Do you really need to be in trouble to want to change?

In a recent report published by Forbes on “Transformational Change”, the question if you can really drive transformation without the catalyst of facing a crisis is raised. A successful business transformation is defined as more than simply adapting to change: “it means rewriting business models or even reshaping your own industry”. This is what the hardware maker Apple did when you consider the role it played in the birth of the tablet computer industry and the revolution in smartphones; or what IBM did, when it decided to move from manufacturer to service provider. Both transformations were lead by the need to navigate stormy waters and come out of a crisis not only alive but stronger than ever.

Why would a company decide to mobilise resources to transform itself and face the unknown when things are going well? We believe that waiting for troubled times before moving towards change might be even riskier. Certainly, getting everyone to engage in a major change can be easier when the survival of the company is at stake and when the alternative to change is a fast and premature death. However, at a time of crisis, the company’s resources are already weakened and the pressure to change might lead to not well-thought through solutions. Indeed, research conducted by Mckinsey shows that what they call “defensive transformations (those undertaken to stem trouble) have lower success rates than progressive ones (launched, for instance, to boost growth or to move from good to great performance)”.

Therefore, welcome to the ambition and curiosity to improve the status quo and explore new territory. If you take the time to appreciate what you already have, take stock of your assets and strengths and celebrate your success, it will not do you any harm to capitalise on your strengths and good results to look at what else you could be doing and do even better.