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Initiating a New Business Transformation (Part 1)

This is the first in a two-part series focusing on those vital first steps in initiating a business transformation programme.

So where to begin with starting your business transformation? There’s a lot to consider and it can seem overwhelming – however, it’s important you don’t neglect the planning stage as getting this right can determine if a transformational project will succeed or fail.

Let’s take a look at these crucial initial steps that lay the foundations for transformational success, and help you successfully launch a business transformation programme.

How do you begin?

I always advise (as I’ve mentioned in some of the other articles in our insights section) to begin with the end in mind (BWTEIM). This is my mantra for any work I do, and something I’ve emphasised to the clients we’ve helped here at Monro Consulting.

BWTEIM is applicable to every stage of the process – but how do you define the end of the beginning, so to speak?

Firstly, you need to highlight and prioritise the issues and challenges your business is currently facing. Next, you need to consider your vision – however rough at this point – of the way you want your business to look post-transformation. Building a high-level business case is vital too – more on this in part two!.

You’ll also need to have an idea of who will make up the team delivering the change, the structure of the work involved and how these ‘change activities’ will be broken into blocks of work, and how that work will be managed and controlled.

How should you scope what you need to do?

You might not necessarily be aiming to transform your whole business – perhaps you just need to look at overhauling a particular department or process. Maybe there’s a part of your business that isn’t performing as well as it could, or perhaps you want to make external changes like improving your interactions with customers.

This isn’t a time to be vague – you need to be clear about the scope of your transformation.

For example, when we worked with the MOD to change their approach to the acquisition and support of military equipment, the Defence Board had set a clear objective for reform and improvement in both efficiency and effectiveness in this area.

Another example in a completely different sector is the case of the LEGO group, who underwent a radical digital transformation to update their business model in response to the threat of bankruptcy in 2004.

How can you best persuade Senior Management or Leadership to ‘buy-in’ to transformational projects?

A High Spot review is something I’d always recommend, involving information gathering and analysis. Once complete, a trial run of the findings can be presented to strengthen your case.

Ideally a High Spot Review should last around three to six weeks. You will need at least three weeks to make sure you definitely have all the information you need, but if you go much over six weeks you run the risk of having too much information, and falling into the time-trap of over-analysing every detail.

If things drag on too long your senior management may also begin to feel that the whole activity isn’t an effective use of time.

An excellent method of persuasion is to use ‘personal insights’ – ideally quotes gathered through interviewing employees at various management levels within your company. These can be instrumental in conveying the message to top-level management that there’s a need for transformation!

It’s also helpful to provide an estimate of the financial benefits the transformation will offer – although this does only need to be a ballpark figure at this point, with more detailed data to be presented in the Business Case Development stage.

If you’d like to talk about ideas for your current or upcoming transformational project then please do get in touch – even if it’s just for an informal chat to get a feel for your options.

Join me in part two of this series – focusing on building your business case and core team, and starting to deliver your desired outcomes!