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Transformation further Distilled

July 2, 2011

Thriving and high performing organizations are founded on strong cultures, which involve shared values, strategy alignment, and interconnection. Such organizations achieve 4 times higher revenue, 7 times more expanded work force, 12 times higher stock prices, and 756% higher net income. However, approximately 70% of all change initiatives focused on improving performance fail!

With an acute focus on business results, this unique transformation approach (also known as vitalization) offers an efficient and effective alternative to more “traditional” approaches to change. This approach includes three sequential phases: Context, Foundation, and Evolution.

Context: Transformation Team and Framework

The first phase involves establishing a transformation team; sufficiently understanding the organization’s structure, processes, and culture; and considering how to improve people’s well-being and the organization’s performance. Appreciation of the whole and parts is essential!

Transformation Team

Establish a transformation team.

The transformation team is composed of people from across the organization. The team must be representative of all the groups (of people) involved in the transformation. The team is responsible for coaching, consulting, and training interventions and generally supporting people and the organization.

Framework

The transformation team derives a “minimal” framework.

A framework is a social construct, a social object that fosters a group’s social construction of reality. For example, a framework may be an expression or description of

  • Values or what gives a group “meaning”,
  • Cause or what gives a group “purpose”,
  • Guiding Principles,
  • Roles & Tasks & Work Products,
  • Behaviors & Relationships & Language, or
  • Anything that foster’s the group’s shared understanding of its reality.

The framework essentially expresses a “way of being” that considers people’s well-being and the organization’s performance. It should be “minimal” and integrate people’s human needs and the organization’s business needs. The transformation team is vital in understanding the organization’s structure, processes, and culture while external coaches are vital in contributing various bodies of knowledge (content) and practice (experience) to the framework and throughout the transformation.

The transformation team socializes and refines the framework.

The transformation team shares the framework with all the people who are represented by the team, and the transformation team refines the framework based on any feedback. Naturally, there will be disagreements among people and groups! However, the framework is merely a starting point for the transformation, it is not the destination. As the transformation progresses, the framework will be “tested” against reality and “improved” to ensure people’s well-being and the organization’s performance.

Foundation: Value Creation, Enactment & Elaboration, and Renewal

The second phase involves improving people’s well-being and the organization’s performance by improving the organization’s structure, processes, and culture.

Throughout this phase, the transformation team ensures people experience healthy dynamics in how they work together as reflected in people’s behaviors, relationships, and language.

Enact & Elaborate

The transformation team works with people in enacting the framework (on real work).

The transformation team must live the framework and work with people to also start living the framework. For examples, the transformation team coaches people to live the Values in alignment with the Cause expressed in the framework or coaches people to live the Roles, perform the Tasks, and produce & consume Work Products expressed in the framework. As other people outside the transformation team start living the framework, those people with whom the framework resonates will in turn progressively (and ultimately virally) work with other people to start living the framework. This fosters progressive adoption of the framework.

The transformation team works with people in elaborating the framework.

As people begin to live the framework, the transformation team works with them to change what is not working well (that is, not improving people’s well-being or not improving the organization’s performance) and elaborate (beyond what was “minimal”) what is working well (that is, improving people’s well-being or not improving the organization’s performance). This fosters progressive adaptation of the framework based on the natural group of people who constitute the organization and the demands of the marketplace on the business organization.

Renew Value Creation

The transformation team works with the organization to renew its value-creation capabilities.

As the transformation team, people, and organization begin to recognize what is working well and what is not working well, the enterprise can further organize around how to best foster people’s well-being and the organization’s performance derived from an overarching strategic perspective. For example, people may be reorganized as teams, departments may be reorganized across the organization, etc. around how to best create value to meet strategic and tactical/operational business objectives.

Evolution: Oversight, Communities, Enactment & Evolution, and Renewal

The third phase involves ensuring the improvements are enduring by ensuring the durability of the organization’s structure, processes, and culture.

Throughout this phase, the transformation team ensures people experience healthy dynamics in how they work together as reflected in people’s behaviors, relationships, and language.

Enact & Evolve

The transformation team works with people in further enacting the framework (on real work).

The transformation team must continue to live the framework and work with people to also continue to living the framework. For examples, the transformation team coaches people to continue to live the Values in alignment with the Cause expressed in the framework or coaches people to continue to live the Roles, perform the Tasks, and produce & consume Work Products expressed in the framework. As other people outside the transformation team continue to live the framework, those people with whom the framework resonates will in turn progressively (and ultimately virally) work with other people to continue to live the framework. This fosters progressive adoption of the framework.

The transformation team works with people in evolving the framework.

As people continue to live the framework, the transformation team works with them to change what is not working well (that is, not improving people’s well-being or not improving the organization’s performance) and evolve (beyond what was “minimal”) what is working well (that is, improving people’s well-being or not improving the organization’s performance). This fosters progressive adaptation of the framework based on the natural group of people who constitute the organization and the demands of the marketplace on the business organization.

Renew Oversight

The transformation team works with the organization to renew its oversight capabilities.

As the transformation team, people, and organization begin to recognize what is working well and what is not working well, the enterprise can further organize around how to best sustain people’s well-being and the organization’s performance derived from an overarching strategic perspective. For example, how are cross-team conflicts and cross-department conflicts resolved, etc. in how to best oversight strategic and tactical/operational value creation.

Communities

The transformation team fosters communities who take ownership of the framework.

Throughout the journey, ownership of the framework progressively (and ultimately virally) permeates every person beyond the transformation team. The enterprise, as an overall community, owns the framework while the transformation team fosters various sub-communities to take ownership for evolving different aspects of the framework. As the enterprise’s journey is never-ending, the evolution of the framework in continuously improving people’s well-being and the organization’s performance is never-ending.

How is this Different? Why does it Work?

This transformation approach is different from more “traditional” approaches to change in that it very organically and simultaneously focuses on people’s well-being and the organization’s performance.

  • From a business perspective, the approach transforms how people and the organization discover and deliver value to clients and customers in the form of products, services, and experiences.
  • From an organizational perspective, the approach transforms the organizational structure and processes to more efficiently and effectively achieve business results.
  • From a cultural perspective, the approach transforms people’s behaviors, relationships, and language to ensure their well-being in achieving business results.
  • Most notably, the approach is completely agnostic of business domain and may be combined with almost any Strategy, Leadership, Execution, Cultural, etc. model or approach (for example, [1][2][3][4], etc.).

Integrating these different perspectives is the foundation for a complete and holistic transformation approach.

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