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Wondering about Transformation

I have a question for you - over the last six or seven months, how many commercials have you heard that start with the phrase, “in these uncertain times” followed by promises of “change, adaptation, and transformation?”

“Transformation” seems to be a common theme among businesses these days and given the economic, health, social, and political climate it’s no wonder.

What I “wonder” about is will headcount reductions, cutting expenses and providing more options of where to work—platforms that corporations are hailing as “transformation”—bring about transformational change?

It’s not that belt-tightening and reorganizing are frivolous efforts. What I am saying is that such measures are reactions to past performance or current circumstances, often with only the immediate future in mind. They’re more about survival tactics than transformational initiatives. The problem is that you know it, I know it and our employees know it.

As a result, employees have exchanged standing around water coolers passing rumors for sending texts and group chats about the workplace environment, wondering if they’re part of the next downsizing round.

The present is built on yesterday. You’re building the future right now. Transformation is not about cut-backs, reorgs or incremental change. Transformation requires huge, compelling vision, new behaviors and employee awareness, as well as alignment and accountability to that vision and those behaviors.

People, not circumstance determine your success—transformation requires enlisting, engaging and motivating your people to carry your organization into a transformed state. People want and need to be led. They crave a vision that delivers a preferred future; they want to work in a high-trust values-based culture. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Transformation requires a clearly articulated picture of the preferred future, leaders who positively role-model the required behaviors and a well-planned cascade effort to enroll each and every employee in the journey.

If you’re “into’ transformation you may want to ask:

· Is your executive team unified, aligned and committed to your mission, a transformational vision and the behaviors required to “get you there?”

· Have you embraced and lived-out values-based behaviors that create trust with employees?

· In the midst of change are you committed to developing your people, realizing that people development is future building?

· Is part of that people development a plan to communicate honestly and earnestly with employees, thereby engaging them in the transformation process?

Transformation is about the future—the future vanishes quickly. Act’s slipping away.


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