In recent years, businesses and their leaders have had to deal with pandemics, wars, economic recession, supply chain issues, increased labor strife, and all kinds of other obstacles as the world has accelerated and grown more complicated.
On many levels, they know that they need to change the way their company works to keep up, but many have discovered business transformation is not as easy as they thought.
As leading business transformation consultant experts, Pearl Lemon Consultants have been encountering this more and more. We have also been helping companies achieve business transformation with less pain – and better results – than they had expected. And we can do the same for you.
Because power is less top-down and more distributed inside companies than ever before, leaders cannot simply give an order and expect it to be followed by everyone. Because of this, an organization’s capacity to manage ongoing change—and to enlist the help of all employees in doing so—is both a necessity for survival and a long-term competitive edge.
Business transformation is the process of coordinating a company’s organizational culture (how people cooperate) with its strategy (the trade-offs the company is willing to make to achieve its full potential).
Although it might not seem that way at first, the procedure is far more difficult because it involves people. Business transformation involves overcoming the initial resistance of employees to new and creative ideas, creating an environment where those individuals can actually explore those new ways, fail, and learn, and successfully reinforcing and extending those new processes to the rest of the firm.
Despite the fact that many firms may profit from business transformation, statistics indicate that it frequently fails and even goes extremely wrong. But with the help of business transformation consulting—exactly what Pearl Lemon Consultants’ team can offer—this can be avoided.
The claim that “70% of change initiatives fail” is widely made, however the reality is that many projects are at least partially successful. However, research also shows that even “partial success” is frequently regarded by employees as “total failure.”
Even worse, when people alter their behavior, they forget how they previously operated, making it challenging to convince them that change is possible.
Employees’ skepticism toward business reforms is therefore not surprising, and the disjointed communication strategies used by most efforts do not help. Everyone has witnessed situations in the past where management enthusiastically announces a new vision or cultural shift, but when these changes start to falter, failures are hidden and efforts are given up, leaving people dissatisfied and worn out.
The truth is that transition is tough and time-consuming, and new ways may not be successful right away. Kanter’s Law is something that is often taught in business school but is very true: “Everything seems to fail in the middle.”
Finally, even when a change is necessary and for the best, it still entails some kind of loss, such as the loss of control or time such as time spent training to learn new skills or when change happens to you, rather than being shaped by you. One of our most potent cognitive biases as humans, loss aversion, increases resistance to change if it isn’t dealt with.
In light of these issues, business transformation may seem frightening, but it may also be unavoidable. If market conditions shift drastically enough to necessitate a change in strategy, your organization’s culture will also need to be adjusted.
That’s because culture dictates how strategy is carried out, including how departments are organized and how choices are made within them, how information is shared and opinions are debated, and the procedures followed to offer your goods or services.
Your business will struggle to adapt to the shifting market demands if you don’t change how you do business, and your most valuable employees will leave in search of better opportunities, putting success even further out of reach
Unfortunately, some of the most widely used methods for achieving business transformation were created for a world that does not exist anymore—one in which change was less frequent, more predictable, and simpler to manage. This raises the question, “How do I successfully lead a business transformation?”
Additionally, these models made the mistake of assuming that there was only one “right” way to change, while in fact organizations must choose the appropriate model for the particular change they need to make. A mechanism for integrating such changes without overpowering the corporate culture is also required for some business transformations, in addition to the usage of several models for various components of the change.
All of this indicates that in addition to the significant obstacles you have, which you almost likely might overcome with the aid of outside assistance, you also need to be very careful when selecting your business transformation consulting partner.
Business transformation is still likely to fail if you deal with a business transformation consultant team who are very dogmatic in their thinking, who insist on adhering to “textbook” techniques, and/or are unable to take the time and make the effort to understand what your particular business needs.
Our experience transforming businesses across a range of industries, sizes, and cultures led us to identify two types of business transformation: “safe-to-fail” and “fail-safe.”
Understanding when to use each type and how to combine their outputs results in long-term transformation and, more importantly, personnel who are capable of expanding and adapting in response to future market demands, which, in turn, results in a company that not only survives but also thrives in changes to the market.
The standard practice in business transformation has always been to make changes that are “fail-safe.” Leaders typically have in mind organizational-wide, high-impact changes like reorganization or new leadership when they hear the term “change management.”
When we first began providing business transformation consulting, we were leery of this approach because it’s frequently associated with “suits” who assault an organization with purported best practices, fire half the workforce, and leave the survivors to deal with the consequences.
Despite being the preferred choice, it typically fails to transform businesses over time, especially when it focuses on slogans and rallies about “vision” and “transformational change” rather than establishing new practices that actually have an influence on teams’ day-to-day work.
Because of this, we adopted a different strategy and used a more agile, iterative change process to address issues like restructures. We quickly discovered that conventional change management is an effective approach when used to address the right problems; nevertheless, it is frequently overapplied to the bulk of issues that organizations face. Because of this, we will continue to use it as applicable, but not as a set procedure that has to be adhered to simply because a business school textbook says it should.
Fortunately, the majority of business transformations, whether they involve implementing new technologies, adopting new business strategies, or establishing new procedures like onboarding or all-hands meetings, can be reversed with little to no loss of money or damage. In fact, swift experimentation helps them because it enables them to respond to feedback and altering circumstances.
This brings to the second myth about business transformation consulting: the offered solutions are things that people already know or, worse, know won’t work. This demoralizes the ranks since they frequently have to defend not hiring more staff for their overworked teams as they see money squandered on highly expensive, very unproductive consultants.
Actually, people closest to their clients and those who perform the work on a daily basis already have a solid understanding of what the company requires to run well. Of course, they can be mistaken, just as outside consultants might, but it’s a well-informed viewpoint, and most of the time, there’s at least the beginning of a great idea there, and very frequently much more. Therefore, we just ask people what they’ve always wanted to try to start a business transformation.
We refer to this strategy as “safe-to-fail,” and we think it has helped explain why we have such a high success rate with business transformations. The time we invest in speaking with people at all levels of a business, not just the top executives, and listening to their responses, offers us the knowledge we need to choose the best course of action for each individual client.
We are also pleased to assist businesses with their experiments and remain available to assist in making adjustments as needed to extend what is effective and stop what is not. The business transformation consultant team at Pearl Lemon Consultants is a committed partner at every stage of the change process and will “stay around” for as long as we are required.
The team at Pearl Lemon Consultants tackles resistance to changes head-on from day one because it is the biggest obstacle to business transformation.
No matter whether strategy is most effective for a particular organizational change, humans are only likely to make a change if they are motivated, capable of making it, and require it. That’s why, regardless of the kind of transformation we’re putting into practice, we make sure to:
We gather ideas and listen to the needs and concerns of front-line staff members and important stakeholders, workshop business strategy with executives and general staff members, and provide organizational leaders the capacity to own and lead the transformation. To successfully implement change, we require everyone’s involvement.
We provide a safe environment for ‘grieving’ while also teaching leaders how to identify and deal with team members who are resistant to change. Even when people can be convinced that new ways of doing things are called for, that does not mean that they will not miss, and yes grieve, the old way of doing things.
When most leadership teams actually want different behaviors, other consulting firms spend time with catchy change buzzwords and hollow promises for an idealized future state (which frequently exacerbate opposition).
In order to demonstrate that change can be implemented and to establish internal incentives to further drive people, as your business transformation consultant team we spotlight the individuals who have made change and help offer others the social proof many want to see to make changes themselves.
Teams we work with are better prepared to sustain successful business transformation after we depart because they understand that change is the “new normal.” In all we do, we strive to not only meet our stated objectives but also to develop those who will be able to work in our place on a daily basis.
Are you ready to learn more about what business transformation consulting and an expert business transformation consultant might be able to do for your company? Reach out to us right away to begin that conversation!
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