logo image

ATD Blog

Guide to Navigating Transformation


Thu Feb 16 2023

Guide to Navigating Transformation

Navigating business and leadership transformations, whether personal or at work, can be challenging. However, with the right mindset, structure, and support, achieving success is possible. Business and leadership transformations require a clear plan, specific goals, and commitment to change. This article contains my comprehensive guide to achieving success through navigating business and leadership transformations.

Business Transformations

In the business world, change can be challenging to implement and sustain. To ensure adoption and make changes stick, have a clear plan and engage key stakeholders. Conduct a change readiness assessment, identify and mitigate business impacts, and create a cohesive communication and training plan.

  • Create a visible, committed group of stakeholders who demonstrate belief, trust, and empathy through the change. These stakeholders should be actively engaged in the change process, and their support is critical to the success of the transformation. Stakeholders who lead by example can engage in formal or informal conversations with staff and support.

  • Establish a change network that distributes communications and collects feedback. This change network should be responsible for collecting and analyzing feedback from employees and stakeholders, using this information to adjust to the change plan as needed. The change network can be extremely helpful in complex, global projects providing additional site, function, or business unit coverage.

  • Conduct a change readiness assessment to get a clear understanding of the organization’s change history and address any change fatigue. The assessment helps identify any potential roadblocks to adoption and provides insight into managing the change process. Conduct this assessment more than once during the project using the same questions to track and demonstrate progress over time.

  • Identify and mitigate business impacts. This includes assessing the potential impact on employees, teams, and the broader organization and taking steps to mitigate any negative effects. It is important to identify what is changing in the business and what type of change it is, develop a mitigating action plan, and implement it before the end of the project for successful change closure.

  • Build a cohesive communication strategy and plan. This plan should include a clear, consistent message about the change and a method for communicating this message to employees and stakeholders. The communication plan must consider all impacted audiences and any known resistance in the organization. This communication plan becomes a conduit for key actions and messages from the change impact assessment, the change readiness assessment, and training. A good communication plan delivers the right message to the right audience at the right time.

  • Realign any impacted roles, teams, or the broader enterprise-level organization. This adjustment requires a specific transition plan to inform people impacted by role and structure changes and may require uptraining to achieve new skills. This includes identifying and communicating how the change will affect different areas of the organization and taking steps to ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Create a training plan to ensure everyone knows what to stop, start, and continue doing. This should include training on new processes, systems, and tools, as well as training on skills, both embedding new behaviors in the organization and achieving adoption.

  • Take laser-focused pulse checks to ensure the organization is executing according to the plan. Pulse checks are meant to be short, fast, and digitally supported. These should be conducted regularly to ensure the organization is progressing toward its goals. They can be conducted as part of a larger meeting. Keep your pulse checks short—three to seven questions. The results may reveal tweaks the team needs to make.

  • Track benefits to drive even more adoption. When employees see the value that is financially being delivered to the bottom line, the adoption rate increases. This includes tracking the financial benefits of the project, as well as benefits such as increased productivity, improved employee engagement, and enhanced customer satisfaction. Tracked benefits and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be shared in senior executive and board meetings.

Leadership Transformations

Leadership is also a crucial aspect of successful transformations. A skilled leadership team creates positive and productive experiences for all concerned.

  • Leaders who take responsibility and follow through are essential to the success of any transformation. Leaders should be approachable, authentic, and committed to the change process. Leaders should also listen to feedback and make adjustments while communicating the vision and goals of the transformation.

  • Influential leaders also recognize the importance of coaching and development in the change process. They should provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills and take on new roles, and they should also provide support and guidance to help employees adapt to the changes.

  • Transformational leaders create a culture of continuous improvement. Leaders should encourage employees to think outside the box, experiment with new ideas, and learn from their experiences. This constant evolution in culture can help foster innovation and drive business growth.

Navigating business and leadership transformations can be challenging, but they can be successful with the right mindset, structure, and support. Setting specific goals, developing good habits, and finding accountability through connections with others can be key to personal and organizational transformations.

A cohesive communication strategy, a solid training plan, and laser-focused pulse checks are essential in the process. Leaders should lead by example, take responsibility, follow through, and provide coaching and development opportunities to help employees adapt to the changes. With the right approach, business and leadership transformations can be truly successful.

You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy