Transformation is by definition going beyond form or changing. In an organisational context, a process of profound and radical change that orients an organisation in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness. Unlike ‘turnaround’ (which implies incremental progress on the same plane) transformation implies a basic change of character and little or no resemblance with the past configuration or structure*.
The idea of transformation for many organisations is that the C-suite decides and it then needs to get implemented in the organisation. The challenge of change is that you need buy-in from more than just the C-suite, you need everyone to understand the advantages of change and actually make a choice to change.
Has a choice been made?
This is the single most important question that needs to be answered … Has a choice been made? If no choice has been made, the status quo remains! We cannot make decisions for others, nor can we assume that a choice to change has been made. This may sound ridiculous but the reality is that transformation only happens when a choice has been made.
When determining if a choice has actually been made, look for the emotional signals and don’t get confused with the facts. People will often agree for the sake of agreeing. No transformation will occur in the long run if the emotional signals are ignored. You will find yourself in another stage of change and a new transformational model effectively wasting time. Look for the emotional signals, emotions make up 80% of our communication and facts about 7%, so when we choose not to listen to the emotion we can be misguided very quickly.
Here are a few guidelines for real Transformation:
- People are complicated and transformation will only happen when people make a real choice. We should never fool ourselves into believing differently.
- Clearly communicate the faults with the existing system, why is the change necessary? Has the existing system caused us to become less efficient, less profitable and are we spending time fixing something that cannot be fixed?
- Clearly communicate the process of transformation and the benefits. What will the new system provide for the people within the organisation? Will we be more effective, will we grow stronger and ultimately will we be more profitable?
- The first two points are the normal focus of any transformation process, yet the real question to be answered is: How will the new system benefit me? Will it develop stronger relationships? Will I get a greater sense of security within the organisation? Will I be recognised and rewarded for my efforts? Will I be seen as a person of significance or simply a number?
- Assume nothing, ask questions that will result in conversations so that real needs can be determined. If our questions only give us the facts we are looking for and not the emotions, we are asking the wrong questions.
- Transformation takes time but it is usually just a choice away, how we relate to others will determine how much time the transformation actually takes. The better we are at relating the faster the process will be.
- Transformation will not take place outside of relationships and relationships require trust to form. Once you have built real relationships, trust exists and people will be prepared to make a choice.
People who are convinced against their will are not convinced!