Have we entered into an era of Transformation Mania? Business transformation, business change and digital transformation are hotly discussed topics at the moment. There are a plethora of examples of failed transformations in the news, and when you marry this with the UK’s divorce from the EU, it’s little wonder it’s a headline for business leaders everywhere.
Business transformation, as a watchword, is prolific. You can’t read an issue of Harvard Business Review without it cropping up and a Google search of the phrase returns (at the time of writing) 332 million results. It’s become a thing. An entity to be discussed, deliberated and delivered.
But, why has it become such a force? And do we all mean the same thing when we talk about it and its importance?
In our view, business transformation should be about continual improvement. Referring to this need to evolve as ‘business transformation’ may limit you to a fixed destination instead of continual improvement.
But let’s return to the matter at hand. Why is transformation a thing?
Today’s fiercely competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace demands an element of adaptability. The desire and capability to shift, by responding to market needs, and the ability to predict the future landscape, through a deep understanding of customer behaviour. No one can stand still anymore. Unless of course, they want to crumble with the old world order. Standing still is just not an option for hungry, successful organisations.
If you need further convincing, just look at Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble, and Polaroid (to borrow a few examples from Prabhakar Mundkur‘s post ‘Is business transformation the new buzz word?’). And there are many other examples literally cropping up daily, especially from the struggling retail high streets (Toys R Us, BHS, Mother Care).
So, like it or not, business transformation is ‘a thing’ because remaining relevant is to continually transform yourself. It’s a thing because you can never stop doing it. It should be an addiction. You should have an insatiable hunger for it. As a business leader you have to be constantly thinking about what’s next – how to transform – because if you don’t, somebody else will.
Shockingly, 88% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are now gone. This devastating figure suggests that the leaders of these companies weren’t manically thinking about what they should be doing next. Savvy leaders need to develop and hone this new skill to see the writing on the wall (before its even there) and carve out a role as transformation champions; blazing a trail for the future proofing of their organisations.
Of course, no leader is an island, and successful transformations can only happen with empowered teams that also share the hunger for tomorrow. The art of looking forward and thinking differently can be fostered with the right approach. One that celebrates continual improvement so that innovation happens on a daily basis which, in turn, leads to transformation.
It’s no longer enough to simply remain competitive. As Huffington Post explained in their article on Transformation and Innovation, every thriving business must constantly think outside the box and consider viable alternatives before the competition. Continual improvement is part of this thinking.
So, start to obsess about what’s next and manically think about how your business will continue to improve. Embrace the transformation mania by continually inspecting and adapting where you’re going as a business, and use the teams across your business to surface where and how you can improve. Because if you don’t… it’ll be too late.
If you haven’t already downloaded our latest white paper, ‘What’s the point of transformation without change?‘, grab it now to learn how to win at transformation and stay on the road to success.