Putting The Pieces Of Transformation Together

Your organization may have great organizational processes, unique capabilities and an impressive client roster—but growth will eventually fall short if you don’t also have the right people and culture to drive transformation.

The most effective organizations are those that have a clear understanding of their values. They attract and retain top talent, create environments conducive to innovation and see failure as an opportunity to learn. If your organization wants to continue growing, it is essential to invest in proven strategies that can help achieve lasting success.

In this article, let’s look at six strategies that can foster transformation and achieve lasting change across organizations.

Define your purpose and values.

Your company’s purpose is its reason for existence. It is the “why” behind what you do and deliver every day.

Your purpose should guide every decision, shape how your company interacts with the world and be reflected in everything from the way you treat your employees to the products and services you sell. It is more important for your company to understand what it is and what it believes in than to understand where it is going—where your company is going will undoubtedly change over time.

Your values are the guiding principles that shape how you do business and govern how your company and employees behave. When these two things are in alignment, it creates a powerful sense of purpose that motivates employees and guides decision-making. It also helps to build trust with customers and other stakeholders, as they see that the company is making decisions and acting in line with its values.

Conversely, when purpose and values are not aligned, it can create confusion and chaos and erode trust.

Build the right team.

When it comes to organizational transformation, having the right team in place is critical to success. You need individuals who not only have the right mix of skills and experience to support a specific effort but are also capable of driving change.

This can be a challenge, as many organizations don’t have the internal resources required to support transformation initiatives. As a result, you may need to look outside your company for help.

Start by really defining what you’re looking for in a candidate across all roles, and then create a plan for how you’re going to find them. In most cases, the best fit will already be employed so you have to be creative in how you find each other. Leverage your professional networks. The people who fit your culture and mission are the ones most likely to know others who will thrive in your environment.

Finally, don’t forget the importance of creating a positive brand. Invest in promoting your company culture and values, and highlight the unique benefits of working for your organization.

Promote a learning environment.

As a leader, one of the most important things you can do is create a culture of learning. This means more than simply providing opportunities for training and development; it also involves supporting a climate of creativity and innovation.

Encouraging creativity can be as simple as holding regular brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas or instituting a policy of taking time each week to work on personal projects. Similarly, leaders can foster a culture of innovation by encouraging risk-taking and offering rewards for spearheading new initiatives.

By creating an environment that values learning, creativity and innovation, leaders can help their team or organization thrive and drive personal and organizational transformation.

Relentlessly anticipate customer needs and pain points.

Delivering consistent results over a long-term customer relationship means you must be relentlessly proactive. This means staying up-to-date on industry trends, monitoring customer feedback, hiring industry experts and constantly innovating.

It also means being open to change and willing to make adjustments as needed—acceptance of the status quo is the quickest way to lose a long-time customer. When it comes to providing superior customer service, anticipate, push boundaries and never settle for simply “satisfactory.” Comfort is not the objective; instead, strive to eliminate complacency.

Embrace change.

For transformation to be successful, it must become part of your culture. You need to be open to change and willing to experiment with new ideas. But embracing change can be difficult, especially for larger organizations. Here are a few best practices I’ve found to be really helpful:

• Encourage employee input. Employees are on the front lines and have a unique perspective on company processes. Encouraging employees to share their experiences, ideas and suggestions is a great way to identify areas ripe for improvement.

• Streamline processes. Many companies become bogged down by inefficient processes that no longer make sense. If the process isn’t helping to deliver exceptional service, throw it away. Process for process’s sake never helps an organization. By streamlining or eliminating processes, you help improve efficiency and free up resources to make an impact elsewhere.

• Encourage creativity and cross-functional collaboration.When employees feel like they have the freedom to be creative, they are more likely to come up with innovative solutions. Creativity should be encouraged at all levels of the organization and across all disciplines.

• Be flexible. The ability to adapt quickly is essential. Lead by example and encourage your leadership teams to champion and celebrate pivoting.

Be realistic and patient.

Transformation is a complex, difficult process that takes time to see results. To achieve lasting change, you need to be patient and recognize that your efforts may go through periods of ups and downs. Be prepared for this, stay engaged in the process and continue pushing forward.

To truly create a culture of innovation and creativity, you need to put all the pieces of transformation together. By defining your company’s purpose and values, engaging employees, promoting a learning environment and settling in for the long haul, you can help your team work toward common goals, learn from each other’s experiences and come up with creative solutions that will move your business forward.

Previously published on Forbes.