By: Cenk Akerson
The call for transformation – whether digital, business agility or consumer centrism – has become louder and louder. The methodologies for all levels of transformation are out there. Yet it has been hard to execute and/or achieve expected results. Why, when the proven methods have been in practice for many years? It shouldn’t be this hard, yet it is.
Transformation itself is a process. For large organisations like multinationals and marketplaces, it can be very slow and painful.
Before we criticise marketplaces’ slow pace of transformation, let me ask you a simple question: how many of you have tried to lose weight and did not achieve your goals in the past?
‘Personal transformation’ to lose the extra weight, to burn the fat, has a very simple accounting method: ‘calorie deficit creation’, where for each 7000 calorie deficit you will lose 1kg (mostly fat). Yet most people fail to achieve this ‘personal transformation’.
Corporate and personal transformation are actually not that different. They actually share the same core reasons for success. Yet the number one failure for both is: the successful ability to change habits. 
Some reasons for failure include unrealistic targets, starting out with unsustainable plans and activities and wrong measurements. As well as mind the gap with what you think vs reality! Simply put, wrong vision with poor planning and execution.
On the personal transformation mission to lose weight, many get the inspiration, put their minds to it, invest in a lot of expensive equipment, clothes, gym subscriptions etc, even visit specialist dieticians. Yet so many drop out of their personal ‘programme’ so quickly.
Sound familiar?
How many consultants, out-sourced software development, new licences, employee training programme set-ups, company vision and strategy statements have been made in the past? Yet, at the end of the day, how much transformation has actually materialised?
Teaching an old dog new tricks is never easy, even at a personal level.
Habits are not built overnight, nor does weight gained happen overnight. So hacking your habits and losing weight will take time. And once you start hacking your habits – eating healthier, working out more – you will start towards your vision of desired transformation.
But don’t push too far. There is no magic pill, drink, cream or diet to realise your transformation without full body organisation. Nor, for business, is there a Chief Digital Officer, software offer, or a brand new department that will morph your company in a couple of months.

When a chrysalis becomes a butterfly it takes 7-10 days. Personal or Corporate Transformation takes much longer

So work with sensible targets and measure correctly in order to close the gap between what you think you are doing and what you are actually doing.
Of course, in the beginning motivation will be high – even better after seeing some results in the first weeks. But then you may hit a plateau and old habits may want to kick back in. This will be the crunch moment. You can either push forward or slip back. Remember, you did not add all those extra kilos overnight, so it will take time to get back to where you want to be.
As a brand, you may have a heavy and messy catalogue, with a corresponding consumer perception of being outdated.  As a retailer, you may be overstocked or have a junkyard of unconnected software, overstretched stores, unbalanced staffing, uncompetitive organisation skill sets. Well, these things did not happen overnight. Accept that it takes time to correct them, but persist in your efforts to do so.
Many companies who try to move towards being more consumer centric often fail. This is simply down to years of following long embedded habits like increasing dividends to shareholders. This route often conflicts with delivering real consumer benefits (in most cases). Another example is where an industry seeks to transform to digital channels but is scuppered because the back office operations lag far behind.
In order to achieve any given ‘transformation’, all parts of the organisation and market place need to be involved: brands, retailers and other service providers. Best to remind yourself whether you are trying to achieve some part of organisational transformation, or in the case of personal transformation, a specific weight target.
Recognise that perfection is a moving target. So the best thing is to strive for it. Fail once. Learn. Then keep going, aiming for perfection.

Peter Marshall

Founder: Arts
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