We need to distinguish the Transformation Leaders from the Transition Leaders, although both prepare the organization for a radical and energetic change, their objectives and approaches may differ for definition. Eric Scoffier (M&A, Spin-off, Carve-out, LBO and turnaround experienced professional and Transition Leader) offers precious inputs about the essential elements for a successful transition in this article.
To cope with a business transformation one has to align people to a new strategy, change how people think and do things (and may have been doing so for a long time). To encourage people to step out from their comfort zone, TL have to acknowledge their feelings, their reactions and understand their needs. One has to provide a sense of purpose by nurturing the individual expectations in order to prepare the organization for a mental shift. Engage, explain, enjoy while enrolling the staff onto the project. Avoid any bias, just be truthful and accurate sharing the big picture. People need a clear vision and the TL is there to open their mind to a new attractive scenario. The TL creates value by enhancing the quality of employees work and enabling them to generate new business opportunities.
The Transformational Leader has the ability to realize a vision by inspiring others and by setting a detailed implementation plan. TL is able to define and manage every single aspect, like a detail-oriented person, thanks to the clarity of his/her big picture. A TL knows what to do, how to develop it and is willing to realize it because s/he knows the value that will bring to the organization.
The TL ‘eats’ flexibility, determination and self-confidence for breakfast because this will be the big picture that s/he will have to work on Transformation Leadership Milestones.
TL is a Neuro Change Officer (NCO)
TL does not expect to gather immediate consensus only because s/he is on top of things, therefore the step no.1 is to build credibility by gaining trust and effectively involve the stakeholders.
To be a successful TL you need to become an enthusiasm generator! You have to lead the staff to believe that it’s possible to accomplish even the most difficult changes and drive the organization to achieve. Thus your eagerness to realize the project must be infectious!
To turn the passive observers into active collaborators and to prepare the organization for continuous improvement encouraging a transformational mindset, just foster the Curiosity! Curiosity is the easiest and funniest way to learn something new, to approach complexity, to use new technology and to feed the knowledge.
Create the Innovation room! Both virtual and physical. This is a dedicated space where the people enhance and feed their willingness to co-operate with each other for a common and innovative plan. Their goal will be to learn how to become successful innovators by turning what may sound like an abstract and challenging idea into a rational plan, while your mission will be to strengthen and harmonize their initiative at a team working level.
Encourage the creative and critical thinking to embrace the change, to resolve problems and to lead your team(s) towards new prospects. Darek Olak (Finance Director & Coach in Creativity and Innovation) provides great tips and reflection points here and here.
Act like a “crowdthinking incubator”: leverage the individual skills through by promoting an open dialog between the team members. Involve the staff asking what they think about the project/idea. Engage them with brainstorms so they can feel empowered and are more likely to ‘buy-in’ to the business transformation project. People must feel active and special players, and part of something that they like. As mentions Alessandra Cualbu in her post A new saga requires new heroes: “Fast times require fast brains and lean organisations to successfully elaborate an overflow of information and ideas. A free flow of knowledge sharing will help you to build simpler, more effective and more efficient processes and procedures in a much shorter timeframe”
Master the team biodiversity by testing new genome combinations. This means do not stick to each competence or role but explore the creative leadership of the individual. This will ensure a greater level of participation by facilitating the transformation process and may add value to the team’s productivity. After all....“the main challenge for management is how to free up the potential of people” Richard Straub.
Monitor the transformation process through to customized surveys by measuring the level of the personnel’s adaptability to the changing company’s DNA. This step is important since it provides a clear picture about the mind-shift in progress and identify potential issues as they arise.
TL is strategic
Split up the “big challenge” into the smallest actions to enable small teams to manage each project phase. This helps:
· to keep focused on the details
· to limit the level of anxiety which proportionally grows with the fear of failure and the scale of the operation
· to make it simpler
· to more frequently reward achievement of the goals.
Do not create PAS! (panic, anxiety, stress). Maintain a positive work atmosphere by facilitating the communication among the groups and the individuals. Fix clear and focused activities by discussing the individual agenda with each line manager to avoid dysfunctional paradigms. Leading a change does not mean hindering the business operations therefore the goal is to create a reasonable balance to keep running the daily activity while bringing effective and measurable changes.
Set short term and long term goals for a healthy transformation program. This enables the staff to better metabolize their personal change management journey, to have a clear vision of how they can contribute to the whole project and later on to appreciate how their effort has positively impacted to make of a project a success.
Encourage the HR and the CEO to play a key role in the mind-shift process since “The morale of an organization is not built from the bottom up; it filters from the top down.” Peter B. Kyne. They can start to organize a general meeting with the aim of building a strong personnel business awareness, by giving a new value to the company’s mission statement. Let the staff refine, shape, validate and uphold both the company’s mission statement, based on their emotional and professional experience, and their own mission statement. This will reinforce their belief in the corporate core values and will attribute more focus to their role and responsibilities making their contribution unique and meaningful.
Leverage the Human Capital. Managing the change means create value. Don’t forget to reward the people who made of a project a reality. Make them feel valued, day after day and celebrate every milestone achievement.
Transformation is a journey. What makes a leader is not the destination but how to get there.