Once the vision is established, it should be clearly communicated to the larger team so everyone is working towards the end point.
3. Align the whole business
Every person in your organization needs to understand and be onboard with the transformation in order for it to be successful. It is unrealistic to expect every single individual to be excited about the changes, but the more support you can garner the better.
At board and senior management level, belief in the transformation is vital. These are the people who have greatest influence in the organization, and their attitudes (whether positive or negative) will filter through to the wider workforce. They also have control of budgets, which will ultimately aid or restrict the programme’s progress.
Buy-in from the rest of the team is just as important. Change is not always easy, so keeping morale up during the transformation is key. Regular team meetings where staff can give feedback are invaluable in keeping everyone aligned.
4. Make lasting cultural change
Business transformation should be seen as a long-term, permanent change, rather than a short-term project.
To prevent old habits from slipping back in, address any concerns staff members have about changes promptly. It may be that a certain process needs tweaking slightly for it to work.
The feedback loop shouldn’t stop as soon as the programme is deemed “complete” either. Transformation is a gradual process and new challenges will continue to crop up. Keep lines of communication open throughout the team to maintain a positive momentum.
5. Don’t forgot customers
There is no use in carrying out a transformation programme if your customers or clients get a compromised service in the process.
If the purpose of the transformation is for internal benefit, such as cutting costs, your customers shouldn’t notice a difference. Though your team might be working harder to adapt to changes, those who are client-facing need to balance this with the service they are providing.
If the transformation is visible to the outside world, such as a rebrand or new set of products, customers should be shown its benefits. This could be done through marketing, public relations or one-to-one meetings, depending on what suits your business.