Pondering as I have been over the purpose and achievability of Business Transformation initiatives, seldom have I seen any measurable tangible results springing forth from it. Many of them, in fact quite contrarily, have ended up springing a leak. It is a double whammy – massive budgets wasted on unproductive assets and resources only escalating cost overheads.
Transformation is a marked change in form or structure, for the better. It is an extraordinary change in internal beliefs and perspectives. These internal changes then guide external actions naturally and help achieve the desired result. Organizational transformation is a process of profound and radical changes that directionally elevate organizations to enhanced effectiveness. It enables organizations to see things in a new perspective, new light. It marks the dawn of their journey towards growth and realization of benefits and goals. It makes the journey jubilant.
“Transformation isn’t about improving. It’s about rethinking” said Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, author, and public speaker. It is taking a holistic approach encompassing inclusive growth. It invariably calls for reconfiguring mindsets and behaviors. It involves making big moves towards structural changes, unconventional outside the box thinking, bold decisions and associative unlearning, even if it may start with small steps. It thus has to be a sustained effort. In fact, the small steps are the micro enablers of the mega change called transformation. Micro makes up mega. The former is the constituent, the latter the constitution. Therefore, transformation must begin at micro level.
Organizational initiatives in Business Transformation must aim at balanced inclusive growth. Leadership has a vital role to play in transforming business. Like in an economic transformation, in business transformation every stakeholder, may it be an employee, a contractor, a vendor, an auditor, a regulator, a service provider, a bank, a subsidiary and of course, the customer – all entities in the business ecosystem feel that they are getting a fair share of benefits. That is the fundamental principle of inclusive growth. It just disallows growth of one at the expense of another. And this makes it balanced growth. Thus, an executive promoted to the role of a Business Transformation Leader who continues to nurture her core belief of success narrowed down to rising up the corporate ladder faster than her colleagues, is doing grave injustice to her promoted role as much as she is betraying the trust organization has placed in her. Nor is he, who does not even regularly communicate, let alone using it as an opportunity, with the various teams in his organization about this important initiative, fit to be a Business Transformation Leader.
Awareness, awakening and actioning are the three phases any transformation must pass through, else it could well be mere hallucination or infatuation or at best, illusion.
Changing organizational culture into collaborative collective excellence, implementing business models of effective decision-making, waste management, innovative work and reward policies, alternative staffing, systematic disciplined approach to enhancing the performance capability of individuals and leaders in an organization are all examples of transformation initiatives.
If the country has to transform itself into a growth-oriented economy, then industry has to be transformed, education system has to be transformed, social justice delivery mechanism has to be transformed and institutional governance process has to be transformed. Banks need to finance startups and not just large organizations in heavy sectors like power, auto, pharma and retail which draw enormous loans only to result into unabated Non-Performing Assets (NPA). Individual investors have to finance schemes which will bring about economic growth of the nation instead of just locking funds into staggering term deposits. Organizations have to invest in training and skill development initiatives instead of just running after singular double-digit growth and industry has to transform itself into a production powerhouse driving export-led growth.
If a business has to transform itself into a growth-oriented business, then structure has to be transformed, functions have to be transformed, processes have to be transformed and most importantly people have to be transformed towards achieving superordinate goals bringing in shared rewards.
Organizations need to appreciate and determinedly realize the importance and need of training programs for Business Transformation and systematically invest in them. Such training programs as those that would create awareness in employees, contractors, vendors, service providers, banks, partners and all other entities in the business ecosystem, about the significance of transformation, its relevance to their roles and the benefits it would bring in. And the view on benefits has to be both short-term as well as long-term, even if it means compromising on the former for the latter, but not vice versa.
American author and thought leader Bryant McGill said, “Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward – get real with yourself.”
Time to get real. Commit to get transformed. Today. On Teachers’ Day.