Business Transformation Roadmaps: Don’t End Up Someplace Else

Published December 2, 2014

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up some place else.”

I don’t think he was talking about failed business transformation programs, but he might well have been. For too many companies making large-scale investments in transformation, that scenario is all too familiar.

Whether a company is launching a new line of business, opening new sales channels, implementing a powerful new system or re-structuring the organization, it’s critical that everyone involved knows where they’re going.

That means understanding three things:

  1. What, exactly, the final results look like
  2. Why the transformation is valuable to the company
  3. Which are the most critical steps to drive successful change

No matter how innovative or disruptive the vision for transformation, big ideas must always be accompanied with detailed plans that address the before, during and after phases of change initiatives.

How Having a Detailed Plan for Change Supports Transformation Success

For instance, realistic business cases must be established in advance as they are critical for establishing the “destination” for the transformation. More fundamentally, the process of ROI modeling can determine if proposed changes are even valuable enough to start in the first place.

Unfortunately, many change efforts are undertaken without a clear understanding of the expected costs and benefits.

Leadership should evaluate transformation investments based on their returns, but also as part of an overall portfolio of change efforts. Overloading an organization with too many changes at the same time can also lead to failed transformations.

Once the business case is vetted, the next step is developing the detailed plan for driving the overall effort.

The building blocks of project management will support the initiative in staying on track. Though they attract less attention than the big-picture strategic ideas and vision, tasks such as work planning, status reporting, issue management and driving stakeholder responsibility are often the best enablers of transformation success.

Finally, change management focused on organizational and user acceptance helps ensure that the change is not only implemented, but also takes hold into daily use.

To get there, everyone in the organization must understand specifically what will change, how their lives will be different and why change is a good thing for the company. For more on the importance of user adoption, watch this video.

Here again, it all comes back to making sure everyone understands where they – and the organization – are going. Without such clarity, it’s possible the “somewhere else” will be a costly and unnecessary failure.