Business transformation is more than just a buzz-phrase. In today’s business world, there are few organisations that are not amid a change of some kind or another. The key, however, lies not in recognising the need to transform, but in ensuring that it is successful.


With over 70% of transformations failing to achieve or deliver the desired outcomes, it begs the question, what can companies do to increase their odds of success? While, we can point to a number of measures a company can take, one that stands out above others is ensuring that you have the right players on your team, who can drive the transformation forward because they are both committed to the change and believe in what it is aiming to achieve.


Ensuring that your team is on the same page as you is a critical step. Business transformation is never easy at the best of times, but when faced with team members who are unmotivated and resistant to the change, the chances of success are relatively low. A vision shared by no-one but it’s originator, is a vision that will have little runway.


For those responsible in leading transformation efforts, the ability to craft a cohesive vision also requires the ability to communicate it in a clear and compelling way. Providing people with the rationale behind the change, along with what to expect and what role they play in the transformation process can go a long way to addressing fear, resistance and uncertainties. Thereby helping them prepare and better understand what the future holds. Equally, giving people the space and time so that they can voice their concerns allows for them to be addressed at the earliest opportunity.


Beyond ensuring you have created a compelling vision, one that paints the picture of the future, successful transformation relies on having people with the capabilities to support the change. The skills and capabilities need to support and lead the business “as-is” are often not the same as the skills needed to transform a business or function. It’s a judgment call, that is often made too late, which proves to be detrimental to both the business and the individual. Make an assessment early on as a leader, ask yourself whether this is the right team. Whether specific individuals have the necessary capabilities, desire and commitment to support the change, can often be the difference between success and failure.


Apart from ensuring your direct team is onboard and capable of supporting the transformation, it is important not to forget the value of engaging and connecting extended teams and the rest of the company to the overall objectives of the transformation. It is not enough to simply communicate the changes and hope that this will suffice. The fact of the matter is, most successful transformations occur when people at all levels are part of shaping the transformation. From encouraging people to share their ideas, to seeking their input on key aspects of the transformation, will result in people feeling valued and that they matter. Not only that, it is highly probable that they will come forward with some innovative and fresh perspective on how to best execute the transformation agenda.

While there are many examples of why transformations fail, there are many ways that you can avoid being labelled as another failed transformation effort. Plan for success by having the right players on board at the start.