Questions for board members to govern a transformation

by | 19 Jan 2023 | Business transformation

The Board plays a fundamental role in a Transformation’s success. It needs to satisfy itself that there is clear ambition and direction for the Transformation, that leadership are up for the challenge, and that the right balance is being achieved between transforming and operating the business.

Questions to ask: – Proposal Phase

  1. Impact: How will the Transformation impact show up, and in what timeframe?
  2. Buy-in: How committed are the Board, Executive, and Investors to the transformation outcomes?
  3. Strategic Choices: What alternative options were ruled out that led to this being the proposed way forward?
  4. Extent of Change: Does this represent a material change to the agreed strategy, plan and budget? Is the proposed change ambitious enough
  5. Value Case: What is the value case for the proposed transformation and the time frame for delivery?
  6. End State Vision: What are we transforming to?
  7. Leadership/Psychological safety: How will we create psychological safety for our leaders/people going through the change?
  8. Execution: How will we create and direct resources that are ring-fenced from operational budgets and performance metrics? An uncertain future will always be sacrificed for a present bonus!

Questions to ask: – Pre- Mobilisation Phase

  1. External Help – What external support will be needed to help us achieve our ambition?
  2. Risk Management: What new risks does this add to the Board/Organisation agenda?
  3. Momentum: How will we sustain the momentum needed over time
  4. Value case: How will we track on the business case and ensure the value outlined in the Business case is delivered?
  5. Capacity/Capability: Do we have the capability & capacity to mobilise the transformation?
  6. Financial Return: How can we deliver the transformation in a way that early financial return can be reinvested in subsequent phases?
  7. Non-Financial Return: What broader benefits will be delivered and when?
  8. Phasing: Based on a 2-year programme – Can we break the transformation journey down into distinct phases?

Questions to ask: – Throughout the Programme

  1. Tracking benefits: Are we on track to deliver what we set out to? How will we know?
  2. Leadership: Do we have the right level of leadership and sponsorship?
  3. Roadblocks: What significant roadblocks have come up that need to be addressed?
  4. Stakeholder Management: Do we have the right level of stakeholder management?
  5. BAU: How are we managing BAU in parallel? Is anything materially at risk?
  6. Temperature Check: What is the climate/culture like? How are people
  7. Capability: Are we delivering the capabilities we set out?
  8. Sustain the Change: What’s the plan to sustain the change beyond the duration of the transformation?

Based in London and with over 24 years’ global experience, Karen Thomas-Bland is often cited as one of the top business transformation consultants and coaches in the world. She is a trusted advisor to boards, executive teams and investors, creating sustainable, long-term value for FTSE/Fortune businesses and PE funds. She writes for many publications including The Times, FT, Association of MBAs and Management Today.