De-risking entry into business transformation

Author Dominique Seal
May 21, 2024

During uncertain times and when resources and budgets are stretched, business transformation is often de-prioritised. But doing so can be detrimental to the future of a business. So, how do you move forward?

The answer is to de-risk at each stage.

Dominique Seal sat down with Lindsay Murdoch, Founder and Co-leader at Intaconsult, to talk through how to de-risk from the very beginning.

Intaconsult’s 7-Phase approach to transformation, rooted in Lindsay’s extensive experience, emphasises the critical importance of discovery as a first phase. Here, she talks about why.

What is business transformation? Is it still relevant?

“Business transformation can take many forms, from a new CEO’s mandate to the integration of a newly acquired business or a new customer improvement strategy. It’s generally, a ‘step’ change.

Despite the potential benefits, some leaders view transformation as expensive, or they may have had a bad experience with it in the past. Others see it as outdated.

But it is still relevant in today’s world. Transformation is essential for companies to remain competitive. For example, companies who do not tackle strategy, digital transformation and G-AI transformation limit their future success.’’

What holds business back from transformation?

“Many investors, shareholders and executives dislike uncertainty, making the market nervous and creating a tendency to hold back from investment in transformation. Which leaves us with a question: ‘how we can move forward?’

Doing nothing is not an option. It will potentially make a business increasingly uncompetitive, drive customers away and can lead to downsizing. Surely ensuring that this doesn’t happen would be a strong enough catalyst to drive forward change? But during uncertainly, do we have the ‘will’?”

How should businesses approach planning business transformation?

“What I have found is that a planned approach to transformation is key. Rushing after the next ‘shiny’ thing can cost us in so many ways: cash, reputation, engagement. That’s why, at Intaconsult, we begin our transformation approach with what we call the discovery phase.

This involves working together to achieve a shared understanding of the vision and strategy for the organisation. We conduct confidential interviews with key stakeholders to seek alignment on what needs to be achieved and the timing involved. We may also interview key influencers, managers and customers to validate our findings.

Testing ideas out before finalising the business case and wider communication is always recommended.”

What is the discovery phase?

“The phase involves engaging in confidential one-on-ones with executives and stakeholders who can open up and share valuable insights. These discussions are followed by conversations and workshops which all leverage leadership alignment and consolidate the vision as well as the overall approach to transforming the business.”

What is the best way to resource business transformation?

“Internal resources might not be impartial and external consultancies can sometimes run away with the brief. Using an experienced interim as a ‘fractional’ consultant is a great alternative as it allows you to undertake the discovery process without committing to an expensive team or consultant for 6-12 months upfront.

A fractional Transformation Consultant brings their transformation experience and their impartiality with a fresh perspective, helping you to identify views and challenges as well as patterns that may have been overlooked. This gives real insights on what needs to be done and achieve leadership alignment on the most appropriate way forward.”

What happens next?

“Once the discovery phase is complete and you have the insights, you can decide whether to move ahead with the project. If you decide to move forward, the same consultant can provide tools to increase stakeholder engagement, design a program to deliver the business case and support implementation. But if you decide not to proceed, they walk away without any further cost to the business. The flexibility is a huge benefit, and this option provides real value for a limited investment.”

What is the cost of getting it wrong?

“The cost of getting it wrong can be significant, with a potential loss of employee trust and benefits that don’t materialise. Equally, not investing in a consistent approach and instead spreading resources across numerous small initiatives can result in a lack of benefit maximisation and ‘pet projects’ which consume time, money and attention.”

What needs to be in place to get it right?

“Investing in a structured and focused approach is key to achieving maximum business value. This requires a deep understanding of the business vision and strategic intent, as well as executive alignment and agreement on overall priorities. Once these steps are taken, designing a program to deliver on these priorities and benefits becomes possible.

Let’s remember that we are all in this together, it’s a collective effort and with budgets being set, leaders can start to move forward into the early stages of business transformation and maximise future opportunities for success right now.’’

About Lindsay Murdoch

Lindsay Murdoch, founder and co-leader at Intaconsult, brings over 30 years of business experience to help organisations stay ahead in a changing market and achieve stretching business goals. With a decade at Coopers and Lybrand (PwC) and KPMG, along with two decades in interim management and consulting, Lindsay offers a unique breadth and depth of expertise.

Lindsay collaborates closely with organisations to drive business transformation activities, ensuring the delivery of sustainable business benefits while transferring essential skills and capabilities to clients through programme and change initiatives.

As a professional coach, facilitator, fractional and programme director, Lindsay leverages her consulting skills to motivate individuals and teams to successfully identify, design and implement the necessary changes.

Lindsay’s commitment to partnership and her wealth of experience makes her an invaluable resource for businesses seeking transformation and growth.

If you’re interested in hiring a fractional Transformation Consultant, please contact Dominique or get in touch below.

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