© 2019 WCL

Transformation and Strategy Execution

Research shows that only 30% of transformations succeed (Beyond Performance 2.0, McKinsey 2019), a success rate that hasn’t changed since it was first reported by John Kotter in his 1996 book ‘Leading Change’. McKinsey report that 70% of transformations continue to fail, primarily due to employee resistance (39%) or management teams not adapting their behaviour (33%) (McKinsey 2013).

For 16 years WCL’s consultants have worked to design, manage and deliver major transformation programmes – mainly in the public and not-for-profit sectors. We have consolidated our extensive transformation and change experience in our unique ‘Transformation Readiness Tool’. Working with a team of business academics to build on international research, the tool identifies and measures the critical elements that are proven to be essential in successful organisation transformations. Having been described as an ‘organisation biometric’, the tool provides a unique assessment of strengths and identifies practical actions to increase the pace, efficiency and likelihood of success.

In a recent transformation project with a major global advertising agency who are facing a disrupted market and fierce competition, we led the development of new organisational models to deliver efficiently, reduce duplication and remove organisational silos. This led to improved client satisfaction scores and reduced error rates.

Our 8-step transformation checklist

  1. Vision and End-states: working alongside senior leaders and involving staff and stakeholders, we will support you to define a compelling vision brought to life by end-states that describe the changes expected from the new vision. We will analyse the alignment with other initiatives and ensure teams thoroughly understand the vision and what it means for them.

  2. Delivery strategy: too many change programmes skip this step - we will develop a comprehensive delivery strategy that translates shows how the vision outcomes and business value will be delivered, and with budgets and people-incentives considered.

  3. Plans, management and resources: we develop agile plans and put in place agile management systems - all the time working alongside your teams to pass on skills and experience and to identify the skills and capacity required.

  4. Outcomes and benefits: metrics and milestones are defined to ensure progress, outcomes and business value is delivered frequently and rigorously tracked.

  5. Partners and stakeholders: where appropriate, we will ensure delivery partners are collectively accountable, and stakeholders are identified, segmented and involved.

  6. Culture: ensuring leaders understand and demonstrate the required cultural behaviours, systems and processes are aligned to support the change, and culture change levers are identified.

  7. Change management: ensuring staff understanding the compelling pressure to change, behavioural incentives are in-place, and actionable first steps are identified.

  8. Governance: we will work with you to ensure the right people are involved, and the right information is available at the right time for managers to monitor the transformation’s progress and trouble-shoot where required.

Agile working to deliver value quickly

We design our projects using an agile methodology to ensure early delivery of value, collective accountability, and agility in prioritising deliverables and delivering value.

This means our projects deliver value regularly, quickly re-focus priorities in the light of emerging findings, work with cross-functional project teams, and bring together the management team at regular stages to review progress and re-prioritise the next stages of work. We aim to have teams working to the same timing (i.e. two/three-week sprints), delivering their findings and recommendations together to amplify collective accountability, maintain pace and ensure projects remain aligned in delivering a coherent strategy.

Inspiration

We have been reading Beyond Performance 2.0, McKinsey’s exploration of proven approaches to leading large scale change. Our Transformation Readiness Assessment provides a practical approach to assessing many of the practices identified by the McKinsey research and importantly our tool provides actionable insights that can be applied in any transformation, whether in the public, not-for-profit or private sectors