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You are here: Home White Papers Transformative Change

Transformative Change

By: Malcolm J. Stubblefield
March 2010

In today’s global business environment management must continuously monitor the high and low points of its internal operating methods. In other words, leaders must not only develop a strategic plan, they must consider transformational change as a means to implementing a viable plan or making modifications to existing strategies and keeping a watchful eye on the organization’s competitive advantage.  So too must leadership assess the organization’s mission and goals to determine if those objectives are being met. Organization culture and its competitive position are also critical factors for consideration during a transformational changeprocess, as is keeping abreast of the firm’s supporting strategies and structure to measure how those strategies will impact the firm’s bottom line (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborne, 2008). 

When a laissez-faire approach to business planning or operational methods are allowed to evolve, management can become blind to the adverse changes taking place within its own environment…

When management falls asleep, it is liken to the boiled frog phenomenon where the frog becomes acclimated to the water temperature and slowly goes to sleep and eventually dies as the heat is gradually increased, but had the frog been dropped into boiling water at the onset its survival instincts would have been triggered and he would have jumped out of the pot of water rather than die. The moral of this story points to the fact that  management can least afford to become  immersed in maintaining a business as usual mindset whereby leadership is apprehensive to change for fear of employee reprisal, or that change will affect revenue, or that other mitigating factors will emerge that may have a negative impact (Kotter, 2007).  When a laissez-faire approach to business planning or operational methods are allowed to evolve, management can become blind to the adverse changes taking place within its own environment and unsuspectingly miss developments taking place internally and externally which, in the long-run, could greatly impact its survivability.

When the organization’s leadership takes on a business as usual approach to key factors leading to transformational change such as effective decision making, strategy development and implementation, the impact of this laissez-faire approach to vital business concerns can lead to complications within the firm, and thus, have a direct impact on the firms’ bottom-line.  As a result, the organization may suffer a slow death just as the frog did when immersed into room temperature water; as the heat was slowing increased it became comfortable and eventually cooked to death.  In contrast, if attention to detail is an ongoing and intricate part of the managements’ decision making apparatus, liken to the frog being placed in boiling water, the reaction would force the firm’s leadership to take notice and implement fundamental changes to its strategies in keeping with a changing environment.  It is the responsibility of the firms’ top management team to convey a strategic vision so that everyone has a clear understanding of the firms’ mission and objectives (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborne, 2008).  This can only be achieved when everyone is reading from the same script.


Kotter, J. P. (2007). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 85(1), 96-103.

Schermerhorn, J. R., Jr., Hunt, J. G., & Osborn, R. N. (2008). Organizational behavior (10th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.