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Go for Transformation, Not Improvement — ConnectCPA


Transformation and Improvement are both essential for the overall health, success, and sustainability of any organization. (Fannin, n.d.) Though both are similar in certain aspects, they differ in nature, timeline and purpose. Improvement or change can be small and incremental or large and complex. It is carried out as the need arises. On the other hand, transformation is almost always large and significant. It will need more time to be developed, prepared and implemented. Transformation is an internal fundamental change in beliefs of why certain actions are performed. It does not require any external influence to maintain, and because of its fundamental nature, transformation is more likely permanent. (Palinkas, 2013).

TRANSFORMATION IS HARD

From experience, we at ConnectCPA have multiple ways to change things when we are confronted with a new project or process that we need to implement.  Many times, the task at hand may be daunting and you may want to default to ‘improvement’, but placing a band-aid solution on something and kicking the ‘transformation’ can down the road isn’t always the best plan.

The solution that makes everyone and the company better has always been transformation.  Take for instance, when we completely overhauled our personal tax process.  Or when we transformed our notification system.  It took more initial planning and brainstorming at the onset and harder work to complete the tasks at hand - but fast forward to today - it’s made us a better and more confident company.  And a company that provides higher quality service.

Transformation aspires for sustainability. It creates long-term value by establishing a healthy structure where the business can thrive. Transformation is looking far beyond what the eyes could see. It involves creativity, boldness and flexibility. It is letting go of the past to face the future’s evolving needs. Transformation’s ultimate goal is sustainability.


REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES

A relevant case is the downfall of Nokia. Nokia was the leading telecommunications company back in 2000. It offered attractive phone designs which were loved by many. The company was very creative with their mobile designs and themes. They were good in improving their products at hand but fell short on the vision and innovation of Apple and Samsung brands. 

There are a number of products that have become obsolete over time. With our fast paced technology, businesses are forced to adapt to remain competitive. 

Several well-known CEOs have demonstrated visionary ways of running organizations. They have implemented organizational-wide transformations and are now among the top leaders in the world. Some of these CEOs are Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla and the late Steve Jobs just to name a few. 

One of the predominant companies during this pandemic is CEO Reed Hastings’ Netflix. 

Netflix is a classic example of transformational organization.  It started in 1997 as a DVD-by-Mail business which charges monthly subscription fees. Netflix had grown and expanded during their first decade, by increasing to over 50 regional warehouses at that time. By 2009, it had sold over 100,000 DVD titles and had around 10 million customers. Instead of enhancing their business model which was proven to be a tremendous success, Netflix instead innovated. In fact, their innovation had caused disruption in Blockbuster and other video rental stores. As time went by, Netflix continued innovating until they became the de facto primetime entertainment on the web. From distributing DVDs by mail, they have transformed into the leading streaming video content service and now a top original provider of movies and series. Their revenues roughly tripled and profits have multiplied 32-fold. (Anthony, Trotter, & Schwartz, 2019)

Without the strategic transformation move, Netflix would not have had a future. Their fate would have been like other video rental rivals that were eventually forced out of business. They could have improved their products and launched marketing promotions but it would not be sufficient enough to keep them in business.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us to think about business differently.  Now more than ever businesses should aim for transformation over improvement. The world is in an economic crisis and businesses need to innovate to survive. Several businesses have transformed into digital platforms to keep up - namely restaurants, retail stores that have launched e-commerce platforms and fitness companies turning to online workouts. Times have evolved and we are facing a new ‘normal’. In order to survive, businesses must adapt to changing times.

Even without a pandemic, organizational transformation is the way best route forward to ensure viability. Growth of an organization is great for all stakeholders including a nation’s economy. Progress means more jobs, better compensation, improved ways of doing things, more options in the market and a better way of life. 

References:

Anthony, S. D., Trotter, A., & Schwartz, E. I. (2019, September 24). The Top 20 Business Transformations of the Last Decade. Retrieved November 24, 2020, from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2019/09/the-top-20-business-transformations-of-the-last-decade?fbclid=IwAR0o_ExrYd6s5G835qQGL_qWKKBTVxPLQcZ3c3U-R16BFIH62Ipx2AaGlrg

Fannin, K. (n.d.). Organizational Change & Transformation. Retrieved November 23, 2020, from Intelivate: https://www.intelivate.com/team-strategy/transformation-vs-change-6-differences

Palinkas, J. (2013, June 28). The Difference Between Change and Transformation. Retrieved November 23, 2020, from CIO Insight: https://www.cioinsight.com/it-management/expert-voices/the-difference-between-change-and-transformation

https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/amj.2016.0071