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Six lessons on business transformation


The words ‘business transformation’ are easily said, but how often is real transformation achieved, especially in today’s difficult economic climate, when it can easily be put on the back burner?

The question remains, is there ever a good time for transformation? Do you wait until figures plunge and staff morale is at an all-time low, or look at how even small changes could make a difference to your bottom line? Transformation doesn’t necessarily have to mean an entire overhaul of a business.

In fact, business transformation shouldn’t be a ‘one-off’ occurrence in an organisation, but rather a continual process in terms of awareness of how to improve systems, processes and products.

While figures show the failure rate in change programmes to be around 70-80%, the flip side is that organisations that use effective transformational approaches obtain almost 80% more success than those that don’t.

Here are six tips for effective transformation:

Lessons for success

• A lack of buy-in, either from the top or from employees.
Lesson - It’s essential to have buy-in from the top.
• Taking too long.
Lesson - By setting short-term goals, employees stay motivated and enthusiastic.
• Constant communication.
Lesson - Staff need to know not just what’s expected of them, but why and how the changes will help their performance and the overall business.
• Misaligned talent.
Lesson - Although using internal personnel who are invested in transformation, it’s critical to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the project team – so, if needed, external resources should be brought in to add a fresh perspective.
• Unclear goals.
Lesson - If the end goal is to reduce costs by 10%, the objective needs to be refined. What is creating the excess cost (or the perception)? Cutting personnel by 20% could mean short-term savings, but would it negatively impact the long-term viability of the business?
• High costs.
Lesson - Spending on redesign and new technology implementation without a detailed business plan can derail transformation before it starts.

Before you can transform a business, you have to understand the environment, identify the business needs and then work out solutions to business problems. It’s about planning, productivity, teamwork and accountability. Transformation is a constructive and continuous process, which results in a cultural shift that enhances a business’s bottom-line and ensures it’s not left behind.

Eleanor Potter is the Executive at Altech Autopage.

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