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New survey results find that the most effective transformation initiatives draw upon four key actions to change mind-sets and behaviors.
Survey on the topic11.The online survey was in the field from February 10 to February 20, 2015, and garnered responses from 1,662 executives representing the full range of regions, industries, company sizes, functional specialties, and tenures. Of the respondents, 1,477 executives have been part of at least one transformation in the past five years, at either their current or a previous organization. To adjust for differences in response rates, the data are weighted by the contribution of each respondentâ€™s nation to global GDP. suggest that companies that design their initiatives to support desired shifts in mind-sets and behaviors see the most successful transformations.2
The process of how initiatives are designed is critical too.
respondents report that their companiesâ€™ initiatives most often fostered a common understanding and reinforced changes through formal mechanisms; initiatives involved role modeling least often
no one action is the most important. The use of each action correlates similarly with a transformationâ€™s overall success, defined as the successful improvement of company performance (improved profitability, for example) and preparation for sustained, long-term performance (improved capabilities, for example, or positive changes in organizational culture)
But transformations are more likely to be successful when executives say the initiatives addressed both strengths and weaknesses, rather than one or the other.
For instance, when companies adopt a more methodical approach to prioritizing their initiatives, respondents report a higher rate of transformation success (Exhibit 3). But thereâ€™s no single best measure for companies to use when prioritizing their initiatives.
transformations that involve people across the organization in the design process are more likely than others to be successful.
respondents say their leaders fail to look beyond the usual suspects (that is, the top-management and transformation-leadership teams). Only 35 percent of executives say their transformations involved key influencers, described as employees across levels that others look to for input, advice, or ideas about whatâ€™s happening in the organization. But
Treat design as a science. The survey results confirm that effective transformation initiatives have specific traits in common. Therefore, companies should not treat transformation design as a guessing game. The most effective initiatives use all four actions to change mind-sets and behaviors; they are also designed to complement one another, align with the companyâ€™s context, address both strengths and weaknesses, and extend beyond actions the company has previously taken.
Focus on the â€œwhatâ€ and the â€œhow.â€ Just as the nature of transformation initiatives matters, so does the process by which theyâ€™re designed. The results indicate that systematic prioritization and involvement of people across the organization is essential for overall transformation successâ€”which may seem like common sense, but itâ€™s not always common practice.
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