Manny Maceda: The Many Roles of a Transformation Office

The transformation office’s role will change as the company’s effort progresses.


Manny Maceda: The Many Roles of a Transformation Office

During an organization's transformation, the chief transformation officer and his or her associated office will often play many key roles in the effort. Manny Maceda, who leads Bain's Global Transformation practice, outlines how the office’s role will change as the company’s transformation progresses.

Read the Bain Brief: Choreographing a Full Potential Transformation

Read the transcript below.

MANNY MACEDA: Let me explain what the role of the chief transformation officer is and the associated transformation office that this person will often lead. They will generally play one of five roles and perhaps all of them at the same time.

They will be the strategic architect working with the CEO to integrate and drive and choreograph a transformation agenda. They will have to play the integrator function because often if you're driving customer agenda on one part of the organization, cutting costs in another part, going after a digital agenda in a third, all of those will be interrelated, and there will be interdependencies that someone will need to play air traffic controller for.

They will often be the dashboard holder and the—let's call it the controller who's measuring are we actually progressing and achieving. They could be an operator of the specific set of initiatives that can only be done in the center. Many initiatives you might farm out and distribute to the organization so that each function is driving a change agenda within that function, but there are often a few horizontal complicated cross-functional initiatives that need to be run at the center.

And then finally and ultimately, they also could be and should be a coach to help the organization grow and get better. So not just the person leading this role but the team around them will have to play all of these roles.

And what we found over time is the nature of the roles change. One of the surveys that we run in our transformation forums is to prioritize which ones. And you'll note that in year zero, year one, our respondents will say the strategic architect role is the most important but that as you move into year two or year three most of the strategic architecture will be completed, and then you can move and prioritize some of the other initiatives.

All of this in the premise is that there is this transformation office or transformation function that exists in addition to the line organization.

Now why is that? Why is that important?

Most companies rightfully will say, "We prefer that the line should just implement the change. The line needs to own and embrace the change."

And that's the correct and very aspirational ambition that you should have for a well-run company. But the reality is in a transformation the line will change.

Think about that. The operating model, the kind of executives you had, the skills in the organization that made them successful in the past may not be the same as what you will need to have in the future. And so as you're transforming the line, you will need this kind of office to create a bridge until the newly transformed line—the redesigned and transformed organization of the future—can actually inherit the initiatives and receive them and accept the baton without dropping it in the handoff.

And that also means that for most organizations, you will go over time from, ideally, potentially a centrally run program office—to keep everything integrated, to see the architecture, to control it in the right places—and then end up distributing that transformation function perhaps to the business units as they get formed and farmed out ultimately to where it doesn't exist anymore and you can declare victory.

And by that point, even though you will continue to have an ongoing need for transformative change, the new and transformed line of the future can then manage that and own that without having this overlay organization. And if you've gotten to that point and have succeeded along the way, chances are the transformation journey you've been on has already been a successful one.

Read the Bain Brief: Choreographing a Full Potential Transformation

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