No matter where the vision for innovation comes from, the board and CEO must support and evangelize transformation for it to succeed.
If the board and CEO don’t fully grasp why the transformation is needed, or how it should be achieved, it can bring about more harm than good. They would be better of pausing or canceling the project until everyone can get on the same wavelength. The worst whiplash an organization can receive is a “transformation” project being pushed by IT which doesn’t have the support of top leadership.
Why? Because the rest of the company will take their lead on how to respond—how seriously to take the change—from their top leadership. If they see shoulder shrugs, they may shrug too and won’t be fully committed to getting on board.
Just as importantly, the support from top leadership will deeply impact the behavior of those pushing the change—in IT and elsewhere. They will need to be assertive to push for participation, dialogue, and input. Knowing their CEO is on board will give them the confidence they need to give the transformation traction. Lacking that support they will likely give up when they hit their personal limit of blowback.
This is the first thing we check and advise clients on. If top leadership isn’t fully in board that is fine, but in that case the transformation should be paused or cancelled altogether. On the other hand, with top leadership ready to support and lead the change, transformation can be the ultimate ignition of an organization’s future.