03 July 2018

Transformation - What it means to me...

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In my years of delivering small to large-scale change, there are a number of consistent themes and lessons (I refer to them as scars) that I have gleaned. So I would like to share with my network.

Now I don’t profess to know everything because as human beings we are always learning and growing, and are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. And I am pretty sure I have not covered everything - so I preface this as a discussion rather than a dictation.

Seems transformation is the buzz-word at the moment and has been for some time. Do we really know what it means and what is required to achieve this?

My handful of ‘sparkles or crystals’ – as I like to call them – will not guarantee success but will definitely provide a good base to start from.

1. Clarity like a Diamond

Do we really know why we want to undertake a transformation? I am sure you have seen many amazing videos to understand this (Simon Sinek is definitely one of my inspirations), however I am not sure that this is practised. Instilling feeling and passion in our 'why' is critical to accelerate understanding and buy-in, improving chances of success.

A clear vision of future business capability and a target state operating model – as aligned to our 'why' – allows development of a traceable plan between where we are today and where we want to be. More importantly, this clarity bonds the 'guiding senior team' and drives consistent messaging across the organisation.

2. Committed as a RockStar

Commitment at the senior level is an action statement not a spoken sentence. Walking the talk is key to shifting resistance and if demonstrated consistently from the top, expedites shifts in behaviours and ways of working across the organisation. This includes role modelling future behaviours and changing what gets measured. 

It takes an organisational team effort to shift cultures, peoples attitudes and ways of working, which is best expedited from the top. 

3. Co-Design like kids building a sand castle

Do not assume that senior people know best, as often the best ideas and innovation come from our front line people and customers. Our customers will honestly outline what is most important to them. The benefits of collaboration and co-design far outweigh the risks of non involvement. Yes it might take a little longer, but the investment upfront multiplies value at the back-end.

The motivation and inspiration I have witnessed in teams from being asked to contribute to a company’s future still brings tears to my eyes. And these projects and changes have in my experience, been the most successful ones. As human beings, we want to contribute, be the best we can be, and then be acknowledged for our efforts.

4. Communicate using a blingy loud speaker

The best projects and programs I have been involved in embedded a consistent program of clear, concise and targeted messaging at all levels. Not only is this an effective tool for outlining plans and acknowledging success, it also reinforces clarity and alignment of purpose, often encouraging valid questions.

Make sure that your communications strategy leverages multiple channels to tackle different audiences and needs, and never, never under-estimate the value of face to face communications.

5. Credibility like the moon and stars

It is difficult to sell a large-scale change to the Board, Senior Managers, people and customers as it requires investment and potential diversion from the main game. Build credibility by intentionally planning ‘quick wins’ to consistently demonstrate and communicate achievement.  Make sure your metrics for success include these objectives.

5. Combine ‘glitter’ with BAU

To ensure we are set up for success, we need to understand that if we are doing something additional on top of our existing operational activity, then something has to give. It means acknowledging that this transformation will impact everyone in some way, shape or form and we need to re-align our priorities. Expecting people to do more on top of their daily job is unreasonable and unrealistic.

6. The Crowd – The People – The Gems

If I had to choose only one thing to make transformation successful, it would be to put people first. Listen to the people, engage the people, understand their concerns and address them, communicate and communicate again, have empathy and be kind.

Transformation is not about implementing a new system or a new process, it is not about saving the company money and it is not about increasing revenue. These are outputs not outcomes.

Transformation is about winning the hearts and minds of the people so that they are inspired to contribute and facilitate the change. By delivering true value to people (and customers), we in turn improve profitability and make our customers and shareholders happy.

More importantly, we change people’s lives forever, who come to work motivated and inspired to be the best they can be every single day.

This is what true transformation is. 


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Written by: Renee Armstrong 

Making a difference in life and career through helping people and organisations realise potential and value. As an inspirational and motivating leader, I am passionate about leveraging people as the differentiator to enable organisational strategy and success. I pride myself on changing people's lives and transforming organisational culture.











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