Transformation Roadblocks: Understanding Why Companies Struggle to Transform

The year ahead promises to be interesting for most industries, with macro and micro-outlook factors influencing business trends in the USA. From economic growth deceleration to policy uncertainties and consumer spending trends, these elements will shape the transactional business world. Micro trends like employment, wage positioning, financial market performance, and inflation potential will further add complexity, requiring a delicate balancing act at the corporate level.

Staying informed and adaptable will be crucial at the board level, especially for those eyeing opportunities in 2024.

External trends like these present the right “opportunistic ingredients” for transformation and optimization. Businesses and senior management willing to commit will likely realize growth in 2024 compared to competitors waiting for market direction. Business transformations are ambitious endeavors that promise growth, efficiency, and resilience.  It allows those who commit to take market opportunities and set them up for a strong 36-month run rate. However, despite the potential upside, many companies struggle to fully commit to transformative journeys.

At EPMA, we’ve partnered with hundreds of companies undergoing transformations, often with more success than anticipated. Yet, there are underlying reasons why organizations often fall short of their commitment to change.

Lack of Clear Aspiration

  • CEO’s / C-Suite Role: Often, the CEO fails to set a sufficiently high aspiration for the transformation. Without a compelling vision, the entire organization may lack conviction about the change.
  • Crafting a Narrative: Early stages of transformation require a well-crafted change narrative. If employees don’t understand why the transformation matters, they won’t invest extra energy to make it happen.

Resistance and Skill Gaps

  • Lack of Buy-In: People throughout the organization must buy into the transformation. When resistance prevails, progress stalls.
  • Skills Deficit: Sometimes, the leadership team doesn’t address skill gaps. Key capabilities needed for transformation may reside with individuals who have other day-to-day responsibilities.

Procedural Oversights

  • Change Management Infrastructure: Companies often miss crucial procedural elements. Establishing a robust change management infrastructure is vital.
  • Leadership Oversight: Regular leadership oversight meetings and performance management discussions are essential for tracking progress.
  • Transformation Office: Creating a dedicated transformation office ensures coordination and alignment.

Structural Deficiencies

  • Unified Vision: Lack of a unified vision and roadmap hinders progress. Clear milestones and accountability are crucial.
  • Risk Management: Absence of a risk management process can lead to unexpected setbacks.

Recognizing Red Flags

  • Measurable Outcomes: Missing key milestones and exceeding budgets are red flags.
  • Leadership Alignment: Disagreements among leaders create confusion and limit success potential.
  • Employee Burnout: Unrelenting pressure on employees due to lack of progress can lead to burnout.

Digging Deep

  • Understanding Root Causes: Leaders must dig deep into the company’s DNA. Only then can effective solutions be designed.
  • Undoing the Knot: Addressing underlying challenges requires a path forward that unravels the complexities of transformation.

We acknowledge the pitfalls and reasons for action, recognizing inhibitors that raise concerns. However, those who identify opportunities to right-size, redefine their structure, and proactively get ahead in 2024 will set the pace of opportunity within their respective industries.

In summary, successful commitment to transformation demands an all-in mentality, clear communication, skill development, and procedural diligence. By understanding and actively addressing these roadblocks, companies can navigate the transformation journey with resilience and purpose.

At EPMA, we are here to support you in accelerating your transformation and unleashing your potential. You must commit.