Ideally, you will begin to transform your company before a crisis forces change.
You are focused on the future and considering whether there will be changes which require you to transform. What will be driving the need for transformation in 5-10 years time? Consider first your target customers and their ecosystem. The consider your company’s ecosystem. Given those two views of the future, what you’re your successful company look like., to its customers and employees.
Will the need for transformation be driven by:
- The marketplace or number of customer be transforming? (shrinking, needs changing, etc.)
- Customers perceive that your company will no longer provide a competitively differentiated value proposition? (products and services not meeting needs, customer experience not competitive, pricing not competitive, etc.
- External trends which will disrupt your business model in unknown ways? (shareholders objectives, competitors, suppliers, the economy, regulations, technology, workforce demographics, politics/government, industry consolidation, new entrants, etc.)
Will customers, competition, technology, etc. be changing faster than your company? Do you know what the customer needs are today, the trends, what the competition is doing and what technology will enable? If do you don’t know what is happening outside your company, you are destined to fail.
It is hard, if not impossible, to predict what customers want, but you have fact based trends of what the customers are thinking and doing.
- Customers surveys can compare get insights into how customers perceive your company vs others.
- Data based customer analytics are another trend indicator (e.g. market share, spending, complaints to customer service, etc.)
Your company’s future ecosystem can be forecast by looking at fact based trends.
Internal capabilities can be assessed via fact based benchmarks.
Scenario planning helps make decisions as to how to change the company, in order to be successful in more than one possible future. The board should start each board meeting, discussing the future ecosystems, future scenarios and how the company will be positioned for future success – a “once a year strategy retreat” is a recipe for failure. The CEO and her C-suite should look at their plans each month – a quarterly or semi-annual review is not fast enough.
If you believe your company will be successful, then focus on continuous improvement.
If you’re not sure your company will be successful, then realign or transform.
What will be the scope of transformation?
- The target customers and their unmet needs?
- The customer experience?
- The customer value proposition?
- The board of director, the CEO, the C-Suite?
- Processes and technology?
Will this be a one-time transformation or will continuous transformation be required?
Will the transformation be achievable and sustainable?
- The greatest challenge is changing the people (board, CEO, C-Suite, staff). The benefits will not be achievable or sustainable unless the people processes are transformed.
Too often transformations fail, because the board, CEO and C-Suite do not believe they themselves have to transform. If the business is undergoing fundamental change, perhaps even becoming a new business, then different people may well be needed at the top.
Your next steps
To enable discussion with your board of directors, CEO, and advisory board download the following one page slide.