Enters external help stage left. There is an array of external solutions to pick from, which focus on the different elements of the transformation, from its case for action, to its plan of execution and finally to its implementation. The first two steps are relatively easy to get from external support, their timeframe depending on the level of ambiguity with which the executive is ready to acknowledge the need to change and give the implementation a green light.
All it takes then is a safe pair of hands to drive the implementation and get the change nested. This is where consulting support is likely to fail, as the transformation is left to client’s staff with little experience of operating at an enterprise level. Interims have an edge as they can use their past transformation experience throughout the implementation. Working as a chief-of-staff with the executive, a freelance can nurse the transformation with the management team from beginning to end, acting as a beacon for the change, coaching the executive to keep the right mindset, and bringing meaningful content to all interventions across the organisation. By adding a change professional to the management team for the duration of the transformation, the skillset is moved slightly towards the change end of the spectrum. When the transformation has truly happened, the chief-of-staff can take a bow and leave the business behind in better shape, with a management team energised for having gone through the change together.
So, when you begin to have the sense that your business reaches a crossroad, it might be worth asking yourself the following questions:
- How much time has the organisation on its hands before its current ways of working start impairing its success?
- Has the executive team the cohesion and the bandwidth to drive the transformation that looms?
- Is it possible to free a member of staff capable of framing and implementing this initiative?