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How do you transform your business these days? When do you start? How much time does it take and do you try to find solutions within your organization or are you looking for help outside? And do you have a proven successful process in place to manage it? I am not talking about using Scrum or Design Thinking here. I mean a proven successful system to drive the change in your organization?

When we think of business transformation – digitization is its’ first adjutant. Most of us feel overwhelmed by the myriad of opportunities it offers. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Blockchain, AR, VR, MR, robotics, … all promise to take you to the holy land … and if you listen to the troops of niche experts in the market it feels like digitization can potentially do anything, everything seems possible – which is … ultimately quite confusing and doesn’t provide a clear answer nor a real solution for how to precisely transform an existing business.

Thus it is not surprising that most projects only start when the core business is struggling. In that moment managers tend to search for external help and the whole process takes long, far too long. What they often find is a technology first approach with a top level advice, without being specific enough nor solving the core needs. And when they try to implement the solutions they face internal resistance.

Furthermore in the face of digitization, many are in shock and create a strange behavior. They focus on adding complexity instead of clarity. They start setting up an incubator to get more ideas for future business. They join their market peers on a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley to find the holy grail of business transformation there or make innovation an exclusive discipline, separating it from the rest of their company. Some even turn design thinking into a marketing tool just for the sake of demonstrating a new spirit. They set up external labs or new departments to solely focus on changing the business. The core question how to transform their business couldn’t be more out of focus.

At … and dos Santos we wanted to understand what really drive success of business transformation. What are the drivers, the principles, the systems the rainmakers follow? And where do the struggle bunnies loose it? Therefore we have analyzed around 60.000 hours spent on business transformation projects to answer these questions. What we see is that it comes down to three things you need to do in order to be successful. And if you execute these perfectly, you will boost the results and speed of transformation in any business category and discipline.

  1. Make sure to identify and put a super strong focus along the way on the critical business needs from the projects eve
  2. Unleash the internal business proficiency and weave in the new, required expertise from outside
  3. Drive immediacy and speed throughout the project

It comes down to this. If you don’t focus on the meaning and purpose of what you want to accomplish, you will risk creating ineffective (or gimmicky) solutions. If you don’t make innovation and change part of your business’ DNA you will create a big resource-eating beast with longterm and very expensive dependencies, harming the growth and profitability. And if you don’t speed up with the digital change in our culture you soon will not have a business anymore.

The rainmakers in the transformation and change game follow these principles to build tremendous growth and profitability with the help of digitalization and create greater results than anyone else. They master these things without a doubt and have a predictable system for generating and implementing solutions in house.

What we have seen is that the best way to build such a system is to focus first and foremost on identifying the real drivers and principles that are critical to the success of the transformation project. Often it helps to exploit (not define) this through disruptive expertise. In example to incorporate the knowledge of subject matter experts who are well versed in modern markets, technologies or target groups (both strategically and in terms of implementation). This will provide you with the north star for your project and helps to keep you on course. Furthermore, they use the system to add new skills by merging external expertise with existing business knowledge in house. And finally they use speed and immediacy to act effectively and efficiently. They use less approval steps but get real life feedback on their hypothesis and ideas very early in the process. Successful systems have this kind of unorthodox approach to solutions while keeping the core needs of the biz in their hearts.

If you want faster results, truly fresh and viable solutions and immediate impact on your business you need to focus on the critical business needs from the beginning, unleash the business proficiency of your team while building new expertise in house as well as build immediacy and speed into your process. These are the keys to success.

For those who like to dive deeper into the details of such system and how to set it up, please feel free to send me a pm.

Keep curious. Keep discovering.