What’s the shape and size of the scoping frame?
Tis scope-setting conversation is critical when you’re moving away from traditional ‘top-down’ approaches to transformation (when a small group of senior leaders decides what the transformation needs to be, how it will be done, and communicates through a series of ‘cascading’ initiatives to the rest of the organisation). Setting a clear scoping frame enables those who get involved to be clear about what’s fixed (they can’t influence or change) and what’s open (things they can influence, shape and take ownership of).
Are you paying equal attention to organisational performance and health?
Transformation programmes commonly focus exclusively on financial and business performance and returns: delivering stakeholder/shareholder value, reducing operating costs, increasing ROCE (Return on Capital Employed), and achieving the cost benefits a transformation programme will bring. Research from McKinsey1
discovered organisations that were more successful with transformation paid equal attention to the health of the organisation as well as the performance. Health isn’t the ‘soft’ stuff label of HR initiatives; organisational health is the ability to align, be agile and responsive to execute and renew faster than the competition to sustain exceptional performance. It includes core capabilities such as leadership, external orientation, and attention to culture, mindsets and behaviours. Te research shows that 50 per cent
of any organisation’s long-term success is driven by its health, and executives focusing on both performance and health rated their transformation results as three times more successful than just focusing on performance alone. Creating transformation measures
and indicators that encompass performance and health will keep your transformation on track to success.
What are your guiding principles?
Having five or six appropriate guiding principles about how the work will be carried out provides a compass for the work. Tis can be useful when things get tricky and the scope starts to shift.
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Guiding principles may include: ``
`` `` `` `` `` ``
accepting the process is relational and that it gives the chance to build relationships
always being aligned with the overall question/scope of transformation
involving as many people as possible from all levels of the organisation to seek co-creation and collaboration
having a rapid cycle of experiment- ing, testing and adjusting new ideas
letting leaders lead and giving people freedom to act within the defined scope
regularly reconnecting to share learning
building internal capability to reduce dependency on external consultants.
Where’s the development opportunity for your high potentials?
Organisations are increasingly using business transformation as an oppor- tunity to accelerate the development of future leaders and build internal capability in transformation and organisation development approaches. Identify the people who are most
critical and who represent the future leadership of the business. Use your talent process for initial nominations before refining skills and attributes needed to create a diverse group who bring different thinking and experiences to your transformation agenda. Tis group will be central to your transformation programme; the business-critical senior leaders form a steering group and sponsor different work streams and the talent pool will be stretched and developed ‘real time’ by taking key roles and leading different aspects of the transformation.
Where’s the balance between ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches?
Large-scale change is difficult and involves top-down direction balanced with bottom-up participation. Tis is one area where it can be tricky to get the balance right. Know what’s top-down and know what’s bottom-up and drive both separately. Senior leaders rationally understand the benefits of involving people in trans- formation yet struggle to put that into practice to generate genuine engagement through participation. Often this is
If you truly believe you have the ‘right’ answer and that your people have nothing to add then don’t follow a participative approach
given lip service by ‘town hall meetings’ and ‘roadshows’ where people are asked for their reactions and input into something that has already been decided. If you truly believe you have the
‘right’ answer and that your people have nothing to add then don’t follow a participative approach. By going through the motions of engagement (pretending you genuinely want to hear what people think, and then ignoring them by doing what you had already decided to do) you’ll do more damage to your own reputation and engage- ment scores than if you were honest about setting direction and telling people what you want them to do. Senior leaders tell me they’re afraid
they’ll lose control and have to do whatever their teams suggest to show that they’ve listened and taken things on
board. It doesn’t have to be like that if: ` `
you are open to being shaped and influenced by what people say
you listen and show you have listened you share how decisions will be made.
People will genuinely share their insights, contribute their ideas, and will understand that you still hold the final decision making responsibility and accountability.
How can you widen the circle of involvement of those impacted?
Paying attention to the human dynamics of transformation can help you avoid becoming one of the 70 per cent of transformation programmes not achieving its intended impact. Te significant human dynamics are employees being resistant to change, and management behaviour not being supportive to change. Engagement is the key fuel of
transformation, it can be generated by @TrainingJournal
you set a clear frame for the conversation (what’s up for discussion/influence and what isn’t)
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