7 Best Practices for Delivering on Business Transformation

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What does it take to deliver on the promise of transformation? In the face of high-velocity change, communication is everything. Things are moving so quickly, people don’t know what story they’re in anymore. It’s why they need a compelling narrative that answers who we are, what we do, who we serve, and why it matters. This narrative needs to be embedded across the entire organization. Clear messaging produces org-wide alignment: shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, metric to metric. The best practices below have been mined from over 15 years of experience in helping leaders successfully create sustained transformation.

1.) CONVEY AN INSPIRED FUTURE

Why It Matters: OKRs are powerful, yet they rarely convey the vision. A vision needs to be aspirational, emotional and functional—beyond just financial growth and moving the metrics. Why should we be excited about what we can create together? Your vision needs to demonstrate faith in the future.

Where & When? 

  • CEO messaging
  • Annual summit
  • Quarterly all-hands
  • Keystone videos & collateral

2.) STAY DISCIPLINED

Why It Matters: Transformation doesn’t happen by just “winging it”. You need catchy, repeatable keywords and slogans. Develop memorable frameworks, mental models, and taglines that can be repeated on a frequent basis. That message has to be personalized by every leader for believability.

Where & When?

  • Cascade down the line
  • Internal comms channels
  • Marketing touchpoints
  • Coaching execs for consistency

3.) ADDRESS THE EMOTIONAL

Why It Matters: Successful business transformations require speaking to the emotional thrash of change—the fears, the hopes, and the uncertainties. In the midst of a storm, leaders hold the center, demonstrate calm, and provide space for their team members to process the changes. While you might live in the new story, many of your people are still attached to the old story. You want to bring them along without making them feel judged, bad, or defensive.

Where & When?

  • All-hands and town halls
  • Monthly team meetings
  • 1-on-1 check-ins

4.) BE TRANSPARENT

Why It Matters: Transformation moves at the speed of communication. It’s vital to provide team members with frequent access to information, especially during times of change and uncertainty. Not everyone can see the executive view, and a regular cadence of communication can both overcome skepticism and address a fear of the unknown. Moreover, a culture of disclosure and openness engenders trust. People need to constantly be reminded of their place and importance in the company story—great leaders are constantly reinforcing context, outlining priorities, and showing they care.

Where & When?

  • Weekly newsletter
  • All-hands and town halls
  • Quarterly updates
  • Regular team meetings

5.) NAME THE STAKES

Why It Matters: Why is the transformation worth the effort? Bring us back to the big picture: What are you unlocking, enabling, or improving for your customers, employees, and partners? It’s worth the time to map out the payoff for each audience you should be communicating with. All audiences should have a clear understanding of the value the business creates for its customers or users, as well as a dedication to improving that value, service, and lasting impact.

Where & When?

  • Sales message and materials
  • Investor pitch deck
  • Recruiting story

6.) STRENGTHEN BELONGING

Why It Matters: What are you inviting people into? Team members should have a clear sense of how they contribute, with a feeling of being seen, heard and appreciated. All team members should know and feel that they belong inside the company and see themselves inside its story. When change makes the waters choppy, they not only need a calm center, but they also need to know everyone is in it together.

Where & When?

  • Employee onboarding
  • All-hands and town halls
  • Regular team meetings

7.) DEMOCRATIZE THE STORY

Why It Matters: At its core, culture is simply the stories we share in common. It’s not just the enlightened few who can tell the story. Everyone needs to be empowered to represent the brand and to evangelize the narrative. All team members—from IT to marketing teams—need to be able to speak with confidence about who we are, what we do, who we serve, and why it matters. To do this well, your people need the tools to develop their own relationship to the story, as well as the confidence to deliver it.

Where & When?

  • Team training & coaching
  • Professional development
  • All-hands & annual events

This article was written by Michael Margolis, CEO, and Founder of Storied.

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Source: This post was originally published at Gotham Culture on .