Ever tried something you expected to taste awful and then been surprised to find it wasn’t bad at all? That’s the reaction I get when I try and explain to a colleague or a client what business transformations are and are not about.
Whatever you’ve heard or been lead to believe, the truth is simpler. Business transformations are about:
• Asking relevant questions
• And aligning company strategy around the answers
1. Where in the life cycle is the business or the product currently?
2. What is working well and what isn’t?
3. Where does the business rate against competitors?
4. What is required to maintain or gain a market edge?
5. How can the business deliver better service at lower costs?
6. Does the business have the right tools and resources to deliver the future vision?
7. Is the business innovative or risk averse?
A successful business is always transforming, it is in a state of perpetual flux; while the premise remains simple, the execution is far from it. Business transformation is not about ‘tweaking’ or ‘improvement initiatives’. It is about strategic review and following it up with a strategic and tactical business plan to create new opportunities.
It can and usually does involve hard decisions about change. These hard decisions can span all levels within the organization, and thus the strategic review needs to be free from individual and hierarchal bias.
For this reason, a strategic review is best performed by external experts with:
- Wider industry knowledge
- Exposure to best practices across varied organizations
- Most importantly, an independent and unbiased view
Forming A Strategy
A well crafted strategy will clearly communicate:
- What the vision is
- Where the business stands today
A business plan based on that strategy will define what needs to be done to bridge the gap. It should be about strategic planning and aligning the people, resources and technology with the stated goals. It is not only about the decisions that need to be taken today but also the future impact of making or not making those decisions.
- Decision analytics play a key role in narrowing down the choices available, by applying science to data and related decision making
The Next Steps
• Making informed decisions about expanding, downsizing, outsourcing, hiring, investing in new technology, etc
• Communicating proposed changes and managing employee morale
• Creating a timeline for critical decisions and actions
• Determining resource requirement based on these timelines
• Transparent and frequent communication with board members, shareholders and employees
What to Remember
Any change can be painful if not handled properly. There is a lot at stake with every potential change in business strategy and it’s absolutely imperative that management, on-boards the right thinkers to lead business transformation, in the form of resourceful employees or qualified consultants.
Success is never future proof. Companies need to keep reinventing and realigning with the current realities to even stay afloat. It is no longer a world where markets like being dominated by few players for long; there would always be someone more nimble and more pioneering that comes along and changes the dynamics of business and competition.
Business transformation keeps the focus on what can be done better and what can be done differently. It is that not so bitter pill that can’t be avoided if organizations wish to remain competative and successful.