Management’s Role in Transformation Projects
As expert consultants in corporate strategy and transformation, we often see managers foist an entire transformation project on our shoulders – after all, that’s what they hire us for, right?
However, ensuring a transformation project’s efficiency and durability requires a totally different approach. Although the consultant is an essential resource in terms of managing the project and sharing best practices and tools, managers have everything to gain in being the real ball carriers.
TO OWN THE TRANSFORMATION
Because it’s their organization, managers need to make sure that any new structure, new technology or new product comes from them and their team, as opposed to being solely developed by the consultant. The manager’s involvement and active participation are essential to maintaining his or her leadership and ensuring the project’s credibility. Managers need to support, legitimize and defend the project at all times, in all circumstances.
TO MAXIMIZE MOBILIZATION AND PARTICIPATION
We now know that ownership of implemented solutions is directly proportional to the level of mobilization and participation from the troops, i.e. managers and employees alike. And they need to get involved as soon as possible, meaning from the very beginning of the process. This is a crucial point, because this kind of project ownership generates the most concrete and powerful results. For example, getting managers involved from the very beginning of the thought process to establish a new organizational model brings them on board more quickly, and it empowers them to create meaning around the proposed changes when they’re announced to employees.
TO MAKE THE TRANSFORMATION LAST
If the consultant owns the project and manages it from A to Z, the transformation often doesn’t survive after the consultant leaves. It’s like they’re taking the solution away with them in their briefcase, and there’s no one left to keep it alive.
A CRUCIAL TIME INVESTMENT
Obviously, this type of involvement requires managers to invest time and energy in order to:
- Contribute to diagnosing the situation to be resolved or changed
- Participate in defining a solution
- Make decisions that they can own in the long term
- Appropriate the solution’s implementation plan and handle its key components (with guidance, but always maintaining ownership and leadership)
- Involve other team members in discussions, making sure to listen to them, consult them, encourage them, etc.
This investment will generate concrete, guaranteed benefits, such as:
- Ensuring more control and efficiency for the transformation project, since managers will be fully involved in identifying and implementing solutions
- Increasing the chances of success, since the management’s leadership and involvement will encourage team members to buy into the change
A CONSULTANT’S TRUE ROLE
The consultant’s role is neither to find solutions nor to implement them. Instead, transformation consultants should act as catalysts, helping managers create the project, plan each phase, use the best management and monitoring tools, and mobilize troops to secure their full cooperation. Consultants should also make sure to transfer their expertise to managers, in order to make the transformation – and its benefits – more durable.