Any organizational change is hard no matter what size your company is. In this day of continuous improvement and constant change, we have to get better at the transformation process.
According to a McKinsey&Company survey, there is a way to beat the odds. The survey identified 24 specific actions companies that succeed take to ensure success. Each of those actions is listed below in order of their impact, from greatest to least, on a transformation’s success according to their survey results.
- Senior managers communicated openly across the organization about the transformation’s progress and success
- Everyone can see how his or her work relates to organization’s vision
- Leaders role-modeled the behavior changes they were asking employees to make
- All personnel adapt their day-to-day capacity to changes in customer demand
- Senior managers communicated openly across the organization about the transformation’s implications for individuals’ day-to-day work
- Everyone is actively engaged in identifying errors before they reach customers
- Best practices are systematically identified, shared, and improved upon
- The organization develops its people so that they can surpass expectations for performance
- Managers know that their primary role is to lead and develop their teams
- Performance evaluations held initiative leaders accountable for their transformation contributions
- Leaders used a consistent change story to align organization around the transformation’s goals
- Roles and responsibilities in the transformation were clearly defined
- All personnel are fully engaged in meeting their individual goals and targets
- Sufficient personnel were allocated to support initiative implementation
- Expectations for new behaviors were incorporated directly into annual performance reviews
- At every level of the organization, key roles for the transformation were held by employees who actively supported it
- Transformation goals were adapted for relevant employees at all levels of the organization
- Initiatives were led by line managers as part of their day-to-day responsibilities
- The organization assigned high-potential individuals to lead the transformation (e.g., giving them direct responsibility for initiatives)
- A capability-building program was designed to enable employees to meet transformation goals
- Teams start each day with a formal discussion about the previous day’s results and current day’s work
- A diagnostic tool helped quantify goals (e.g., for new mind-sets and behaviors, cultural changes, organizational agility) for the transformation’s long-term sustainability
- Leaders of initiatives received change-leadership training during the transformation
- A dedicated organizing team (e.g., a project management or transformation office) centrally coordinated the transformation
What’s encouraging about the report’s results is how an organization’s success rate improves if these actions are taken. The transformation success rate more than doubles from the average 26 percent to 58 percent for ongoing and completed transformations. For completed transformations only, the survey respondents reported a success rate of 79 percent. The full results and analysis are available here.
The general take aways from the results include:
- Leaders are engaged and “walk the “talk,” not just expect others to move the transformation forward.
- Accountability is built into the program across the board, from frontline to senior leadership staff.
- Communication is an integral part of the transformation process and a key ingredient for a successful outcome.
You can use these 24 points in your company to see where you measure up by conducting an audit on your transformation activities. Simply assess the state of your company against each item. Once you’ve gone through the audit, review the results and create an action plan for those points where your company is coming up short.