How CEOs think about transformation

by | 28 Nov 2021 | Leadership

Embarking on a transformation is one of the most critical decisions a CEO will ever make. So what makes a transformation successful?

Three areas: committing to transform, leading the transformation from the front, and sustaining a new way of working.

Commit to transform

  • Affirm your conviction that the business needs to change.
  • Frame transformation as a higher level of performance—not a project.
  • Set an uncomfortable but inspirational ambition for your leadership team.

Lead the transformation from the front

  • Show true ownership by mandating involvement and getting into the detail.
  • Involve all levels in the transformation, not just senior leaders.
  • Build execution discipline from the start by focusing on the immediate activity.
  • Develop one voice as a leadership team on the transformation.

Sustain a new way of working

  • Invest in people and culture from the start.
  • Make engagement personal, so people in the company know why it is transforming.
  • Flex your new execution discipline to help weather future challenges. 

Personally go ‘all in’

  • Go “all-in”: not only in setting the scope of a transformation but also in the time and willingness to be at the centre of the effort.

Based in London and with over 24 years’ global experience, Karen Thomas-Bland is often cited as one of the top business transformation and M&A integration consultants and coaches in the world. She is a trusted advisor to boards, executive teams and investors, having led complex, enterprise-wide turnarounds and integrations to $105bn turnover. She writes for many publications including The Times, FT, Association of MBAs and Management Today.