It can be hard for big companies to break free of established habits—but it doesn’t have to be. History may be filled with examples of organizations that failed to appreciate the need for change until it was too late. But at many companies, change leaders are working to capture the opportunities that will keep them competitive in the future. Why, then, do just 26% of executives say their companies’ business transformation efforts succeed?
One answer: the difficulty of finding and structuring the support internal teams need, especially in critical areas like change management, project management, and project governance. According to McKinsey, allocating sufficient resources to a transformation makes it 3.6 times more likely to succeed. But redeploying employees to these areas can disrupt daily work and threaten revenue generation. Traditional consulting solutions are expensive, especially when you include the cost of the business strategy they’ve already helped you hone. What’s more, relying on outsiders to do the work can diminish the sense of ownership your team feels of the results—not the best recipe for sustaining meaningful change.
Fortunately, there’s a better way: independent experts with specialized skills, experience leading transformations at other major companies, and more flexible ways of working that are easier to integrate into your team. Here’s why.
Independent Change Management Consultants
Culture has emerged as one of the biggest barriers to successful transformation.
Effective change management—which prepares and guides people to successfully adopt new ways of working—is thus a critical component of any transformation initiative. But at many companies, employees are too focused on executing the actual change to map out its implications to people and processes.
Will your new IT system change the way that employees interact with your customers? Will compensation structures or incentives need to change to support your new sales workflow? And who will be responsible not just for training people but making sure they’re comfortable with everything that’s changed?
Dedicating experienced, external resources to these questions is the best way to ensure that they aren’t 17th on someone’s to-do list. It also lends objectivity to what often becomes a highly politicized process. And help doesn’t have to come in the form of an expensive consulting engagement: independent change management experts can work closely and inconspicuously with your company to make sure everyone’s on board. Thanks to the vibrancy of the independent market, you should be able to find someone who’s not only got expertise in your industry but experience with the type of transformation you’re implementing. They’ll understand the risks that you face and know how to mitigate them.
Independent Project Managers
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), almost 10% of project budgets are wasted due to poor management, counterproductive behaviors, and bad decision-making. PMI data suggests the most effective way to combat that waste—and boost your chances of successfully meeting goals—is to take a formal, disciplined approach to project management.
Whether that approach is predictive, agile, or hybrid will depend on your organization. It will also guide the way you search for effective project leaders.
Independent project managers can integrate quickly with existing methodologies to support or even lead critical workstreams—without the need for a long-term commitment. The best independent PMs combine big consulting firm training with on-the-ground executive experience, making it easy to get the specialization you’ll need to keep things on time and on budget.
Independent Governance Experts
Without good governance, business transformations start to feel like the wild west: there’s no accountability, consistency, or continuity across the project. People might be confused about who’s responsible for what, leading to duplicated work and poor documentation on deliverables. Stakeholders will have a hard time assessing where things stand, let alone what top priorities are for future work.
Independent consultants can help you avoid these headaches by creating effective governance structures. Whether it’s supporting an overwhelmed PMO or establishing and resourcing a new one, they’ll make sure everyone has a clear view of what’s going on. Independent governance experts are the perfect resource to keep accountability and quality top of mind for the team. Their unique backgrounds enable you to fill knowledge gaps in a highly targeted fashion and customize the scope of the engagement to directly match your needs.
sustaining meaningful change
If your company is struggling to implement or sustain a major business transformation, BTG can help. We’ll connect you with the independent resources you need to manage critical workstreams, support or lead governance, and prepare your employees to adapt to new ways of working.
Leah Hoffmann is BTG's Marketing & Content Strategist. A former journalist, Leah worked for Forbes.com and The Economist before joining BTG. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.