Concept illustration of a company staffs showing the boss their need for the company to change with white board cards. Portray a concept of crisis management.

Contributed By Myrtle Consulting Group

While the recession caused by COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes and industries, some are finding new ways to run daily operations, reach customers, re-shape their business and stay relevant. But others are still trying to figure out how to transform, and one business management consultant says that launching a transformation begins with setting the right scope.

“Over the years, I have seen an ill-defined program scope cause serious problems,” says Edwin Bosso, founder and CEO of Myrtle Consulting Group of Houston and the ForbesBooks author of "6,000 Dreams: The Leader’s Guide To A Successful Business Transformation Journey." "For example, the scope may drift from the originally defined target. The scope is the description of the transformation’s area of focus, and in most cases the scope is defined as a combination of categories. Examples are functional – sales, logistics, production, operations – and organizational – leadership, technology, processes, management systems. It’s most important that the scope is defined to address the challenges at hand and avoid distractions or wasted resources.”

Bosso has five tips for companies to set the right scope for their transformation:

1. Articulate The Problem

“Defining the specific problem may take numerous discussions and disagreements," says Bosso. “The human brain has a natural tendency to drift. Blurry lines sometimes separate root causes and symptoms. This step is generally completed with a well-crafted statement of the problem that the organization is setting up to solve.”

2. List The Ways 

“When properly conducted, this step helps in visualizing the solution," says Bosso. "Listing possible solutions is a way of testing the definition of the problem. This step calls for honest questions and thorough analysis to identify the solution options.”

3. Identify The Means

“This is the stage where you test the capabilities of the organization against solution options by identifying necessary means,” he says. “It comes down to understanding internal means or levers that would need to be pulled to solve the problem. Potential means available might include people, office space, computer systems, or technical expertise in sales, research and development, inventory management and procurement. The process allows organizations to match the correct means to solutions.”

4. Capture The Enablers

Examples of enablers key to the transformation process are those in program management and data science. 

“Enablers cannot operate on their own to make something happen,” Bosso says. “They are, however, necessary or simply useful for that same thing to happen. For example, change management cannot improve the performance of the sales organization without some level of sales expertise. Once enablers are defined, it is important to capture the various ways in which each enabler supports the transformation program.”

5. Explore Synergies And Interdependencies

This step focuses on understanding the overlaps, synergy opportunities and constraints caused by ongoing initiatives. 

“Start with a list of all current initiatives that the organization is running," says Bosso. “The finance department is typically a good source for the information. Meetings should be held with each team, and it’s important to understand that each may be protective of its objective, ways, and means. This could set up turf battles and heated discussions, so explicitly setting the objective of the meetings to understand synergies can help alleviate disagreements and fears.”