How bold is your business transformation? A new way to measure progress

Organizations that successfully pull off a high-performing transformation don’t choose between either holistic performance or business reinvention. They pursue both.

Jeanie Duck

When an organization embarks on a change of any magnitude, its leaders tend to think that they are facing a series of operational tasks that will, if executed successfully, result in a new state of being. They don’t realize that they will also have to face an onslaught of emotions and human dynamics. I have come to understand that emotions truly are data and have … [ Read more ]

Martin Reeves, Arthur Boulenger, Adam Job

Organizations tend to neglect or downplay the ingenuity component in change initiatives. Leaders often prefer instead a simpler, mechanistic view of the world, which assumes they can easily specify and control actions using project management techniques. Moreover, organizations are often averse to change. Ideas like “breaking the rules” or “reinventing the organization” are less accepted in typical projects—and a departure from the norm will often … [ Read more ]

Deidre Paknad

In transformation, every organization looks like a start-up, learning each quarter as it drives a new business model in new sectors, and operates in new ways. The conditions in large enterprise look very much like the conditions have always looked in a young company trying to create a segment or a category or launch a new product.

How Change Aversion Can Derail a Transformation

Achieving change is difficult. Organizations spend more than $10 billion annually on change transformations, but more than 50% of efforts fail to meet objectives. To better understand why, despite our best intentions, change efforts tend to fail, we looked to the literature—and found that “loss aversion” presents a helpful point of reference.

To better understand this phenomenon, we surveyed more than 200 people across the US … [ Read more ]

Michiel Kruyt

Are you in a situation where the challenge you’re facing requires you to be adaptable, or can you solve it with things that have worked for you before? That distinction is a very important distinction, and it’s very helpful for people to determine if they can solve this situation with old answers or if they need to develop and be open for new things to … [ Read more ]

Familiar Yet Fatal: 10 Common Pathologies of Failed Change Efforts

75% percent of ambitious change programs fail to capture long-term value. Despite these grim odds, globally, organizations spend $10 B annually on change management efforts. That is understandable in some ways — in our evolve-or-perish environment, organizations cannot afford to stay still. But more fundamentally, it suggests that organizations need to rethink the “tried and tested” approaches to change management. Our research suggests that change … [ Read more ]

Christoph Zott, Raphael Amit

When presenting BMI internally, be conscious of how you do it. When framed as a threat, people tend to get more rigid, which restricts information, narrows attention and reduces channels, resulting in inertia. When framed as an opportunity, people react more positively under the expectation of gain, which motivates change and promotes innovation. Opportunity and threat perceptions act as important cognitive antecedents to business model … [ Read more ]

How the Best Set Up Their Program Journey

Only a third of corporate transformations succeed, but two early decisions can help you buck the odds. A new BCG series, “Transformation Revisited,” shows how.

Losing from day one: Why even successful transformations fall short

Our latest transformations research confirms that success remains elusive and reliant on a holistic approach. Yet some actions are especially predictive of realizing the financial benefits at stake.

Strategies of Change

Instead of defaulting to the standard change management methods, leaders should adopt strategies of change that respond appropriately to the specific characteristics of their change context.

How many people are really needed in a transformation?

Deciding how many employees to involve in an organization’s transformation shouldn’t be a guessing game. New research can help.

The First 100 Days Make or Break Your Transformation

What are the most important issues to focus on when you embark on a business transformation? Ask ten executives, and you’ll get ten different answers. In the critical first 100 days, there are many considerations to weigh, decisions to make, and actions to take—and their timing and sequence can be as instrumental to success as the moves themselves.

So how do you ensure the company is … [ Read more ]

Maya Townsend, Elizabeth Doty

Change champions need to draw out others’ opinions about the reasons their hunch won’t work as a starting point for problem-solving and design. By treating the potential downsides and limitations of an idea as legitimate, rational concerns, people can work together to design solutions that both achieve intended goals and preserve what the organization wishes to safeguard while building commitment to implementation.


So-called resisters have … [ Read more ]

Eric Hoffer

Where self-advancement cannot, or is not allowed to, serve as a driving force, other sources of enthusiasm have to be found if momentous changes, such as the awakening and renovation of a stagnant society or radical reforms in the character and pattern of life of a community, are to be realized and perpetuated.

Buckminister Fuller

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Jeanne Liedtka

One longstanding and popular theory of how change occurs, attributed to Richard Beckhard […] argues that behavioral alterations are a function of four factors: the dissatisfaction with the status quo, the clarity and resonance of the new future, and the existence of a pathway to get there, all balanced against any perceived loss associated with making the change.

Bill Schaninger

Historically, we’ve been disproportionately focused on the value of the cascade, the leader, change leaders. They’re still all very important. But, increasingly, as we are a workforce comprised of a generation that has a lot of their actions that are digitally based, we’ve had to come to grips with the idea that influencers and opinion leaders and people in the social network, their role modeling … [ Read more ]