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Business transformation projects are not for the faint hearted

If you required quadruple heart surgery how many times would you accept as a minimum the number of procedures your Cardiologist had previously performed?  Would it be five, ten, fifty or hundreds of times? The number will be different for everyone, but we believe that only the foolhardy would be prepared to take a risk on a surgeon with only a few unsupervised procedures under their belt.


Business transformation projects can be a little bit like surgery. There are many moving parts with a lot that can go wrong particularly when it comes to organisational-wide transformation. These projects require management and advice from a seasoned expert with extensive business transformation experience under their belt. Curiously, unlike quadruple heart surgery, transformation management is often under-estimated.


In our experience, experts in any field follow a disciplined approach and begin by undergoing a thorough planning and preparation phase prior to analysing the landscape before them. Significant work is conducted during the initial stages with few deliverables visible. Trust must be established between the parties through frequent collaboration. As transformation specialists, we believe that it’s important to reiterate the agreed plan and objectives, plus emphasise how the approach being taken has been proven many times previously to achieve the best results for either the budget allocated or the ethos of the firm. As the transformation gets underway and complications come into play, the guiding principles of the plan and objectives should be followed through to enable the deliverables to become visible and to ensure the desired outcomes and the benefits are achieved.


When patients wake after their surgery, they are usually quite relieved to see daylight once again. And as their Cardiologist advises that their procedure has been a success, elation immediately washes across their face. Similarly, despite the challenges and frustrations throughout most transformation journeys, the elation we see on our client’s faces looks much the same.


If you want to better understand the intricacies of a business transformation project, we would be pleased to share our extensive insights with you and your team.

Robert Wagner, Managing Partner, Harriss Wagner Consultants & Advisers

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