Changing Spots – helping leaders with transformational change

All senior leaders will face a time when they need to deliver a transformational change in their organisation. This change will be brought about because of an opportunity to change radically the way in which the organisation operates either because the market or sector in which they operate or a technology they exploit is changing fundamentally and they need to change with it, or, because they have fallen behind and they need to recover to survive.

Each transformational programme is unique as the starting point, drivers, targets, timescales, people involved and finances available, have not been experienced before. The senior leaders will be experienced in the operational management of the organisation, often from within one or two functional disciplines. However this experience is insufficient to lead a programme of the size and scale of a transformational programme.

Whilst each circumstance is unique, it is possible to develop an approach that provides a framework for senior leaders to lead a transformational change programme. The following framework is based on successful practice in both private sector and public sector organisations including the range from small enterprises to multinational corporations:

  1. Ready – the leadership team work together to understand what is driving the change, the vision for the solution that needs to be implemented and the structure for the proposed change programme.
  2. Steady – project task forces develop the proposals that will deliver the vision and targets established by the leadership team and the leadership team approves these proposals.
  3. Change – the agreed proposals are implemented using an alliance of the task force, the senior leadership team and the existing management and operational teams.

This approach is documented in Changing Spots (see, which provides advice and examples of practice, and an overview of critical tools and techniques

Whilst the transformation programme will need to be established, developed and implemented in a unique way for each organisation and situation, it is possible for senior leaders to learn from the successful practices of other organisations and programmes to successfully implement their own programme.

Andrew Kearns
Hartswood Management Ltd
Delivering real transformation

For advice on structuring your transformation or change programme please email

For further insights please visit –

Suggestions for further actions:

  1. Read Changing Spots – a systems approach to change management (see
  2. Talk to colleagues on the senior leadership team to understand their view of the need for change and the priorities. Are you in alignment?
  3. Use conversations with customers and read the literature to identify organisations that have made a similar journey.

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