When it comes to transformation we must take this request carefully. People and organisations come to us asking for help. The key question is what are you willing to achieve with this help, and with the transformation itself?
Sometimes the request comes from the context. People and companies around us are doing things differently. Are starting to behave differently. Are changing what they were used to be. From this observation people come to us asking for help: Help us to be like them! <MISTAKE>
Sometimes the request comes in the format of specific help without enough clarity on the expected outcomes: Wanna hire 3 agile coaches! <MISTAKE>
After several years partnering with organisation all along their transformational journeys we see clearly the keys for success, or at least the keys for making failure so easy to happen:
Transformation is deep. Transformation is hard and requires massive amounts of energy to move forward. Sometimes the approach should be (just) improving some areas of the system, changing some processes or helping some people to understand their roles and responsibilities in the organisation.
But transformation is another beast. Transformation is the approach when we realise that we need to be something completely new. Perfectly represented in the metaphor of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The caterpillar doesn’t know he needs to become a butterfly. And of course he even doesn’t know how to become a butterfly. The only thing he knows is that he cannot stand anymore being what he is. So he jumps! Transformation. TRUE Transformation requires a TRUE leap of faith.
Transformation is not a race
Let´s invest as much time and energy as required to properly understand the current system, the current pain points and the current real needs. Let´s listen to all the voices in the system. All the individual stories. Who are truly sponsoring this new journey? Who will be putting their energy and effort? Who should be threatened by the changes to come?
Once we achieve a clear understanding of the system, knowing the main forces that make it be what it is. Then and only then we should start the real journey. We will take small steps to let us feel and properly understand how every person, every cell in this living organism, and every relationship between them reacts and evolve on each step, before deciding which will be the next one. We must keep a sustainable pace.
Transformation is an Inspect & Adapt game
Even preparing the organisation, and everyone in it and around it, we cannot design a transformation plan. Once we understand the current situation and have visualised the expected future where we are succeeding in a healthy system we should design our next step. One step, maybe two, but nothing more than this. These steps should be as small as possible to deal properly with the potential risk and big enough to create some (positive) impact and value in the system.
We should run Transformations as experiments. We need to decide next step. We need to know what we expect to get once this step is done. Then we´ll move and then we´ll measure the results. Just then we can learn. Without learnings we are bling and the ‘transformation’ will just create confusion and resistance.
Transformation is forever
Transformation means breaking eggs. And as you all know, once the egg is broken you will never be able to rebuild it. You will create an awesome omelette or if you are not lucky or didn´t pay attention no one will enjoy your awful meal. The only sure thing is that, one way or another, you will never be able to have your egg back.
So, do you know what your next step will be? We are Ready… are you?