In today’s VUCA* world transformation is surely an essential necessity for businesses and companies to prosper – and not just survive. Well, let me start by considering what the companies need to transform as I resolve the transformation paradox.
Firstly, a transformation may be needed in the offered product/service packages while preserving the core values and using/acquiring the core competencies. The other day I was talking to the MD of a company, which operates in the hospitality sector and prohibits both non-vegetarian food and liquor on all their premises. Won’t you all agree that this company needs to preserve its values of providing only vegetarian food with sober drinks in any product/service transformation for growth? Of course, this is what too did and unearthed other areas that can be disrupted to create the necessary transformation.
Transformation may also be needed in the processes and practices. I want to use the example of another client who has zero tolerance to unethical practices – again here what can be perceived as unethical by one can be tolerated by the other. This company practices a wage structure by ensuring that the same role is paid the same amount, irrespective of a worker being on contract, on probation or already permanent. The differentiators between the various segment are the perks. I also know other companies who have a huge differentiation, sometimes even 10-fold, in the wages of the various segments. An easier way-out would have been to create the differentiation and continuously go for cheaper contract labour for example. Won’t you all agree that by doing this the companies fairness value will get eroded? Preserving the fairness value in this company while catalysing thinking to become more productive was the key to the transformation to the sustainable profitable growth mode.
Preserving values and good practices while transforming strengthens the identify of all the people making it easier to establish a common platform for fostering disruptive thinking, very much needed for any transformation. In addition, the preservation energises the people to accelerate the transformation.
A great orthopaedic surgeon who just prescribed a removable arm restrainer for the multiple fractures in my right shoulder probably based on my emotional state, instead of surgery or a cast. After about 6 weeks, when I went to another very senior good orthopaedic surgeon in a different country for a check-up, he was shocked at the stupidity of the earlier doctor as he looked at the X-Ray of my fracture. He, however, took another X-Ray to discover that I was fully healed as he complimented the greatness of the earlier doctor. I want to use this personal experience to illustrate the need to thoroughly understand the DNA and the situation of a company for preserving the good spirit (my emotional state in analogy), while developing the recipe for transformation – Wisdom surely weighs over Smartness for effective transformation.