Four steps to successful business transformation.
In today’s business environment it is not enough to stay on a level playing field with your competition it is essential ingredient in the formula for success to lead out our markets. Turbulence is a great place to be as long as you are the one creating that turbulence and defining the market. That leader’s position is the one that commands top margin performance and value to shareholders. Having lead a number of successful global business transformations I think it is time to net this process out to the four steps that will get you there, quickly.
If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.
The most important step in the business transformation process is Vision. Creating a vision of what is possible within a market is as easy as looking at competitors and non competitors alike. Creating a winning vision requires looking across different markets and combining the most applicable pieces of what is available. Look at customer experience in the best companies, marketing and digital marketing at companies that have nothing to do with your business. Notice how the top performers are applying technology in ways that you might not have seen before. As an example I recently saw a company that makes utility vehicles (waste disposal trucks and street cleaners) that had developed an app to allow local mechanics to use their phones camera to broadcast live images to the companies technical support team for problem diagnosis. Search out what is missing from everyone else’s business models that provides opportunities. When you start with a more global vision none of the limitations of the current situations will get in the way of creating your own vision. This is not to say that limitations do not exist, they do, and it is simply that real leadership vision comes from where you want to be not where you are.
Know what you have and what you don’t.
One of the advantages of working with interim professionals is that they have seen a number of companies from different industries and cultures. They have been involved in business transformation on various scales and have first hand knowledge of what works and what does not. You can parachute a team into a company and get the lay of the land in a very short time. They have to make quick assessments of what resources are available within your organization and what is missing. This is the first step in determining the delta from where you want to be and current baseline state.
Set a direction.
The next step in the business transformation process is to set a midlevel performance target. That being said it is my practice to use Best Practices as a midpoint not an end game. The purpose of true business transformation is not to catch you up to the world. The true purpose of business transformation is to place you far enough ahead of your completion you can get premium return on business model. Most companies are talking about best practices and doing what it takes to implement Best Practices. So if everyone is using this as a model then only implementing Best Practices pust you in the middle of the pack not in a leadership role. Real value in a company does not come from middle of the road performance as the end game.
Share the vision with everyone.
Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. They don’t think of this a business transformation. They want to be part of a grander goal. A grander vision. Share your vision and listen to what people have to say about your shared direction. Some of the best ideas come from the people who have been on the job. What they have to say may just provide the gems you are looking for to make change rapidly. Faster is better in the case of change. We need to move quickly in the new direction and be able to make decisions quickly as there will be many of them on your business transformation path. When you know the direction in which you are headed it is easier to evaluate decisions. Easier to decide what fits and what should be left on the roadside. Fast also provides the agility to notice points that you may want to add to your vision. Opportunities tend to pop up faster and are easier to take action on when your model is to get to the end of this stage of the race quickly.
Some final thoughts.
We live in a world ruled by the Pareto Principle. This means that twenty percent of the decisions you will make will yield eighty percent of the difference in getting the results you want. You do not need everyone in you company involved you need everyone aware so that you can get the ten percent who will carry your message to the other ninety. The ten percent who take an active, productive role in your business transformation.