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Before you go to the consultants, ask your employees first

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There is a growing movement in the enterprise space globally that suggests that the ideal modern company is built on trust, transparency, empowerment and the democratisation of the workplace.  If this were to become true it will mark a large disruption not only the businesses themselves, but the huge market for business transformation services globally.

Business transformation is something that’s been around for as long as large companies have existed.  Like Jack Welsh said, “if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”.  And fail they have.

Big companies used to have the luxury of time and established business models when transformation was forced onto the agenda.  The process was pretty clear

  • have a down turn in the business and get heat from shareholders
  • pay experts to assess the problem
  • come up with  a strategy to solve the problem
  • pay for more experts to implement the transformation
  • pray that your employees weather the storm and emerge as a successful newly energised company
  • if it works the CEO gets a high five from shareholders, if not the CEO is sent packing with a big cheque.

But things aren’t so easy these days.  The pace of market-driven change has made a big impact on the way large established players approach business transformation.  It’s no longer viable to react to a downturn and spend years negotiating around it.  A modern CEO is looking for ways to grow into new markets and disrupt established competitors as an offensive strategy. Disrupt or be disrupted.

The modern employee is also going through a transformation themselves.  Companies are constantly fighting the falling ‘employee engagement’ factor to get better the economic value from their staff, one of their biggest assets and costs.  Lots of tactical measures are used to combat this, such as increased employee communications, dynamic career planning, learning & development and flexible working.  And iPhones.  These measures have a limited long term benefit as they’re auxiliary to the core business strategy.

The successful companies of tomorrow will be ahead of the game in a constantly changing world. They will be run by CEO’s who include employees in shaping and delivering transformation on an ongoing basis.  They will use technology to crowdsource input, allowing employees to take part in determining the solution, and shaping and managing the implementation.  This creates much higher value from the transformation itself, as well as the ongoing organisational culture, than any expensive external expertise can provide.

Business transformation is now constant. It also needs to be visible, open to everyone to participate and shape the future of the organisation.  Employees will naturally be engaged as they are a core part of the transformation, not just an after thought.

This also means there will be a disruption to the way companies value external expertise and their business models.


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