Here is what I conclude transformation is not:
1. Transformation is not doing something even harder when it already is not working.
Example: Trying to sell more units in an already saturated market.
2. Transformation is not putting ugly in nicer clothes.
Example: Enhancing the cover art of a poorly written book that is not selling well.
3. Transformation is not changing a little bit about everything.
Example: Cutting the budget across the board by 10%
4. Transformation is not changing everything about a little something.
Example: Axing the R&D department because they don't sell anything.
5. Transformation is not starting afresh.
Example: Opening another furniture store six states away under a different LLC.
Here is what I am becoming convicted that transformation is:
Example: Helping an organization move from being an institution to becoming a network.
Example: Establishing a metric, not to measure mere economic performance, but to measure the change toward successful mission.
Example: Building an organization where continued transformation is expected and built into succession planning.
4. Hard work.
Example: Grieving for friends, supporters and old patterns who will not be part of the new--either because their calling takes them elsewhere or because they are unwilling to go.
The scariest insight for me in reflecting on what transformation means, is that these four elements are not transformative in and of themselves, but in combination with each other.
Clearly, I cannot expect to do transformation my way. It's a scary prayer to open oneself up to being transformed by powers under, beside and above me, and to let it shape both me and the organizations I serve.
-mark l vincent