The right mindset for business transformation to happen

"There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it".
– Simone Sinek
We know that all businesses are facing the VUCA future: volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous. We know change is necessary, be it business transformation, brand transformation, organizational change, digital transformation, leadership and the preparation for future technologies. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable, and how we embrace it, is what will really define how strong a competitive advantage we build.

While understanding the dynamics and building the strategy to manage these external forces, it's equally important to understand whether your people in the current organization are ready and committed to change. When it comes to business transformation, people are often overlooked in terms of readiness to change. A Bains & Co study shows that only 12% of company transformation programmes are 100% successful and the rest compromise success to a lesser degree.

So what's the problem?

With so much budget invested in business transformation and brilliant minds out there, why are we getting such poor outcomes on business transformation success?
“The biggest unknown is your people and while any transformation plan may be exquisite, its execution is 100% dependent on the people executing it. People who are not part of the change planning process are less likely to willingly participate in the change, because we know from scientific studies that stress is a major side effect of change, and stressed employees are seldom at their most productive.” P. Sonne – Sessional Lecturer for Wits Business School’s Executive Education division

To overcome the 'human unknown factor' you need to get the buy-in from people to change or help them have the right mindset. Simon Sinek Author and speaker of the Golden Circle says, “There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it". Helping people live their values and fulfil their PURPOSE through authentic and meaningful experiences at work or through work, gives people a sense of belonging and a belief that the company understands them at a deeper human level. This reinforces the positive mindset and attitude organizations need to encourage true engagement and help them to adopt any business transformation programme.
To align with your people's values is to engage with them early, understand what they are and with practically authentic experiences bring those values to life. According to Gartner study 2019, an organization that helps employees exhibit good behaviours and make colleagues’ positive behaviours more visible will generate 2.1x higher employee engagement. Effectively, this could mean if companies invest some of that wasted transformation budget into helping employees fulfil their purpose to make a social or environmental impact and make those actions visible internally, an organization could move any transformation programme success needle from 12% to 24% because employees will believe more in the organization and what it is trying to achieve.

So what are the right values?

According to a Gallup study, only 27% of employees believe in their company values. This means companies are either not engaging with their employees to align with those values or they are failing to bring them to life within the organization.
Human rights, climate change, inclusion, diversity, education, animal rights are some of the top social issues that matter to people. Which ones to engage are important. Cparla uses Big data to help organizations define those values through data mining techniques and carefully constructed internal employee surveys. Having employees play a role in choosing the right organisational values will increase engagement significantly.

Cparla believes the most trusted, inspirational and PURPOSE driven companies will have fewer employee barriers to change when the (inevitable) time comes to implement business transformation programmes. Through social or environmental initiatives we successfully align company values with the employee values and help build the right employee mindset and attitude. With fewer barriers, the outcome for business is often shorter project time frame and faster employee adoption rate. Helping companies be the best in the world but also useful for the world.

A global healthcare company was going through a major transformation programme and the new leader needed help to transform and unite the company under a new common brand. With the help of Cparla, the company used its motivation and incentive programme to be a key catalyst for change by transforming the annual incentive trip from rewarding & consuming to rewarding & contributing. A carefully selected incentive trip with a social community mission, to help the children in remote Africa was a perfect fit with the values of the employees at both a personal and professional level. All participants expressed a feeling of inspiration, pride and reward. Ranking this experience as 'outstanding' and different to anything they had experienced before. When values are aligned and trust is built, it creates a strong foundation to embark on any transformation programme going forward. An interesting side effect from this exercise was that the inspiration created a domino effect internally, inspiring those employees who weren’t on the trip to the extent that they formed their own association to raise funds to continue to support the children.
*Building TRUST is a whole other story. If you would like to learn how we help build employee and corporate TRUST please feel free to contact Cparla.
Take the call to action, unlock your human potential and increase the chances of success with your transformation programme. It will save your budget and prepare your people to have an agile mindset for any future business change. If you are planning, going through or having difficulty moving through transformation, contact Cparla to inspire your thinking and share best business practice. 


Marc Bouvron

Marc is the founder of Cparla, a specialist consulting firm helping organizations inspire organizational mindset through social and environmental programmes.