Business transformation becomes a necessity for organisations when they face pressure to improve customer service, reduce costs and make better use of their people, and require a change in capability to achieve this.
Yet the conventional approach to business transformation – designing a detailed operating model and organisation design before starting implementation with a ‘big bang’ – has a number of drawbacks. Frequently, the business does not address the complex changes expected from employees soon enough within the transformation to allow sufficient time for the changes to be embedded. As a result, the early benefits that the business expects from the transformation, which are needed to build staff engagement – and in some cases pay for later changes – are often delayed.
Taking a maturity-based approach to business transformation, through which you agree a high-level operating model and then make incremental changes to core capabilities, while continuing to work on the detailed organisation design, can deliver greater performance improvements than attempting a transformation that takes your business to ‘world-class’ in a single leap.
This is because a maturity-based approach to business transformation:
One of the major benefits of a maturity-based approach to business transformation is that it allows your organisation to learn from the early stages of implementation. Once the end vision for your business has been defined, change is delivered in manageable, incremental steps. This enables you to identify and address any barriers to change – such as a capability gap – earlier than with a traditional business transformation approach. These insights can then be used to adapt, refine and strengthen the organisation design as it is being developed.
A maturity-based approach to business transformation views your operating model as a dynamic system and pays close attention to the complex, continuously evolving relationships between each area, which are often overlooked in a traditional ‘big bang’ approach. This helps to ensure that the changes made in each phase integrate effectively and, as a result, deliver the benefits of business transformation sooner than expected.
A maturity-based approach to business transformation reduces operational risk because employees start on the ‘change journey’ as early as possible, learning the skills they need to deliver exceptional results. In addition, incremental change ensures organisations learn to ‘walk before they can run’. Getting the pace of change right means that employees understand the rationale for change and experience the benefits it delivers, resulting in greater buy-in, enthusiasm, and momentum.
We recently used a maturity-based approach within the technical and engineering service provider for a critical UK national infrastructure owner. The organisation wanted to transform delivery and customer satisfaction for internal clients. After designing a new project-based, high-level operating model, we delivered pragmatic improvement while the details of the organisation design were being developed.
In the early phases of transformation, we identified that there was little transparency across the business around how people spent their time. The PA team rapidly design and deployed a timecard solution by tailoring the client’s existing IT infrastructure, establishing a senior leader to champion the change, and harnessing support across the organisation to raise submission rates. Within five weeks we consistently achieved over 95% compliance across the organisation, providing the much needed visibility and management information required to inform future plans.