Skip to content

Effective Transformation

We believe organisations should take responsibility for transforming themselves (as paying a supplier to do this for them and to them is doomed to failure), and that through the adoption of some simple principles and practices, based on lean and agile thinking and the latest industry thought leadership, they can create change that is meaningful, effective, and truly transformational.

Everyone’s seen organisational transformations fail, whether it’s through highly paid consultants imposing new models despite knowing nothing about the organisation, to change that doesn’t actually involve change – leaving everyone with new role titles but doing the same things, to multiple change initiatives clashing in a heady mixture of confusion and chaos.

The good news is that if organisations take responsibility for transforming themselves, and adopt some simple principles and practices, they can achieve dramatically more successful outcomes and create a true learning and evolving organisation.

We have experience of helping Government organisations do this, based on the following principles:

Create a Sense of Urgency

  • Be able to explain why change is needed and to create a sense of urgency around it.  Without this people won’t be bought in to the need for change.
  • Define your intent and the outcome(s) required, focusing on the “what” and not the “how”.  By defining the change by the outcome and not by the plan you avoid the risk of executing a plan and failing to deliver the required outcome.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate with a single voice until anyone in the organisation can tell you the “why” and the “what” when asked – this will require the same message to be repeated dozens of times to every individual, but unless everyone in the organisation understands why change is required and what the future looks like, any change will not stick.
  • Baseline the metrics you’re going to use to know if you’ve been successful; and ideally identify the metrics that help you know you’re on track.
  • Decompose your change into a series of smaller independent changes that each deliver value in their own right.
  • Root each change in an outcome, and flex the plan to ensure this is delivered.
  • Don’t manage dependencies; remove them by making each change independent.
  • Deliver the highest value change early – reap the benefits, and celebrate the win.
  • Build up change iteratively (start small, test and experiment, and build up) and incrementally (prove in one area and then build out to others) – learn by doing.
  • Use portfolio management techniques – prioritise to maximise value; pivot and adjust to ensure outcomes are delivered; and make it transparent.
  • Try to avoid changing the same thing twice – reducing change fatigue.
  • Crowdsource ideas – some of the most impactful changes will be emergent.

Deliver change incrementally and iteratively

Focus on value

  • Before rolling change out across the organisation, make sure you understand the value, time and cost.
  • Use innovation and experimentation to generate the required evidence, focusing on desirability (what benefits will this deliver), feasibility (can we as an organisation make this change, how long will it take, and what will it cost), viability (is the benefit justified by the time and cost) and sustainability (can we maintain this change).
  • Formalise the outputs of this as a lightweight business case, and have formal go/no-go decision on whether to adopt the change.
  • Use the expected benefits vs the time and cost to prioritise what gets rolled out – prioritise items with the most value and the least time/cost.
  • Be rigorous and disciplined – evidence over opinions.
  • The people in your organisation are motivated to make things better.
  • They also have the deepest understanding of your context, the problems, and how well potential solutions may work.
  • Recognise and support them, and these people will deliver impactful change on top of their day jobs.
  • As well as creating a natural ground swell of enthusiasm and support.

Harness the volunteer army

Exploit viral change

  • Don’t impose change on teams – let them pull it.
  • Allow them to choose the right time for them to adopt each change.
  • And in what order to do so in order to maximise the value to them.
  • Harness early adopter teams to prove the value of change – the laggards will follow.
  • We want change to be viral.
  • Set the vision and communicate this until everyone can repeat it.
  • Prioritise work and manage the portfolio of change.
  • Monitor activities to ensure overall outcome is on track.
  • Delegate and empower teams to deliver change.
  • Support teams – make them feel valued; and remove impediments they find.
  • This is leadership in a digital world.

Lead, don’t manage

Get in contact if you’d like to talk to us about Effective Transformation, the potential benefits, and how we might be able to help you.