Starting a Transformation? Don’t Change Everything!

Some time ago, I was consulting a senior director of a government agency who was two years into transforming his organization to be more customer- and results-focused. He had restructured his 200-person team, launched a few key initiatives, coached his staff on changing mind-sets, and made some difficult personnel decisions. Then, just as these investments were beginning to show results, a new governor was elected. His mission? To transform my client’s organization to be more customer- and results-focused! What could the senior director say? “We’re already doing that” would have come across as resistant or worse. He simply sat quietly as his new boss laid out his plans for shaking things up.

As organizations of all types — in both the public and private sectors — strive to be more agile, they reorganize more often. Executives are asked to take on new teams, merge related teams, or pivot to a new set of priorities. Such challenges can be exciting: As a leader, your mind may be buzzing with ideas, questions, and possible solutions. The pressure is on, and you are eager to put “points on the board.”

Yet, for your team, a reorganization may involve a reset as much as a new direction. How do you get them mobilized and into action as quickly as possible?

In this new business post at strategy + business, Starting a Transformation? Don’t Change Everything, I suggest three conversations to have early in the process with your new or reconfigured team to help you build on the momentum underway. Letting go of the “all at once” approach may help you and your team get results more quickly.

See what you think!


All the best,

Elizabeth Doty