How to start a successful transformation – and keep it going

I am often asked: How can a transformation be started (and kept going) successfully?

Here’s my experience: successful transformations are expeditions that people in organizations must not only support, but actively (co-)shape
In my experience, for this to succeed, the following 3 basic requirements are needed:

  • Leadership Sponsorship: Inherent in a transformation is that it radically changes existing structures. Existing self-evident facts are not only questioned, but fundamentally redefined. This succeeds only if leadership not only allows such disruptive changes, but actively demands them.
  • Grassroot movement: Only top down, however, such transformations do not succeed. A new, successful cooperation succeeds in organizations only if the „mass“ is not only behind it, but also translates the ideas of top management into practice and continuously developed there.
  • Transformation capacity / team: An expedition succeeds only if capacities are also available to design this journey. This requires, on the one hand, enough time, space and money for employees to learn and actively shape the changes (keyword: learning culture). And on the other hand, it also needs „tour guides“ who actively support the organization in making the expedition successful.

Conclusion: a successful transformation should be launched in such a way that these three conditions are met. If they are not fulfilled, all measures should be aimed at creating these conditions. Be it with pilots, with trainings, with building teams, with leadership workshops. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it pays off in creating these prerequisites.

Once these preconditions have been created, then it is a matter of benefiting from them and embarking on this expedition together, step by step. Completely in the sense of „Lean Change Management“ in cycles of Insights -> Options -> Experiments

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