Last month at our AIA National Sales Meeting, Unite 2022, special guests Timothy Andrews and Will Knecht shared compelling stories and advice about transformation to help all of us understand how to transform with intention. In preparation for that discussion, I came across this brief and insightful article from Harvard Business Review that outlines four different kinds of transformation.
As leaders, we must not only balance performing and transforming (that combination has become table stakes in business today), we need to also understand the forces that are influencing our strategy so we can manage different types of transformation effectively.
And sometimes we undergo multiple transformations at once. For example, at AIA, we are in the midst of strategic transformation. We’ve introduced a new vision of Community Strong, Owner Experience and Trusted Partner and have been making cultural changes to build the right team and processes to advance that vision.
Even as we’re managing through our overall strategic transformation, we’re implementing a “sprinted transformation” to accelerate our digital and marketing experience for our Owner Community. It’s a “transformation within a transformation” as we work to build AIA's market strategy for solutions that will be developed in the future. We are still in the early stages of this sprint to a new marketing, technology and business model, but we’re making progress every day.
The article also describes negotiated and hijacked transformations – neither of which are happening at AIA today – but both are good to understand. These transformations are largely forced upon a business, whereas strategic and sprinted transformations are choices business leaders can make.
Running a successful business is no small endeavor, in any industry. As a CEO in the fast-paced, ever-changing promo industry, I’ve learned that leaning into transformation – choosing to make big strategic changes to advance a clear and focused strategy – is both challenging and extremely rewarding.
Strategic transformation gives you the power to choose who you want to be as an organization, how and where you want to play, and how you will win for your stakeholders. At AIA, making strategic choices in support of our vision and purpose to empower success for our owners, suppliers, and team has been truly transformational – and we’re just getting started!