Many would say that a transformation is a major accomplishment and few attempts succeed. I would agree. Yet here I am, saying that transformation is not enough. So what could be better and worth pursuing?
These efforts are seen as events that produce a result and the result is celebrated. But too soon, the effects begin to diminish. The half-life of a transformation is too short. Any good change effort will have a good payback or ROI. And that payback will extend some time into the future. But it will never be long enough. And then what?
What was needed but not appreciated at the time was a “transformative transformation”. That is, what needs to be built in to a transformation or culture change are the processes, practices and understandings required to have the event be more a kick-off than a complete event.
What will be required to make the transformation transformative is that all of the initial event needs to build in practices and speaking that make it a beginning of a process with no end rather than merely and event.
“Transformative” is a way of being rather than a finite event. It has no end. Creating an innovation is wonderful. Being innovative is a way of being that continues forever. Adaptive, **two more examples**, are other examples. The focus on a way of being is not necessarily harder than an event. In some ways, it’s easier. It is working on the source of the future that will build on itself.
Transformative also has a much broader scale. It refers to organization, every person, every market that the enterprise engages with is a focus of transformation. These will all be permanently affected by interacting with the transformative organization.
Let’s consider the effect on members of the enterprise. Their experience of being respected, contributing, participating in a nurturing and challenging future will greatly enhance the way they show up at work. And, just as important, the way they show up at home. Many participants in our transformative work acknowledge positive changes in their family relations and positive changes in family members.
A transformative organization, rather than a merely transformed one, will be a disruptor. That is, every entity they deal with will be disrupted. From a transformative approach, the disruption will be a positive experience which carries within it the seeds for a transformation of the recipient. Most important, this is how a transformation provides continuing new energy and intelligence for its operations.
This approach will also handle that half-life syndrome accompanying any change initiative. The continued replacement of an old culture is part of the ongoing process. The culture will become adaptive without being resistant. It will increase the already existing power of the “old” organization with that of a transformative one.