Making Transformation Happen – Part 2

Organizing for Success

Third, given the importance of transformation should organizations consider making transformation a business function? I would argue, yes. Organizing for success is key. Where can we find the best candidate to lead the transformation effort?

The Office of the CEO would seem to be a natural candidate, but it’s not my choice. While the Office of the CEO sets company vision and strategy it does not have the time or operational bandwidth to physically drive the transformation agenda day in and day out.

Who then? Who is best equipped to lead the cross-functional, enterprise-wide effort of making transformation happen?

I believe someone from Marketing should lead the transformation function. Why?

  1. Marketing sees the whole. To do marketing well, it must understand customer needs and integrate the core of every organization – sales & service/product/marketing.
  2. Marketing drives positioning. It brings vision to life. And it activates strategy.
  3. Marketing is the point of the corporate spear. Everything lines up behind it as proof.

The original business can’t get to next level by working off of the old framework. Transformation to a new, higher-value business requires hammering out new boundaries and values that the sales & service/product/marketing functions can use.  Unlike the original business where boundaries and values were established under different conditions, there are three problems facing any new business that’s built on top of an old one.

  1. Holistic understanding. The business is too big for any one person to fully grasp.
  2. Alignment. Different camps derived from different functions, origins and cultures have built-in biases and agendas.
  3. Accountability. The lack of common language and detailed cross-functional commitments and dependencies doom the group to under-achievement.

A cross-functional group does not have the time nor the expertise to solve these problems through the many execution iterations required. Nor will CEO-led management off-sites. The only way to give sustainable transformation a chance of sticking is to organize for success and select the right leader. For my money, that’s establishing transformation as a business function and selecting someone from marketing to lead the effort.

The Future of the Enterprise is at Stake

The job of driving transformation is critical. The future of your entire enterprise is at stake. The decisions on how to organize for success and who to select to lead the effort are politically loaded, that’s for sure. But, they are probably the most important decisions a CEO and board can make. They are decisions that will make the difference between success and failure – between remaining an organization stuck in its past or one whose value is vital to the interests of its customers.

This is the second part of a 2 part post. Read part 1 here.

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  1. Align for Success | - [...] 1) This post is about which department should lead the integration/transformation effort. Read Making Transformation Happen. [...]

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