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Organizational Transformation is Successful when People Embrace it

Transformation, on top of being one of the trendiest buzzwords in organizational environments, it is a real hot topic for most of the organizations in the world. It can include a wide range of topics: digitalization, fusions, outsourcings, standardization of processes, ways of working, culture, insource of teams, and so many others.

We as humans, normally avoid change, because it’s hard. It means go out of your comfort zone, it means you will doubt of yourself as new skills & competences will be required…, in general, it’s a process that can easily “burnout” your teams, as normally it’s on top of the current functions they are doing on a regular basis.

There are a lot of literature about transformation, but my idea in this article is just to raise one specific point:  in my view, a transformation is successful not only when all the KPI/processes are done. For me, a transformation is successful when the people promote it & defend it. When people embrace it, it is when we can claim we have done it successfully.

In my view, these 7 areas are the ones that will help teams to embrace the organizational transformation:

1. Having a clear vision and well-defined goals/benefits.

Formulating and sharing a purpose, vision and goals will help the employees and leaders to understand the “why” and the “benefits” of the transformation.

We must face the transformation fearless, being always transparent in the goals with all the people involved, as it will help to overcome any resistance that will come with the change.

2. Being people-centric in the transformational process.

Employees are at the centre of your organization, and during the transformation process, is key to focus on their needs and keep them informed on the progress. This can also mean change some of the hierarchies or “ways of doing” that has been inherent to our company during years.

Make sure that the communication is always two-way.

3. Creating a Strategic Plan.

Prepare the steps you need to take to transform the organization. Start with the end-results in mind (i.e. future-back methodology) and split it through all areas of the organization. A plan with a timeline, makes the transformation process more tangible and helps keep the focus.

4. Breaking the Silos.

In my language, “silos” word doesn’t exist.  But if we talk about transformation, the word is doubly forbidden. Transformation should always consider the whole organization.

For example, if your goal is to transform your processes and make them more agile, you need to consider how it will impact your organizational structure, the systems you’re using, if there is a potential talent gap, etc. And obviously, it need to be done for the whole organization, and not isolated areas.

 5. Workload.

It’s impossible to change everything at once. Instead, it’s essential to prioritize what matters to be tackled first. 

And it is also possible that the transformation plan will change in the process. In that case, re-evaluate, modify, and reprioritize if needed. The anticipation is key.

Again, it is crucial to communicate well our priorities.

6. Asking for help.

Normally, your organization is at the fullest in terms of workload. And in this situations, we need to add the whole transformation process on top of that, what make it “crazy”.

To guarantee success, and that we care our people, you can ask for help in several areas:

  • To coordinate, facilitate and have a global vision of the process.
  • To support the leaders & stakeholders, as they will be dealing with lot of new things, inconsistencies, workload, etc.
  • To have some additional “hands” when necessary and use internal people just for topics where their experience and knowledge are required.
  • To measure the progress.
  • Etc.

Coaches, with experiences in corporate world, and familiarized with those processes, can be helpful profiles to be considered.

7. Measuring progress.

It will help you understand how much work you’ve already done, what is still missing, and where you need to put the focus.

Use data, gather feedback from employees and stakeholders, and keep an eye on how the execution is done. The KPI you use to measure your progress should depend on your goals.

Summing up:

Organizational transformation is only successful if people embrace it, and people grow. If not, we are just “ticking boxes”: you will be highly digitalized, with agile processes, at the vanguards of transformation, but with “burned out” people.

Remember, take care your team, listen to them, value them, give additional help, and be sure they will be ok. Above of all, be sure they are part of the transformation.

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