9 keys to successfully land your transformation (and still have good people at the end of it)

Three6 | 18 May 2020


When working on a transformation strategy we need to align the desired future state for the organisation with the values of those working in it, and the needs of our customers – this requires real end-to-end effort from leaders and employees.

‘Change’ and ‘transformation’ are buzzwords today in business circles, most businesses are trying to move all their services to digital or create an innovative culture for example, but we rarely see cases of success. There are various tools and methodologies that you can use during a transformation, but at Three6 we strongly believe that whatever tool you use, your culture needs to be front of mind, your empathy needs to underpin your framework and your people need to be at the heart of your strategy.

1. Find out if your organisation is ready to change (and how ready it is)

What is the problem you are trying to solve? What is the cost-benefit analysis for all levels of the organisation?

You can find out how ready your organisation is by conducting qualitative interviews with a diverse range of people across all levels. Focus on understanding two things: Is the problem really a problem and then how open are they, as individuals and teams to help work on a solution. This is not the moment to test the solution yet.

2. Co-create your future state with your customers

This is one of the key principles of Human-Centred Design, don’t just assume you know, go out and learn from your customers, even if we are part of the problem. Start by engaging your customers to understand what’s the root cause of your problems, what are the pains and gains and then get them to co-design the future experience with you.

3. Involve people from across the organisation in the co-creation of the desired future

While working with your customers, try to engage internal customers and stakeholders too, and then once you have your desired horizon collaborate and brainstorm with other teams to make it happen. What are the processes, resources and systems that you need to be able to deliver the new experience?

4. Ensure buy-in from leaders in the organisation

Transformation initiatives need support from all levels, and this can make or break your transformation. You need to ensure sponsorship support from executive leaders, and you also need the impacted areas to be onboard but don’t forget about the senior managers and medium level managers, if they don’t buy into your change, they could be potential blockers. It is critical that you understand their motivations, how can they benefit from this change?

5. Create your transformation team and support network

Delivering a transformation is not an easy job, ensuring that you have a talented team that cover all your required capabilities is the first step towards a successful change. You also need to make sure that you have supporters and influencers in key areas so that you gain feedback and get the chance to test ideas.

6. Align your team’s objectives, ways of working, purpose, values and vision

This will help you maintain your sanity along the way by relying on everyone involved to execute your same vision. and be able to rely on everyone else. Create an open, honest and transparent culture. Work on the overall goals and ask each of your team members what they want to take out of that project, it may be learning about stakeholder management, or getting better at working in multidisciplinary teams, whatever it is, having the chance to think of this project as a development opportunity will engage them even more.

7. Tailor your communications of a future state to different stakeholders throughout the organisation

It is very easy to use jargon when trying to explain a complex transformation and it’s benefits, we may sound very fancy, but our stakeholders may not understand and so you won’t get the support you need. Targeting our messages to ensure they are not just understood, but to ensure everyone understands the relevance to them is critical. If you are presenting to the CFO, don’t talk to them about technical features, explain how your solution is going to impact the profit and loss.

8. Keep everyone in the loop

I know, stakeholder management and change communications are tedious, but like it or not this will define your success. At the beginning of your transformation set up a communications and stakeholder engagement plan, you may want to host some “lunch and learns” every couple of weeks to provide updates, you can even use these opportunities to gather quick feedback with tools such as ‘Mentimeter’ (have a look at it, is cool for interactive presentations!)

9. Measure your team’s energy

Don’t forget that while implementing a transformation, you still have a team to help manage, so being able to measure your team’s energy and manage workload and activities based on this, can make the work so much easier and fun! For example, if the energy is a bit low, you can get your team to do stand-ups in a park nearby, or while walking to get a coffee, it’s the small things in life that can make a big difference.

In summary, whatever tools you choose make sure that you align your transformation into the overall purpose of your organisation, keep everyone in the loop and work hard on your engagement.

And never underestimate the importance of your culture, your empathy and your people when leading a transformation strategy.

Curious about how we can support your transformation, send us a hello@three6.com.au