Jun 10, 2021 at 2: 10 pm

Who Starts the Transformation?

We identified nine unique starting points where a transformation could possibly take place

Christian Rangen

2 min read

I remember the first time I got the question, “Who starts the Transformation?”.  

The person asking this was a senior director at a large family-owned company in Saudi Arabia. She had been trying to get a company-wide transformation done for the better part of a year, but just could not get it off the ground. Her intuition was that there were a lot of talks, positive interest, and polite support, but was not enough traction to get the whole thing started.  

“Who starts it? How does the transformation get started?”, she asked.  

At the time, it struck me that we, at Strategy Tools, did not really have an answer to her question. Sure, we had some anecdotal cases and personal experiences, but did not have a research-grounded approach to give her a solid answer. In our terms, we could not provide a good explanation, nor did we have the tools to guide that part of the process.  

So, we went back to our research, case studies, and interviews. We dug into our data, analyzed well-known cases, sketched out early designs for tools, and tested them. Eventually, we arrived at the Transformation Starters Map. What we found surprised us!

We identified nine unique starting points where a transformation could possibly take place. 

The Transformation Starters Map is a visual overview of who starts the company’s transformation journey. On the top of the list is the first category called Internal Drivers. This indicates that the beginning of the process is often conversational, social, and bottom-up. Under this category are the first three starting points which include:

  • Bubbling Up Organizational Conversations
  • Strategy Function
  • Management Team

The second category, on the other hand, is a bit more management-led, organised, and structured. It is called Strategy Review. Transformation can originate from any of these points:

  • The Management Team
  • CFO
  • CEO
  • Board of Directors


Moving on, there is Management Change, which potentially causes many disruptions and is the outcome of a strategic review. The company either selects:

  • A new CEO (Internal)
  • A new CEO (external)





And finally, the last category is all about Outside Pressure. These are the significant noises and pressures from the outside that may cause a potential transformation to initiate. This is what we call “Activist Investors”.

If you are interested in learning more about the Transformation Starters Map, take a deep dive into the Building the Transformational Company program. You can also download and read our exclusive report Building the Transformational Company here.



Christian Rangen

Christian Rangen

Strategy & transformation advisor to companies, innovation clusters, ecosystems and governments around the world.


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