The Transformation Leadership Process

January 15th

There is at times so much rhetoric surrounding the discussion of transformational leadership that its worthwhile at times to go back to basics and think about the conversation that you would like to have with a leader faced with the compelling need to lead change.  Where do you begin?  What if the elements of transformation that appear in the Leader’s Guide to Transformation (planning, aligning, innovating, implementing and sustaining) are not particularly meaningful?

The mantra of the modern Harvard Business School “thinking, doing, reflecting” may be a useful way to think about what comes first and what after that?   The working papers page contains a deck titled “The Transformation Leadership Process.  The concepts are simple.  But that’s the point.

  • Thinking – there is a great deal of justifiable excitement that surrounds the discussion of analytics today.  In part, this stems from the possibilities that technology has created for measuring performance on a real time basis.  But analytics start with knowing what should be measured and why?
  • Doing – Even with direction that is aligned strategically and an information architecture that can deliver performance information in a reliable, timely manner there will be a need in the modern marketplace to make decisions and to act collaboratively.  Here the “open swaps” decision model is shown to demonstrate an approach to decision-making that can be opened up to stakeholders.  The open swaps method compares multiple options with multiple decision criteria.
  • Reflecting – Here five questions that leaders should be asking about their effectiveness are offered as a starting point.

A “way forward” concludes the deck: do you want to consider strategies that emphasize cost reduction and efficiency to make improvements or are they focused on top line growth, on service and quality improvement.

What’s most interesting about revisiting the basics is seeing how important it is to begin by understanding where you are.  Just asking whether you are considering what to do, trying to do it or reviewing what happened offers an accessible starting point.


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