“ It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive , but those who can best manage change “ – Charles Darwin
The case for having a Chief Transformation Officer has been building for years. However, corporates were not very sure whether such a role could eventually emerge, or whether it was even needed. However, the ongoing pandemic resolved this dilemma forever. Now, as companies undertake the difficult task of rebuilding in the wake of COVID-19, the role of a Chief Transformation Officer seems to be the need of the hour.
For many organizations, life will indeed be different in a post-COVID world. Whether they are redefining business models, restructuring their supply chains, reframing their market strategies or defining their WFH policies, organizations rebuilding in the wake of COVID-19 will need to undergo considerable change and transition. It is an experienced and highly capable leader – The Chief Transformation Officer, who will significantly improve the chances of a smooth and successful transformation.
The Chief Transformation Officer can serve as a catalyst for formalizing the processes used in transformation initiatives. That’s important because one of the other key variables behind a successful transformation is implementing and adhering to such standardized processes. He or she can bring the discipline needed to do so – helping organizations become more adaptable and allowing them to take full advantage of the technology and frameworks they already have.
The role of Chief Transformation Officer, is indeed very relevant in these unprecedented times. Who else can possibly absorb the management’s transformation vision and make sure it’s properly disseminated throughout the organization? He or she can help translate that vision into concrete goals. Even more important, he or she can devise and deliver the master plan for achieving these goals – overseeing the multitude of projects which will be needed to turn the business around.
At the heart of the Chief Transformation Officer’s role is an ability to strike the right balance between vision and reality, between short-term improvement and long-term goals, between making sure employees themselves take responsibility for change and personally ensuring they deliver results quickly with suitably high ambition. He or she acts as the face of the transformation, sets the tone, spurs enthusiasm, and challenges current wisdom
Who are the most successful Chief Transformation Officers? They are not only good problem solvers and business leaders; they have a high emotional quotient and very strong relationship skills as well. Chief Transformation Officers must be persistent about staying in sync with the organisation’s leaders on the transformation program’s purpose, targets and approaches. In fact, alignment with leadership expectations is one of the most important success factors. When the Chief Transformation Officer and leadership are aligned on the same goals, the odds of success increase considerably compared to programs in which their respective goals for the transformation do not line up.
Chief Transformation Officers have to make sure that people take the right actions at the right time. It is their job to build the roadmap that explains how to achieve the stated goals. That means they must be extremely vigilant about uncovering deficits and complexities which could arise.
As a part of the whole transformation journey there is likely to be constant changes – change in policies, decisions, management etc. The successful Chief Transformation Officer must be flexible enough to accept such changes and to figure out how to make them and to what extent. To minimise disruptions that could impact the transformation team, he or she must be able to articulate why the changes are needed and then carry them out with the full buy in of the stakeholders.
In order to become a role model for change, the Chief Transformation Officer must first convince the company’s leaders to change the ways that they work themselves - from planning to performance reviews, to investing. Once the new normal becomes a reality, he or she must ensure behavioural and business changes become permanent.
There is no secret recipe of being successful in this new role . These leaders take a holistic approach to change management, that allows them to do the right thing at the right time to the right degree. They work through obstacles, hunt for problems that could stand in the way of goal accomplishment, course correct and act as role models for the management as well as the entire team.
As the world goes through significant change with businesses and teams being impacted as never before, with new ways of working emerging as the new normal, indeed the Chief Transformation Officer is here to stay.