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  • Emily Witter

Transformation and Change – why taking it from the top might not be the best way!



Sometimes things seem just too big to tackle. It is difficult to see where to start and how to make an impact. Despite the logic and the clear need to do something, taking the first step is so often the hardest.

Take transformation for example. It is one of the most frequently used words if you do a quick search on LinkedIn or Twitter today. It is the perceived saviour of our public services and those who can direct such transformation are in short supply – and those who can deliver real and sustainable transformation are even more sought after. So there’s lots of talking and thinking and probably a lot of doing but it is still hard to see real results from all this effort. So what’s going on?

Public services are essential to healthy communities and there is a clear need for some change given the increasing demand and reducing funding and those I have been privileged to work with are striving to modernise, become more efficient and to do things differently. Some have been successful in driving change, all have taken eye-watering sums out of the budgets but none have really made headway in delivering the fundamental transformation that will see more services digitalised and offered differently into the future.

Maybe the time is right to transform the way we “do” transformation. That’s the key here – we have been trying to “do” transformation. Appointing Directors of Transformation and setting up Transformation Units and Teams, designing systems and processes for making change happen are top down, isolated and isolating actions which are unlikely to deliver ground breaking change.

Maybe it is time to turn things upside down and create the climate and conditions for real transformation starting where the action is – at the front, middle and all sides. Transformation is the result of a movement, unleashed by captivating the imagination and harnessing the efforts of everyone.

Transformation cannot be directed. It must be led of course, and setting a clear and compelling vision is critical, but that can also come from within the business or service. Identifying those who can lead and support change in every corner is key here and that is where understanding the different ways people approach change is a vital tool in generating the momentum and commitment to doing things differently. The civil service uses the 7 lenses of change – vision, design, planning, transformation leadership, collaboration, accountability and, very sadly last, people. These are all worthy of course but we have been tackling transformation like this for at least two decades without any tangible results. Let’s turn this around and put people first. It is people who will deliver the required change and people who are probably best placed to see what needs doing and how.


This is where The Change Maker Profile can be so very powerful. It recognises that everyone has a part to play in change and transformation. Some people are Strategists who can map out the future, they can see how things could be, building on patterns and trends. These people may be on the front line and can see very clearly how to improve and develop the service. Others are Game Changers, who can really help develop ideas, question the status quo and try new things. Again, these people will be found at all levels in the organisation and playing to their strengths can really transform the future. Implementers are those who will build on ideas, work hard to make things happen. We all know people like this and they are ready and willing to get things done. Polishers pay attention to detail and like things to be right. It is the Play Makers who bring people together, building relationships and collaborating. Together, these players can make a real difference.

This isn’t about hierarchy or being in charge. This is a way of recognising the different ways that people - yes it’s the people every time – contribute to change and through whom real and lasting transformation will be realised. This is true diversity, playing to strengths and unleashing the potential of everyone, wherever they are in the structure. This will create the movement, this will deliver the future.


If you would like to know more about how The Change Maker Profile can help you transform your business, please get in touch with Sue at sue@thechangemakergroup.com.


#change #changealchemy