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Four Steps For A Successful Business Transformation


Change is a turnaround process, and it is unavoidable. Behind successful transformation, there is a lot of planning, efforts, and resilience; and this is true for both organizations and individuals. That said, most of the restructuring initiative fails because of the lack of the above attributes. Essentially, the major reason for an unsuccessful shift is Fear. Our subconscious drives us into an autopilot to stay in the comfort zone. So naturally, it starts sending resistive impulse upon seeing a change. Hence, change management is a lot about capacity building in the organization. 

Similarly, at the individual level, people take help of professional coaches for experiencing growth. In this blog, we shall understand building change capability for successful restructuring. Examples of changes in response to external events include change in leadership, new product development, merger, and a new strategy.  

Steps for a successful restructuring

1. Shift in Mental Models

A mental model is the thought process of an individual, especially of how something works. Shane Parrish book cover extensively on this topic, and I recommend reading it, or you can refer to one of his blog explaining various mental models. Coming to our discussion, a shift in the mental model of management and workforce is the key factor in the success of the change process.  Ok, but how to get this done? Management practitioners generally believe that an organization is a mixture of 1. Early adaptors (learners), 2. Passive learners (when pushed), and 3. Naysayers (give resistance). By applying the right strategies to the individuals in these categories, organizations can flourish in implementation. For instance, managers in the category one need a supportive environment to succeed in learning about the purpose and benefits of the change. Typically, long-serving and loyal employees fall under this segment. Likewise, category two requires a strong and continuous push to learn and align with the new expectation. With 70% of the workforce (category 1 =10%, category 2= 60%) supporting the restricting cause, 30% would automatically align with the restructuring objectives. Tough, there is no reference to the percentage composition; it appears to be making sense. Because any disproportion of the above components would demonstrate serious flaws in the HR functioning, especially with recruitment. Bridge Transition Model, encompasses the shift in the mental model during a transition within individuals. Check the link for a more excellent writeup

Figure1: Bridge Transition Model

2. Mobilize Support 

Promoting a supportive environment by the leadership team is essential to the success of the project. This includes communicating the objectives clearly to the workforce that makes them align with the overall purpose of the restructuring. Signs of proper alignment with objectives are great synergies within the departments, less resistance within the team members, and steering towards the direction of positive change.  In a nutshell, every cogwheel in the change process works for what is best for the organization. 

As a best practice, organizations create focus groups with a composition of middle-level managers from all business functions i.e., manufacturing, production, purchase, accounting, marketing, and customer service. Typically, individuals in the group are natural leaders that can motivate the team and drive the objectives. Such initiatives bring positive changes in the workforce to accept change, ignore old ways, and subsequently experience the fruits of the new restructuring process. For example, most of the successful implementations in the last decade assured the workforce job safety during the change program. 

Figure2: Building change capability in the organization

3. Monitor and remove bottlenecks 

For any process, monitor and measure the progress towards the objectives is essential. Similarly, identifying any bottlenecks in the process should be the sole reason for this exercise. Any bottlenecks found should be streamlined for facilitating a better performance. Sometimes, this may include revising the policies, roles, and responsibilities. Because focusing on the results during this juncture is very important in the change management process. Any delay in the deduction of bottlenecks in the process could be detrimental for the restructuring initiative. For mitigating problems, the operational routines in the company are verified for effective functioning along with quality in output, which will help improve speed and efficiency. Some problem areas include no internal synergies, delay in adapting change and undertrained workforce. 

4. Change Constantly 

As indicated in the introduction, change is perpetual to stay ahead of the competition in the marketplace. Market responsiveness is possible only if the organization is lean and flexible. Hence, carefully planned change is essential. However, in this case, starting a new change initiative without finishing the previous one could lead to repetitive change syndrome, which is a phenomenon where the workforce feels overload and chaos in the organization.  Moreover, promoting the culture of change through concepts like Appreciative Inquiry by visualizing a better situation for a problem and designing the solution rather than focusing on only shortcomings, thus making the change process more effective and conscious.

To sum up, all the four steps are applicable for any business to implement change in response to the market changes. Moreover, rather an upheaval change, it is a proven strategy to moderate the restructuring process. With this note, I am ending the year 2019 with a set a of goals for 2020. Personally, 2019 was a great year with notable opportunities, learnings, changes, and accomplishments. I wish all the readers and wellwishers a happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. Thank you!!

Picture Courtesy:, Motorola learnings 

Sai Hari is a consulting professional who primarily practices in the area of strategic planning, Business analysis, process improvement, IT Project and risk management. Besides associating with the verticles like E-Governance, Food, beverages, retail, and E-Commerce, he also helps startup entities to get off the ground. He can be reached at for any productive discussions

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(All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site)


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