Why 84% of Transformations Fail

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It’s a pretty damning statistic and one that is trending in the wrong direction. Couple that with the highly volatile world we live in and change can look pretty daunting.

To unpack why this is the case and provide some real-world solutions, we brought together two leading minds in the world of change.

Jacqueline Shakespeare is an Operating Partner at S&S who has worked in change across Telco, Consultancy and Financial Services, now specialising in the strategy to execution of change.

Alongside Jacqs we have Martin McPhee who recently joined our board. Martin has significant consulting experience advising large scale private equities, helping companies look at how digital transformation can enable them to be more mobile, agile and global.

With host Pat Lynes, the pair have an in-depth discussion on the main barriers of effective change, why it’s important to embed it in an organisation and how we can prepare companies for change in 2020.

There are loads of hints and tips to start you on your change journey sprinkled throughout, so we hope you enjoy the show and as always we encourage you to join the conversation.

Key Takeaways
  • Don’t fear change and find a partner that can actually help you use the right tools and right data to prioritise the right activity. Increase your chance of success
  • Ensure you have really strong foundations of change across customer, delivery, strategy, people, leadership and value.


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  • 03:24 – Why are 84% of change initiatives and transformations failing
    • Digital Transformation as a buzzword
    • There is a pace of change we’ve never seen before
    • We can’t predetermine an outcome based on our own actions
  • 06:47 – What are the main traps and barriers in the way of effective change
    • How we work today vs how we worked 100 years ago
    • We were educated to think in a linear manner not an exponential manner
    • Digital Transformation of working practices accelerated 6 years in 6 weeks

    12:55 – What is the one thing that needs to change to change the script

    • ‘There is a nice new car in the driveway and nobody knew how to drive it’
    • Help organisations understand how complex this journey is
    • There isn’t ‘one thing’ because it’s complex
    • Getting really strong foundations in place

    19:11 – Why are most organisations treating change as a commodity 

    • How do they know what success looks like if you don’t measure it
    • People are using tools that worked in an era that was yesterday
    • ‘I’d like to know the hindsight upfront’
    • It must be terrifying being a CEO or COO and seeing that stat of 16%

    28:29 – Are people too fearful to start the process in the first place?

    • Some industries don’t have to think about disruption, but not many.
    • Every company must have change at the heart of its agenda
    • Learn, evolve, learn, evolve essentially every 90 days
    • When you’re shaping the future of work it’s the most exciting place to be

    36:46 – What are the secrets behind sustainability and getting change ready

    • The foundations of change
    • ‘I no longer fear change anymore’

    41:11 – Wrap up/What advice have you got for people leading change

    • Don’t fear change

If you’re interested to hear more about how Sullivan & Stanley attacks the change problem and how we empower companies to embrace disruption to thrive tomorrow, check out our services page. Or get in touch.

Written by
Sullivan & Stanley