We all love stories. Stories have characters that we relate to or hate, there’s drama, heroes and villains, and the best stories stir the emotion. The same goes for companies and their stories – all companies have a story. Most stories are in-process still, whereas some have ended, such as the story of Enron – sometimes transformation efforts fail. What is your story? If your company is amidst a transformation or a turnaround, what does that story look like? What chapter are you in?
A Transformation is a fundamental change that penetrates the heart, mind, and soul of a company. It is not superficial, or a flavor-of-the-month change. In these tough economic times, superficial changes won’t do anymore – a fundamental change is often required to survive and, eventually, win.
Transformation is a conscious and purposeful transition to a sustainable way of working at a significantly higher level of business performance and health, based on fundamental shifts in:
- Collective Self-Beliefs
- Behaviors and Culture
- Underlying Capabilities, Systems, & Processes
Conscious and Purposeful
A conscious and purposeful approach is a necessary attribute in sucessful transformations. What does this mean? In practical terms, it means the following:
- a transformation consciously and purposefully builds capability to deliver long-term performance
- a transformation consciously and purposefully builds organizational and individual skills and competencies
- a transformation is consciously and purposefully modeled by leadership – it is not “business as usual”
- a transformation consciously and purposefully reforms the cultural instincts of the organization
Creating Your Story
An effective story is simple and is most effectively executed when it is everybody’s story. Like any story, it will contain characters and chapters. Organizational stories are no different.
The proposed story approach above is one I’ve used several times with organization. It has been effective because it is so simple.
- Create your desired transformation story
- The chapters in that story should have a performance metric attached to it – a metric that describes how we are doing. Each chapter is a “theme”.
- Lastly, this chapter should lay-out the portfolio of initiatives that are aligned to a theme or chapter and, when rolled-up, will collectively make your story a reality.
The recipe above is helpful and focused on the long-term, but tactically and attacks the short-term. But the vision is toward the long-term.
Think about your story. Does the story make sense? Do the chapters fit together? Do your initiatives fit within the chapters?