Putting humans at the centre can improve your odds of transformation success by more than two and a half times
To maximise the level of success, organisations need to excel at implementing leading practices around these six drivers:
Lead: Adapting and nurturing the necessary leadership skills.
Leaders need to start by transforming themselves to deepen self-awareness so that they can manage their own emotions, and in turn help their workers to navigate their emotions.
In doing so, they can develop a skilful blend of advocacy and inquiry, holding passionate beliefs that they can articulate, and demonstrating the capacity to shift their understanding of self and system through action and investigation.
Inspire: Creating a vision for all to believe in.
Vision forms the foundation of transformation. Leaders need to collaborate on a compelling ‘why’ for the transformation in which both leaders and workers can find purpose. Forty-six per cent of respondents in high-performing transformations said that the transformation energised them to ‘go the extra mile’ (versus 28% in low-performing transformations).
Care: Building a culture where people’s opinions are embraced and encouraged.
Our interview respondents almost unanimously recognised that strong emotions were part of the transformation. Rather than avoiding emotions, leaders need to lean in. They need to proactively create psychological safety by both encouraging people to speak up, and directly soliciting their opinion, or ‘calling them up.’
Empower: Setting clear responsibilities and being prepared for change.
Transformation is typically described as a strictly linear process. Our research paints a more nuanced and complex picture that combines the discipline to create genuine impact with the freedom to explore and let new ideas emerge. Leaders need to establish clear boundaries that delineate the scope for experimentation and trial and error, and create a safe space to explore without repercussions.
Build: Using technology and capabilities to drive visible action.
Getting the right technology is central to the success of organisational transformation. However, technology isn’t the vision itself, it’s what brings the vision to life.
It’s also important to recognise and address the emotional impact of technology. Leaders we interviewed acknowledged that although technology change could create emotional disequilibrium, if the organisation deployed early versions of the technology to concretely demonstrate the organisation was moving forward positively with transformation, they could re-establish emotional stability.
Collaborate: Finding the best ways to connect and co-create.
Leaders need to be deliberate in shifting to new ways of working, empower workers to redesign and redefine their own work, and consciously build interdependency among teams.
Our research suggests that consciously creating the space for new ways of working was vital to success: 42% of leaders of high-performing transformations consciously defined and implemented a new organisational culture as part of the transformation programme.
Our research suggests that organisations with high adoption of leading practices around these six drivers have a 73% likelihood of success – almost 2.6 times higher than organisations with low adoption practices in these areas. The more impressive inheritance will be a growth-minded workforce that performs better with each new transformation.