Manny Maceda: Successful Transformations Begin at the Top

All the members of a leadership team have a role to play in driving a company's transformation agenda. Manny Maceda, who leads Bain's Global Transformation practice, outlines the responsibilities of the major players in building a transformation agenda and achieving transformation goals.

Read the Bain Brief: Choreographing a Full Potential Transformation

Read the transcript below.

MANNY MACEDA: All members of the leadership team have a role to play in driving a transformation agenda, and it starts with a CEO. You will sometimes hear the title today "chief transformation officer." Well, while you may have someone with that designation, the ultimate chief transformation officer has to start with the chief executive.

They establish the transformation agenda. They are the architects of the vision. They enable change, assign targets, select the team.

Now, supporting the CEO, you need a board that actually commits to a transformation agenda and, frankly, is supportive and has selected the CEO for that agenda. Sometimes, frankly, in a transformation, if there is a disconnect between the board and the CEO, it will not succeed, and you might need to make transformative changes, either to the leader or to the board. If you have those aligned, the management team below the CEO then will come into play.

Each member of the management team generally has a day job. You have to run the company but simultaneously transform. The chief financial officer, the CFO, is enabling operating financial performance, perhaps dealing with investors.

On top of that, they will need to fund the transformation agenda. They will need to incorporate transformational goals into ongoing financial and strategic planning. They might have to work with an investor community that needs to potentially change if a transformation is going to go through capital structure investor change.

The CHRO is doing their day job building the operating talent of the company. But what if that talent needs to be materially different? So they also have to help in the ongoing transformation program while driving potentially the changes and the kinds of people that are consistent with the company of the future.

Many other functions—the chief operating officer, the chief strategy officer, the chief marketing officer, the business unit presidents—all of them will play a role. But what's also important, that depending on the nature of the transformation, is do you select a someone to actually lead the charge day to day? Call this the lead transformation executive, the chief transformation officer.

We've had the privilege at Bain of hosting forums now where we've had over 100 CTOs come and share experience with each other and with us. And we'll find that often, it's a full-time role. Sometimes it's a part-time role, where it's the night job on top of, say, a CFO doing their day job. But whichever role it is, selecting that person with the right profile consistent with the choreography and the transformation agenda and complementary to the chief executive who is undertaking the transformation, that's a very important choice. And the success and failure of transformations often will hinge on not just do you have the right CEO, do you have a supportive board, but do you have the right transformation leadership to achieve the agenda?

Read the Bain Brief: Choreographing a Full Potential Transformation