Implementation Insights Blog

Implementation Management Associates help organizations around the world achieve large-scale, complex change. This blog discusses our insights into organizational change.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting Leaders Prepared for the Journey of Transformational Change

This past month we published an article on Why Transformational Change is Difficult: What Leaders Should Know Before the Journey of Transformational Change. The reason for the article was that so many clients call us asking for help on a transformational change effort, yet they really don't have the sponsorship they need to be successful!

The reality is that once the decision has been made to embark on a transformational change effort, and the strategy is designed, you are only 15% of the way there. The really long and hard work is that 85% of the work effort remains, and it bears repeating that "implementation is a ferociously resource-consuming activity."

Transformational change means doing different things differently. Too many senior leaders are unprepared to commit themselves personally to the business transformation, and don't fully understand the personal and organizational costs that must be committed to the transformational change effort. Transformational change can't be done incrementally either, because once you step into the abyss there is no way back up the cliff.

That's why you really need a structured approach to this type of enterprisewide change!

If leaders are unprepared to do the hard work of business transformation, it is better not to even begin the journey. Leaders just lose credibility and trust in the organization, and trust and speed are functional. That means future implementations are likely to stall out or even fail.

The article cites 5 reminders for leaders:
1. Be prepared for a 3 to 5 year commitment to the transformational change
2. The business transformation must be a top priority
3. The transformational change starts at the top-- leaders must express, model, and reinforce doing different things differently.
4. Know that the transformational change will be resource intensive
5. Leaders must have the requisite "managerial courage" because it won't magically appear further down the organization.

As we noted in the article, senior leaders must understand that transformational change begins with them.

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