The role of the executive team in a transformation: A conversation with Jon Garcia

| Interview

In any large, at-scale transformation, the organization’s top executive team plays a crucial role in ensuring the program’s overall success. In this video, Jon Garcia, a senior partner and a leader in McKinsey’s Transformation Practice, offers a perspective on what an executive team can do to help their transformation succeed. An edited transcript of his remarks follows.

Jon Garcia: At-scale, comprehensive transformation requires the commitment and alignment of the entire organization. That begins at the top. An organization’s leadership must be fully committed to the goals and the approach for the transformation. They need to buy into the recipe for change and be ready to stick to it.

The executive team must also embrace an ambitious aspiration and commit to a broad scope. Transformations aim high, both in the scale and pace of impact. We’ve found that the more we preemptively take off the table in terms of scope, the lower the odds of ultimate success.

In addition, executives must be willing to embrace collective accountability for results. Personal success in a transformation is not enough—you win and lose as a team.

Executives should also be ready to lead from the front and be the face of transformational change. Leaders cast a long shadow in their organizations and are effectively always on stage. Your organization simply won’t mobilize around the transformation unless they see the executive team’s personal commitment to its success.

Finally, you need to be willing to tackle organizational health, or the effectiveness of your organization. One essential tenet of our approach is recognizing that performance is an outcome. There is no true transformation unless the health of the organization is fully and completely addressed.

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