Practices to Improve Success Rates for Business Transformation
by Jerry Julian, Ed.D
So you have a mandate to streamline processes, upgrade IT, and make
the necessary organizational changes to improve service and increase
productivity. Here are a few things to keep in mind to improve your odds of achieving a successful result for you, shareholders and your people.
Learn from previous failures and successes
Many leaders don’t look back and diagnose the factors that led
to previous failures. That's because there may be the belief that
the people doing it last time weren’t the right ones. While
this may or may not be true, its likely there were also operational,
technical, political and cultural factors that could resurface again
and send your efforts into disarray. Getting a handle on these issues
early-on can help you mitigate risk and provide both stakeholders
and your team with the assurance that you can make it happen this
Assign a Transformation Program Office Leader
Staff an influential leader to head up a Transformation Program Office
(TPO). A TPO coordinates and aligns project teams and their interface
with executive management. It provides project teams with tools, approaches
and knowledge sharing mechanisms so they stay on course, make wise
use of valuable resources, and remain connected and aligned with key
executive stakeholder groups and priorities. It also provides mechanisms
for senior managers to resolve conflicting priorities and focus mindshare
on mission-critical risks and opportunities.
Chunk the work into discrete waves with 6-8 week time horizons
Try breaking the work down into well-defined "waves" with
clear, achievable objectives that can be accomplished within 6-8 weeks.
This helps demonstrate accomplishment and momentum and inspires more
confidence among stakeholders who may be watching on the sidelines
for signs of progress.
Staff projects with your best and brightest
You know who these people are. They’re the ones everyone seems
to want running their projects. They know how to navigate the organization
and they know how to collaborate and ensure alignment across groups.
They know that making progress means not only having a good project
plan, but also the ability to bring others along and get contributions
from the right people at the right time.
Don’t let the negative voices undermine progress
Its crucial to include stakeholders from multiple functions, groups
and departments so you can negotiate solutions jointly and get the
alignment you need. Yet there may be those that continue to obstruct
progress despite repeated attempts to address their concerns. Getting
these people on board or out of the way, and getting organizational
buy-in to do it, may be one of the most politically challenging tasks
a leader can face. Doing the right thing will provide you, your team
and your change effort with the credibility it needs to move forward
with energy and confidence.
Provide project managers and teams with
expert coaching and guidance
You selected team members because they’re your best and brightest.
But they may not have been charged with managing an organizational
transformation project before. And you may not have the time or ability
to personally provide them with the help and expertise they need.
Equip them with knowledge, tools and guidance by providing them with
a transformation program advisor. You may have someone skilled in
this area internally. Or you may want to hire a seasoned hand from
the outside and leverage them across teams. Using this model, your
best and brightest will get the opportunity to use their talents rather
than staffing the project with outside experts who take their knowledge
and learning with them after the project ends.