Organizational transformation equals organizational life. Sometimes we add an adjective to signpost a direction. For example, digital transformation. Very often I am not sure what the adjective adds.
My average large company client has at least seven big initiatives running in parallel. There is Six Sigma here, leadership programme there, employee engagement cascade workshops, simplicity, diversity and inclusion, Horizon 2020, quality improvement, innovation programme, talent management programme, you carry on please.
Each of them would have their own sponsor, likely their own budget, their own tribes, their own need to deliver, their own defence mechanisms, their own identity and their own self-inflicted blindness to their neighbour initiatives.
Ah, by the way, they all compete for the most precious currency in the organization’s life: air time.
That the staff are often confused should not surprise us. Being clear would be surprising.
Programmes that are constructed as A,B,C, steps 1 to 8, number of workshops, number of activities, will be favoured. So all those trains will depart from the same station at different speeds and avoiding collision, what else?
There will be transformations, however, that don’t fit into a 1,2,3, a,b,c engineering style. They are more like a journey, where you need good equipment, a sense of direction and a shepherd if you are trying a Himalayan one. (You don’t need a shepherd to go to grocery in the corner).
Those real, true transformational programmes are harder because they need a leader (a) who can trust others, (b) who is prepared to accept the un-planned and emergent, and who (c) does not have to have all the answers pre-cooked.
There are those leaders around, but not many. But those are the ones who can exploit the full real richness of the journey.