Large companies are increasingly developing and staffing Business Transformation groups. This article highlights three position descriptions for the Director level. Many of these Directors will handle strategic initiatives as well as strategic projects and programs.
It is worth noting that the word transform appears in the standard definition of a strategic initiative:
A strategic initiative is a boundary-spanning endeavor that intends to achieve three interrelated goals: 1) achieve a strategic intent or vision, 2) provide benefits to significant stakeholders, and 3) transform the organization.
This information is useful reference information for anyone seeking to create a new job, refine an existing position, or make a greater strategic impact. It will also be useful the candidates for those positions to understand if the position fits their skills and ambitions.
For comparison, see my article titled Vice President, Director, Manager of Strategic Initiatives: Position Description Best Practices.
Business Transformation: An IT Buzzword
The term business transformation is most closely used by Information Technology (IT) organizations as a perspective for viewing IT as enabler of strategic change. The term is starting to supplement or replace project management offices (PMOs). In most cases, the reporting is to the CFO or CIO level.
Example Position Descriptions: Director of Business Transformation
The following three examples capture the flavor of what should be expected transformation initiatives.
Hertz – Director, Transformation Management Office – Finance Projects
This business transformation initiatives role is part of Hertz’s global finance shared services organization. It supports the leadership team in gaining organizational visibility and Business Unit customer alignment.
- Ensures the right initiatives are undertaken and the benefits are being fully realized throughout the enterprise
- Champions project management disciplines and provides the processes, structures, and tools for individual project management and program management across the transformation
- Provides a governance structure. The role ensures accountability and enables the predictability of the outcomes of each transformation initiative.
- The key result areas are business service strategy/planning, project strategy/planning, communication and change management, and continuous improvement performance management.
- The director role leads acquisition and integration for short and long-term strategy development. It provides strategic leadership through facilitating or advising strategy development while demonstrating foresight, conceptual capability and environmental market awareness.
SuperValu – Director Business Transformation Initiatives
This position ensures that each initiative is well designed and implemented. The role provides expert advice and coaching to initiative leads and initiative teams to ensure best-practice execution of the Supervalu approach for initiatives. Facilitates the identification of timelines, dashboards and financial scorecards for each initiative to keep executive leaders current on progress and potential red flags.
- Supports large-scale enterprise-wide projects that incorporate a proactive and innovative solution to addressing business challenges and achieving organizational goals and objectives. Integrates how the big picture of the initiatives comes together from definition through implementation on implications across the business.
- Supports development of clear case for change, desired outcomes, accurate scope, clear roles and decision-making
- Gives advice and counsels leaders without owning the projects themselves in order ensure the steps, tracking and expectations are consistent.
- Supports initiative teams with skills in process excellence, project management, facilitation, problem solving, accelerating transformation and value creation to drive toward required outcomes. Surfaces capacity, pacing, resourcing issues and any other red flag issues needing leadership attention. Ensure effective stakeholder engagement and communications. Ensures timelines are adhered to for initiatives by keeping executives aware of any red flags concerning the timing or integration process
- Ensure organizational alignment in the design and execution of
Sears – Director of Organizational Change Management
This role is responsible for developing a clear understanding and support for organizational change management with senior leadership and throughout the organization. The Director partners with internal and external resources as they establish an organizational change model/methodology and execute change management strategies and plans in support of business transformation initiatives.
- Creates a measurement system and/or tool to assess awareness, understanding, buy-in and support of change management activities
- Develops a feedback mechanism at strategic touch points to facilitate open discussions of organizational improvement opportunities
Business Transformation Compared to Strategic Initiative Leadership
As I noted in this article, the term business transformation is one that is closely associated with IT/MIS and other shared-service organizations. Regrettably, the transformation is about how IT can change the organization, rather than how IT is an enabler of change.
Here are some good things to note:
- Increasingly, I’m meeting people in Transformation Initiatives that both have business acumen and a real curiosity about strategic thinking.
- Increasingly, organizations are saying “There is no such thing as an IT project, only business projects with an IT component.”
It seems that the trend in transformation initiatives is that – with the right leadership – they can merge with strategic initiatives and the leadership competencies will be similar.
I encourage you to read more about the topic in the related articles below.
What is your experience with business transformation? Are there important distinctions between business transformation and strategic initiatives?
- S.L.I.D. – The Four Leadership Roles of the Strategic Program Manager (leadingstrategicinitiatives.wordpress.com)
- Eight Distinctions between Portfolio Management & Program Management (leadingstrategicinitiatives.wordpress.com)
- Strategic Thinking (Part 1): A Fight with Ambiguity (leadingstrategicinitiatives.wordpress.com)
- Growth as a Strategic Initiative (leadingstrategicinitiatives.wordpress.com)
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I agree that IT uses the phrase business transformation frequently to describe tool implementation. However, the true value of business transformation is created with people that provide: program leadership, people and process alignment, tool and system integration and enhanced information delivery.
Business transformation, as I hear it used, is primarily about bringing IT/MIS organizations closer to the business. Stated differently, the purpose of business transformation seems to be “to better serve internal customers,” albeit in a more strategic way.
I would be interested in hearing opinions on the purpose of Business Transformation Initiatives, and the distinction between them and Strategic Initiatives.
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