What exactly is business transformation?
Finding one good definition of business transformation is not that easy. However, we can understand it as change management. To be more precise, we mean a strategy which aligns people, technology, and processes with the business strategy. But… It seems that this is a non-exhaustive definition.
Business transformation is, in fact, a process which involves fundamental changes in the previously mentioned people, technology, business processes and systems across a whole business or across a business unit. The main goal of each business transformation process is to achieve measurable improvements in effectiveness and efficiency. Stakeholder satisfaction also matters here. All the business transformation efforts aim at business performance improvement.
Business transformation involves many types of transformational change, such as cultural transformation, digital transformation, organizational transformation, and management transformation. Some transformations are easier, some more difficult, some require establishing clear communication channels. It’s good to understand them all.
Transformation – a big business buzzword
Transformation has been a buzzword in many industries and various aspects of everyday life. This is because the fast pace of life brings about changes, and these relate to and affect all of us.
Let’s think about digital transformation. People working in companies are afraid that once this kind of transformation has been conducted, they will no longer be needed. To be more precise, people are convinced that new technologies used in digital transformation efforts can replace them. The truth is that the skills and expertise of people will always be appreciated and, in fact, indispensable.
It should be noted that every company should be prepared for business transformations. Yes, you read that correctly – we used the plural form of the word transformation, because it is rare for companies to undergo just one transformation at a time. Business owners really need to know all the types of transformations in order to spot and properly react to any indication that some sort of change is needed.
What are the four types of business transformation?
Business transformations can take lots of different forms. There are four main types of business transformation – slow-motion, sprinted, negotiated, and hijacked transformation. Two of them focus on slow changes, whereas the other two types concentrate on quick ones. Sometimes, the changes are imposed “from above”. In other cases, leaders of the companies are the ones who feel the need to introduce changes. For the sake of better understanding of the differences between the above-mentioned types of business transformation, let’s have a look at each of them separately.
This kind of transformation applies to the situations when organizational leaders introduce a new vision with a long timeline for implementation. Most of the time, organizations undertake business transformations in order to create additional value (unlocking the potential of employees, managing intellectual property and so on). What are the examples of slow-motion transformations? Well, corporate turnarounds and cultural changes are the most typical ones.
Overall, it can be concluded that slow-motion transformation is challenging because it’s crucial to focus on the target and the direction of the change, which requires great patience and long-term engagement. A person who wants to carry out slow-motion transformation has to believe in lifelong learning. Such a person needs a spirit of continuous improvement throughout the whole transformation process.
If you’re such a person – remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. It’s worth using business transformation services. There are many business transformation consultants, who are professionals with extensive knowledge and years of experience in transforming businesses and showing them the path to success. They are always there to help you!
As the name suggests, sprinted transformation is a kind of transformation with sudden changes. For example, we can call a sudden corporate restructuring a sprinted transformation. Introducing a new strategic initiative is another example. To be fair, sprinted transformations look quite impressive and can be really effective, but they require motivation for a change.
Everyone should recall Facebook’s evolution into Meta. This is a perfect example of sprinted transformation, taking into account that it was so sudden and swift. Thanks to this move, Facebook (Meta) gained a first-mover advantage.
The next type of transformation is negotiated transformation, in which it’s better to refrain from acting in a hurry. Initiatives must be undertaken in response to external demands. In practice, companies cannot change the contents of the transformation. They can only influence them a bit.
Because of the previously mentioned external demands, the companies pretty often have to transform lots of their operating procedures. People representing the company have to be able to negotiate, be engaged in the debates, and generate impact. They are also responsible for preparing employees for successful transformation.
The fourth and final main type of transformation is hijacked transformation, that is characterised by sudden and disruptive changes that do not result from what the company owner wants. They are “brought about” by outside forces. In fact, external parties “hijack” the firm’s agenda – hence the name. In such a case, the company has to undergo transformation in order to adjust to a new reality.
One of the examples of hijacked transformation is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Lots of companies had no choice but to end their businesses in Russia – business owners simply wanted to avoid boycotts and sanctions. In contrast to negotiated transformation, there’s no room for debating and negotiating here. In a hijacked transformation, it’s important to move quickly.
What does it take to perform successful business transformation?
The very first step for a person responsible for business transformation is to spot the need to transform. Nothing happens by itself. It becomes easier to notice the need to transform, especially thanks to weekly or monthly company meetings. During such meetings, the fact that something demands a change is much more visible.
The only way to achieve success in performing business transformation is developing the right process for each transformation. Understanding the connection between transformations is very important, too.
For example, hijacked and sprinted transformations can be interconnected. It’s worth knowing the approaches they require, both together and separately. The game is worth a candle, especially when businesses want to ensure a competitive advantage and when they want to grow. Transformation and growth are closely intertwined. That’s why it is reasonable to know business growth strategies, too.
If somebody wants to introduce changes successfully, it is necessary to have appropriate executive capability at each stage of the business transformation project. It can be possible with the right people and at the right time. Established objectives and a good communication strategy can significantly help in performing business transformation. All the factors matter!