Why your transformation will fail

Your chances of success are shockingly low

70%75% (depending on your consultant of choice) of all major transformation projects fail. Only 8% of companies surveyed by McKinsey said their current business model would remain economically viable if their industry kept digitising at its current course and speed. That was in 2018. Imagine how low the %  is now with the advent of GenAI. 

Yet organisations must transform or die. Investment pours into the latest technologies, frameworks (and consultants) only to generate lower than anticipated returns, discontent, and inevitably a significant tech debt that will increase your firm’s running costs for decades to come. If someone doesn’t come and disrupt you before then. 

So what can you do about it?

Transformation is 20% tech, 80% people

Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change.

Focus on your culture 

 You are 5X more likely to have success with your digital transformation if you focus on your culture. Think about it – your culture is formed of your shared values, beliefs and norms across a group of people. Your people being “your biggest asset” aka your biggest cost. And they know it. If you’re not building a culture of adaptability, agility and psychological security, your people will resist change, especially when it feels like a “cost out” initiative. An adaptable, regenerative culture will embrace change and become your competitive differentiator.  Invest in it. 

Focus on your capabilities

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 12 months you’ve heard various iterations of “the machines are coming”. Great – they’re mostly coming for the parts of our jobs we complain about endlessly. But due to loss aversion bias humans love the status quo and would rather stay in a bad relationship (with said elements of their job) than leap into the unknown. So make it the known. Create capacity and provide the resources for people to help build the augmented future and they will embrace it. Make building new skills and contributing to the culture of adaptability the status quo. Keep your transformation as a black box and something being done to them, and you’ll fight an unnecessary uphill battle and miss huge opportunities for operational excellence.

Invest in evolution 

There are a plethora of digital learning platforms out there, many now powered by AI. That’s awesome, but they’re not enough. We all start our personal development journeys with the best of intentions, but we drop off. Event if a handful of us stay disciplined and get our certifications, that’s not enough to build true momentum. Real change requires a hybrid of tech and people to deliver a flywheel of upskilling and high performance.

Your cultural evolution needs to be tailored to your organisation, your values and your transformational aspiration. It should bring everyone along, and make them part of the change, even if their eventual path is out into the world.  Your leaders should be upskilled while being supported, your managers should be protected from burnout, and your people should be given a voice. Only then will you have a game changing transformation capacity that will out you in the top percentiles of organisations. 

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