• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Why do business transformations fail?


Jan 7, 2023
business transformations

Many businesses are constantly changing and transforming. I am talking here about cultural, digital, organizational transformations… which fundamentally shift the business transformations current lines of work. I have met many leaders who have worked on the subject and found themselves at an impasse:

“I put everything in place, I showed a vision, opened up spaces, provided tools, supported my teams and it doesn’t hold up over time. When I delegate, it doesn’t work, you have to pick up behind. These new liberated business models don’t work. »

Honestly, I can’t fault him. Yet in his own speech is found all the seeds of failure. In each of his sentences, it was the manager who drove the actions, everything came from him systematically. The challenge is to create a shift among employees to allow them to take ownership of this transformation. This is why certain leaders of liberated companies have taken a leave of 2 months to 1 year to clearly operate this shift.

Tool and technique alone are not enough

There are a plethora of tools and techniques of all kinds in all fields to modify governance. These are very good supports to support the implementation of the transformation, but they are not the driving force behind it.

In business, there are 2 levels of understanding:

– Level 1 or exterior: This is all that we see, the structure, the business, the processes, the organization chart…

– Level 2 or interior: This is all that is invisible, implicit, the culture, the working atmosphere, the history…

In most transformations, mastery of level 1 is high but level 2 remains neglected. This is often a question that we do not ask ourselves, because we believe that the vision is enough to involve people. But the posture of the leader and managers must also be aligned with the transformation to come, otherwise the old behaviors, resulting from this posture, will take over.

The nature of the business

When I talk about the nature of the business, I’m talking about how the business is perceived. Intuitively, what is a business for me? What will I put in the center? As long as this perception remains unclear for the manager, it will also be unclear for the employees, which will cause a blockage in the transformation.

By simplifying certain models (Dynamic spiral), we can break down 4 major natures or corporate cultures

The self-centered company

In this company, what counts above all is the vision of the leader or manager. It is often a charismatic personality who imposes and shows the way. Often a pioneer in his approach, he pulls his organization towards his vision.

In this type of organization, it can be very difficult to have a dissenting opinion of the long-term leader who questions his decisions. Everyone must align and work to create that leader’s vision. Initiatives are rarely taken and must be subject to the control of the manager. If the structure does not allow proximity, a relative confidence takes place but one should not deviate too much from the actions of the leaders.

The technical company

In this type of business, profitability and the financial aspect count above all. Money is the engine of business. If it is no longer profitable, it dies. We can see the company as a fine, well-oiled mechanism. If you place the right cogs in the right place by oiling each part, when starting up, everything works flawlessly. The project mode is also emerging in order to create a link between services.

In this type of organization, we find the formal organization chart and the support services have a great place. Everyone has their role and must be a vector of the company’s success. Steering is done according to numerical dashboards that can be disconnected from the reality on the ground. The human is also a number that can be replaced if it fails. Decision-making takes place at the top of the pyramid, supported by figures.

The human enterprise

Values ​​and the collective are placed at the center of this type of organization. These are the values ​​that guide our choices in customers, suppliers, partners… Relationships also play an important role and are integrated into decision-making. A collaborative model that generates collective intelligence is emerging.

In this type of organization, we find models of circles as in sociocracy and a strong adaptation, linked to agile methods . The company is a collective in which everyone has a role to play, and where no one is left out. Decisions are made by consensus or consent at most. Happiness at work takes an important part. The social and solidarity economy (ESS) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) stem from this type of organization.

The living business

Here is the latest model still emerging. This time the company is seen as a living organism in its own right. Like a child who has his own mission and his own path, as a parent, our role is to accompany him to accomplish his raison d’être. The parallel is strong, the employees, including the manager , put themselves at the service of an entity larger than themselves, the company. This company has its own purpose and its own path. Our role is to capture and follow them. These are the models of liberated enterprises and holacracy.

Each individual becomes a sensor of vision and can influence it. The leader no longer has a preponderant role on this vision, but that of checking that everyone remains aligned. This gives autonomous teams with all the skills to accomplish their missions. The organization evolves according to the environment and the needs of these teams. Everyone is free to make the best decision if it is aligned with the purpose of the company, by taking as much opinion as possible.

Start the transformation

The error would be to perceive a model as superior, but this is not the case. Each culture has its strengths and weaknesses. It is the environment that indicates which model is suitable or unsuitable depending on the moment.

Each model carries within it a particular organization in which it performs naturally. The more the nature of the business, governance and decision-making are aligned, the more efficient the model.

It is essential to be clear about these notions to change your state of mind according to what you want, in order to avoid the pitfalls of transformation as much as possible.

Let’s go back to the example of the beginning and the leader who cannot manage to implement a transformation. He is in a self-centered posture where he wants his teams to follow a collaborative vision. However, the first necessary action would be to change its vision of the company to adopt a posture close to the human company.

As we can see, defining your vision for your business and its strategy are essential prerequisites for the success of a major business transformation. It is even the essential first step.

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