In the past two years, business leaders have been forced to adapt to unrelenting challenges. The pandemic shutdown created an unprecedented economic threat. Then the changes and challenges kept on coming. Today, corporate boards and C-suite teams are still trying to adapt to the impact of the pandemic—from snarled supply chains and labor shortages to remote work and new forms of collaboration, to new shopping habits and other changes in consumer behavior. COVID-19 has also revealed how unequipped many organizations are to confront such challenges. We have seen how slow and inflexible organizations can be—and why business transformation remains an urgent need.
In 2021, we surveyed more than 250 senior leaders across corporate functions and industries in companies that recently completed or are undergoing transformations to learn how business leaders are thinking about the long-term health of their companies and how they are adopting new business models to drive growth and profitability. In this paper, we set out to understand how businesses can succeed with transformations today—what has changed since our survey from the prior year, and what remains the same.
Our research shows that corporate leaders are bracing for more change and recognize that business transformation can help them adapt quickly and make the most of the situation. We also find that the pandemic is changing how transformations proceed and succeed. Among the most important changes is an emphasis on the people issues that can make or break a transformation.