How you may be sabotaging your transformation
Anyone who has ever experienced a true transformation will tell you that transformations are tough. Yet, those same people testify that transformations are among the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in their entire lives. Despite the potential to increase engagement and growth for all employees, businesses’ have a dreadful track record for such initiatives, with a failure rate over 70%.
Transformations may fail for a number of reasons: lack of clarity regarding goals, inefficient governance, underfunding, poor change management, etc. However, one reason is at the root of them all: lack of ownership and commitment from the person calling the shots.
In most critical transformations, the person in charge is either the CEO, the chairman, or owner. The title doesn’t matter as much as that person’s authority does: all employees know who the final decision-maker is, and they talk about the decisions that are being made (or not made).
I have witnessed several leaders fail when their time comes to lead big transformations for a number of different reasons: managing the transformation the same way they manage the day-to-day of the company, being paralyzed by fear of making employees upset with potential disruptions or of hurting the core business, upholding an inexplicable loyalty to the people they had worked with in the past - despite their inability to grow along with the challenges of the company, and lacking self-awareness to know and address their own limitations as leaders, among many others.
The truth is that the reason doesn’t matter, and there shouldn’t be any excuses. CEOs and other top leaders are not hired to do the jobs they like, but to do the job the company needs - and companies need them to drive successful transformations.
In business, there is only one constant: change.
The world around us evolves at breakneck speed, rendering the very same approaches that made us successful in the first place outdated. In this dynamic environment, CEOs are being called to lead - not manage - in an unprecedented way, and that is becoming the new norm. This requires CEOs to be on top of their games, to constantly learn new skills, and to take full ownership for the outcomes of the transformations undertaken by their companies. This is the only way to turn around businesses’ dismal track record with transformations while creating more meaningful and engaging experiences for all stakeholders.