Organizational Transformation Consulting 101: A Beginner’s Guide

In this article, we’ll look at organizational transformation consulting inside and out.

Namely, we’ll learn what organizational transformation consulting is, why it matters, and what consultants do.

Before looking at consulting, though, we need to lay some groundwork.

Let’s start by examining organizational transformation.

The Basics of Organizational Transformation

What is organizational transformation and why do organizations pursue it?

Generally, organizations transform in order to solve a problem.

Organizational transformations can include objectives such as:

  • Improving organizational performance. Organizational performance depends on a variety of factors, from the workforce to the workplace to organizational strategy. One of the chief aims for many organizational transformation initiatives is to improve the organization’s performance by overhauling many such areas.
  • Adapting to changes in the business environment. When the marketplace changes, businesses must adapt. Surviving in a changing marketplace, in other words, is another common factor that drives organizational transformation. 
  • Growth. Businesses will also transform in order to exploit new growth opportunities. A business that wants to grow its customer base, for instance, may undertake a series of innovative digital transformation initiatives.

Organizational transformations are sweeping changes that often involve fundamental changes to the very core of the business.

Effective organizational transformation relies on effective change management.

Good change management offers a number of potential benefits, such as:

  • Improved outcomes of organizational transformation initiatives
  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased costs
  • More cooperation and support from employees and stakeholders
  • Shorter transformation timelines

To name just a few.

Reasons such as these compel many businesses to seek outside expertise – that is, organizational transformation consulting.

Organizational Transformation Consulting 101: What Consultants Do

Organizational transformation consulting, as the name suggests, offers change management as a service.

Consultants and agencies follow a structured approach to change management, following step-by-step processes designed to help an organization transform successfully.

Though each consultant may have a unique approach to change management, the underlying methods are often very similar.

For instance, many consultants attempt to achieve transformation by systematically altering core pillars of a business, such as:

  • People. A number of organizational change initiatives focus on employees. For instance, an organization may choose to change its culture, its training programs, its employee experience program, and so forth.
  • Processes. Transformative changes to business processes can mean extensive improvements to existing processes, or uprooting old processes and replacing them with new ones.
  • Tools and technology. Today, digital disruption is causing widespread transformation across virtually every industry. It is common for businesses to adopt new digital tools and technology – which often leads to other subsequent changes.
  • Organizational structure. In many cases, organizational transformations lead to organizational restructuring. A company that changes its revenue model, for instance, may need to close down old departments, open new ones, hire new employees, and so forth.
  • Strategy and vision. The deepest transformations fundamentally alter the nature of the business itself. This means changing the organization’s strategy, its mission, and the very vision that it is founded upon.

All of which are aimed at helping a business achieve a desired end state.

The services offered by organizational transformation consultants, as one would expect, tend to focus on organizational transformation and change.

Typical services include:

  • Change management consulting, coaching, and training. Change managers specialize in changing individuals. The right change management firm can improve the results of change projects, increase efficiency, lower employee resistance, and more.
  • Technology auditing and consulting. IT modernization is another common transformation endeavor in today’s business world. Consultants that specialize in organizational change and technology will often help businesses modernize their IT infrastructure and choose the right digital strategy.
  • Leadership and management consulting. Effective change leadership and management are fundamental to success in any organizational change efforts. Therefore, enhancing or transforming an organization’s leadership often goes hand in hand with successful transformation endeavors.
  • Digital transformation and digital adoption consulting. Today, many organizations leverage technology to fuel new products, solutions, and services – that is, they undergo digital transformation. Technology also enables organizations to transform many other areas of their business, from business models to the customer experience.

When evaluating vendors, organizations should look at these services first and foremost, to ensure that those services are actually meet their business needs.

Should You Hire a Change Management Consultancy?

Hiring consultants can be an excellent way to access outside expertise and improve the outcomes of a transformation initiative.

But it isn’t the only way to fuel success.

Organizations undergoing change can also implement other solutions, such as:

  • Training in-house staff, for instance, by offering them change management certifications
  • Hiring change managers with a track record of success
  • Implementing key technology that fuel transformation, such as digital adoption platforms

There is no magic recipe for successful transformation.

Given the difficulty and costs associated with transformation, organizations should do more than necessary to ensure success.

This often means hiring consultants, developing a change management function, training staff, and more.

Naturally, these costs will add up – but the benefits of successful transformation make them well worth the investment.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.