I often work with leadership teams helping them with their business transformation. When I do, I am reminded of the Govindarajan and Trimble ‘Three Box Solution’ which is still a very relevant tool kit for an age old problem.

Innovation guru Vijay Govindarajan explains the problem in his 2016 book – How do you meet the performance requirements of the existing business—one that is still thriving—while dramatically reinventing it?

Key Leadership Tasks for Business Transformation

He suggests three things that a forward thinking CEO or key leadership team must do:

  • Manage the present core business
  • Selectively abandon past ideas that inhibit innovation
  • Create new products and businesses for the future

Often a leadership team will try very hard to convince me that they already knew what the transformed organisation will be like and that they are working towards achieving this.

However after completing an Organisational Cultural Assessment Instrument (OCAI) it is usually evident that they are not aligned with their thinking, communication or vision of the transformed organisation.

Where is your Business Focus?

Working through activities to get the team more aligned, I will use the Govidndarajan and Trimble model to ask management teams to list their current tasks and projects and put them into one of three boxes (categories):

  • Box 1: The present – was their task or project focused on managing the present, the day to day running of the business.
  • Box 2: The past – was their elements of their task or project that they needed to ‘ditch’?  Were they continuing to do this activity because they had always done it and was it serving the business well and creating return on investment?
  • Box 3: The future: was the task or project going to create their future and move them towards their desired transformation.

Well, it was fair to say most management teams are shocked! They suddenly realise that 85% of their energy is focused on ‘managing the present’. They consider that very few tasks or projects require change. The biggest surprise is that often only 10% of their efforts are on creating the future which will simply not be enough to transform an organisation.

This simple, but powerful exercise, really helps to focus the minds of any leadership team going through a business transformation. It will give them clear ideas on how to spring-board into forward thinking action and stop just focusing on present tasks.

So I would urge you to take a look at your organisation – where are you focusing your efforts: managing the present, forgetting the past or creating the future?

If you need to improve or reassess your management and leadership skills, Jungle HR offer a range of leadership programmes from Managing Peak Performance to Women in Leadership or Shaping the Future which helps deliver sustainable business transformation success. Each one is tailored to your needs. Get in touch to find out more Tel: 01952 301302 or Email: samantha@junglehr.com.