Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Enterprise Transformation - An Act of Renewal

Why Transformation?

Enterprise transformation is a renewal process that helps organizations become healthier (performance and well-being). Over time, short term decisions, mergers, turnover, conflicting management styles or visions, and for many other real reasons organizations develop a type of “scar” tissue. Eventually this “scar” tissue becomes increasingly burdensome on the bottom line and the well-being of employees, customers, and suppliers.

Symptoms of “scar” tissue emerges in many different ways:
  • Increasing difficulty to meet customer needs and wants 
  • Processes that seem to take way too long or seem far too costly or far too complex
  • Reduced quality
  • Competitors that always seem to be one step ahead of you 
  • Reduced market share or difficulty in getting customers to adopt your new offerings
  • Thinning profit margins and increased costs
  • Increased employee turnover 
  • A noticeable lack of engagement or motivation
  • Conflict and bickering that is increasingly directed inside the organization and not resolved in healthy ways
  • Etc...

Generally, the painful symptoms listed above can be grouped into three areas:
  • Means - Challenges with discovering and creating valuable results
  • Ends - Challenges with the results themselves
  • Dysfunctions - A disturbance between the way departments or individuals work with each other 

Thriving Organizations - A Vision of the Future

Alternatively, we often hear of those organizations that seem to break the mold and thrive. They continuously outperform their competition and are staffed with employees that never have trouble describing the wonderful company they're a part of.

Thriving and high performing organizations are founded on strong cultures, which involve shared values, strategy alignment, and interconnection. Such organizations achieve 4 times higher revenue, 7 times more expanded work force, 12 times higher stock prices, and 756% higher net income [1].

People who work at these organizations enjoy coming to work each day, they enjoy interactions with their coworkers, and are excited to contribute to the mission of their organization. When impediments and opportunities present themselves, they work with each other to heal the impediment or seize the opportunity.

These organizations do exist and yours can become one of them (and much faster than you might think possible).

Transforming into a Thriving Organization

Unfortunately, approximately 70% of all change initiatives focused on improving performance fail! [2] 

Change is taking what you have and making tweaks or even significant modifications around the problem areas and hoping things get better. In many cases things do get better, but sustaining and building on the change becomes the recurring problem. Before too long things are back to where they started and often compounded by even lower morale and additional problems --- and you have additional “scar” tissue!

Alternatively, transformation involves acknowledging what you have and constructing something new. A butterfly is not a changed caterpillar. A butterfly is a caterpillar that has transformed into something new. It has been reborn in a new form --- not merely additional “scar” tissue!

A Roadmap to Better Health

Transformation initiatives don’t have to involve an army of consultants commonly prescribed by traditional approaches, but can be achieved with a very lean team. Additionally, transformation initiatives don’t have to involve a five year journey, but can be accomplished within a substantially shorter timeframe.

Such a roadmap involves three phase:
  • Appreciating the organization,
  • Coaching a shift in the organization’s foundation, and
  • Ensuring the organization can continue to evolve.

Closing Thoughts

Transformation is a never ending journey. It's an ongoing process of renewal. We recognize the courage it takes to begin a transformation journey. Additionally, it may never seem like the right time to start. The time and cost may seem high, but the rewards are almost unimaginable.


[1] Corporate Culture and Performance, John P. Kotter (http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Culture-Performance-John-Kotter/dp/0029184673)
[2] Cracking the code of Change, Harvard Business Review (http://hbr.org/2000/05/cracking-the-code-of-change)

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