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The Most Critical Element in an Organizational Transformation

By John Wright on February 8, 2016

The_Most_Critical_Element_in_an_Organizational_Transformation.jpgTransforming some elements of their organization’s culture is a goal that many executives strive to achieve. If you are one of them, you know very well that actually attaining that goal is a lot more challenging than you first may have expected. Effectively demonstrating the desired behaviors, getting everybody on the same page, and maintaining momentum are all common challenges. As you prepare to take your company on a journey of organizational transformation, keep this simple phrase in mind throughout the process: consistency is key. 

In order to be successful, you must be consistent in all aspects of organizational transformation, from the beginning to the end of the process.

Consistency in Leadership

Organizational transformation starts at the top. The first part of consistency in leadership is ensuring all leaders are aligned around the transformation. If the leaders are not aligned, the whole organization will know and hence the transformation objective itself will not be as credible. The second part of consistency in leadership is modeling the desired process, practice and behaviors. If just one executive does not walk the walk, it sends the message that transformation is optional.

Consistency in Your Message

Even if you are lucky enough to have every individual embrace the concept of organizational transformation, you can’t achieve your goals unless you have consistent messaging about which behaviors you want to eliminate, which ones you want to encourage, and which new practices you want to start. This will look different for every department, but it’s important to take the time to develop consistent guidelines so every individual knows what is expected of them. Further, your message needs to be consistent over a long period of time. Switching organizational messages frequently can lead to confusion therefore sticking with the same message over an extended period of time drives the fact that you are in this until the transformation is complete.   

Consistency in Implementation

Organizational transformation is not as simple as planting a seed and expecting it to flourish. In order for a plant to take root and thrive, you have to: 

  1. Prepare the soil
  2. Plant seeds in an area where they are most likely to grow
  3. Nourish the seedlings that emerge from the soil
  4. Continue to nurture the plant until maturation
  5. Harvest the fruits of your labor
  6. Prune mature plants to keep them healthy and vibrant 

Any faltering along the way will lead to a poor yield, and if you depend on your crops for food, your table (and your belly) will suffer. 

The same concept applies to business. In order to succeed at organizational transformation, you must commit to being a consistent steward throughout the process by: 

  1. Creating a strong mission statement that reflects the culture you want to propagate.
  2. Encouraging champions in key areas throughout the company; harness the enthusiasm of your early adopters.
  3. Giving your team the tools they need to create the culture you envision. This could include hard resource such as equipment or soft resources such as training and support.
  4. Continuing to allocate resources to the organizational transformation until your goals are fully realized.
  5. Instilling a sense of ownership so that everyone in the company embraces and promotes the transformation.
  6. Making the necessary changes when you identify behaviors or practices that do not align with your vision. 

Whether you have just identified the need for an organizational transformation or are deep in the trenches of implementation, remember that consistency is key. If you recognize inconsistency, do something about it. Perhaps you need to re-focus your executives, re-energize your workforce, create clearer guidelines, or work with a trusted partner who can guide you through the organizational transformation process. Regardless of how you get there, organizational transformation is worth the effort.

Culture Transformation

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Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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