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How to Beat the Transformation Odds
Results from the latest McKinsey Global Survey on organizational transformations show that few makeovers actually succeed. Just 26 percent of the executives who responded said the transformations they have been involved with have been “very successful” or “completely successful” at both improving performance and equipping the organization to sustain improvements over time. Researchers asked respondents whether their organizations follow two dozen specific actions that support five stages of a successful transformation. At organizations that took a rigorous, action-oriented approach and were able to fully implement all of their initiatives, executives reported a 79 percent success rate.

The results further suggest that some transformation practices correlate more closely than others with success. Such practices range from communicating effectively and actively empowering staff members, to creating an environment of continuous improvement. In fact, by implementing continuous-improvement approaches, respondents’ organizations were found to as much as double their chance of successfully sustaining improvements after the transformation.

Interestingly enough, only 22 percent of executives said they would spend more time planning the transformation if they could do it over again. Instead, respondents said they would devote more time communicating a change story (49 percent) and aligning their top team (47 percent). It is also important to note that once initiatives are fully implemented, the change effort does not end. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they wish they had spent more time thinking about how their organizations would continue to improve.

In the end, transformation outcomes are as dependent on the people in the organization as much as the actual initiatives. To ensure the long-term sustainability of change, organizations must engage enthusiastic, high-potential employees, members and stakeholders. They must equip them with skills and hold them accountable for — and recognize their contributions to — the effort.
McKinsey Quarterly (04/15) Jacquemont, David; Maor, Dana; Reich, Angelika
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JUNE 2015 EDITION
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