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The challenges of being a Transformation Consultant

Written by Hans Vernimme on 3 August 2023 for Professionals

At the latest Meeting of the Minds, our Business Tribe gave a presentation about ‘Agile transformation in a big company’. Which challenges does change hold, on an individual and an organisational level? What is it like to be a change consultant at a big company? What makes it challenging, and what makes it worth it? Let’s find out.

First things first. Let’s meet our changemakers.

Before you can think about changing the world, you need to think about changing yourself.

To a certain extent, change is a natural part of our day-to-day reality. Some changes, however, are a little bigger, and pose some challenges. Think about starting a new job. This means:

  •  Getting used to a new environment
  • Familiarising yourself with new work process
  • Building new relationships
  • Responding to and meeting new expectations

For some, these challenges are thrilling, while for others it’s just plain stressful. Not to mention the nervous diarrhea. 💩😜

So why is change so challenging? Because humans are creatures of habit. A big change, like starting a new job, means you can no longer rely on old patterns. This requires more effort and can come with a sense of loss of control, uncertainty and maybe even a threat to your identity.

Change can be a big disruption, if you see it as an all-at-once, big-bang event. But it’s not. It’s a process. You can just strategize it, and deal with it step by step.

That’s just on a small, individual scale. So, what about Agile transformation on an organisational level?

A big company is just a group of individuals, that are structured in a specific way and are working together towards a specific goal. So, an Agile transformation brings similar challenges to the organisation as the ones an individual has when starting a new job.

  • Agile brings new roles, and new expectations within that role
  • Employees need to adapt to a new way of working and learn new skills
  • As you start collaborating with different teams, you need to build new relationships

The big difference is that with individual change, you’re pretty much in charge. But in an organisation, change is implemented from a strategic level. On an operational level, you just have to go with it. A second struggle is communication. Though it’s extremely difficult to cascade information in an effective and timely manner, it’s essential to ensure efficient collaboration.

So yes, change is difficult, and an organisational transformation comes with an additional set of challenges. But the good news is that is that change is a process. And those organisational challenges can also be dealt with by taking it step by step and strategizing the change.

The challenges of being a (transformation) consultant

Be forewarned, because there are some specific struggles that come with being a transformation consultant at a big company.

  • Some people in the client organisation may see you as an external person in a rather negative way and use this as an excuse to simply neglect your ideas. Bare in mind that it’s good that you bring in a new and fresh perspective. It just might take some effort to install that credibility and connection into the client company.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, there can be people at the client organisation who have massive expectations. They see you as the silver bullet that will come in and resolve all the issues, all at once. But that’s not the case, it takes time.
  • Because of those expectations, you might find yourself with limited resources. Ellen and Dustin can count their team members on the fingers of one hand, though they’re responsible for implementing change in the entire organisation.
  • The company culture at the client might be very different than what you’re used to. You need to learn again how to behave for optimal results.
  • With any transformation project, there are many stakeholders to manage. It can be difficult to figure out who you can talk to about what. And then there are some stakeholders that are simply resistant to change and can be quite defensive. It might take some effort to gain their trust and make them comply to what needs to be done.

But it’s worth it

You might be thinking: yikes, that doesn’t sound like fun at all! But here’s the thing. It’s true that nobody likes change, and at first you will most likely be met with some scrutiny. Change is very challenging, but it’s such a good learning experience. You may need some patience to see your impact on the client organisation, but once you do, it’s very rewarding. That’s why Dustin and Ellen would like to encourage you to induce change and keep growing.

Check out Exellys Talks, our very own podcast!

About Exellys

Exellys is a Talent Incubator. We match ambitious companies with the finest talent. Are you ready to drive the innovations of tomorrow? Ready to make an impact and become a future-fit digital leader?

Whether you are a graduate or (young) professional, Exellys will unlock your full potential by guiding you to a challenging work environment that perfectly matches your personality, expectations and ambitions.

On top of that, you are enrolled in one of our very own training and coaching programs (based on your personal and professional ambition and experience). This means that, while working as an Exellys consultant, we are helping you to bridge your ambition to excellence.

Through intensive training and coaching, you’ll gain the essential skills, competencies and knowledge necessary to become the highly effective professional you aim to be. Become an Exellyst and get in touch with us today!

Written by Hans Vernimme Talent Development Manager