Corporate transformation sits atop the strategic agenda for many CEOs. While transformation is ideally undertaken preemptively, in practice it is much more commonly a reaction to changing — and challenging — circumstances. Such transformations represent a fundamental and risk- laden reboot of a company, with the goal of achieving a dramatic improvement in performance and altering its future trajectory
Given the stakes, we were startled to find that the research underpinning the design and execution of corporate transformations is surprisingly thin. As a result, transformations are often guided by beliefs that, while seemingly plausible, are more anecdotal than empirical in nature. It’s time for a more evidence-based approach.
Across almost all sectors and regions, companies face unprecedent- ed disruption. The competitive advantages that once gave companies a defensible position—their product lineup, scale, or legacy position—are no longer as secure as they were. Some upstart with a newer and more agile operating model will start taking market share—if it hasn’t already.
In the face of this volatility and complexity, most businesses must trans- form, meaning a comprehensive change in strategy, operating model, orga- nization, people, and processes. More than ever before, transformation is an imperative. In fact,
Leadership transitions increasingly happen when companies are at an in ection point, and as a result, new CEOs frequently face immediate pressure to make changes. The challenges are signi cant. Companies are being bu eted by rapidly evolving technology and digitization, increasing globalization, blurred industry boundaries, and regulatory shi s, among other factors. As the traditional sources of competitive advantage disappear, top-performing companies are increas- ing their lead on poor and average performers.
For leaders in large corporations, business today o en feels like being on a steep treadmill with the speed control set to max. Three months ago, the company may have nished a cost-reduction transformation to remove management layers and streamline operations. Before it is even clear that the changes have taken root, a disruption in Asia requires implementing a new go-to-market model for several countries. And right around the corner is another large-scale transforma- tion e ort, using new digital technology to improve the delivery of services and tap new revenue streams.
BCG, like McKinsey and Bain, does not have an explicit, authoritative description of the "unified organizational transformation theory" it uses as the conceptual foundation for its consulting. However, BCG does have an explicit conceptual model they encourage clients to use to activate and orchestrate their "organizational transformation journeys." You can find this framework in Parts 1 & 2 of their eBook, Transformation: Delivering and Sustaining Breakthrough Performance. Access this eBook here.