Business transformation: an ongoing process of shifting to more open organizations


A recent article in titled Telcos Undertake Customer-Focused Transformation shared some of my thoughts on the realities of business transformation. The article opens:

Transformation isn’t so much a process as a modus operandi for successful businesses in the digital age, according to Australian futurist and digital strategist Ross Dawson.

Dawson said that successful, ongoing transformation comes from a fundamental change in business culture–away from secrecy, hierarchy, and fear, and toward greater openness in which failure is embraced as a learning tool.

“There needs to be a real shift in the culture of the business–not just at the top levels of the organization–and this requires greater risk taking, as well as greater transparency,” Dawson said. “This transparency and visibility around what is being done in the transformation, and the successes as well as failures, are vital to any business transformation.”

The article then discusses in some detail the transformation initiatives of telecommunications firms such as Singtel and Telstra, then concludes:

Dawson said he believes the most profound shift for industries, such as telecommunications, is in understanding change as a continuous process, rather than a series of discrete projects.

“In terms of transformation, if the parameters imposed by management are too restrictive, the organization cannot transform itself,” Dawson said. “Organizations must adopt an open business model if they are to succeed.”

This goes completely to the point of “governance for transformation” which I apply with many boards and executive teams.

The shift to open business is highly challenging, and governance is essential given both the real and perceived risks. Yet governance must be an enabler, not a blocker, of organizational transformation, otherwise it destroys value.

Almost all organizations must shift to greater openness, internally and externally, in order to be successful in the future. However that must be deeply considered and carefully executed, creating an ongoing and, realistically, unending process of organization change.