This month’s Business Leaders’ webinar was on
LEADING BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION
Why initiatives fail
Over the past year, my work with clients has focused me on the part of business that is about getting your organization to execute.
I have been working with management teams to make progress on stalled strategies, and to lead business transformation that works.
So often I see organizations that invest a huge amount of time and money in developing strategy – on deciding what they want to do. Then they they announce it, often in a big all-hands meeting with ice cream… and then nothing happens.
People go back to what they were doing before.
The hardest thing a business faces is getting everybody doing something different than they are doing today.
If the organization doesn’t move, you are not able to extract the business value out of the change.
One story I shared in the webinar was about an organization that got this very right. It’s called Heifer International.
This is an non-profit organization that provides livestock to families who have nothing, in the poorest parts of the world.
They aim to drive lasting transformation in the communities they work with. They don’t just give a family a goat, they go into a community and do training and a breeding program along with community development.
And a key part of their transformation success is a concept they call “passing on the gift”. If a family’s animal has an offspring, they created a mechanism and a social expectation — a “passing on the gift ceremony” where the offspring is given to someone else in the community.
They saw a man on the side of the road carrying a goat that was decorated with colors and flowers. They stopped and talked to him and said, “what’s the deal with the goat?”. He told them, he got this goat for his family in a “passing on the gift” ceremony.
The punchline: Heifer had not worked in this community for 17 years.
Talk about a transformation that stuck!
(And talk about feeling good that your money is going to a program that works!)
Making initiatives stick
Wouldn’t it be great if business investments in strategic, transformative initiatives worked this well? And the return on the investment was that good?
The reason I share this story is that the success in this story comes from the same things I see busineses do when their transformations work.
A fundamental part of successful business transformations is that they involve the whole community — the whole organization. It’s not a managed, top-down process, or executive effort alone, that makes it work — it’s that they make the change part of the conversation, the expectation, and the social fabric of the organization. They call a lot of attention to the change. They “decorate” it.
In thinking about what the common and repeatable steps are when I work with clients to get their strategic initiatives implemented, I created simple formula which I introduced in the webinar.
M O V E R
MOVER = The key elements of a successful business transformation.
Download the webinar to learn more, but briefly…
The 5 (MOVER) keys to a success (moving!) are:
M = Mid-term measures. Work hard to clearly define outcomes and measures during the middle of your transformation. An end goal, no matter how inspiring it is, is not enough. Without mid-term measures you won’t keep going, and you won’t know if you are making progress. We went through examples of defining measures for that hard part in the middle.
O = Ongoing Conversation. Think Conversation, not communication. Think ongoing — over and over again, all the time. And it’s not just communication from you. It’s a conversation. We talked about how to get the organization talking about the change among themselves — which is critical for a successful transformation.
V = Validate. Don’t undermine your strategic initiatives when you get busy, and nervous. Don’t abandon the long term effort by over-reacting to short term pressures. This part of the model is about the management having the guts to stick with it, and validating the new way of working, by making decisions that support the change. We talked about how you can show your organization you are serious, which is so important because their tendency is to be skeptical.
E = Everyone is involved. Everyone. Not just management. Everyone. This is critical. We covered ways to get more people working on the change from the beginning and why that matters.
R = Resource clarity. Your strategy is where you put your resources. If you want to know what your strategy is, look at your budget. Don’t be fuzzy about how the new stuff will be resourced. It will never work itself out behind the scenes. Your strategy will stall if you are not clear.
If you missed the webinar and want learn more about how you can implement the MOVER model to get more value out of your strategic initiatives, you can download it below.
If you would like to discuss your strategic business goals and what you can do to make sure you get there, please contact me.
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)