What I learned on organizational transformation
- By Stephane Leblanc
I have been in business for more than 25 years and I have spent the last 10 years transforming organization. I was blessed to be trained and coached on the fundamentals of transformation by great teachers and coaches from all over the world. I also had real live experiences in leading transformations as a senior executive leading large business units in large international organizations. I managed teams of up to 3000 people with yearly revenues of 2.5 billion$. In 2008 - 2013, I led a team who achieved a major transformation of a struggling business unit and took it from a yearly loss of 50 million$ to a profit of 50 million$, while improving all other key performance indicators such as health and safety, quality, cycle times and customer satisfaction.
With all this training and my real life as an executive and a catalyst for transformation, I learned a lot on what works and what does not in terms of transformation. Here are the three most important things I learned about transforming organizations.
1. Transformation and change are not the same
Most companies focus on change. Change is doing what we did before doing it differently. Doing it in a more efficient, productive or quality-enhancing way.
Transformation is a different way of being. It involves change at the deepest levels of beliefs, values and assumptions. It results in fundamental shifts in behaviours.
It occurs when we are able to learn from our mistakes, are open to a new future and can let go of the past. It takes a lot of courage and faith from the leaders and a commitment to lead from an emerging future.
2. Transformation starts with the leaders
Organizations don't transform, people do. The culture of an organization is always a direct reflection of the values of the most senior leaders. Based on this, it makes sense that the transformation must start with the transformation of the leaders. The transformation process is about elevating the level of consciousness of the leaders by helping them to let go of their fears and limiting beliefs so they can move their focus from themselves to others. As they rise in consciousness, they can shift their focus from performance to making a difference for a all stakeholders.
3. Transformation requires moving from fear to love
In most organizations, there is a high level of fear. As many leaders operate from a lower level of consciousness and focus mostly on performance and the needs of the shareholders, neglecting the well being of the other stakeholders, they create a culture of fear in which most employees perform well below their real potential.
By elevating the consciousness of the leaders and moving the energy from fear to love, we can unlock the full potential of the organization. No one can perform at its peak if they live in fear. Love allows the leaders to create a climate where employees feel valued and their needs are respected. They also feel listened to and recognized for their efforts.
This allows employees to feel at their peak and perform at their best and also to provide amazing experiences to customers.
Transformation is not easy and sometimes if feels like a contact sport.
From my experience, it is a worthwhile journey as it is the only way to achieve real sustainable breakthroughs.