Lost in…Transformation

Lost in Transformation

Facing accelerating market changes, more and more organisations are choosing to radically transform who they are and how they work.

Unlike standard business initiatives, transformation programmes are complex and messy. And although additional resource is provided, they always add extreme levels of pressure onto leaders who are already struggling to deliver in markets that aren’t waiting for the transformation to finish.

In this scenario it’s no wonder that our leaders are becoming lost in transformation!

Change is personal

The best transformation teams don’t just focus on the technical solutions. They also focus on the people side of change – i.e. plans for how to get people, especially the leaders, to embrace the solutions being implemented.

In spite of having these plans, rarely in the midst of the transformation programme does it feel possible to understand the true individual impact on each leader as a driver of change. Without understanding this however, it will always be a struggle to get each leader onboard with leading the programme.

Any good Transformation Director or Change Programme Lead at this point will likely be nodding in agreement and then rolling their eyes. Already the transformation team is stretched to capacity, much like the business they’re trying to change. So as much as it’s important, focusing on the individual leader seems like a step too far!

What can we do?

Equipping leaders to lead the transformation, isn’t about adding more activity into an already full plan. Instead, it’s about applying the lens of the ‘true human experience’ to the change activities. What this means in practice is…

  1. Understand that change is personal– when we go through change, our human dilemmas (i.e. the core drivers of our human experience) are activated. This means, our security is threatened, our sense of identity becomes less clear as does our sense of what’s important, and, our sense of freedom to forge our own direction is diminished as we get swept along with the programme. Due to this our reaction to change is always deeply personal.
  2. Equip leaders to take responsibility– as it’s personal, leaders must be equipped to take responsibility for their human experience in response to change. To do this requires leaders to contemplate and answer ’The 3 Questions’TM, in the context of the programme. Doing this equips them to:
    1. Establish a clearer identity (Who am I?)
    2. Define a clearer sense of purpose (Why am I here?)
    3. Focus their attention and energy in a more positive way (How will I lead and live?)

A final thought

Whether we like it or not, the scale and complexity of change around us is forcing organisations to become more radical in transforming who they are and how they work. In embarking on transformation programmes it’s important that we realise that change impact is personal – it’s about the impact on the human experience. In facing this we must equip leaders to not only take responsibility for their own human experience, but also for leading the human experience of those in their teams.

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