Transformation Journey Management

Transformation Journey Management – the truth?



So you have started out on your Finance /Human Resources / Information Technology/ Global Business Services Transformation journey.

You have a road map for this journey. Tick. You have established your blue-print for the targeted operating model, got your project in place, assigned a budget, chosen your new systems and processes, and made a good start to implement the hardware and software. Tick, tick, tick…. You are on your way.

Oh yes and there is one more thing – the people. Those who are going with you on your journey, those travelling all the way, going the distance, those who will step off along the way.

The soft and fuzzy bit, the emotional bit. How do we deal with this aspect of transformation the so called People Transition to the end state destination……….?


As a young kid aged 5 (and I am not changing the subject here), I remember being woken up early by my parents and bundled into the car. I was dazed from sleeping and shocked by the cold dark air. “Where are we going”?   I asked. “It’s a surprise! “, they replied together. My mother turned round to look at me in the back seat and said calmly “Go to sleep and we will wake you up when we are there “.

Reflecting on this now it was well intentioned advice, but at the time I couldn’t stop wondering where were we going, what was this surprise, will it be a good or a bad surprise, how long will it take to get there, have I done something wrong or is this a reward ..? My mind was racing, my energy was focused on speculating rather than going back to sleep.  So I pretended to sleep for what seemed like hours. I peeped outside for clues, it was still dark and there were very few clues, no signs that I could read.  Anxious I finally broke the silence with the famous question: “Are we there yet?”

Mother answered, “No, not yet but let’s play a game of I –spy and if you are good we will buy you an ice cream later on the journey “. So I played the game focusing more and more on the ice-cream. I was suitably distracted.


May be this journey management technique sounds familiar?


So what options do we have for managing the journey of our People on the transformation journey?   I have polarised this into option A and option B to make it easier to choose what is right for you and your organisation.


Option A

The People are passengers on the journey.

We don’t tell them the whole story.  Just the bits we think they must know.

We keep them in the dark a bit. Perhaps we are trying to protect them from the truth.

May be they will lose their job. Maybe we are afraid that they if they know this they will soon get out of the car, taking their luggage with them, before they have passed on the knowledge they have which could  help us to drive a good journey.

We decide to keep the “cat in the bag” about the roles, the blueprint, the end destination, and what’s in it for them. Is safer that way, we think. A good way for adults to treat their kids, perhaps.


Option B

The People are active participants on the journey. They can help us navigate. They have some input to where we are going and how we will get there and what we need to do. Their energy and ideas are tapped. They join work-streams and projects.

We inform them about where we are going, and how we plan to get there and approximately how long it will take to get there. We also answer the question –Why? And the even bigger question: What does this mean for me?

We feel that by being open it will engender trust and an open dialogue. We think that by sharing the road map we are energising the contributions our People can make to moving forward to our destination.  It is an Adult to Adult conversation in the car.

We tell them the facts of life –the facts of Transformation.

There are 3 possible outcomes for each of you. You have some choices to make. Some things are in your control others are not completely in your control. But by knowing and knowing in good time you can be prepared. You can own the outcome.


Outcome 1

You are offered and may choose to accept a role in the newly transformed organisation.

We share with you the role profiles, describe a typical day in the life of each role, describe the selection process in good time to allow you to prepare, develop skills, and hone your strengths –to be ready.

Outcome 2

It is not clear that there is a role for you in the new organisation when we reach the end destination. However you have good knowledge and good skills and you have an opportunity to help us on the journey which will take several months to a year to complete. Meanwhile you can build your CV as we will give you project management, change management, process and systems improvement, and knowledge transfer opportunities. These skills are useful and will help you in the future. Particularly if you want to work for a large multi-national organisation in the future. 84% of multi-nationals have already started on the Transformation journey. Most of the other 16% like us are getting ready to start in the next year or so.

Outcome 3

We are setting up Service Centers to manage Transactions and data and administration processes in regional hubs. Your country has not been chosen as the location for one of these hubs. To be honest we do not provide international relocation to transfer to those new Service Centers.   Although those individuals who are open to relocate at their expense will certainly be eligible to apply for the new roles. On local terms.

We do value the administrative skills you have and there is an opportunity for you to train others and transfer your learnings to the new people we hire for these Centers. If you stay with us to help with this knowledge transfer and training of new staff you will gain new skills for your CV and receive a package from the company when you leave as thanks for your service and contributions. It is not happening for at least 3 months (or more: insert timescale here) so you have time to plan and prepare yourself for the future.

We are telling you early so you can be ready, so you can make your choice.

Choose to stay and help with the knowledge transfer. Grow your CV and experience. Receive thanks and a package to go.

Or choose to leave now.  Just give your normal contractual notice period.  We will replace you with a temporary staff member.  


Adult conversations.



Of course it’s not quite as simple as this –there is more detail to consider, more frequently asked questions to have answers for, legal requirements and consultation processes to honour.

But you get the drift.

Trust this short story will help to choose the options  to manage your journey and to enable you to share it with willing and able people  who given the choice  and having the awareness about the outcomes will mostly choose to be energised, engaged, and equipped to help with the transformation.


By the way, in case you are wondering, my parents were taking me on a trip to the seaside and they had secretly packed my bucket and spade in the luggage. So it wasn’t so bad in the end!



Simon Brown

October 2015