Everyone leading a transformation must learn three laws:
- The laws of project management—this is a problem that anyone directing a project must study and solve.
- The laws of transformation management—this is a problem that anyone directing a transformation must study and solve.
- The laws of transformation management in an organization—this is a problem that anyone directing a transformation in this organization must study and solve.
The original text comes from Mao Zedong. Replace war with project, revolutionary war with transformation, and revolutionary war in China with transformation in a (your) organization.
For CEOs, strategists, strategic inititiative portfolio managers, transformation and program leaders, as well as all sorts of “PMO”, the implications are exciting:
- Managing strategy and managing change are similar. And change happens through projects. So executive sponsors, project, program and portfolio managers, as well as PMOs must first master the basics of project management.
- Yet, transforming something is much more than a mere project. In projects, the efficacy of action is direct. The means lead to an end. But it is both costly and risky. In contrast, the efficacy of transformation is indirect. The conditions lead to the consequences. The potential of the situation accumulates during the course of the transformation. This is a completely different process. It is thus necessary to study and solve the laws of this particular process.
- More importantly, not only is a transformation not local, as action is, but it is impossible to localize; its deployment is always global. It is also a process that affects the transformation of oneself as well as of others. So, one must consider the entire organization concerned by the change. Hence the need to study and solve the laws of transformation management in this specific organization.
There is also an important distinction between a project leader and a transformation leader.
- The project leaders make the project outcomes visible. They get credit for the benefits.
- Conversely, under the transformation leader’s influence, “the people day by day evolve toward the good without realizing who is making this happen”. And this applies equally to the leader’s PMO (“the court advisor”) according to the Chinese Mengzi.
Studying these three laws is perhaps one of the most important challenges to overcome in the domain of transformations!