Nine traits of successful business transformation programmes

11 April 2019 4 min. read
More news on

During today’s turbulent political and economic times, many sectors and industries are going through fundamental and on-going change in order to stay ahead of the competition. Successfully implementing and embedding transformation is no easy feat, however. Emanuel Modrovic, an advisor at international procurement consultancy 4C, reflects on nine common traits of successful business transformation programmes.

Clear vision

Define your guiding North Star, which is the single, top-line vision that aligns your organisation and sets out the shared end goal. Your transformation will only be successful if everyone has the same target to shoot for! 

Understanding the impact

Once the vision is established, understand what impact this will have on each team. Use Change Impact assessments to make sure you don’t miss any elements, especially if the change goes beyond one business area. 

Holistic change plan

The first step of change is to build and share a holistic change plan before you start. You would be surprised how often companies make it up as they go along! At the same time, assign a dedicated change manager to ensure all project teams are aligned on their progress. This person needs to be deep in the details, otherwise this ends up wasting everyone’s time. 

Nine traits of successful business transformation programmes

Transparent timelines

Don’t drag out making changes, you’ll always find a reason why now is not the right time! If you want to keep your teams engaged and excited, aim to start a first pilot of changes after about 4-6 months. Also make sure to give teams clear visibility of what the overall timeline is likely to look like. 

Executive power

Transforming and changing a company is no easy feat. Therefore, you need executive decision makers with authority across all your project areas. People will shy away from taking responsibility unless the executive is visible throughout the project to endorse changes and encourage adoption.

Measuring success

We all know: What gets measured, gets done. Therefore, think early about how you will measure success! We have found that a pyramid model often works well, whereby a single, organisation-wide metric is connected down to team-specific and individual targets. It gives each team clarity and focus on how the changes work. At the same time, management can understand movements in the top-line metric and how different teams are affecting it.

Clear transition

People will not change if they are not confident in the change plan. The key is to have a worked-up and agreed transition plan before you implement any changes. It can also help to prepare a list of FAQs before any roll-out, so you have answers to the most common questions. 

Positive project PR

Think about the answers to the question on everyone’s mind: “What’s in it for me?” Use these specific benefits as headers and key messages for communicating with each team and explain how the changes make their life easier, better, and simpler. 

Constant communication

This is where things tend to go wrong often and early. First, identify key stakeholder groups and how to keep them up-to-date through detailed comms plans – don’t forget that this includes not just the management team but also your frontline teams! Then make sure to provide a regular drumbeat with news and updates through channels such as newsletters, town halls, and intranet articles. 

It is also useful to check every piece of communication against three simple criteria: 1) What is the one thing you want your audience to understand from it, 2) how do you want your audience to feel after receiving it, and 3) what actions do you want them to take upon digesting it?