The Business Transformation Podcast
Former Technologist, Global Director & SVP turned Business Transformator reveals key delivering 700M delivery value 
Listen to the Episode below
“You can almost guarantee if there is a technology related project, it will fail if there is not a business person leading on it”
Check out our latest podcast with Lauren Spagnola-Robins.
Lauren Spagnola-Robins is a Chief Transformation Officer, and CEO of Reframe Transformation.
Lauren specializes in taking organizations to next level of profitability through enterprise-wide programs that drive organizational change, productivity, investment prioritization, scalable enterprise operations, and advisory leadership.
Lauren has successfully deployed and led global teams and change agendas for fortune 500 drinks leader Diageo, and insurance leader Marsh; implementing strategic, operational, and cultural changes across 26 countries, with budgets >$150M, project portfolios >250, and value delivery upward of $700M.
Lauren, a former technologist, global director and SVP turned business transformator has a unique view on leaderships role in making business transformations successful.
We discuss Laurens experience around three (3) key areas Lauren has proven success in:
- The key to pivoting a business, fast;
- The process Laurent follows to make the large transformations successful; and
- People, leadership and alignment – and why that makes the difference.
Join this conversation and learn the key takeaways, maybe you can do that in your team and organisation too!
“You can almost guarantee if there is a technology related project, it will fail if there is not a business person leading on it” – Lauren Spagnola-Robins
Resources and Links Mentioned:
Welcome to the Business Transformation Podcast. I’m your host,Heath Gascoigne. This is a show where I cut through all the hype and noise and get to the facts of what actually is business transformation and what is required, how to and how not to do it. I’ll be talking to industry experts and professionals to share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you start, turnaround, or grow your business transformation. By the end of this podcast, we have some practical tips to use to make your business transformation a success. Whether you’re just at the start of your journey or midway through, I hope you enjoy.
(interview)[00:00:00] Heath Gascoigne: Hello. My name is Heath Gascoine, and I am the host of the business transformation podcast. And this is the show for business transformators who are part business strategists and part business designers, part collaborators, and part negotiators business transformators have moved past just business design and includes oversight of implementation of those business designs and business transformations and includes stakeholder management, coordination and negotiation.
[00:00:24] Heath Gascoigne: If you work in strategy, development and implementation and work to ensure that the strategy is aligned to business design and technology, then you're probably a business transformator. This is a show where we speak to industry experts and professionals to share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you start, turn around and grow your business transformation.
[00:00:43] Heath Gascoigne: Welcome to the business transformation podcast. And in this episode, we are talking to one of these industry experts. We are speaking to Lauren Spagnola-Robins, chief transformation officer, a business transformation lead and CEO at reframe transformation.
[00:00:56] Heath Gascoigne: Lauren Spagnola-Robins is a global corporate executive specializing in transforming organizations to level of profitability through business transformation, productivity, and cost reduction and real. Scalable enterprise operations and advisory leadership. Lauren has successfully deployed and led global teams and change agendas for fortune 500 Diego group, where Lauren has been for nearly 20 years last position as a global director and SVP of productivity and global business services
[00:01:24] Heath Gascoigne: Oversaw product and initiatives across over 20 markets product project portfolios, over 250 of them budgets over 180 million and delivered delivery value of over 700 million. Wow, Lauren, that is a very impressive, thank you for your time. Glad to have you on the show.
[00:01:41] Lauren: Thanks so much for having me Heath glad to be here.
[00:01:43] Heath Gascoigne: be here.
[00:01:44] Heath Gascoigne: Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. Okay. So we've got a lot to talk about. That's a, you've been, well, you had been previously at Diego for almost 20 years plus time since then. So we have a lot to cover now, so as we can keep our audience along with our conversation, we'll stick to a tight agenda as best we can.
[00:02:01] Heath Gascoigne: First three points. The key to pivoting a business fast. So get the most of their engagement. So that's to 0.1, number two, is there a process that you follow or approach it, you follow to help for this transformation and three, a a part that I hold probably dear to my heart around business transformation is the people element.
[00:02:19] Heath Gascoigne: And now from your perspective, I, you you've come from a technology background originally, then you moved into business services, all designed and supply chain, and eventually where to where you are. So from a, a technology perspective, To where you are in business and, and with the people part, how do you see that people role at the moment?
[00:02:37] Heath Gascoigne: Where do they come in? Are they brought in at the right time? Is it, is, is what, what role do people play in these transformation? Is it a big deal or should we just be spoke? We spoke focusing on the technology. So that's our last point. So first one, the pivot. So how, when you come into a, to a transformation and so what, what is when you're trying.
[00:02:59] Heath Gascoigne: Pivot change an organization. What are you? What's the first step you. Yeah,
[00:03:05] Lauren: thank you. I mean, it's so it's so kind of timely with the, the state of play in, in, in business and industries right now. And so much disruption a lot of and, and we know through all that's happening in private equity and all that's happening in, in organizations everywhere
[00:03:21] Lauren: A lot of times the, the board or the executive team want to see change. Oh, They don't know how to pivot the organization fast Uhhuh . And as you say, a lot of times, folks are, are seeing technology as a silver bullet mm-hmm or even shared services as a silver bullet. You could drive profitability really fast, but all of that.
[00:03:43] Lauren: Requires a tremendous amount of change to how the organization is going to work. Yep. So when we talk about pivoting first, it's really the most important thing is to align the executive team. I mean, I can't tell you how many transformation agendas I've been a part of. where there were maybe one or two sponsors on the executive team, but it was really clear that the rest of the leadership didn't really have their fingerprints on the transformation agenda
[00:04:15] Lauren: Yep. If it's going to work, they all need to be aligned. The time needs to be invested to get them aligned. Mm-hmm and and frankly, if they're not aligned, they're not going to rally and galvanize the teams underneath them. Yep. If they're not doing. Their teams are not going to be bought in. Yeah
[00:04:32] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. So the key part there for the audience is senior leadership involvement,
[00:04:36] Lauren: senior leadership involvement and, and alignment and investing the time to make sure they're having the really chunky, heavy conversations and aligning around where the business is headed.
[00:04:48] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. Key point there, not just involvement, but alignment
[00:04:53] Heath Gascoigne: I think. Yeah, that's a, that's a, that's a that's important point that I I've seen that on the current program on one that there is, like you said, there's one or two, , SVPs VPs Csuite that are, , is fully endorsing the project. The rest of them are like, eh, , it it'll happen as it will happen.
[00:05:08] Heath Gascoigne: We'll set dates, we've put a, we've communicated a date, and that date sometimes has just been an arbitrary date. Not no other reason for it and the, the business themselves and the change in the project, which especially where I am that we're trying to work to a date that one or two of the executive team have set, but it's not universally agreed.
[00:05:26] Heath Gascoigne: And everyone is running around like trying to achieve a date that is, almost Unachievable.
[00:05:32] Lauren: that's right. And then when it comes to actually starting to engage the teams beneath those leaders who don't really have that shared ownership, it's next to impossible. Right. And when the rubber hits the road, the leaders like what's happening.
[00:05:47] Lauren: So, yep. That alignment is, is really.
[00:05:49] Heath Gascoigne: important. Okay. So to put it in, put it in the context there, when we're talking these transformations, we're not talking like a division within an organization. We're talking about the organization, the whole organization we're talking.
[00:06:00] Lauren: about the organization.
[00:06:01] Lauren: Yeah. I mean, even if it is a division, a division is going to have its own leadership team. Yep. Right. Or the leaders for that division. So, but regardless of if it's company wide. To be the most senior executive team. Yeah. If it's at a division level, it needs to be the division leadership mm-hmm , but that alignment needs to be there and not just, , the vision of where we want to, to go, but really standing in the future
[00:06:27] Lauren: And making sure that leadership team understands what the world's going to look like when that vision is achieved and that they all really have their fingerprints on it. They're all really bought into it so that they can galvanize their teams and drive that change through their part of.
[00:06:43] Lauren: the organization.
[00:06:43] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. Yeah. So there's a thing. I think the, the is in here then. It's not so much it's as well as the leadership and alignment alignment across the leadership team themselves, but up and down the organization, so down to their teams and operations, like I talk about in, in in this space for us is in a transformation, the three LS they've got, they've got three layers in organization.
[00:07:06] Heath Gascoigne: The first one we've got lays in the organization, they have different language. The second L then different of. The languages has understand different level of knowledge, a different level of detail that they need. So sky the strategy, they like the big picture things. They're quite high level. You can talk in terms of market share or return on investment or cost revenue.
[00:07:24] Heath Gascoigne: Operations is talking about, , days off or how many widgets are putting through the process. What's input outputs and down in technology, in terms of their language and level of detail. We talk of technology and business requirements. It's very detailed and, and another language. So with, and that all these have to be align.
[00:07:40] Heath Gascoigne: And, and I think part of the skill is if the business transformator is that you need to understand who you're talking to.
[00:07:45] Lauren: do you find, I love that three LS Heath. I love it. I mean, one of the, , one of the one of the just kind of points of remembering is, is when it comes to people is and it Def definitely lines up with this three LS is, is individuals in an organization will care what their boss thinks and what their boss's boss thinks.
[00:08:05] Lauren: Yeah. So they will emulate those behaviors. If their boss finds something important and is driving that through, they will do it. If it's their boss's boss, they will as well. When you go much beyond that, they see the leaders as talking. Right. They're not involved in their day to day. Yep. So the levels and layers are really important and making sure that you're pitching that message and in the language, as you say, in the KPIs and metrics that are important for that part of the organization, At that level in that function.
[00:08:37] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Your KPIs. They've gotta measure their successful progress towards it. And what does that look like? I think you, you touched on it before, when, , with the leadership, understanding what the future looks like to actually to be there over that this client right now, where they say we've got OKRs and it's okay.
[00:08:54] Heath Gascoigne: OKRs are great. And I did a little video on YouTube about them comparing those to VSOM and saying with OKRs, they're really good. You have an objective and you have a measure to measure towards it, but what's the. Why do you have that? , what does that vision look like? And they say, oh, well, we kind of know
[00:09:09] Heath Gascoigne: So we kind of know, you need to know. And, I think that needs to be the starting point with the right people in the room and, and your terms and at the senior executives, the C-suite, all of them, not some of them, but all of them.
[00:09:22] Lauren: that's exactly right. And, and it is, it is that, , standing in the future and getting really clear and really specific about the what and the why.
[00:09:32] Lauren: Yeah. Which actually leads me to my second kind of tactic, if you will, Uhhuh , which is around building new, specific, tangible outcomes and metrics into performance commitments, every business has goals and perform. Commitments for transformation, it's no different, but it needs to be part of the executive team's bonus structure.
[00:09:55] Lauren: It needs to be part of their performance commitments. It need to be bonused on it. Yeah. The senior leaders in the organization need to be need to be really invest. Their time and they need to be rewarded for it. Mm-hmm so specific, very tangible outcomes and objectives that are built into the regular performance structure.
[00:10:13] Lauren: As soon as the transformation is starting is really important. That's what employees understand. It's the framework they respond to. It's how they. Manage. And if they don't see the transformation showing up in those goals in a very tangible way right away, they're not gonna see it as important.
[00:10:32] Heath Gascoigne: Yep. Yep.
[00:10:33] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. So the case audience missed that and I, I, I do something similar and is probably more structured is that when I talk about breaking down the organization, in terms of architecture from your enterprise architecture to processes, and then down to roles and responsibilities, And part of, and we get to the point of a job description that outlines, this is the processes that these people were carrying out.
[00:10:53] Heath Gascoigne: And these are the metrics you'll be measuring success by. And you should put these if always make that suggestion for HR, you include that in their, their performance reviews. And so all keep us down from the. Or covers down. Yeah. All the way down. Now I think that that's probably the point that's the part that's missing is you have to, to your point, you need to make that included these metrics included as part of the executive team, and then it also filters down.
[00:11:16] Heath Gascoigne: So they are performance managed around the changes that should be implemented.
[00:11:20] Lauren: Yeah, it's very wooly until the, the metrics come into play. Right. And when when everyone really understands the, from two, the needle, we are looking to move and the levers that are going to be essential to move it, there's a different level of stake in the game and oh yeah, that is.
[00:11:39] Lauren: Is really super.
[00:11:41] Lauren: important.
[00:11:42] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah. There. And you talk about level levers there. I talk about levers in terms of people, process technology and data, where you get to change those four, four elements. And mostly you gonna say, oh, we wanna have a new operating model. Okay. So what are you gonna change it? People process technology or data or all of them.
[00:11:57] Heath Gascoigne: And so we wanna operate down ways of working differently and, okay, so which one of those do you think, what does ways of working mean? Their process? Okay. That's one of those levers is process. You're changing one of the processes. But yeah, to that point of wooly, I find that I'm not sure why, but I, I think I understand why, but people are a bit reluctant to put the, a defined definitive metric around a change because then it makes them account.
[00:12:22] Lauren: That's exactly, exactly why it makes it, it makes folks squirmy, yeah. And if we're not going to have that level of , definition of success, what success looks like visibility to the organization. Right. Not just, , not just metrics that are kind of something that the executive team are looking at, but, but metrics that are actually shared and communicated, so the organization can look and see and feel the progress or where there are gaps.
[00:12:52] Lauren: They understand why decisions are being made in order to address those gaps. Oh yeah. That's super essential and it's essential to. Early. And what I found is a lot of times it, it will, there'll be a lot of discussion about the program or the transformation. Mm-hmm, some high level business case put together, but it doesn't really ha start until the rubber meets the road that we start talking about metrics.
[00:13:18] Lauren: And then it's this aha moment of, wow, how are we going to achieve that? So the earlier upfront that happens the better. Okay.
[00:13:25] Heath Gascoigne: It happened early. All right. , I, I wonder. So I get called in, in a couple situations of these programs, either at inception where I'm quite lucky, then, , get help state shape and form the, the program or after it started sometimes a year or two years.
[00:13:39] Heath Gascoigne: And you come in, then you see that the gaps and you go, well, why, why didn't you put any metrics around here because someone's gonna be accountable. And someone's head, , rightly should be on the chopping block if you, if you don't deliver then. So this 250 million pound program is just kicking the can down the corner, down the street, and nothing was really delivered because no one was accountable.
[00:14:00] Heath Gascoigne: So, , is that a cultural thing that stops people wanting to do that?
[00:14:04] Lauren: It's so interesting because I've seen and, and just through, , just through women's organizations that I'm working with and networking organizations, it seems to be. Pervasive across industries across transformations.
[00:14:18] Lauren: And it is not uncommon that companies will spend millions and millions and not have those metrics defined upfront. Yeah. So of course the finance people are pulling their hair out, but. It's unbelievable how common it actually really is. But accountability is tough, and that's the transformation leader's role is to hold the tension is to make those metrics visible, to have the uncomfortable conversations, otherwise that the benefits won't be delivered and.
[00:14:51] Lauren: That is not the right investment for the
[00:14:52] Heath Gascoigne: organization. Okay. Yeah. You, you said a, a key word there they're uncomfortable conversations. So I think we might have to make that the theme of, of the, the podcast. Actually, the I've been told on many occasions, there's some things I can't ask or say, because it's uncomfortable.
[00:15:07] Heath Gascoigne: And I'd say just because it's uncomfortable, it doesn't mean you can't ask the question and there's, if there's, , if that is the sore point, you're probably gonna ask where's the problem probably right.
[00:15:18] Lauren: That's exactly right. It's always, it's always the elephant in the room right across the, the way you handle it is different in different cultures,
[00:15:27] Lauren: the way you approach that conversation, the way you navigate around it how you get it on the table or how you address it. Is certainly, , a lot of times will, will depend on the audience that you're working with, the stakeholder group that you're working with. Yeah. But we can't shy away from it cuz shying away from it is going to lead you to the result that you don't want.
[00:15:47] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That's why I call ourselves business transformators as opposed to business architects, part designer, part strategist, part negotiator, part collaborator, because it's more than just coming up for. You've got to negotiate with people, coordinate and, and get them to work together. And that, that of, oh, here's a design and it's gonna work and people are gonna go
[00:16:08] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah, that's nice. That's interesting. And, and don't take any ownership and then go, oh, if we just wait long enough, like I've seen with operations, we'll go here's these guys are just like the last group that turned up, , I don't understand the word, the saying and speak another language and it's so over my head, but if we just nod our
[00:16:25] Heath Gascoigne: And just agree with it right now will they'll go away eventually. yeah. And, and then, , sure enough, , as soon as the, the, the consultants have left a room or they've left a room, they'll go, let's just go back to how things were before and no change happened. Yeah,
[00:16:39] Lauren: it's it's so, I mean, it's so consistent too, and you could see it, you see it time and time again, but we need to, to kind of, kind of remember there are no technology projects.
[00:16:50] Lauren: There are no operations projects. This is everyone's part of the business. Right. And, and this is where culture and communication become so important. You can almost guarantee if there is a technology related project, it will fail. If there is not a business person leading on it. It will fail. And there seems to be this reluctance to have the right people in the room, or oftentimes the business leaders will put folks on projects who just kind of happen to be there versus their top folks who really understand the process that's going to be changing.
[00:17:32] Lauren: Yep. So that's been an issue time and time again, but it's one of the critical success factors for
[00:17:38] Heath Gascoigne: programs. Yeah. Okay. So, so audience who dismissed. Okay. So a again, and I, I, we talked about this in the last call. Last podcast. Lauren is in another part of the world in the, in the us, in New York. And I am here in, in the, in London and UK.
[00:17:56] Heath Gascoigne: And now this one Lauren is just describing about the people, elements of transformation projects and, and, and I'll quote. There are no technology projects. If I tell these guys that I'm working with is, , if you were just to swap out this old legacy system for a new one, and you think that by just by doing that with the latest, all singing, all dancing technology system is going to transform your business
[00:18:18] Heath Gascoigne: You've got another thing coming. So yeah's like, but for some reason you will continue to do the same. That's the definition of insanity, continue to do the same thing again, again, expect a different result. So, so Lauren is on the other part of the world. This is not a a us only situ , this is, I see this myself now, the, the, the, the book and the feedback I get is it's sold all around the world and I get a lot of emails and queries.
[00:18:41] Heath Gascoigne: Oh, then we've experienced this, sir. You have basically said what I was thinking. I'm just thinking the same thing for years, but we experience. So this is a shared problem across transformation projects internationally. So
[00:18:53] Lauren: especially for large organizations, because what ends up happening is a lot of times the technology team
[00:18:59] Lauren: We'll run with it they'll know. And with all the right intent they'll know that a change needs to be made, but without getting the right expertise in there, they don't have the right change made. Yep. And so, so what you'll find is sometimes with smaller organizations where you've got kind of the athletes, you've got someone who's, , running the business, no, really doing the selling and understands the technology.
[00:19:22] Lauren: It doesn't happen. As much of course, but they're not large scale transformation projects. It's almost guaranteed to happen if it's not really deliberately led by the business with the right steering group with shared accountability at the executive team or the leadership team, that's responsible for this and the right KPIs.
[00:19:46] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. So just to summarize that led by the business shared accountability, that was also aligned and across the senior leadership and clear metrics. And that's the success factors, success measures. Okay. So everyone got that, got the pen and paper out. I have. Yeah. okay. So now that is okay. That I think those are some really good takeaways just on that point.
[00:20:14] Heath Gascoigne: On your approach. So you come into the, what is the approach that you, you, you come in you into a project, like from, and lucky, like, if you like me, in some cases, you're lucky you're at inception. And if you're unlucky and everything's kicked off and of course it's kicked off there's and you come along and put your hand on and say, okay, we might be missing a few things and people say, oh no, Lauren's asking us the down tools
[00:20:34] Heath Gascoigne: Oh no, that's, we're gonna stop. We don't wanna stop. We've got momentum. Although we're in the wrong forest, chopping down the wrong trees, but we have got. So, , what's your approach for those?
[00:20:45] Lauren: Yeah. And it, it is so often that you have to jump in, in the middle of, of something. Mm. But I think one of the real accountabilities of the transformation leader is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and, and there's a framework I use.[00:20:59] Lauren: And it's actually, , very much lined up Heath with what you said earlier. It's a, a from two framework that I use. Ensures that the members of the executive team and program team are defining the the organizational structure. Mm-hmm the, I'm sorry, the organizational strategy then structure.[00:21:18] Lauren: Yep. Then process, then tools, people, and culture. What are gonna be the changes against across each of those area? Strategy structure, process tools, people, and culture, really defining the, where we are now, the, where we're going to be, and the metrics that we're going to see changed as a result. And you could do that even if the product program is already underway, the group should have a good idea of it
[00:21:49] Lauren: But what you'll find is that if the program is underway, Different people will have different pieces of information or different views. Yep. Based on their vantage point based on their role. And it's very often not in one place. Yeah. Not in a simple scorecard that aligns everyone in the program team, everyone in the organization, it very clear black and white around a shared view of.
[00:22:17] Lauren: And what you'll find is a lot of times these programs are underway if, and even just doing that, there's tons of debate. Mm oh, yes. And there's often no, no view of success, no scorecard that anyone can point to. So really forcing that conversation sometimes again, a very hard conversation. Yeah, because you're getting really tactical about what is going to change and what the future's going to look like.
[00:22:46] Lauren: And and even doing it around more, , softer topics like culture are so important. Culture runs through. Every single thing we're talking about. Oh yes. Yeah. We can make the best changes. , you could have the best process, the best technology, anything, if the culture isn't there, it's dead in the water.
[00:23:06] Lauren: Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. And destination is about culture change. And that's where , when we, we continue this conversation and we talk about the people element. Yep. That's where making sure that every single action we take. Everything we do. We are using microsteps and micro actions to embed cultural
[00:23:28] Heath Gascoigne: shifts.
[00:23:29] Heath Gascoigne: Oh, awesome. Okay. I'm gonna quote you on all these microsteps and micro actions to embed the transformation business transformation. Now you said a few good things in there, like many good things in there. The that, that part about the It, that information is in, in different places and not the same place and probably even not shared views across the organization about getting, , what the vision looks like, what our strategies for the people, process technology and data and culture.
[00:23:59] Heath Gascoigne: , I, I see that myself. And, and they hard conversations like I, on one project, it took in one, one instance, a recent one with HR transformation for I'll say the name, the M H R a, that was relatively quick to get the vision done with the senior management team. We took to the board and got it approved.
[00:24:18] Heath Gascoigne: I said, yeah, great. That's what we want for that division. It supports the organization division. And on another program, it took three months just to get division. And was because there were so many shared unshared views that one person, , not everyone had the same shared view and it took nine, three months just to get the vision statement, not the strategies, what we're doing for people, process technology and data.
[00:24:39] Heath Gascoigne: , these are hard conversations. And I think you touched on it earlier talking about the leadership transformation leadership, that's a big role. And I think people understand how big that role is. It's not saying, okay, I'm, I'm gonna the sponsor. So yeah, you're the sponsor, what the sponsor.
[00:24:53] Heath Gascoigne: Means that you're gonna, you are at the front leading, not at the back going okay. You should do. You should do so. No, no, no, no. You're gotta roll your sleeves up sometimes and get involved
[00:25:01] Lauren: Yeah, that's exactly right. And, and sometimes, , the those tough conversations between the executive team
[00:25:09] Lauren: Are really, really tough. I mean, I, I remember spending, I think four hours with an executive team debating new travel and expense policies that were just minor changes, but they got so emotional, those changes were gonna translate to cost savings that we're gonna be reinvested in the business, but the emotion around it, what we came out of it with complete alignment
[00:25:37] Lauren: And the, it, it was worth the time the policies were introduced, the changes were made, the culture was shifting. But it really took a lot of hard conversations around something that seemed relatively insignificant, to be honest. Yep. So leaders are used to being able to take calls. That's why they're leaders.
[00:25:57] Lauren: Mm. But when you're look trying to align to a shared vision, the need to work together, come together and make sure that they're really showing up to the organization as one cohesive unit. Yeah. And that takes time. Yeah.
[00:26:11] Heath Gascoigne: So now, so how do you get then the executives in that case? Like, , you could say, okay, we're locking the.
[00:26:20] Heath Gascoigne: You're not getting out until the decision's made, , we came in here with an objective. The objective is to achieve this. And so we're not walking out of here until it's done. Yeah. So how do you, how do you do that
[00:26:30] Lauren: I mean, the, , the experience that I've found is this is where it's great to have transformation leaders, as well as some external experts.
[00:26:40] Lauren: Mm-hmm cause I think once you've you, you ex inject that external perspective. Yep. It takes a little bit of the emotion out. Yeah, frankly. , when you look at, well, we've done things in our company this way forever and you, a lot of times in some of these senior roles, you have folks who've been with the organization for a long time
[00:27:01] Lauren: Yeah. Very often. So they may not appreciate that, what the world has moved on. Other companies are doing it this way. This actually isn't that different. So what I've found is injecting a good level of external perspective as well as showing internal best practice, cuz it is also easy for people to say
[00:27:23] Lauren: That doesn't apply to us, but they're different that company's different. Mm. But when you start to say, well, it's interesting because why can they do that in Asia? But we can't do it here. Yeah. And , what is different? What are they doing differently that they don't need to. Spend X amount. Yeah. Or they can sell X amount
[00:27:42] Lauren: And it's really interesting when you start to get that global perspective in there. Yeah. Mm-hmm and share internal benchmarks, internal metrics, compare folks to each other. A lot of times when we, we run into stumbling blocks that has helped me personally get through them sharing data. And sometimes it's uncom.
[00:28:05] Lauren: To be fair. Sometimes it's really uncomfortable, but that is the transformation leader's role role. Yep. Just it's it's not often, , the most popular role, but it's really important that you're able to do that in a way that is transparent, honest. Managing the relationships and, , also sensitive to the, , political dynamics, but it is important.
[00:28:29] Heath Gascoigne: Oh yes, you there, there's a couple of key points there about the transparent and sensitive you need to be, , because it's people right. If it was technology and it's hard and, and no emotion involved, you're fine. You could probably take the. Line, but with people involved, no, you, you gotta do softly, softly, some cases
[00:28:45] Heath Gascoigne: I think that the, I've seen that myself with, , using external consultants, yes. For that, , take the motion out of it because it's in a third party and they'll come in and hopefully offer some external expertise offering seeing it for the first time and not been embedded in going, as you said, oh, this is how we've always done thing around here.
[00:29:02] Heath Gascoigne: And you. Whenever I hear that. I go, oh no, there's the problem right there. , they're stuck in a rut and they're quite comfortable. They're in the comfort zone. They don't wanna change. Although they'll complain until the cows come home, that how inefficient the processes are and their life could be a lot easier, but they don't wanna change.
[00:29:18] Heath Gascoigne: They're saying, , people like change, but they don't want to change. But this also that the catch, I think the caveat is when you bring in external help. You, you do it a couple of ways. You understand whether it's appropriate and then apply it or, and then, or proportionately, don't just take it off the shelf
[00:29:37] Heath Gascoigne: Cause I've seen these, these internal guys will say, well, this is what they've said. I said, okay. Yes, they did say that. But two, we have to understand how that affects this organization. This organization is not quite the same as that same space, same market, same similar products, but it's not quite the same
[00:29:56] Heath Gascoigne: And I think that's part of our role is also to educate the internal guys to go, okay, you still have control, , the control risk for few. We know we'll tell you and guide you, but you, the decision relies ultimately.
[00:30:07] Lauren: Absolutely. The transformation transformation leader's role is to help them understand the possibility, the inspiration, and to really define the art of the possible, then figure out how do we make that very real and fit the right way in the organization
[00:30:25] Lauren: How do we maintain the magic of our organization, but still continue to move forward.
[00:30:30] Heath Gascoigne: I like that. The art of the possible I was actually gonna call the second book, the art of the possible, but yeah, it is, it is the art of the possible. You, you create something almost outta nothing. It's there, like I said, with business architecture, it makes it visible.
[00:30:45] Heath Gascoigne: The invisible, it's not, it's the way you look at the organization. You're so the most cases, the business is so caught in the detail that they can't see. Do , you've got these good opportunities and you've got these subject matter experts, but. Buried them deep in this process where they're so overwhelmed in, in the technical detailed work, where you should bring them back a bit, but they, they don't see.
[00:31:03] Heath Gascoigne: Of
[00:31:04] Lauren: course, they don't see it. They're running their business, right. They're just running and they're running their business. And that's why you don't have transformation leaders all the time. Right. It's to come in there to help make a change and support the support, the line organizations in making a change so that they can move there.
[00:31:22] Lauren: Part of the team from a to B. Yep. And it really is. That's why it's sometimes uncomfortable and sticky people feel like you could be getting into their space, so you need to be able to navigate that human element of it. Yep. But it is really important to show them the art of the possible, because they're busy running their business day to day
[00:31:43] Lauren: Frankly, they don't have time all the time to lift their heads up. Yeah. And figure out, , what does the next turn of the crank
[00:31:50] Heath Gascoigne: look like? Yep. Okay. So for the, so again, this audience, if you missed that, Lauren originally as a technology background, moved into, , into. Business transformation.
[00:32:01] Heath Gascoigne: And now we're organization design and performance productivity, and stressing the importance of people will probably bringing us onto our third point about people's role in transformations. , is that significant role where do you see people in a, are they recognize. Where they are pivotal to the cassette, to the success of the, the program, or like ISC here on, on this program.
[00:32:25] Heath Gascoigne: The business is the technology side of the program has gone off to RFP at the very, very start of the program. They've gone off engaged for suppliers to build this, this sys the solution. And then they're telling me in the next breadth, yes, we're bringing the business along this journey with us and I'm going, there are no business people involved in the project except me.
[00:32:41] Heath Gascoigne: And I'm not even from the. Yeah
[00:32:44] Lauren: it is textbook. It's absolutely textbook. And I think what is , as I said before, I think there is genuinely positive intent, but the reality of it is no one knows the way. The supply chain works better than the supply guy. Yeah. No one knows how the sales team works better than the sales guy
[00:33:07] Lauren: It's just not going to happen. It's not about the technology. It's about how we work. It's about process. It's about connection. So I think , I do feel as if technology leaders. Are starting to understand that more mm-hmm yet it still does not prevent us from starting projects before we have business buyin.
[00:33:30] Lauren: Mm. You shouldn't need business buy-in it's their project. Yeah. So it is , there's, there's kind of a quote that I love, which is that organizations get the technology that they deserve. Oh. And , it really is. True, because if you don't put your best people on it, that really understand how the business works, what's going to sell how we're going to run
[00:33:57] Lauren: Then you're not going to get the outcome you want from technology investment. It's very
[00:34:03] Heath Gascoigne: black and white. Oh, that's, I'm gonna quote you on all these organizations. Get the technology they deserve. That's that's that's great. Now the, yeah, that's. I have I report that there's program reports to the technology and, and probably myself in trouble.
[00:34:18] Heath Gascoigne: But this, this, we come out in a couple of weeks, so maybe will be cleared of the firing at that point. Is that the response to that? There are no operations people here, and I say, they're not interested. That was a response I got. And I said, Is that not interested because you've asked them or you think that?
[00:34:35] Heath Gascoigne: And I said, well, we haven't asked them, but we think we think that. And I said, that's, , that's not how you're gonna get transformation by thinking and putting words into the business' mouth. They will see that, that, that you have one, not bringing them along the journey. And you are putting words into their mouth
[00:34:49] Heath Gascoigne: And, and so how much, just give a, a rudimentary figure, how much you think you're spending on the technology it's in the it's in the tens of millions. Now, I said, you, you are spending tens of millions in, in investment, on an annual basis on technology, not including the value of the cost of this project.
[00:35:07] Heath Gascoigne: And you don't involve the business. Wow.
[00:35:11] Lauren: They will guarantee some cost on that. Yeah, it will. Absolutely. And even if, for whatever reason, somehow magically the solution worked for the business, they wouldn't be, they wouldn't have their fingerprints on it and they wouldn't embed it anyway. Yeah. Yeah. So not only is it not gonna work.
[00:35:29] Lauren: Because they're not part of the design, but they're not going to have the ownership to drive the implementation through the teams that have to use it. It's gonna feel like some somebody else's thing. And so there's so many different angles to that. It's all transformation is about people. It's not about technology
[00:35:51] Lauren: It's not. Business cases. It's not about me. It is about people. It's about ownership, communication, getting your fingerprints on it, winning hearts and minds, having, , folks really read, be to redirected from their day jobs to the transformation versus a separate project team. That has no idea what the day job is like of that individual.
[00:36:15] Heath Gascoigne: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. It transformation is about the people that is, , for, for complete disclosure. You and we've not met other than having quick call before. So we now, so, and, and we are at different parts of the world. So this is, , this is like if, if we were sitting beside each other on the same project or in the, in the us same project, we're experiencing the same things
[00:36:38] Heath Gascoigne: The difference here is that we're in different continents across the same uh, at different parts of the world. Now this is, so this. I, I, I can't, I couldn't stress it enough that, , I, I, when I come into these projects, I, I, I feel, and then some of these projects have been government projects and, and before I was a British citizen and I could see the value of these projects and some costs, and they weren't getting return on investment.
[00:36:58] Heath Gascoigne: I was going, , not only other people in the business who providing the service and products to the, the country in this case for the government, The, the, the, the changes aren't being implemented and they aren't realizing any value. And so the it's wasted money that way. But from the, from the, from the country's perspective of the services that are provided, they've got no better services
[00:37:20] Heath Gascoigne: And so it's like, , these projects, the whole benefit of the projects is you make some change and then the world changes and you need another transformation, but you don't need to try and extend a project to make it go longer and longer and longer and deliver nothing you can, if you do it, it
[00:37:35] Heath Gascoigne: So properly.
[00:37:37] Lauren: That I have to say that is probably one of the hardest, most difficult jobs of a transformation leader to come in. And, , particularly when a project is underway. Yep. And to, to call it like it is. Hmm. Because it is so often that we don't fail fast. Oh yeah. Businesses don't fail fast
[00:38:00] Lauren: They feel like. Got this cost, they've got this investment, they've got the political, , elements of it behind it. And it's really hard. It takes a big leader to say, what? We didn't, we probably should have done this differently. And now we need to stop. Yeah. We so rarely stop. And the write off gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
[00:38:26] Lauren: And this, by the way is everywhere. Yeah, because you said, I think you said in the top of the call the 30% of, and if it was in a different one of your podcasts, forgive me, but only 30% of transformation projects are successful. Yeah, right. Which means that most of them aren't and , and even the definition of success, you can kind of debate in that 30%
[00:38:50] Lauren: Yep. But really fail, failing fast is, is what these newer technology organizations, more entrepreneurial organizations do really well. Yeah. And some of the bigger players have to figure that
[00:39:05] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah, I, that, that part about fail first is very similar to, to when I, you said earlier about not only when I said get the senior leadership executive team involved, you said I'll get them involved and aligned.
[00:39:19] Heath Gascoigne: And the same with that fail fast is the same. No, just don't like get your third party, your, your external experts in and just take what they say and don't worry. Use it and fail fast. As I know, like I I've implemented on in our project now as like the modus operandi said now for our modus operandi, our default mode operation, our default way of working is question the question and even question me, I am not beyond reproach.
[00:39:46] Heath Gascoigne: I'm not beyond question. You should question why we're asked to do something. And so well, we're gonna fail fast, said, what? I hear that. Fail fast that you, you aim to fail fast and it's alright to try new things. Cause we can fail fast. But what you need, there's a step before fail fast is to question it.
[00:40:00] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah. yeah. Cause otherwise you will always be failing
[00:40:03] Lauren: fast from the first
[00:40:04] Heath Gascoigne: time. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I, I, I find that as like, yes. Yeah. Like there's some part. You're thinking for yourself. , and if it agrees for your common sense, yeah. Take it on board. But if it doesn't, if you, if you were told on a recommendation that and it sounds confusing now two days, 20 days, 10 weeks down the track, it doesn't get any clearer and it is as clear as it was when you first heard it.
[00:40:29] Lauren: I love this heat because I think what happens often is, is folks who are on the ground. Aren't they, they will see something that's wrong almost immediately. And then you've got these senior people who are pretty removed from the day, day detail that frankly, they want nothing more than to know
[00:40:51] Lauren: What's working. What's not. Yeah. But a lot of times the folks that see these red flags for whatever reason, don't feel comfortable raising it. Yeah. Or they just, as you say, accept it. Mm-hmm . So this is where communication is so fundamental, , breaking down. Lines and, , I've always done tons of skip level meetings and round tables and just town halls and, , lunch and learns, getting to know people.
[00:41:22] Lauren: It's so important that you remove the hierarchy from these transformation projects, because you're only gonna get the truth from the folks who are actually. In the weeds doing the delivery every day.
[00:41:37] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah, that's it. Yeah. I, I said to, to those words where you were saying about so far removed from the pain, I've made recommendations here of, okay, we gotta get the guys that are actually doing this, doing the work in operations.
[00:41:49] Heath Gascoigne: And I said, no, gimme they give me names. I said, no, they can't feel the pain. They're so far removed that it doesn't mean anything to them. They will make a decision that will impact these people in operations. And how many of them, oh, you got 2000 of them. And so that's a big change and, and if they can't feel that pain no we're talking to the wrong people cuz they'll make a decision that doesn't impact them.
[00:42:08] Lauren: That's exactly right. And again, what maybe with the best of intent, , they think it's the right decision, but , it needs to be that end user. Every time. Yep. The customer directly, the employee directly, the user directly. They're the ones that are gonna be able to give you the answer.
[00:42:26] Heath Gascoigne: Okay.
[00:42:26] Heath Gascoigne: Now beauty. Beauty. Okay. So we're right on now. I wanna, yeah, so I'll re I dunno if I can wrap up what we just talked about. there there's a lot there. So I asked you from that from the top of the hour or from the start about the, the three things about the. About the processes, the process you follow and how important that you see the people in the people's role.
[00:42:46] Heath Gascoigne: And just quite, just quickly on that one is like, , it's everything, you get that. If you forget, if you're trying to transform, transform, and I think you see the key word around, , there are no tech technical transformations. It's, , it's people transformations, culture transformations.
[00:42:58] Heath Gascoigne: Like I don't run a recent post report that your staff are 100% people. If you don't understand your people, you do not understand your business transformation. So, yeah. Do you think there's tick not. It's
[00:43:11] Lauren: that's exactly right. And what? You can learn so much from them. And the, , the entire senior leadership team can learn so much from them
[00:43:21] Lauren: It's just about listening. The, just to kind of wrap that up, Keith, I mentioned Keith, I mentioned that micro actions go along. yep. Every single interaction that you have as a, a, a member of the transformation team is sending a message. Hmm. People want to resist change. It's natural. Yeah. Human nature is to resist change
[00:43:48] Lauren: Yep. So if the people on the transformation team aren't sending the right message. Yeah. Aren't sending the right signal. Aren't using frankly, every opportunity. To talk about the transformation to talk about how it's going to change the benefits, to be honest about the drawbacks as well, cuz they're always there right
[00:44:10] Lauren: To be really transparent. It's always that balance of what's right for the organization. What's right for the customer what's right for the employee. But the, the folks on the transformation team can be that mouthpiece and they need to be. Advocates yes. To help bring the organization along to win hearts and minds to help each and every employee get their fingerprints on the change[00:44:33] Lauren: So they feel good about it from the beginning and it becomes more organic. Yeah. And less of a threat and less of a big deal when it actually starts to happen.
[00:44:44] Heath Gascoigne: Yes. Yeah. Okay. So the key point there there's got mixed, mixed missed it is people is a major part that and , I think part of that is yes, through the process that you get them as a change champion, the advocates, your, your words, there is.
[00:44:59] Heath Gascoigne: That you get them from the people, the people in the business, the ones that, , to the end user, you said earlier, make sure that's the end user every time. So not that disjointed from the, the organ, from the pain and from the organization to high level, that they can't see and feel it. But it is the end user and those people become the.
[00:45:17] Heath Gascoigne: That they are the change champions, if you like, that will go with that positive voice. And I, cause I talk about from these, on these projects here said, you think by just changing technology, we're gonna change this organization no way. And you think, , as soon as we have walked out, the consultants have left this building.
[00:45:31] Heath Gascoigne: You watch everything go back to how it was before, because you've not embedded the change
[00:45:36] Lauren: Yeah. Sustainability. And the, the only way you're gonna get that is that those tentacles are through the organization and the people within.
[00:45:44] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. So I dunno if I can do justice to a summary. And so if everyone who wants to play it back and, and get the summary, but all, all the show notes are gonna be there.
[00:45:52] Heath Gascoigne: I'll do my best here to, to sum, sum it up. So we had from the beginning was the asked about what was the, the crucial parts to a pivot. And you said that the executive team alignment and I said, yes, get them involved. But you said it involved and aligned. That's a, that's a crucial part. Then, then I talked there about the the three.
[00:46:10] Heath Gascoigne: The three LS and you said, yes, the the layers levels of language, and you have you took that a step further about the metrics that making those metrics. They're part of their performance measures, which is like, if you wanna guarantee success, you make somebody accountable. How do you make them accountable?
[00:46:25] Heath Gascoigne: You put a measure on it, and then so you, you, you, you have to achieve it and you don't achieve it. Hey, you didn't admit it. And if you don't admit it, that's two parts, both personally and professionally, but also the organization transformation didn't do. So that part there around metrics. And it's a challenge there is around currently what exists is the wooly part, where they don't have
[00:46:45] Heath Gascoigne: And, and partly there is because of, they don't want the accountability. Part of that use the response to that was well that if you get it, that provides then the shared ownerships, the shared responsibility shared vision. And then you said about making it happen. And when do you make it happen as early as possible in the process?
[00:47:04] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. So yeah, and that's where we talked about the uncomfortable conversations. And as I would say, as, and business transformators, we are negotiators strategists, designers and collaborators as yeah. We gonna yeah. Uncomfortable conversations. That's in the job title. It's like, , don't say it
[00:47:23] Lauren: Yep
[00:47:23] Lauren: Changing people's behavior is hard. It's hard work. Yep. But if we're the earlier we're communicating both the outcomes, what a shared view of success looks like the wins along the way. Yes. Getting the folks on the ground to communicate the wins. The more we are. It embracing the human element of the transformation
[00:47:48] Lauren: The more likely we are to actually embed a change, that's gonna give us the benefits we desire.
[00:47:55] Heath Gascoigne: Yeah. They, so again, people, people, people. You're changing people. You're changing people, you're changing people. So, , technology is an enabler of these changes. Sorry, technology guys. You are good friends of mine and I love you dear.
[00:48:09] Heath Gascoigne: But , , we'll play a role in this. We'll get the best outta technology when the business will give you the requirements, as opposed to you second guessing or building what you've interpreted as what they need. Yeah. So it's we not, not unfairly picking on our technology colleagues, but.
[00:48:24] Heath Gascoigne: Staff the people and you'd be a lot better place. And so what you said around that time is about, there are no technology projects and so well, isn't it interesting. I, I, I, that's why I see from the beginning, the disclaimer is we've not met each other, but , we're different parts of the world. And we are saying the same things
[00:48:42] Heath Gascoigne: So, , this, I, I don't think this is unique to Jewish you and I, I think this is like, this is more than, this is a shared review
[00:48:49] Lauren: This is a shared transformation challenge and it is it, it just something I've learned time and time again very often the hard way. So now yeah, it's really incumbent upon
[00:49:02] Lauren: To share and help help save us from ourselves. Yes.
[00:49:06] Heath Gascoigne: Yes. And then, so the second part there around the process, there is a process you follow and you look at strategy and a structure, process tools, and people in culture. And so, and you make sure that , where you are now, where you will be in the future
[00:49:19] Heath Gascoigne: And what is that change is involved. And that there was the current issue is that. People. Yeah. Don't want to have those hard conversations and it's like, well, Hey, , if they don't happen, the transformation's not gonna happen. That's
[00:49:35] Lauren: exactly right. And just forcing a framework to have that conversation sometimes is just super helpful.
[00:49:41] Lauren: It's all about the, the people
[00:49:43] Heath Gascoigne: mm-hmm yep. Yeah. Transformation is about the culture change and microsteps and the micro actions and that what builds embeds, the business transformation. Yeah. And I think, yeah, that. and then ultimately we got to the end of the, we talked about the external consultants, bring them in, help break down that maybe the, we say more the paradigm shift or the possible yeah.
[00:50:07] Heath Gascoigne: The out of the possible their, their current perpe perception of how things are, that's just how they've always been. And so therefore that's how they always will be said, no, bring in the external to, to help break down that more like the, the way of working way of thinking. The challenge with that is don't always take what the third parties say is question the question and then say, and apply it applicable and appropriate for that situation.
[00:50:32] Lauren: Exactly, exactly right.
[00:50:33] Heath Gascoigne: He okay. I think we, we we've covered it there. What a good coverage. Okay.
[00:50:41] Lauren: Such a fun conversation. And I don't know if it's useful heat, but I can give you to post kind of a one pager of
[00:50:48] Heath Gascoigne: oh, thank you very much. Yeah. If you could give that to me, I'll put that in the link and I'll put all, everything in the show notes and everything referred to, if Quotes or to your, your LinkedIn profile
[00:50:57] Heath Gascoigne: So if people wanna get in contact with you and the company, so you can see your background they'll all be in the show notes. So anyone wants to contact and say, okay, we need some help with this. We do have the same problem that you talked about. Can you come in and help us out? Maybe you might get in trouble with moonlighting on the side, but so, but
[00:51:13] Lauren: so happy to share lessons learned.
[00:51:15] Lauren: I do a ton of it and really happy to help
[00:51:18] Heath Gascoigne: Okay. Okay. There's there you are. Ladies and gentlemen, that was Lauren all the way from New York. Other side of the continent who's sharing same seeing same things and transformation as across the pond here in UK, which is not unique to, to just us and these two different continents, but around the world, I hope you enjoyed it, Lauren
[00:51:34] Heath Gascoigne: Thank you very much for your time and we will be in touch. Thank you, heat. Bye bye. Okay. Okay, thanks. See you. Hey.
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Hi, I’m Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients’ business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.