Transforming your business: Easily said, but how to do?
The recent crisis has made very clear that companies have to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant in a changing world. But what does that mean in day to day business life: do you have to forget all about the past and shift to new ways of working, new markets and new products all of a sudden? Do you have to stop everything your company was known for?
The answer lies in a parallel way of working, where both transformation and business as usual, i.e. your classic way of working, find their place.
Work in parallel
Let’s take a closer look at this mechanism of working in parallel. A great deal about strong leadership in business comes down to mastering unpredictability. In particular, transforming means opening your front door and inviting uncertainty in: Maybe that fabulous new product you had in mind will create circuit-blowing ecstasy among your customers, but chances are it will only drain your resources and revenues. In general business theory, this is called ‘to change the business, you have to run the business’. This implies a thorough understanding of what works well and why in your organization – based on facts, not assumptions.
Summarized you could say that the basis for business transformation is business continuity.
But how to start? How to get an insight in what to change and what to keep? At ViCre, we use our color thinking model. This is an easy tool to validate your professional activities, and see where transformation is needed and where you can find a stable foundation to build on.
Think about what's adding value
In order to do successful business transformation, you start with inventorying what is already working well. We label this green: our way to codify everything what is working well and has a forecastable positive outcome. It is your lifeline. Therefore, at ViCre we say that ‘Leaders must always aim for green first’, by excelling in their present-day business and doing more of the same. And however counterintuitive it may seem: You must enjoy that repetition. Because, let’s face it, without green, the end is close.
Now let’s have a closer look at the activities you perform which are useless, which generate forecastable negative value and loss. Activities you need to STOP right now. These activities, you need to mark in red. Even in the best performing companies, there are always some activities and tasks that are no longer meaningful. As businesses are constant in motion, what was useful yesterday, might have become obsolete today. Don’t be afraid to write them down.
Logically, your challenge is to keep the green list as large as possible, and to reduce the red to the minimum. That is the main focus in the world of performance.
But running a business of course is more complex than that. To survive, you need to continuously refresh and reconsider your business activities, and make sure that not all green activity turns red over time. To stay ahead of the competition, you will need to start new projects, embodied by the color blue. This includes new processes, products and improvements which later will become operational. Initially, these activities will be rather detached from business as usual, in lab-like, almost secret environments, worked on by the happy few that earned to be invited based on their contribution in the green world.. Gradually these transformations will become part of business reality, and turn from blue into green.
In order to do this exercise, you need to free up some time. Time to think, time to reflect, time to take some distance from your day to day occupations. We call this yellow time. Without sufficient yellow time, transformations and innovations risk to end up as another shot in the dark. On top of that, yellow and blue blends into green: exactly what we are looking for.
As you can imagine, this color exercise is not a one-off. Evaluate your company on a regular basis using the above model, and you’ll notice that after a few years, your company will have changed and become even more relevant than before without any major pains.
Check out our book: Receiving from the Ocean
Do you want to know more about sustainable business transformation? I can recommend the latest book by Eddy Helsen: ‘Receiving From The Ocean’. More info and a preview is available on https://vicre.eu/receiving-from-the-ocean/.
Or get in touch
Or get in contact with one of our colleagues, we'll be happy to exchange some insights.