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Business Transformation - from Vision to Reality

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Business Transformation : From vision to reality

A staggering 72% of business transformation projects fail1. One of the reasons cited is the lack of clear understanding of the business’ and project’s vision2.

Every transformation project is filled with a range of initiatives from process, data, application, governance, and organisation design to name a few. Each of these initiatives will bring value to the business but it’s how the vision of each initiative is communicated and re-enforced across the organisation that will drive its adoption and acceptance within the business.

It is even more critical to communicate and re-enforce the vision when undertaking long-term transformation projects as many unforeseen challenges can impact the integrity of the project along the way. This can include anything from the vision being forgotten as employees leave the company and time pressures to challenges such as how the implemented initiatives will be integrated, maintained and governed within the business on an ongoing basis moving forward. Without the clarity and a constant reminder of the vision, stakeholders will begin to question the integrity of the transformation project.

They will fail to understand the fundamentals such as:

  • Why is the business undertaking this project?
  • How do all these changes impact my role?
  • What are the real benefits and value adds to me?

To alleviate these negative concerns it is important to:

  • Build a vision that really captures the true value of what the transformation is going to deliver
  • Continuously re-enforce and communicate the vision and value that will be realised so that ultimately the vision will become a reality.

This re-enforcement provides:

  1. Commonality - Project teams, functions and employees remain constantly aligned and understand the commonality in which their work is dependent on another areas of the business doing their bit.
  2. Touch points - Understanding the touch points vertically and horizontally between functions and departments within an organisation
  3. Future ways of working - Understanding what people in the business are working towards to achieve.
  4. Ownership – clear understanding of who owns each part of the transformation project and lines of responsibility. This becomes even more important during business as usual.


How do you ensure the vision is enforced?

The answer lies in communicating the vision from the top down. This is something that one of our major clients who is under-going a transformation programme has been particularly successful with. The vision has been communicated by top level management throughout the entire transformation process. 

In particular they build and offer complete and targeted communication packages for different business units with the messages delivered by the Board of Directors.

The message is delivered via various mediums. These including the ‘town hall’ style roadshow – conduct an internal trade show for all employees to be informed of the vision through illustrative material which re-enforces the core vision and reminds them of why this is being undertaken, the benefits to the company and to the individual.

Now bearing in mind that it is a leader’s role to provide a vision, let me end with this inspiring thought: When former US President John F. Kennedy was on a visit to NASA, he asked a janitor “What do you do here”. The janitor replied “Mr President, I am helping to put a man on the moon”3- Now that is the epithome of a well-communicated vision from the top - all the way across an organisation!

******

1. McKinsey & Company study “Beyond Performance” and Deloitte Global Survey 2008.
2. http://www.zdnet.com/article/five-top-priorities-for-cios-in-2016/
3. http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/panelists/2009/03/man-on-the-moon.html

Comment

A staggering 72% of business transformation projects fail1. One of the reasons cited is the lack of clear understanding of the business’ and project’s vision2.

Every transformation project is filled with a range of initiatives from process, data, application, governance, and organisation design to name a few. Each of these initiatives will bring value to the business but it’s how the vision of each initiative is communicated and re-enforced across the organisation that will drive its adoption and acceptance within the business.

It is even more critical to communicate and re-enforce the vision when undertaking long-term transformation projects as many unforeseen challenges can impact the integrity of the project along the way. This can include anything from the vision being forgotten as employees leave the company and time pressures to challenges such as how the implemented initiatives will be integrated, maintained and governed within the business on an ongoing basis moving forward. Without the clarity and a constant reminder of the vision, stakeholders will begin to question the integrity of the transformation project.

They will fail to understand the fundamentals such as:

  • Why is the business undertaking this project?
  • How do all these changes impact my role?
  • What are the real benefits and value adds to me?

To alleviate these negative concerns it is important to:

  • Build a vision that really captures the true value of what the transformation is going to deliver
  • Continuously re-enforce and communicate the vision and value that will be realised so that ultimately the vision will become a reality.

This re-enforcement provides:

  1. Commonality - Project teams, functions and employees remain constantly aligned and understand the commonality in which their work is dependent on another areas of the business doing their bit.
  2. Touch points - Understanding the touch points vertically and horizontally between functions and departments within an organisation
  3. Future ways of working - Understanding what people in the business are working towards to achieve.
  4. Ownership – clear understanding of who owns each part of the transformation project and lines of responsibility. This becomes even more important during business as usual.


How do you ensure the vision is enforced?

The answer lies in communicating the vision from the top down. This is something that one of our major clients who is under-going a transformation programme has been particularly successful with. The vision has been communicated by top level management throughout the entire transformation process. 

In particular they build and offer complete and targeted communication packages for different business units with the messages delivered by the Board of Directors.

The message is delivered via various mediums. These including the ‘town hall’ style roadshow – conduct an internal trade show for all employees to be informed of the vision through illustrative material which re-enforces the core vision and reminds them of why this is being undertaken, the benefits to the company and to the individual.

Now bearing in mind that it is a leader’s role to provide a vision, let me end with this inspiring thought: When former US President John F. Kennedy was on a visit to NASA, he asked a janitor “What do you do here”. The janitor replied “Mr President, I am helping to put a man on the moon”3- Now that is the epithome of a well-communicated vision from the top - all the way across an organisation!

******

1. McKinsey & Company study “Beyond Performance” and Deloitte Global Survey 2008.
2. http://www.zdnet.com/article/five-top-priorities-for-cios-in-2016/
3. http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/panelists/2009/03/man-on-the-moon.html