The antidote to transformation failure: Start different!

According to McKinsey, 77% of all Agile transformations fail! In short, this costs organisations millions in consultancy fees and people-years wasted on ineffective change. Could this time and money be spent differently? I believe that it can and it would end up costing eh organisation less, not only in time and money but in reputation also!

In my book “Leaders it’s not how you finish … it’s how you start!” I propose that leaders can save their organisations millions of pounds, dollars, euros or yen by approaching agile transformations differently. This is the underlying purpose of the Pre-Tx (Pre-transformation) model as shown in the diagram below.

This quote taken directly from the book, emphasises the point:

The benefit of the Pre-Tx model is that it enables leaders to do change differently, and challenge conventional change management thinking and theory, which advocates implementing numerous organisational interventions long before there is a full understanding of the problem (the organisation’s leaders are trying to solve).

Buchan, 2019: “Leaders, its no how you finish … it’s how you start” p79

Co-diagnosing the organisation’s issues yields better results

I was asked recently if this model could also be used for any other type of transformation. I would recommend that this model of something similar is followed before any change initiative. As I discuss in the book, the problem with most change initiatives is the approach is incorrect from the outset in that the leaders assume they know what problems they are trying to solve. Of course, it sounds rather arrogant that any consultant then coming into the organisation would know instead what the real problems are … they don’t know either. I recommend that identifying the root cause problems are best achieved through a process to co-diagnosis, step 4 in the diagram above.

This approach means that leaders and managers need to slow down and take their time working with their trusted advisor(s) in formulating problem statements as seen in the diagram below.

The manner in which organisational change is normally carried out is that leaders decide there is a problem in the organisation. They think they know what that problem is. They subsequently find someone to solve the problem for them. This is in accordance with the conventional approach to Agile Transformation, which is implemented at the lower levels in the organisation, with consultants brought in to deliver an Agile Process to solve problems leaders believe they have identified.
However, this is an overly simplistic method, because often the leaders do not necessarily know what the problems actually are, even after running assessments (due to how data is interpreted). Consequently, whoever the leaders decide is going to solve the problem(s) for them, they will not necessarily understand the problem they are trying to solve either. Thus, the consultants are often only able to provide a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for problems in general, which is based on the assumption (which may or may not be correct) that the leaders are trying to solve correctly identified problems. It is also assumed that the consultants are addressing the correct form of the problem, in other words the correct type of problem: simple, complicated or complex (Snowden & Boone, 2007). Hence, without a proper diagnosis, or a ‘mis-diagnosis’ instead, the result is a ‘mis-solution’ to the organisation’s problems, and this is at the start of their change initiative, which is, I believe, another reason Agile Transformations have a high failure rate.

Buchan, 2019: “Leaders, its no how you finish … it’s how you start” p78

Starting differently will save you a small fortune and will ensure you don’t waste time and effort

This is why I can claim that my approach will save organisations millions. It will also save much time and effort as you will most likely end up solving the problems that need attention, rather than attending to symptoms.

Contact me today for a free 30minute chat to explore how I can help you and your organisation to save much time and money.