Transformation and disruption: there’s never been a better time to be alive.

Face the disruption head-on and deliver the transformation faster.

What do companies need to front the pace of transformation? When asking for external support to strengthen delivery capabilities, which competencies must companies demand to deliver faster? 

Change is central to business. CEOs and CIOs recognise that key is having the strength to push change through, often in contexts of fiery and fierce stakeholders, and having the capabilities to deliver at a faster pace.

“A vision needs a strategy and a strategy needs a plan”.

In the universes of transformation that I have traversed, strategy is paramount. What would a CEO or a Board do without a strategy to realise their vision? And every strategy needs a plan. As a deliverer of transformation, knee-deep in planned delivery, these are the lessons I have learnt. They relate to the core competencies that companies must demand from consultants recruited to deliver the transformation, successfully – and faster.

  •  Credibility. Barry Dawson, a senior transformation director at Diageo, considers credibility ‘ingredient number 1’, an indispensable trait in his collaborators. ‘Hang’ your delivery skills onto some expertise. You can then talk to people across the organisational spectrum from a position of knowledge. For me, it was finance and system analysis expertise gained in global business technology implementations.
  • Understanding the mechanics of the delivery. This is about getting 'down and dirty’ in the engine room, knee-deep in cross-vertically integrated Gantt charts, risk analytics, ‘estimate to deliver’ calculations to track the progress against plans. These are all part of the arsenal of the ideal delivery consultant, a disciplined tactician that knows and deploys the ‘art of the possible’.
  • Understanding of what it takes to land change and making it stick. Yuval Noah Harari writes (1) that humans dominate the planet not because they are smarter or more nimble-fingered than chimps or wolves, but because they are the only species on earth capable of cooperating flexibly in large numbers. Organisations often already have skilled and motivated resources to land the change and assure its adoption, making it stick. The key, for a delivery consultant worth their salt, is to unleash them - and create a culture of collaboration.

To deliver the transformation faster, and face disruption head-on, companies need to work with deliverers that go faster and support them going faster. The three points above are what I have learnt in my decades of witnessing transformation.

 

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(1) In the breathtakingly interesting Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari writes: “[...] the crucial factor in our conquest of the world was our ability to connect many humans to one another.”
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