The 3 Core Habits of Every Business Transformation


Organizations are transforming — that much is obvious. What’s less certain is whether leaders and employees feel satisfied with how those transformations are going.

While research shows that 86% of organizations are in the midst of, or have just completed, a transformation effort, other data indicate just 37% of those efforts are deemed a success. At the NeuroLeadership Institute, we chalk up this gap to a misunderstanding of how and when change occurs.

The conventional wisdom states that leaders must prepare for specific change events. But research suggests they should view change as a constant. Through our own research, NLI has identified three key habits that help leaders move toward that latter state of flexibility and agility.

1. See possibilities

Feedback is core to adaptability, in nature and in business. NLI’s review of the research finds that, in order for leaders to stay abreast of market shifts, they must look inward to gather diverse perspectives from their people.

Science also tells us this must be an active process, as leaders have a harder time perspective-taking due to the psychological effects of power. However, when leaders manage to gather fresh perspectives, they can act on critical information that slower organizations may miss.

2. Accelerate breakthroughs

A term you’ll hear us mention a lot in transformation conversations is insight. Insights are the breakthrough moments that change how people see the world, and our research shows they are highly motivating — when we have “Aha” moments, we really want to act on them.

Transformations compel leaders to create the conditions for insight, such as built-in moments of quiet and reflection. These breaks allow new ideas to bubble to the surface, unburdened by the flow of day-to-day work.

Having these faster breakthroughs accelerates innovation, which keeps organizations on the cutting-edge.

3. Execute faster

Having good ideas isn’t the whole story, of course. Teams also need to execute.

NLI’s research on inclusion suggests that teams maximize their output when they practice “optimal inclusion,” or the habit of including the right people for the right jobs at the right times. Inefficiencies such as crowded email threads and over-booked meetings can cause teams to slow down.

Each benefit of optimal inclusion — more effective brainstorming, faster review cycles, fewer setbacks — can support organizations in their goal of creating the future on their own terms, rather than on someone else’s.

Author: Chris Weller

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