5 Things Successful CEOs Do to Transform Their Companies
You know that the company has to change if it is going to last. The question is what can you do as a CEO to successfully transform your company? Industry newsletters and business publications are filled with stories about businesses that want to transform, but few of these businesses are ever able to successfully make the transition. If you want to beat the odds, you need to be doing these five things.
1) Pursue Two Separate Paths
You know where you need to go, but you also have to keep the company viable while you make the changes needed to thrive in the future. Companies that have had the most success in making a big transformation walked down two separate paths at the same time. They continued to perform at a high level doing things they have been good at doing, while simultaneously investing in the technology, systems, and personnel development they would need for the transformation.
The ability to develop, and execute, a strategy that allows to you pursue two paths simultaneously will make the transformation smoother and more likely to succeed. Therefore having a clearly laid out strategic plan will assist in the transformation process
2) Seek Expert Advice From Outside of the Company
If you want to change the way things are done at the company, you are going to need some help. Seek out the advice of outside experts Consultants with a successful track record of guiding corporate transformations give you the outside perspective, experience, and support you will need to develop the right transformation strategy and to successfully implement it.
You also need to seek out leaders in other companies who have made major transformations or that have the skills you are hoping to develop inside of your own business. GE CEO Jeff Immelt sought out people like Jeff Bezos and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff when he was trying to figure out what he needed to do to keep GE competitive.
3) Invest in Innovation
While the goal of any transformation is to increase revenues and decrease costs, you cannot achieve corporate transformation solely through budget cuts. True transformation requires innovation.
CEOs looking to be industry leaders need to invest wisely in R&D and product innovation and in the recruitment of both visionaries and creative problem solvers. No matter what direction the corporate transformation will take, you will need innovative thinkers and solutions to keep existing customers and to capture new segments of the market.
4) Ask the Right Questions
Every corporate transformation is different. You cannot buy some off-the-shelf transformation blueprint.
The key to forming and executing the right strategy for your company is asking the right questions all throughout the process. If you aren’t asking the right questions, you will never find the answers you need.
Rose Fass, the author of the Chocolate Conversation: Lead Bittersweet Change, Transform Your Business, has a powerful list of ten questions CEOs need to be asking.
5) Focus on Alignment
While vision is essential for a successful transformation, unless you have alignment throughout your organization, vision will only take you so far. Many of the problems with alignment are not intentional on the part of employees. But, studies show that when leaders share their vision and strategy 70% of the organization doesn’t get it.
Beyond simply sharing your vision of the transformation, you need to be working to communicate the specifics of your strategy all the way down the chain of command. You need to get buy-in from the management team to the ground floor of the company.
One of the best ways to create this strategic alignment is through executive development. You need to create enthusiastic ambassadors for your vision.
You cannot pull off a successful transformation simply through the strength of your own vision and will power. You need a team effort and well laid out thought game plan in order to achieve the successful transformation that your shareholder demands from you