When looking for new board members with extensive experience in large scale, company-wide transformations, Governance Committees should be aware not to mistake turnarounds, which are important in their own right, with transformations.
By definition, a turnaround is the financial recovery of a poorly performing company. A transformation is a much broader concept, bringing along a significant change in the form and substance of the company, one from which it can’t go back.
The topic can get a bit confusing because turnarounds can be used as a starting point for a company-wide transformation. However, most turnarounds don’t evolve into transformations and most transformation programs don’t necessarily start with a turnaround.
Make sure to probe for extensive experience along the 8 steps of the Continuous Transformation framework - significant gaps or high level answers are a major red flag. Seasoned transformation professionals will have a wealth of experiences to choose from and will proudly display their scars of previous engagements. You should also look for executives who have led transformations in more than a single company, since there is a massive amount of learning that comes from that kind of experience; remember: no two transformations are alike.
As a final piece of advice, look for professionals with high emotional intelligence. It is extremely unlikely for anyone to lead successful transformations with a low EQ. If you see signs of a big ego or lack of self-awareness, pass on the candidate.
By complementing your Board with extensive transformation expertise, you will take a decisive step into propelling your company’s transformation towards success.