Two Dimensions of Transformation Success: Strategic and Tactical

Published January 28, 2015

In our experience designing, implementing and overseeing large-scale strategic change initiatives, we have seen how the most effective transformation initiatives are notable for having a strong strategic vision and senior leadership.

They also have a nitty-gritty focus on execution and a huge number of operational details.

This combination of the strategic and tactical components means successful transformations occur on two dimensions.

Why Successful Business Transformations Are Both Strategic & Tactical

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighting the evolving role of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) explains it this way:

Many CFOs want to be able to effect change at a company, set its course and influence its culture…

To do so, they often have to be willing to roll up their sleeves and become a part of the business, not just an observer from the corner office.

Such an approach recognizes the reality that often the tactical challenges around transformation are the hardest to overcome. To put it another way, execution remains the hardest part of transformation.

Success ultimately comes down to the details. And leaders who are willing to engage on those details – without micromanaging, of course ­– can greatly increase the likelihood of success, provided they are supported by a strong project/program management function.

Indeed, effective PMOs continue to be the key enabler for companies seeking to generate the highest returns from their investments in change. Like CFOs, PMO leadership must also be ready to roll up their sleeves on the operational specifics, as well as keeping an eye on the “number crunching” and financial and budgetary side of transformation.