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Are Good Business Transformation People Worth Their Weight In Gold?

Business Transformation

Are Good Business Transformation People Worth Their Weight In Gold?

Good Business Transformation People Are Rare

Why We Are Qualified To Article?

Over the last three decades we have led and worked on more than 500 projects in supply chain projects in dozens of industries and countries.

VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS LIKE WE DO - Retail, beverages, food, milk, dairy, meat, livestock, explosives, chemicals, cotton, rice, graphite, solar power, natural gas, crude oil, fertilizers, electronics, packaging, glass manufacturing, machine parts, automobiles, industrial goods, mining, etc are just some of the industries where boards and executives have benefited from our proprietary knowledge.

Since when no one had heard of supply chain, our co-founder Vivek Sood has been considered one of the most authoritative professionals in the field when it comes to the subject of supply chains restructuring in his clients’ corporations in Australia, Asia, North America, South America and Europe.

He has written four seminal books about restructuring supply chains to gain massive advantage in business. He also regularly delivers keynote speeches at business schools and conferences such as University of Technology Sydney, Supply Chain Asia, Asian Bankers Forum, APEC Business Advisory Council.

He has been quoted in the authoritative business press and over 100 academic papers written by supply chain researchers around the world. Vivek and his team have examined thousands of supply chains during their projects over the last three decades and helped hundreds of executives build safe, cost effective and sustainable supply chains and careers. 

Business Transformations Track Record Is Not Pretty

Over the past 18 years I have facilitated, worked on, assisted in, and observed a large number of business transformation projects at a very close quarters.

As a result, I have seen a countless number of business transformation people in action - many good, some bad, and a few ugly ones.

Luckily, where I was involved, this last category (of a few ugly ones) was identified early enough in all cases - before they could do any real damage to the projects in question.

To contrast the good ones against this last category, and for reader's curious minds, here are a few poignant examples of the ugly ones, that stick in the memory:

1. There was this very arrogant ex-strategy consulting partner (top-tier big firm) who always believed he knew the answer to every question even before the question was framed. His solution in every problem seemed to be to close the factory and outsource the production. He could not stand taking the second place in any room (except his boss' office)

2. There was this academic minded researcher who wanted to prove every hypothesis beyond an iota of doubt. It did not matter to him that in the time taken to do so, the data set would be out-of-date every time. He just could not stand uncertainty.

3. There was this experienced executive who could only relate all future change to his past experience. If his past experience did not have an example of something he could relate the future to, he could not move into that future. He could not stand unknown.

4. There was this conference junkie who was at every industry conference and could spout the latest industry speak at the drop of the hat. Only problem was that rarely was it relevant to the situation at hand. He was notorious for handing over half-finished projects to his successors, and moving to greater heights. He could not stand staying till finish.

I could go on with list for a while more, but I will stop here despite it being cathartic.

Good Business Transformation People Are Rare

I want to focus on the GOOD business transformation people, rather than the other side of the spectrum. It does take a great deal of talent to identify great business transformation people and put them in suitable positions. The rewards accrue both in terms of business success, and talent development.

In this article I will not differentiate too much between 'business transformation personnel' and 'change management staff' or even 'business turnaround specialists'. I mention this only because the distinctions, though subtle, are important. These can only be discussed in another article.

Let us start with defining business transformation - just to be on the same song sheet at the beginning. When the quantum of change in business is so big - either in terms of breadth, or depth, or speed that normal change management strategies would be inadequate we call it a business transformation.

In many companies today we need purest business transformation people to take care of the massive change that is needed.

Recently I was in a meeting where we were discussing the difference between a person who was operating in a 'business as usual' (BAU) and a person who was in a role of 'business transformation' (BT).

It is worth noting that almost all BAU roles involve a degree of 'change management', yet business transformation is something else altogether.

In this meeting we were discussing the salaries for some new roles coming up, and many people were aghast at the high salaries on offer to business transformation personnel till I outlined the following analogy.

This Analogy Makes It Clearer

Think about a business transformation person as someone who has to log into the hearts and minds of hundreds of suppliers, thousands of employees, and hundreds and thousands of customers, and read the rhythm of these people to hear the discord, and see the unseen blots and know where the current business model is failing. Then they have imagineer a future state business model that will overcome these problems.

Finally, they have to create the massive transformation in the business so that the rhythm sounds much better, and the picture looks much clearer.

This is a harder job than that of a heart surgeon who is performing an open heart surgery on a heart that is live and beating. He is only operating on a single heart.

A good business transformation person is simultaneously performing the same miracle on a multitude of hearts and minds.

That is the reason why this person deserves to be paid a lot more than a business as usual person.

In contrast, think of the Business as Usual manager as an operator or driver of a machine who can carry out occasional odd repair and maintenance tasks on the machine - but needs a specialist mechanic when a big scale maintenance is required.

Food For Thought - Further Reading

I was about to go into what does it take to be a good business transformation person, and why good business transformation people are so rare - but I will leave those two topics for later articles. Suffice it to say here that if the job is as difficult as it sounds, then it does take enormous amount of training and experience, and a special kind of person who is worth his weight in gold.

Related Post

Vivek Sood

Copyright - These concepts, frameworks and ideas are copyright of GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP from the time of their creation. Do NOT copy these without permission and proper attribution.

Notes:

1. These ideas and concepts will be usually expressed by our thought leaders in multiple forums - conferences, speeches, books, reports, workshops, webinars, videos and training. You may have heard us say the same thing before.

2. The date shown above the article refers to the day when this article was updated. This blog post or article may have been written anytime prior to that date.

3. All anecdotes are based on true stories to highlight the key points of the article - some details are changed to protect identification of the parties involved.

4. You are encouraged to comment below - your real identity and email will not be revealed when your comment is displayed. Insightful comments will be featured, and will win a copy of one of our books. Please keep the comments relevant, decorous and respectful of everyone. All comments represent opinions of the commentators.

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ABOUT THE PRINCIPAL AUTHOR

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VIVEK SOOD

Today, Vivek and his partners are among 20-30 people on the planet earth who have this deep understanding of supply chain systems, practices and tools. CEOs, COOs, executives and Boards call them in most challenging situations once they know the full potential of supply chain based transformations. Following are key milestones in Vivek's journey:

1. Started in 1983 as a merchant navy cadet at 18 years age, worked his way to qualify as a Captain - qualified to take command of any merchant ship, worldwide.

2. Earned a top tier MBA from UNSW at the top of his class.

3. Joined highly regarded strategy consulting firm Booz Allen & Hamilton, consulting to the CEOs, Boards and senior management of global corporations within Australia.

4. To learn and specialise in supply chain - against all odds, sought out the co-inventor of supply chain in Germany and convinced him to be a partner in his firm, GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP, launched in January 2000.

5. More than 500 successful blue chip projects with high impact business transformations in large corporations using the full power of SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT.

6. 4 Seminal and path breaking business books IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT - these are available in bookstores and universities and libraries worldwide.

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THE 5-STAR BUSINESS NETWORK

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If you are deeply passionate about the world of business and supply chain networks as I am, and enjoy digging answers to critical questions that will help build and steer your business with wisdom, then join me. This book is a journey of exploration through the world of business networks that run along the veins of today’s commercial world.

OUTPERFORM OUTSOURCE OUTPROFIT

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The trend of outsourcing continues to grow unabated with the whole gamut of services, from simple to mission-critical tasks. There is not a single company on earth that does not outsource anything. It is not just about cost arbitrage, it is also a finer expression of division of labour at the organisational level. Like all leverage, outsourcing is a double-edged sword too. On one hand, it allows you to do more, faster. On the other hand, if it goes bad, it can easily kill your business. If you do not believe that is possible – you can google the Fox Meyer saga from the 90s and see for yourself.

UNCHAIN YOUR CORPORATION

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Businesses Are Chained By Unseen Chains. If You Are Looking For Ways To “Unchain Your Corporation” A Successful Business Transformation Is Required.

Successful Business Transformations Are Difficult, Yet Rewarding.

Business Transformation Is Fast Becoming A Question Of Survival In The Modern Globalised Era.

Modern Supply Chains Integrate Businesses And Economies Faster By Systematic Information Sharing From Internal And External Sources.

Companies Can Multiply Profits By Progressively Ramping Up Cohesion And Collaboration Of All Moving Parts In B2B Network To Achieve Tighter Integration.

GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN – AN ACTION MANIFESTO

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It is generally accepted that environmental consciousness is now changing to environmental proactiveness as organizations are discovering that it makes good commercial sense.

Boards are asking the management to review their policies related to environmental norms, not only to bolster their corporate social responsibility aims, but also because consumers are asking for greener supply chains.

It is also widely agreed that consumers will increasingly prefer to buy more and even pay more for products or services provided in an environmentally sound manner.

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