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  • Dan Mayer

Thinking about Transformation?

Let’s start with the word “transformation, It’s a complicated word. When I think about transformation my mind goes to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly or a truck turning into Optimus Prime. We need to simplify transformation.  Let’s stop calling it transformation and use a word like transition. Transition needs to be a crawl, walk and if you do it right a run approach. A butterfly has 4-stages to its transformation and so should your transition.  The ingredients to a successful transition have not changed. It’s about people, process, technology and desire.

Let's start with People

Are you holding hands with the right people? Do they have the necessary skills and more importantly "the will" to keep moving through the day-to-day inefficiencies to get things done for the business.  Do you have people that can internal sell other departments without self interest? Removing self interest goes like this. What’s right for my customer. What’s right for the company. What’s right for me. In that order. You build momentum by removing your self interest to make other departments better. Can your teams find a better way &  build consensus with IT?  Do they know the internal barriers of entry to onboard a new process that will pass the security and IT allocation sniff test?  

I consulted a colleague of mine @Leigh Purvis on this topic and I’d like to share her insight…

“I think you need to find your quiet change agents in the organization in order for transition to occur and you have to empower them to influence people in their own way… they are the people who work to challenge the status quo of their organization without alienating people. They tend to be the good listeners with high EQs that go about things in a more modest way… not screaming from the rooftops. They meet people where they’re at along their transition and slowly move them along the spectrum. This aligns interestingly with what we call our champion networks. Leadership can and should seek out these types of influential, yet quiet leaders to help with grassroots organizational changes. They don’t push change, but they lead through deep listening and enlightened and targeted conversation that taps into people’s intrinsic motivations”

I love the idea that leadership can and should seek out influential yet quiet leaders to help grass-root changes inside our companies. That is how you build momentum!

Transition starts with People.

1.    Create an environment that gives organizational freedom to challenge the status quo. 

2.    Allow teams to speak freely on why they can’t get things done.  

3.    Foster a culture that allows people to transition into roles to own bigger problems. 


his will give your teams “psychological safety” and purpose/mastery.

Now onto Process...

You can have the right people using the best technology but if the process is broken you will automate inefficiencies.  For extra credit this week… 

1.    Create a business process flow map on how you work.  Do this by asking open-ended questions focused around why. Why do they do it that way? What is causing them to make their choices? What is their ideal future state of work and what is the impediment to that? Rooting your business process maps in actual user experience and language is so powerful -A human-centered approach to change has a tremendous impact on moving the needle

2.    Ask another department you work with to do the same.  

3.    Then…take your use case to IT.  

It’s a great exercise. You will start to see and question if there is a better process.  If enough people create this in an enough departments, with Executive can then take a solid use case to IT.  The right IT guy or gal will appreciate the thought put into the process and start to think about how technology can solve the problem. You need the right PEOPLE who care more about fixing the PROCESS.  If you do this successfully you will win the internal selling game at your company.  More people and more departments need to look at the process.  It starts with drawing out your workflow with others. 

Leigh Purvis goes on to say “Rooting these in actual end user language is so important because it humanizes the change and makes it hard to ignore” 

Let's talk about Technology...

This is arguably the easy part. Sure, change management is hard and I know you don’t have the budget.  However, ask yourself if you have priority to transition. All generations are adopting new technology at much faster rates. Technology companies have followed the consumerism of business applications. Consider three things when aligning technology to People & Process. 

1.    Will this technology improve my collaboration with internal & external stakeholders & can I automate my process to go faster.

2.    Can this solution create a frictionless security experience. 

3.    Is this solution best of breed, will it play nice with other applications that I love.

The fastest way to get a leg up on your competition is to have everyone own a bigger organizational challenge.  When you align people to a better process you will have a better business outcome. You will have shared purpose! Teams will come together and support each other if they know it will make everyone better.  

Now the hard part…desire.

One of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill is “the starting point of achievement is desire”.  You have to desire change.  In business, the fact is, bad things will happen.  Create a mindset that it’s everyone’s job to improve how we work.  Then you will have your starting point.  You have to care.  Caring is the heartbeat of your culture.  If your team comes to you with a problem without a point of view on how to fix it…then they are complaining, not caring.  There is no room for complaining when it comes to desire. You have to care enough to internal sell, fix the process and if needed find the right technology to fix it.  Start with the end in mind…start with DESIRE.  How can you measure desire. 

1.    Are your people aligned with your mission statement or organizational purpose?

2.    Ask what they would add and subtract from the business and what would they do first?

3.    Ask who is willing to own a problem that is not in their job description? 

So that's my two cents. What do you think?

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