transform/21 Model (step-by-step)

How:  The starting point is very often a low risk 21/21 workshop where, with no strings attached and no obligation for a longer term engagement, we meet with the executive team to determine what the highest value transformation objective is that can lead to break-through business results. Here are the specific steps and approach that makes up a complete transform/21 engagement –:

  • We meet one-on-one with the executive sponsor (typically the owner, CEO, or in larger client companies the CFO or COO) and discuss the desired change initiative. Really coming to grips with the “why” of your concerns is paramount, and articulating clearly the business objectives of the initiative.
  • Once the basic objective has been defined, we facilitate a workshop with the full executive team (including the sponsor) to test their understanding of, and alignment to, the defined objective. Depending on the project objective, this may be a one time (2 to 3 hour) workshop or may require a couple of kicks at the can to finalize things. From this step, we will have fully articulated the objective, the clear priority, identified agreed metrics to report on progress, fully aligned the executive team around the objective, and clarified — for all the executive team members — all primary and supporting roles and responsibilities in terms of driving the project forward.
  • We meet weekly with the executive team  — for 45 to 60 minutes  — to review week-to-week progress on the change initiative. If the executive already meets regularly (weekly), this requirement will be embedded into their standard meeting structure. If the team does not currently meet regularly, we will help design other key operational metrics into this new weekly structure such that all of the operational business highs and lows are reported on. During these short, focused weekly meetings, we will facilitate the review of the weekly actions, report on weekly metrics, and generally engage/hold accountable executive owners on their agreed deliverables, and then set new actions for the upcoming week.
  • As a background activity during the engagement, we will work one-on-one (and selectively in small groups, workshops, and strategy sessions) with the various executive team members to ensure that they are meeting their agreed deliverables  in a comprehensive and timely manner. Any signs that certain team members aren’t “pulling their weight” will be addressed through these as-needed interactions. Recommendations coming from these sessions with be shared with the sponsor and/or full executive team as required.
  • We continue the two steps above — weekly focused meetings and background work as required — for a full 21 cycles until it starts to become 2nd nature to the executive team, effectively becoming a new “habit”. This equates to about 5 months; by adding in the initial meeting(s) with the sponsor and the front-end workshops around alignment, priority, and commitment, we generally end up with an overall timeline of about 6 months (26 weeks) to fully implement the desired business (and team) transformation.
  • Once the project goals have been met, it is important for the executive team to continue in their new operating mode independent of us. So, we back off from a weekly involvement and move to checking in on a monthly basis (for 2 to 3 months) to help ensure the “new habit” is continuing. Typically this involves us meeting with the client sponsor once or twice during this period, and possibly helping out the team/sponsor on one or two loose ends.

This new operating mode now becomes the “new normal” for the executive team and can continue with little new effort. As things settle in and all players become more and more comfortable in their “stretched roles”, another step function of change/growth can be envisioned and the transform/21 methodology can be repeated. Typically, a good rule of thumb for these initiatives is a 6 month “stretch period” (using the transform/21approach) followed by a 4 month “maintain period” before starting a new “stretch period”.