By now, you’ve read the writing on the wall, and you are probably familiar with what enterprise transformation entails — and what it can achieve for your organization or enterprise. Many of the common provocateurs of transformation — both cultural and structural — include:

• Insufficient performance;
• The need to reinvent your business model;
• A pre-emptive — or reactive — strike against your competition.

If you understand that, in order to retain a competitive edge year-over-year, that you must either evolve or die, then you are ready to embark on a transformation of your own. So, let’s start by defining what it takes to lead a successful enterprise transformation.

Transformation Gut Check

First, we must realize that when we talk about transforming a company — albeit a regional, family-owned business or a global, Fortune 100 organization — we are altering the very fabric of the enterprise.

Why is this so critical to understand? Because, while you may have made the decision that you are ready to lead a company-wide change initiative, it is imperative that you come to grips with the magnitude of the undertaking ahead of you.

Successful transformations reweave the very fabric of what defines an organization. What results is an enterprise with an entirely new constitution. When transformations work, everything — the structures, process, and procedures — of doing business come together to exist as something that is wholly new.

An Ambassador…From the Future

This also means that you must identify who you are — in terms of your transformational goals — in order to have your metamorphosis find success.

You must be transformational and engage the hearts and minds of everyone in your organization. Often, this means operating as an “ambassador from the future,” with the ability to talk about that which does not yet exist, with both passion and conviction. In practice, this means keeping one foot in the tactics of today while also operating as a persuasive pied piper, i.e., someone who can keep the current business moving forward while also making sure everyone in the organization knows the way forward.

If you’ve got the guts to begin, then it’s equally important that you have the grit to keep a transformation afloat — which is what we’ll address in Leading an Enterprise Transformation: Part II — It Gets Messy.

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