Transformation Approaches – Building The Wrong Runways

Business Transformation has always been an executional challenge, It’s also a people challenge. In today’s fast moving age, it’s certainly a prediction challenge, And for those that have sat in the big or small chairs of leadership, you know It’s a resiliency challenge trying to stick to an unwavering path of change when this week’s factors are all screaming “abort”.. But it shouldn’t be a planning challenge, should it?

We have reviewed the leading models of transformation practiced by the five (5) leading consultancies, two (2) leading tech firms and two (2) global agency networks and we humbly conclude that their approaches are flawed from the get-go. We’ll be honest, we looked at about 20 leading companies amore than half of these firms really don’t have a common opinion on how to change their clients (or their special sauce is so damn good, that they can’;t publish it for our unworthy eyes).

Never mind how they go about practicing their work (with some well-repeated refrains about exorbitant cos/ridiculous high margins,, ineffective talent and glacial speed),  but the models developed and presumably adhered to by these global giants are a “swiss cheese” of transformation, frequently missing big gaps in fundamental change and transformation ingredients. They are half-hearted, functionally-biased approaches that will almost surely lead to failure given their inability to bake and serve the whole transformation pie. We expected them to have blindspots but didn’t expert them to be this porous.

Transformation’s 15 Levers – The Big Guys Only Care About Half of Them

We know that effective transformation happens when 15 ingredients move in concert with each other. We have curated, minted, tested, audited, practiced and perfected these elements over and over, especially during the last three years. Many other research firms and some of the consultancies I have looked at in this study have even validated their need to be considered essential in times of transformation. Consider this… in more than half the occasions, the leading transformation service firms in the world don’t account for  these variables.

The Transformation Tale of the Tape  – How Do We Fare on the Top 7 Variables?

We took the top half of these transformation levers (ranked based on necessary conditions for success by our panel of experts from our 2018 Digital Transformation Reportt study)  and as you can see, these global factories of transformation consulting seem only half engaged.

Transformation Variables  /    Importance Rank     /    Does Wikibrands Cover It?   /   How many of the Other 9 Leading Firms Cover Them Off?      

  • Customer Experience, Insights & Touchpoints         1st                      Yes                 5/9
  • Aligned Vision, Purpose, Strategy & Targets            2nd                    Yes                 8/9
  • New Business Models & Emerging Tech Adoption    3rd                    Yes                 4/9
  • Visionary Marketplace Foresight & Experimentation    4th                 Yes                 3/9
  • Reinforcing Culture, Values, Behaviour # Energy      5th                   Yes                   6/9
  • Leadership, Governance & Sponsorship                    6th                  Yes                  5/9
  • Commitment to Change, Urgency, Investment, Candor    7th              Yes                3/9

The Transformation Smoking Gun – Why are Big Consulting, Big Tech or Big Agency Overlooking These Areas?

We can only intimate one of four reasons why the big firms don’t accommodate for these as fundamental drivers and key contributors to their work:

  • they are blindspots that their centres of excellence simply overlooked
  • they are intentionally steering clear of areas where their firms have real & perceived weaknesses
  • they can’t find a way to make as much money in these areas e.g. lower effort at higher billing rates, on some of the items they have left off
  • they are supporting functional biases based on their core business or customer, disregarding the interconnected nature of change work

In either explanation above, the results are pretty damning. 70% of big transformation efforts fail and only 35% of client firms are happy with their external partners and vendors. These blue chip service firms are emphasizing lazy strategy work over more clinical dives into the companies they are consulting for. They are prioritizing systems and processes over more messy people and culture. They are being steered more by internal client opinion then tough-to-access, external customers and/or key stakeholder advice. They are reinforcing traditional corporate top-down approaches vs. more contemporary inclusive, iterative and open design & agile schools of thought. And they are discounting heavily how the conditions that exist today are going to change significantly in the future, making analysis of past results far less predictable of success. In a word, they’re a mess. 

Wikibrands – The Full Monty of Transformation

On our side of the fence, we believe our company Wikibrands has the “full monty of transformation” (sidebar: a full monty really got it’s origins as a fashion term for a three piece suit  Monatgue Burton introduced to Britain post-World-War II, as much as we love the 1997 movie of the same name). Essentially, we have the works, the whole nine yards, the kit & caboodle, the entire shebang, the big enchilada of transformation. And we think that really matters if you want success in altering, pivoting or radically changing the outlook and trajectory off your company. Look at our graphic below and trust us when we say we were charitably given out checkmarks to our industry’s quasi-competitors:

the full transformation monty

The Next Step

If you feel like you are getting the “swiss cheese” of transformation, give us a shout, mention “the full monty” and enquire on our very comprehensive  T!5 audit and holistic  Transform Workshop/Lab/Sprints.We believe it’s one of the 7 reasons that make us better.

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