What is the role of the Chief Transformation Officer?

By: Miguel Galván

To build a career to be the architect of the Business Transformation: a path of professional development with high growth and little exploring.

It is undeniable that we are living in times of great business and social transformations. In fact, it is not unlikely that every company is going through a transformational process; whether it is an intentional effort, an unattended opportunity or an unforeseen threat, in the end, all businesses are in a turmoil of change.

As we have previously stated, the Business Transformation Consortium walks along the CEO and the Executive Committee in developing the necessary skills to successfully lead this transformation. Within the team, there is a fundamental role in the orchestration of efforts for the Transformation, of which little is said: The Transformation Architect.

Nowadays, this position is in a very particular situation:

  • It is an uncommon position in businesses. On some occasions, “modern” names are given to it, such as: Digital Transformation, Cultural Transformation, Effectiveness and continuous Evolution, etc. However, these are positions that fight their way into the company’s priorities, and which are located at an organizational level and with an appropriate scope on the functions. 
  • It is a position that represents great strategic value to the Executive committee as it, essentially, becomes the CEO’s right hand in management and the orchestrator of the joint efforts in the initiatives of planning for the business’s future. 
  • Although it is a challenging position that demands leadership of service to those who need it, it is a position that brings plenty of growth as well as personal and professional development. Without a doubt, it’s an opportunity shortly explored for the exponential growth.

Now, we will share some guides to grasp the magnitude of this position and initial recommendations for those who look to walk this journey as leaders and architects of their business transformation.

Essential Responsibilities of the Chief Transformation Officer

  • To be the Transformation Architect that aids the CEO in orchestrating the efforts, to define and give follow-up to the work plan and ensure the synchrony in time and form of each one of the Architectures of the TEI (Strategy, Management, Organization, Culture and Digital). / click here to see all of the architectures.
  • To guarantee the consistent application of a Management Model that is focused on the objectives of the Work Plan, Mission and Vision of the business. 
  • To propose and settle the strategy and workplan with the CEO for the implementation of a defined Management and Transformation Model, as well as to lead the total implementation in the company.
  • To be the Architect of the Strategy, Management, Organization, Culture and Digital Architectures, ensuring the participation of the adequate experts and that every blueprint is consistent in design and implementation. 
  • The Executive Committee and Management Team must operate by the Management Model of the company and with strict alignment to its institutional processes of each area.

The Chief Transformation Officer Profile

  • Helpful and synchronous Leadership.

At Business Transformation Consortium we have the belief that every Chief Transformation Officer ends up being “responsible for everything and owner of nothing”. By design, we consider that this position must operate with and through each area of the company to ensure the right appropriation of every transformational effort. However, achieving this level of collaboration and synchrony in every area, requires a great level of humbleness and servant leadership. If you like being the one in the picture, with the position and power to handle big organizations and budgets, we consider this is not the position for you. If, on the contrary, you thrive as a catalyzer in project effectiveness, using your skills for the benefit of the whole company and like collaborating, negotiating, listening and being an authentic member of your Team, it is more likely you have the right profile.

  • Systemic Vision

A systemic vision may sound like common sense, however, it’s not a common practice. Why? Because having a systemic view isn’t a natural skill most people have. It is developed through many different experiences like reading different topics, having gone through critical experiences in different areas, the personal and professional interests in diverse areas, industries as well as social and business perspectives. It is not a declaration but a developed skill that is proven throughout time. Typically, people who like being part of transformation projects, planning areas, teams like Think Tank, among others, are people that have already developed this skill. However, it is crucial to emphasize that this skill can be developed throughout time with dedication and effort. 

  • Structured and Flexible

It may seem like a contradiction, but it is not. Structure means discipline, order and organization. Flexibility implies, as we like to say here at Business Transformation Consortium, writing down these plans in pencil, so that they are always adjustable. This flexibility comes from having a clear path that never deviates us from the final destiny, purpose and objective.

  • Transform with and for the people, not in spite of them.

And last but not least important, is the conviction that a true transformation is with and for the people and not in spite of them. This interest and conviction must be genuine; the operative, financial and strategic results are definitely very relevant, and they must be present for the transformation to thrive, nevertheless, the utmost purpose is the people, businesses are entities conformed by the people and for the people.

In more than twenty years of living these positions from the consulting area, from the leadership of this function in a global business and from the General Management of a leader in its industry at an international level, I can conclude the following: 

To those people that are passionate about the strategic view and future of a company, servant leadership, being disruptors of the status quo and mainly, that are interested in the growth and well-being of the people before anything, I invite you to explore this professional way as I’m sure it will bring you many satisfactions. 

Personally, beyond the infinite gratitude I have for the companies I have worked for, where I achieved exponential growth to the highest of positions, I must say I consider myself very fortunate as I have found my passion in the early stages of my professional career and I have had the luck to dedicate my professional life to said passion: the Integral Business Transformation. 

Finally, what I feel most proud of and what I consider to be the greatest opportunity for the Chief Transformation Officer, is to have been a catalyzer and supporter in the growth of many talents in businesses: every person that got involved with commitment and passion in the different routes of the transformation, had accelerated growth and now occupy positions of servant leadership at their businesses.

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