Pattern: Transformation Champion

When a person is promoting a good new idea that can take the company’s goals and values into the future, recognize and empower them to lead the action

Transformation Champion

Market conditions are changing fast, and the company needs to evolve to keep up.

In This Context

Successful established enterprises focus on proficient delivery of their core products or services and often forget how to be innovative. When a disruptive competitor appears, it is difficult for them to respond quickly and effectively. There are always a few people within the organization who see the future better than others.An even smaller subset of these are willing and able to take organized action, butmany organizations ignore them and waste the opportunity to encourage healthy leadership.Without such motivational leaders, the initiative often falls flat and keeps going only after management exerts some bureaucratic pressure to push it forward.


Recognize the person (or group) who has triggered the movement and name them transformation champion. Authorize them as designated advocate for the initiative.Name a different person to this role only if there is a very compelling reason to do so.There are conditions under which the person who started things is not the right transformation champion. It could be that they are not able to see the wider business perspective, as sometimes happens with technical people, or it may be that they are abrasive (as sometimes also happens with technical people). In that case, you want to let them lead the technical portion of the transformation and then find a partner for them who can share the lead on the cultural and organizational aspects of the transformation.The transformation champion is a person or a small team who understands both the transformation and the company objectives, is well-connected within the organization,and is highly motivated to promote the transformation. Unless they are given authority, however, they will be unable to stimulate effective change across the organization.


The transition has a focal point for organizing the transformation initiative and a champion in charge of driving it forward. The transformation champion is connected with both the proficient and innovative branches of the transformation and can act as a bridge between them.