Will your transformation effort succeed?

There are 5 questions you can ask yourself to understand whether your transformation programmes will succeed. If your change fails any of these tests, read on to get some of our top tips.

Test 1

Is everyone in your team able to express what will be different when the change is complete and their role in the plan?

Why this matters:  Confusion and indifference reign when aims and roles are unclear.  One of the biggest mistakes made in executing change is to assume that staff engagement has been successful just because it has happened. It is only successful when everyone in the organisation can articulate back to you what the team is trying to achieve and their role in the plan.

Top tips:

  • If this is a challenge, co-designing the changes with relevant teams drives clarity of understanding and ownership.
  • Staff surveys that provide feedback on understanding of key priorities and responsibilities can highlight where staff engagement is working and where it is not.

Can the delivery team describe the sequence of activities needed to make the performance dial move?

Test 2

Why this matters: It is more common, and easier, to manage progress along a project plan than to track whether that plan is changing the drivers of success for your organization and delivering tangible results.  Failure to manage drivers and results always leads to little or no impact for the sunk costs invested in your programme.

Top tips:

  • Take the time to define the outcomes of each project clearly, identify the Key Performance Indicator(s) they will change, set a clear target for success, and track the leading indicators that will let you know the change is on track.
  • Be prepared to iterate your approach if results don’t match expectations.

Test 3

Do you understand the skills, time and executive support required to deliver the change, and have you provided them?

Why this matters: Complex change is a complex subject.  You wouldn’t let unqualified staff run your finance department so don’t appoint non-specialists to your change team, the results are equally predictable.  Unfortunately the symptoms of an under-skilled or under-resourced change team can be mis-diagnosed as slow progress, change resistance or completed projects that didn’t make a tangible difference.

Top tips:

  • Ensure your requests to the change team match their capacity and skills.
  • Unless you have deep expertise in leading change yourself ensure you have a Transformation Lead that does.
  • A competent Transformation Lead will pro-actively engage you to ensure the key priorities, governance, change leadership, and resources are agreed for them to succeed.

Are your team engaged and on board with the change?

Test 4

Why this matters: It is easy to make the assumption that if the senior leadership team think it’s a good idea then everyone else will to. In most scenarios, stakeholders have a multitude of reasons to support change and also to prefer elements of current ways of working. Failing to engage with this inconvenient truth leads to resistance to change, late or non-delivery of results and falling staff engagement.

Top tips:

  • Invest the time to engage with layers of management and front-line teams to understand their perspective and concerns.
  • Ensure change communications are tailored to the needs of each group.
  • Involve front line teams in the planning of change; no one was ever resistant to their own plan.

Test 5

Are you getting regular evidence that the change is on track and will deliver the results required?

Why this matters: Without visibility of performance project and operational decisions can only be made on gut instinct.  Problems with projects only come to late once it’s too late to do anything about them or the efforts to address them are considerable. 

Top tips:

  • Ask your change team what needs to be true as a pre-requisite for the change to be a success?
  • Use this list as a way of tracking progress on route to the change being delivered.
  • Clarify the key performance indicator(s) to be tracked and the target that will demonstrate success?
  • Retire the project when the target has been achieved, not when the project plan is complete.