Transformation: Demystifying the what, why and how?

graham_hishmurghWe have identified that the optimum vehicle for delivering successful transformation is through a Target Operating Model (TOM). Of course a TOM is really just consultancy speak for how an organisation plans to organise itself and its resources to deliver its strategy.

At the CIH conference in Manchester later this month we will demystify TOMs along with the rest of the what, why and how of transformation. I will be sharing the platform with Jonathan Cowie, CEO of CityWest Homes who will present a practical case study on his own organisation’s recent transformation journey.

The transformation imperative is of course now well documented. At the conference we will review in detail the three key drivers for change:

  1. The economic and regulatory environment: rent cuts, value for money statements, IDAs and the wider government policy position are all pushing housing providers in the direction of major change, highlighted by last week’s letter from the Regulator which clearly states that concerns over value for money will trigger Housing Association IDAs.
  1. The continuing rise in customer expectations: housing customers expect better and more personalised service, and are increasingly comparing their landlord to the best companies from any sector including retailers, banks, utilities companies and media service providers.
  1. Finally, the pace of technological development and even obsolescence (are Oyster cards heading that way?) continues to develop exponentially: the housing sector is failing to keep pace and is in danger of failing customers as well as potentially wasting resources at the same time. By 2018, 50% of the population will have been born in the digital age and will have grown up expecting easy-to-access services 24/7 via mobile devices.

So the imperative is there, but the sector has generally so far responded with the usual piecemeal solutions: cuts in service, redundancies and more recently of course mergers. These can all contribute to the challenges faced – although note the recent announcement by the Regulator, as reported in the trade press, that size does not necessarily equate to efficiency. However, our view is that real lasting efficiency is only brought about through fundamental change in the way an organisation works.

But not every transformation programme succeeds. There is now a body of evidence on the key reasons for failed programmes. None of them will come as a surprise and all can be countered with an effective and disciplined approach. We have learnt directly what factors contribute to successful change.

  1. Understand your own context – it is impossible to move successfully to a new operating model without a detailed understanding of the starting point.
  2. Solve specific problems to deliver your agreed strategy – by all means benchmark and look externally for ideas and inspiration and to generate discussion, but create solutions to your problems and to meet your specific customers’ needs.
  3. Create a vision as early as possible and continue to communicate this throughout the organisation as the programme develops.
  4. Change the culture – let’s be honest, most organisations dislike change, but there are strategies to encourage the right behaviours by including employees in the re-design, by rewarding those who champion and lead the change and by supporting those who don’t find it easy.
  5. Focus on some short terms wins to get buy-in to the overall programme – there is nothing like some success to gain overall momentum.
  6. Manage the implementation programme – this may require a different skill set to that within the existing team.
  7. Clean accurate data – we find many organisations we work with still don’t have a data or digital strategy which is a prerequisite for any successful change programme.

At the Manchester conference we will explore these and other critical success factors for successful transformation. If you can’t make the session but would still like to know more, please contact Graham Hishmurgh on and 07940 569 395.