Top 10 key learnings

Navigate your way through operational transformation with these important lessons

Alistair Sharpe-Neal

Senior Consultant,

Campbell Tickell

Ian Wright

CEO, Disruptive Innovators Network


Covid-19 can be a catalyst for lasting change.

The pandemic may have been a Black Swan event, but innovative organisations can use it as a way to bring about long-needed change. It’s a chance that should not be wasted.


Listen to customer needs and expectations.

The world has changed, and so the needs of your customers are very likely to have changed. A genuine effort to understand what their new needs are will improve the way you do business.


Be prepared to invest to sustain.

New operating models that drive genuine change might need investment to bring them about – whether that investment is in people, equipment or training. But a short-term financial hit might be essential to driving far greater efficiency and performance in the long term. There are also dangers inherent in trying to become too lean too quickly, leaving leaders without the mental bandwidth to think about the business beyond its day-to-day operations.


Be flexible about when or where your staff work.

The decentralised, flexible workplace will change the way you deliver services to your customers and how you recruit, train and retain staff. Flexibility won’t be the same for every business, but every business must be open to flexibility


Look for ways to say ‘yes’.

Focus on creativity and innovation. Give people space to develop new ideas. Recognise that many or most may not be realistic or achievable in practice, but appreciate that some will be, and can help positively transform the way you deliver services for your customers.


If you innovate, do it quickly and be flexible.

Innovation is often stymied by a ‘business as usual’ attitude, or by a belief that it must be right first time. But innovation should be an iterative process: be prepared to adapt and learn as you go along.


Insight and data are vital.

It is near impossible to improve customer service unless you truly know who your customers are. When it comes to services, transformation programmes should be supported by data.


Trust your people and take them with you.

Culture is perhaps the most important part of the puzzle when redesigning operating models. If your people have not bought in to the changes you are making, those changes will be ineffective and even counter-productive.


Don’t be afraid to recruit disrupters.

Maximising your continuing effectiveness in a rapidly changing environment – where we continue to see changes – calls for new approaches. Make sure that the people you recruit are comfortable with being flexible and are prepared to positively challenge old ways of working.


Hear the customer voice.

Deploy a range of means to hear what your customers want and involve them in making decisions so far as possible. Make sure you are hearing all their voices (not just the ‘usual suspects’). Being straight with your customers about what is achievable and what may not be deliverable will be well received.

To discuss the issues raised in this publication, please contact Alistair Sharpe-Neal or Ian Wright