Rock it in 2022 with our first five steps to effective business transformation

5 first steps for transformation
By: Todd Feldman
Founder & President
The Rocket Factory
About those business transformation activities you’ve been putting off… 
Your marketplace and your workplace have been up-ended since COVID came calling. The reality is that it started way before that. COVID served to accelerate the process.
How are you keeping up?
You do not have to look far to find case studies or statistics about why so many transformation efforts produce less than optimal results.
Of the $1.3 trillion spent on digital transformation in 2018, an estimated
$900 billion was wasted when initiatives didn’t meet their goals. (Forbes 2019)
Transformation efforts are change management efforts, with employee resistance being the most significant barrier to success.
70% of transformation projects fail because of resistance from employees.
(Forbes 2019)
Throughout my career, I’ve seen very people-focused organizations and cultures have a hard time doing what’s needed to operationalize the changing needs of customers and employees.
And in siloed organizations, it’s much worse. Well-meaning managers and executives usually start by identifying a flashy piece of technology or the desire to be more “data-driven.” The trouble is that the rest of the organization has no idea this is happening until the implementation has started, or even more complicated, the initiative is ready for launch.
Transformation is not a technology purchase. And it’s not the re-organization of your teams.  
At least not yet.
If those are the types of conversations taking place in your organization, stop and take a moment to review the following five (in order) critical first steps to rock your business transformation.
The Rocket Factory Integrated Model
Visualizing the process.
1. Begin with the end in mind. You must start by understanding business outcomes. We like to focus our view on a 3-5 year timeframe of the following four:
    • Revenue and Profitability
    • Operational Efficiency
    • Customer Experience
    • Socioeconomic Sustainability
It is critical to understand how each overlaps with the other in your business. And if you can’t do that, you will want to address it in your roadmap.
2. Create a “no-constraints” zone. With business outcomes in mind, invest some quality time with your teams to create new business initiatives; ones that are free of worry about current org structure, technology limitations, data infrastructure, and any other item that would cause someone to say, “we can’t do that because…”
We encourage the idea of thinking like a start-up since there are start-ups out there waiting to disrupt you. And guess what? They are planning and executing without constraint.
3. Pave the way. Build a “no-constraint” roadmap of five high-level initiatives and quantify each. The roadmap must align with the four business outcomes above. You will likely have a lot of ideas come out of your ideation sessions. Pick five you’re going to explore and put others in a backlog of items to be worked on later. If you don’t know solid numbers yet, take a swag.
As you do this, what will become priorities and what are ‘nice to haves’ will become apparent.
4. Keep (or adjust) your promise. Assess your current Brand promise against new business ideas. Does it still make sense? Do you use this promise to make decisions for everything in your organization?
Don’t have one? You must add this as the first initiative in your roadmap.
5. Look in the mirror. With a clear understanding of value aligned to the four outcomes, now introduce constraints into your roadmap.
Internally you should focus on all four areas of focus and their relationship to one another:
    • People – do you have the proper structure or talent to achieve your plan
    • Process – do your processes help achieve and deliver on our promise?
    • Data – do you have the correct data (or access to it) to deliver?
    • Technology – does my toolset support the first three bullets?
Externally you likely have other constraints such as regulatory, legislative, maco economic, or other forces at work keeping you from achieving your plan.
Assess both internal and external constraints. Assign a cost to address each of these constraints aligned to your initiatives.
With #5 complete, you are now ready to polish up the roadmap and go through approvals.
In your roadmap, you should be left with five clearly (at most) defined initiatives quantified against the four business outcomes in the roadmap. Included will also be constraints that connect to each of the five initiatives.
Completing these five steps at the beginning puts your business on a smoother path to business transformation.
Get ready. The next round of meaningful work lies just ahead.
Oh, and about the main image at the top. Have you ever put together something at home and didn’t read the directions? We tried. It never quite turns out the way we hoped.