"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Winston Churchill

If there’s one constant in the world of business today, it’s change. Nothing stays still for long.

But this is no longer the smooth, evolutionary change we imagine. Today, it’s more likely to be a series of stop/start lurches. Just when we’ve equipped our business and people for the “new normal,” it gets replaced by the new “new normal” and the process of change starts all over again.

More change, faster than ever

These shocks to the system are happening at an alarmingly fast pace. This may be due to external events such as globalization, Covid-19, international conflict, disruptive market conditions or new technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. Increasingly though, it’s caused by a perfect storm of many factors.

While we can try to predict future events and spread our bets, change will inevitably catch us unaware and unprepared. Who would have thought that 2020 would see a once-in-a-century pandemic bring the world to a standstill?

The transformation imperative

For their part, today’s businesses have had to adapt to a wide range of market challenges. It’s made business transformation a hot topic and the subject of many articles, books and keynote speeches.

The transformations we tend to hear about most are the big, strategic initiatives. These include everything from mergers and acquisitions to new, often digital, business models.

But more often than not, organizations need to transform on many levels simultaneously. This encourages a predominantly operational focus: how do we do things better, faster, cheaper?

Getting ready for tomorrow

What unites virtually all transformation initiatives is that they’re fundamentally about determining the future of the business. It’s about consciously adapting an organization so that it can fulfill its strategy. It’s about having the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, no matter what.

The question is: How?