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The Three Essential Ingredients of Transformation

Sustainable transformation – that powerful force of change that can lift your organization to a new, higher-value S-curve – requires three essential ingredients operating at full capacity all of the time. They are:

  1. Courage – choosing what needs to be done versus what can be done
  2. Conviction – staying true to the mission and not softening the edges
  3. Leadership – being the poster child of change by visibly and emotionally motivating, enticing and enrolling others in the quest
Why are these ingredients essential to sustainable transformation?

Courage is easy to talk about, but hard to do. It’s natural to rely on practices that are comfortable. Most people do, which is why there are very few breakthroughs. Courage is about choosing the path that will take your organization to an entirely new, more powerful, more valuable plane. It will be a different path than the one that got you where you are. And you can bet it will be highly charged.

Conviction is the next big test. It’s about staying true to the new vision, and remaining continually invested in the path of change. Pressure from employees and investors will be intense. You can be sure all eyes will be on what you say and on what you do. People will be looking for cracks in your armor. They’ll go along with the new plan, but they will wait patiently for when inertia – that huge force of the tried and true past – waters down the change coalition. It’ll be a big topic of discussion – even a bet – in the break room.
Leadership is what will ultimately make the difference between success and failure. Every transformation effort needs to have very visible change agents. These are the people that motivate others with vision while relentlessly proving it out in practice. These people need to be ever-present and continually on the job of enlisting and enrolling others in the cause. This requires putting yourself out there on every level. Beware the skeptics! They are astute. They know the difference between passion and politics.
To drive sustainable transformation you need to commit to 1) choosing the right path; 2) staying on the course of change; and 3) motivating others. There is absolutely no room for ½ way in any of it. It’s all the way … or the old way. 


  1. Tom Butta says:

    Speaking of leadership, I'm happy to report that PTC just announced that Jim Heppelmann, current President and COO, has been named to become CEO on October 1st. Congratulations Jim. It's a well-deserved and much-earned promotion for a terrific leader. Congratulations also to PTC for a great job in managing the transition plan during the transformation of PTC. I'm lucky and grateful to have worked alongside Jim and PTC's current CEO and Executive Chairman, Dick Harrison. Really good stuff. You can read about the beginnings of PTC's transformation in my blog post entitled "Noise."

  2. James says:

    Great news about Jim. I love it when great talent rises to the top.

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