Top 10 Elements of a Business Transformation Charter

Make sure your team has all the elements needed to make the company's business transformation a complete success!

10 Elements of business transformation

Once your core team is assembled it is important to begin drafting the actual transformation charter they will follow to enact transformation on behalf of the company. It can be easy to fall into the all-too-common trap of putting our energies into simply building the team--but then what? the "then what" question, in this case, is easy to answer because the team is critical to success. 

Here are the top 10 elements that go into the business transformation charter:

  1. Transformation or Initiative Name
  2. Purpose or Objective of the Transformation
  3. Overall Transformation Strategy and Approach
  4. Scope: What's In and What's Out
  5. Roles and Accountability
  6. High-Level Timeline
  7. Budget
  8. Communication Strategy
  9. Initiative Governance
  10. Risk Management

Let's take a closer look at what each of these ten items actually mean:

1. Transformation or Initiative Name

A critical business transformation initiative like this should be given its own identity, not just for internal purposes but for wider broadcast to the company at large, in order to elicit long-term and popular support, i.e. the "hearts and minds" of the people. You should choose a name that is easy to remember and that signifies what you are trying to accomplish. 

2. Purpose or Objective of the Transformation: Making the Case for Change

What do you hope to accomplish through this transformation? What is the "case for change" or "burning platform" you must contend with? These are not mere questions for your own personal pondering but, instead, vital questions that must be answered by the core transformation team before progressing any further. 


3. Overall Transformation Strategy and Approach

Keep in mind that they members of the core transformation team have not been relieved of their day-to-day duties while they're putting considerable time, energy and effort towards the organizational overhaul. Therefore, it is very important for you to customize the transformation approach based on urgency, specific employee time availability, and other constraints. After all, the organization is made up of people running various functions/aspects of the business; they are (hopefully) being measured against their deliverables (day-to-day job).


4. Scope: What's In and What's Out

Your definition of scope is vital to the charter's success. It is important to have an agreement on what is within the scope of the transformation and what is not. Is the entire organization going to go through the transformation--or only certain departments? The team, as well as the departments, need to know if they are in or out of scope. 


5. Roles and Accountability

Pick only your "best and brightest" to lead this critical team. After all, this will be the most important initiative the company will work on for the next several months. It's critical to define certain roles and identify appropriate people to fill them. 


6. High-Level Timeline

The timeline for any project obviously depends on that project's scope, budget, the charter team's availability, etc. This high-level timeline can be reset or the scope can be adjusted, depending on the detailed project plan. This is just meant to be a guideline for the initiative (program) planners. 


7. Budget

It is important to make sure the executives recognize the need for dedicated resources for the project and consequently set aside an appropriate budget for the successful execution of the initiative. 


8. Communication Strategy

Change does not happen in a vacuum. For true business transformation to succeed, you and your core transformation team will need to communicate effectively within the team, through various departments and, occasionally, with the company at large. 


9. Initiative Governance

Change is a process. In any transformation, certain critical decisions need to be made throughout the journey. The size and scope of these decisions and their impact on the company requires us to ask some pretty challenging questions long before we begin the process itself. Examples include; Who will make the decisions? How will the decisions be communicated? Who will run the meetings, and how will they be run?


10. Risk Management

Finally, never lose sight of the fact that creating transformation is like performing leg surgery on a marathon runner while the patient is still sprinting towards the finish line! There are a lot of risks in doing transformation when in operation, so it is vitally important to highlight risk management as part of the charter. 


Transformation should not merely be a "to-do" item in the back of everyone's minds but a must-do item that requires it's own specific charter as the official starting point of your organizational transformation. Only when the project has an official name does it become real; only when it becomes real will action be imperative. 


  Get real-time visibility into your business