One of our clients, a major technology corporation, recently completed large-scale transformation initiative, where they took on a new product line to increase margins and remain competitive in their industry. Here, they share insights with us about the experience.
Cicero: When did you and the other leaders decide that transformation was necessary?
Client: Two things made this process top of mind for us. First, we were changing industries, and we realized we were going to have to transform ourselves in order to sell our new product line. Second, revenue and margins were decreasing, so we needed to become more efficient. The transformation would get us where we needed to be when the new products came out.
Cicero: Was everyone on board initially with transformation? Was it a hard sell?
Client: I work with a pretty easy team; they’re not blockers in any way. Everyone came together and agreed that transformation would help us get where we wanted to be in the future. I don’t know if that’s unique to our organization and leadership team, but we didn’t have to convince anyone. Everyone was on board.
Cicero: How did you and the other leaders prepare for transformation?
Client: This was actually our third project with Cicero, so we already knew what we wanted and we were ready to invest with the right business case. At the outset, our leadership met with the Cicero team and discussed the purposes of transformation in terms of our goals. That meeting enabled us to build a business case for the budget, and we used that case to justify our investment. Because we had already worked with Cicero, the planning portion of this project was straightforward.
Cicero: Why did you decide to hire consultants to push this transformation?
Client: We chose to bring in consultants for two reasons: resources and buy-in. One, we didn’t have the capacity to have a successful transformation. It would have been part-time of a part-time job. And two, when you bring a consultant in—especially a good consultant like Cicero—you’re going to get adoption and buy-in very quickly because you’re not asking employees to do the heavy lifting. Instead, people offer their opinions and ideas, which is a lot easier for them, so they’re much more willing to participate.
Cicero: Why did you choose Cicero rather than another consulting firm?
Client: Flexibility and Statement of Work (SOW), hands down. Unlike many other players, Cicero allows areas of gray in the SOW. Cicero will work with the ambiguity of: “Hey, we think we want to achieve this from this project, but we’re not sure because we don’t know what we’re missing right now. We don’t know what curve balls will be thrown our way. We don’t know what blockers will be in front of us.” Also, we chose Cicero for their work ethic: where some consulting teams take a limited approach when encountering unexpected issues, Cicero doesn’t balk. They take it on as a challenge, much like I would take it on as part of my job. And that’s really the big value for me.
Cicero: Was there anything that impressed or surprised you about working with Cicero?
Client: I was impressed with Cicero’s ability to execute, but I honestly wasn’t surprised by it. Also, the success that we had didn’t surprise me. I think Cicero teams are well led, and they worked extremely well with our team. Sometimes consultants end up making employees feel stupid or defensive, but Cicero worked cohesively with our team, building friendships and relationships outside of just the core work conversations. These solid relationships made execution easier. I wasn’t sure whether a consultant would be able to dive into a global organization and really tap into its needs, but Cicero ensured excellent project communication. People knew their roles and got the job done. Overall, I expected that Cicero would do a very good job, but I was super impressed with the work.
Cicero: How have you measured the initial and continuing success of the transformation?
Client: I see both internal and external measures of success. I think the number one internal indication that showed the transformation was successful was how easy it was to get people to sign up to join the ongoing change adoption teams. People actually volunteered for the teams; they wanted to be part of it because they saw the value and the benefits. At this point, team members are growing personally, and the organization is growing. The number one external indicator is what I’m hearing through my partners in other organizations: they’re seeing us improve. They’re seeing us achieve the goals that we set out for ourselves in that original meeting with Cicero, and they’re letting us know.
Cicero: What are your next steps at this point with transformation?
Client: Now that we have finished launching changes, we are investing in monitoring and boosting results. We’ve given this task to our adoption teams, and we are tapping into Cicero’s assistance as needed in supporting ongoing improvement.