Five lessons for successful transformations

Most of us are in the middle of a transformation of some sort in our organisations (and for many of us, in our lives). How can we ensure that we transform successfully?

Go across: Many transformations fail because they are vertical. For transformations to work, you need to go horizontally across your organisation and make it a company-wide transformation.

Go back: Many times companies fail to change and persevere because they forget the basics, roots, and past of who/what/why they are. Every vertical within the company should revisit and recalibrate their vision, mission, strategy, target state, gap analysis, and then roadmap.

Go outside: If we all had the right talent internally we probably would not need a transformation. Venture outside to source talent and resources. This helps your transformation succeed because you are mitigating the risk of your unknown unknowns.

It is important that you invest in the capabilities and trends that are a decade ahead.

Go ahead: Recognising that a successful transformation in a large company can take anywhere from three to 10 years, it is important that you invest in the capabilities and trends that are a decade ahead.

Go slowly: Once you have the other pieces together, for heaven’s sake, do not rush. It is important to recognise that successful transformations require constant pivoting. Many times we tend to go too fast with a goal or destination in mind, and end up missing the street sings along the way.

Richie Etwaru is an analyst for Constellation Research, which focuses on disruptive technologies. He is also group vice president, Thought Leadership Innovation, for

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