I am excited to release my e-book, Transformation IQ, through GreenBook today. The e-book is a compilation of blog posts completed over the past 18 months with leading CEOs in our industry and focuses on what it takes to remain competitive in today’s rapidly evolving research and insights industry. I would like to personally thank each of these CEOs for the time and insight provided. This edition of the Transform blog provides a glimpse into the book’s content through ten themes for transformational success.
Theme 1: The goal is to increase the enterprise value of the organization
Make no mistake, the ultimate goal of any transformational effort is to increase the enterprise value of the organization. While transformation will certainly improve your ability to serve clients well, the ultimate goal is to increase the value of your organization and its profitability. If there isn’t a financial benefit, I question whether the time, effort, and sweat that goes into the transformational process will generate a reasonable ROI. Without financial strength, the future for any organization is always a challenge.
Theme 2: Be a student of trends outside the industry
Jim Bryson of 20|20 Research says “to get ahead of the adoption curve, firms must look for the intersection of technology trends and market research trends. This intersection is a sweet spot that requires less sales and marketing capital and can result in explosive growth”. It is essential that the focus is understanding changes in the world around us, the impact on our clients and consumers in general. This is the only way to ensure you stay ahead of the curve.
Theme 3: Love customers who want to be pioneers
Steve Schlesinger of Schlesinger Research has a phrase I just love. It is “cliff jumping with clients”. An important element of innovation is collaboration. You need to find customers who value innovation as much as you do and work with them to find new and better ways of addressing business issues. Not every customer is going to fit the mold-but when pioneering spirits merge, magic will happen.
Theme 4: Fail fast and forward
This was one of the most common themes across the CEOs I spoke with. To move forward we must be accepting of failure. It is a normal part of launching new initiatives and transformational efforts. An essential element of any organizational culture that engages in transformation is to ensure employees know failure is an accepted part of the culture as long as learning is associated with that failure.
Theme 5: Plan strategically and thoughtfully
Strategic planning is about creativity, planning and rigor in execution. A strategic plan needs to be a living document, not something that sits on the shelf. It doesn’t matter whether the plan addresses a 3 or 5-year time horizon. What is important is that the plan is developed as a group activity and is embraced by the organization. Additionally, the best strategic planners mandate rigorous execution and quarterly checks on milestone achievement.
Theme 6: Innovate pragmatically, never bet the farm
How many times have you heard the story of someone going “all in” on an idea? While occasionally a long shot wins, it is far better to implement an ongoing series of short shots. Pragmatic innovation is all about vetting new ideas, providing some initial funding but not going large-scale on the investment until there is proof that the idea will be commercially successful.
Theme 7: Embrace co-opetition – make new friends
I have little doubt collaboration with other service partners will become the norm for most of our industry. We cannot be experts in everything nor can we afford it. Invest in what is core to your business and find partners for most everything else. You will make new friends and have fun in the process.
Theme 8: if an employee doesn’t want to be on the train don’t sell them a ticket
Never manage attitude. It is a waste of time, energy and effort. An important key to any transformational effort is getting the team to move in the same direction. Individuals who become distractions will only hurt the effort.
Theme 9: Communicate communicate communicate
As George Bernard Shaw said “the single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. During times of transformation, it is virtually impossible to communicate too frequently. Communication reduces the fear of the unknown. Make it personal, not email.
Theme 10: Dream big – sometimes dreams become reality
If the world didn’t have dreamers where would we be? Dream about what your organization can achieve. Don’t sell yourself short. However, also recognize those who stray too far from their DNA or “true north” oftentimes do so at their own peril.
The e-book is designed as a fast easy read with something of interest for everyone. Download a copy by clicking on this link. Once you’ve read the book I’d love to hear your thoughts. Many thanks to everyone involved with its production.