The Transformers Voice – Oliver Shallcrass
Context of Transformer
Oliver is the senior business consultant in the Strategy and Development team, responsible for the delivery of major projects at Markel International.
Why are transformations important?
Change is good. There, I said it. Someone asked me the other day if you should keep delivering change and growing for the sake of it; I say that growth is a by-product of success, which arises from change and trial and error. I doubt we will ever reach perfection, therefore we should be constantly trying new things and making some things worse, others better but always striving for more. They say contentment is the enemy of invention. Change is uncomfortable and not necessarily positive, but it should move us inexorably towards a better place.
How can you make transformations a success?
I could bore you and say communication is key, being transparent and demonstrating control – But you all know that. So slightly more controversial, if you follow this one rule you will succeed. Just don’t give up… there will be challenges along the way, and giving up at any one of them will forever cement it as a failure, so don’t give up. This isn’t to say that all transformations must succeed, because some will just turn out to be a bad idea. That’s okay too. Just stop for the right reasons, ie because it was a bad idea, not because it was too hard.
What advice would you give to someone embarking upon a transformation?
Take your time in answering this question, clearly and simply, and you will find your transformation journey greatly improved: What are we doing? Make sure everyone, including yourself, are clear what the project is actually looking to deliver – The right people, more budget, changing scope, timelines pushing out – All of these things are minor challenges and easily addressed. Not knowing what you are doing is terminal. That is not to say you need to know every detail before you start, of course not, but you should be able to explain to your great-great grandparents in a single sentence what on earth you are on about. When things inevitably get challenging and you’re pushing water uphill, for everyone’s sake pause for a moment. Things should not be that hard, try a different approach, get a bucket.
What book would you recommend to help people on their transformation journey and why?
There are a thousand good books on transformations, change and project management. The best advice I could give is to get a copy of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A trilogy in five parts”. It won’t teach you much about running major transformations, but it’ll be a much-needed escape at times when you need to get away from it all with a glass of wine.
Read more transformational insights on MAD33 judge Martyn Cuff’s transformation blog.