No matter how much work goes into the creation of a strong strategic plan, the most difficult part is almost always putting your plan into practice. Transforming an organization from top to bottom requires leaders and employees to overcome traditional operational patterns to drive business growth. This is almost always easier said than done — breaking familiar habits and processes is especially difficult when there is a perceived lack of urgency or immediate need to implement the change.
When it comes to business transformation and business growth, many companies invest a significant amount of time in changing processes, conducting employee training, and adopting new technology solutions. However, if leaders and employees themselves aren’t willing to change, then all of the planning efforts will ultimately fail. In order to be successful and drive business growth, company leaders should always keep these key tips in mind when leading an organization (read: people in the organization) through a transformation period.
1. Identify Your Change Champions
Forcing organizational change from the top down rarely generates success. Instead, transformation needs to be driven from every corner of your organization. To be successful, leaders must identify their change champions, or groups of high-potential individuals who are capable of inspiring others and driving results. These high performing individuals exist at every level of your organization, and should be carefully selected based on past performance, attitude, informal or formal influence, and skills. They should have leadership skills and a proven track record of managing projects and motivating others. Once leaders have identified their change champions, they can begin leveraging them to create a top to bottom culture that drives business growth. Remember, your organization’s ability to transform and drive business growth will be largely contingent on the quality and skills of the change champions you select to lead the effort.
2. Build Capacity
One of the most important aspects of driving business growth and organizational change is ensuring your company is equipped with the talent and technology to execute on your strategic plan. Your change champions will have the best line of sight into operational inefficiencies across your business, so lean on them to help determine where resources are needed. Once you’ve identified where capacity is needed, you’ll need to invest appropriately so your organization is prepared to carry out the transformation process. It’s important to ensure that your teams have the resources (time, equipment, budget, etc.) required to be successful before embarking on a journey towards organizational transformation. Remember, you cannot win a battle with “level of effort” personnel and no budget for ammunition.
3. Create A Common Purpose And Build Consensus
To successfully execute a business transformation plan, your entire organization should be aligned to a common purpose or goal. This means your leadership teams and change champions must also be clear on what exactly the goal is. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to carry a consistent, clear message across your organization, so that message can be reinforced by your change champions and eventually embraced by all employees across your organization.
To rally your organization behind your vision, your mission must be clear and consistent. If it changes frequently, you’ll lose your ability to rally your team behind your vision. That doesn’t mean your vision can’t evolve over time, but it’s important to be transparent so your team can adapt. Connect everything in the change effort to your mission/vision, and you can challenge your employees to take a step outside of their comfort zone and own new responsibilities that are directly connected to business growth.
4. Provide Clear Direction
Once your leadership team, change champions, and employees are aligned behind your vision, they’ll need a roadmap on how to get there. As a leader, this is where you’ll need to break down your objective into smaller, attainable goals. Goals should be clear and directly aligned to business growth and your overall objective. It’s important to avoid moving the goalposts. If goals are vague or constantly changing without communication, you’ll find it difficult to keep employees engaged. Instead, set reasonable and attainable expectations. By clearly articulating how each goal is connected to your overall vision, you’ll be able to show employees how their work meaningfully contributes to business growth. Remember to firmly set the goal line, clearly track progress towards the goal, and celebrate every small win on the way to the ultimate growth goal!
5. Track Progress
As your business embarks on its transformational journey, it’s absolutely essential that your leadership team is closely tracking and measuring progress. The key performance indicators that are connected to business growth will vary business by business, but it’s up to your leadership team to define those metrics early, and clearly, then ensure the organization is moving purposefully towards them. Whether it’s financial performance, customer satisfaction, or operational efficiencies, take the time to define what success looks like and make sure you’re doing a good job of communicating your definition of success across your organization. Use your key performance indicators in a scorecard format to track your progress towards business growth, so you can make necessary changes if and when progress starts to fall short. As a leader, leverage project tracking and scorecards to keep your business moving in the right direction.
In order to drive meaningful business growth and transform your business, you need to create the right conditions for growth to thrive inside your organization. Taking your business from good to great requires discipline, planning, and execution. By following the steps above and working with an experienced business consultant, you can push your company in the right direction.
At Lilly Consulting Group, we are experts in Helping Leaders Get Organized and Initiate Changes. We specialize in helping businesses achieve lean transformation in order to overcome inefficiencies. If you’re looking to build and execute a new strategic plan that drives meaningful business growth, contact us today.