Tag Archives: Business Transformation

The Transformational CIO

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, there is a mandate for a new breed of Chief Information Officers (CIO) who can bring and support fundamental change to the organization’s technical, political, and cultural systems.  A transformational CIO helps the management team to develop the vision, gathers support and buy-in from stakeholders, and successfully leads the organization through the transformation.



lovr knot

Bridging the Gap in Mindset

image006image007To be really good at transformation the binders must come off.

These two images capture the ‘from’ and ‘to’ of making the mindset shift into an agile, interoperable organization that is capable of continuous transformation.

Each organization has a greater or lesser degree of each mindset and the reason for the identification and discrete definition of the Transformational Organization Paradigm is to provide a platform for assessing the current mindset of the organization.

Characteristics of pre-millennium thinking that are fast becomming obsolete can be described as ‘Industrial Age’ in nature. The degree to which an organization holds to Industrial Age thinking, methods, organizational structures, practices in management and governance, and leadership techniques indicates how large a gap must be bridged to bring the organization into alignment with new-millennium ways of operating.

Moving from Industrial Age thinking through Information Age tactics to New Millennium ideologies is work each pre-millennium business must approach. The Transformational Organization Paradigm and Framework provide a measurable, repeatable way of doing just that.

In this area of the Transformational Organization Framework, employee demographics, prevalent leadership styles, reward and value characteristics are evaluated against the particular industry, business environment and specific transformational pressures the organization faces.

Before an organization can embrace the kind of agility and inter-operability represented in the second image above a number of dicotomies must be resolved within the day to day work context of the balance of employees from the board and executive team to field staff. Below is an example of these.

Industrial Age to Information Age First

In order to bridge the gap in mindset the organization must also address the divide between the ‘business’ side of the organization and the ‘technology’ side of the organization. So as the organization work to bridge the gap in mindset, it must also work to bridge the divide between ‘business’ and ‘technology’.

The common objective is an aligned stride and cadence of organizational agility – in preparation for the next ‘age’ that is coming into view.


Paradox 4x1,5

Harnessing the Power of Paradox

The very nature of business transformation is a paradox.

A fundamental principle of transformation and part of what makes transformation different than ‘change’ is that the polarization of mindset from current state to transformed state is so dramatic that the two ways of thinking are nearly impossible to consider together.

The Transformational Organization Paradigm uses the naturally occurring paradoxes in thinking, activity, and outcome as a source of forward propulsion for transformative work. At each level of the organization affected by transformative work paradoxes of intention, demand, skillset, goal and purpose exist. Identifying these as transformative work is approached and as they emerge over the course of the initiative is typically untapped success leverage. Leaders, operational staff and program and project team members will often be shocked into immobilization when confronted by paradoxical demands inherent in transformative work, or otherwise may have difficulty navigating the paradoxes and working through them. In doing so they ignore a powerful tool that may be used to move more deftly through ambiguity and uncertainty toward the transformed state.

Transformative paradoxes must be taken in as a whole rather than expressed in piecemeal by individual risk items or issue items or resistance items. And, the greatest forward motion a transformative effort can gain is through constantly encountering and resolving the highest friction point within the paradox.

The Transformational Organization maps the transformation paradoxes across the organizations formal and informal functions, groups, and teams as part of the transformation strategy work. And as each program, project, task force, work package and activity is approached the paradoxes inherent in moving from current state to transformed state are remapped at lower and lower levels.

The identification, mapping and navigation of paradoxes also forms a large part of specific change intelligence capabilities related to turning unacceptable unknowns/uncertainty into acceptable unknowns/uncertainty in the minds of executive, management and staff.

Navigating paradoxes is a skill that requires each leader and team member to confront the opposing directives, thinking, activity, outcome, assumptions, intention, demand, skillset, goal or purpose within the current context and ask questions like : What new truth are realizing at this point? What is real and harness-able at this moment that will move us forward? What can I think and do now that matters?

The image above represents the paradox that is the very nature of business transformation.

puzzle pieces


Based in 4 years of research in applying the principles of business psychology and human evolution related to organizational thinking, and more than a decade of practical experience in adapting these to promote the success of transforming organizations, the Transformational Organization Paradigm addresses all aspects of the organization:

  • Governance & Strategy
  • Operations
  • Portfolios and Programs

components diagram

The underpinnings of the Transformational Organization Paradigm and its components are:

  • Global best practices in business transformation
  • Global best practices in change management
  • International standards for executive coaching and leadership development
  • New thought in the area of business psychology and organizational design and development
  • New thought in the area of radical change and transformative change triggered by ‘New Millennium’ business environment pressures

The Continuous Transformation Management Framework is a set of practical tools and approaches to improving the organizations ability to transform : more cost effectively, in greater alignment with the transformation vision – the organizations new ‘trajectory’.

The METRIC model is the set of measures that answer the question ‘are we transforming’.


futility against the flow

Truths About Transformation – Part I Is it Really Transformation?

After chipping away to bring out clarity of purpose and a unified effort to transform for years, many organizations are getting little yield for money spent as the clock of a consumer-enabled, agility-driven marketplace ticks faster and faster.

First, it’s important to say that almost no one is doing business transformation well.  Many organizations have looked to IT and the CIO for wisdom on how to innovate and when to duck and weave through the minefield of such radical change. And, the IT folks I know are saying the truths as they see it by…

  • coaching their business peers in how to shift their thinking to ‘innovation’
  • suggesting how to apply best practices and methodologies to speed change,
  • advising their business peers techniques to carve a straighter line from ‘as-is’ to ‘to-be, and
  • making efforts to express what they know about reinventing every 3, 6 and 12 months.

But, despite best efforts, the new enlightenments lose integrity the moment they confront the deeply entrenched Industrial Age mindset that pervades or underpins most organizational culture. Instead, and regardless of how different the transformed state is, business-side leaders are reaching for tactics and techniques they used to succeed in the past and apply these to transformation work only to find that they have painfully reverse effects.

This first of three articles on the ‘truths of transformation’ will offer clarity on how transformation work is different than the kind of change that leaders have been driving over their career.  The second article describes why transformation should not be approached the same way as any other kind of project work, and sheds light on a new way of looking at how to achieve transformation objectives. The third article projects your initiative into the future and offers a line of inquiry that helps you discern whether the organization is or is not transforming as you go along.

I can also say that it’s become increasingly apparent that most leaders, managers, and staff in IT and in other business functions are not entirely clear what ‘transformation’ is even though most can recite the strategic goals and objectives and even the vision of the transformation.  Folks are working away at projects, applying themselves as much as they can but shrug or express frustration when talking about what the point of the work is.

For the record, here is my definition of what point of most transformation is…

Transformation work is conducted to meet the challenge of an emerging New Millennium business environment or ‘era’.  Meeting the new demands requires the organization to depart along a new trajectory which is very different than the direction it had been going to grow and evolve previously. The New Millennium Era is characterised by a humanistic approach in how business adapts to new and greater consumer intelligence and power, the raising of marketplace minimum entry requirements for technology connectedness, and the necessity for compression of complex systems and processes into simple accessibility. This achievement demands a re-balancing of the development of technical aspects and social aspects to achieve optimum internal collaboration and maximum response; a consideration of the organization as system of interacting, mutually dependent parts, and a reliance on synchronous communication among and between those parts. And, a moving forward at all costs along relationships that are genuinely based in intrinsic motivation and intrinsic wisdom, where work is conducted under dispersed transformational leadership and participative management of innovation to realize business objectives.

This definition might not be that helpful, so I have shaped the primary characteristics of transformation in to the test below…


Transformative change has universal, distinct and predictable characteristics; all transformation is change but not all change is transformation. Put a check mark beside the statements that are true. More than one check mark means the work is a transformation:

  1. The main outcome of the work represents a break with the past and you can see there will be breakdowns and breakthroughs over the course of the work.
  2. The changes are far-reaching in impact, and the scope, scale, and complexity are staggering and comprised mainly of unknowns.
  3. The work is driven by competitiveness and keeping pace/doing more with less, regulatory or sweeping changes that are consumer oriented – i.e. protect the consumer’s time and money.
  4. The changes transcend work automation and leverage the ascendancy of corporate information to intelligence and wisdom.

If your initiative tests negative as transformation, it’s safe to apply the tried and true practices and methods for leading and managing regular change – they will work well.  If your initiative tests positive as transformation then a new and different approach to leading and managing the change is needed – one that unpicks the deeply embedded Industrial Age paradigm to some degree before time and money is spent rather than working to clear these kinds of barriers while you are running the project.

See Article in Government CIO Magazine… LINK

A New Industrial Revolution is Coming

Over the past 25 years, the Internet has radically altered the way people communicate and share ideas and the way businesses interact with customers and clients.

For an even longer period, starting in the 1950s with the so-called Third Industrial Revolution, businesses have become more digitized. In the next few decades, a new industrial revolution will combine elements of these two trends, along with related technologies and practices, into a truly “smart” manufacturing process.

This convergence is known as the Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things. Whatever the name, the result will profoundly affect global trade patterns, supply chains and societies. The impact will vary, presenting many opportunities for developed countries to be more disruptive in developing economies and possibly limiting the use of low-end manufacturing for quick modernization and development.

Nonetheless, this Fourth Industrial Revolution will change manufacturing, industry and society.

Read more: https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/smart-factories-next-industrial-revolution#ixzz3cmM7z0Ih


Leading Multi-Generational Workforce – Millennium Era

 …the millennial generation — people between 18 and 34 years of age — will become the largest generation in the modern workforce, even bigger than the baby boomer generation. This finding highlights how the overall generational makeup of the workforce changes each year as boomers retire and more millennials enter the workforce…




Empathy in the Workplace is Key to Transformation

One of the key causes of tension and stress in the workplace is intolerance. We are all guilty of this. There are certain things that we find difficult to tolerate.



TEDTalk Leadership Leverage for Transformation 2012

Presented at the Transformation Leadership Event September 26th, 2012
TELUS Spark Science Centre, Calgary, Alberta.

Dr. Linda Miller of iMind Transformation talks about transformational leadership and the shifts in thinking required to successfully transform business.