Evolution Partners logo

Thought Leadership

Global Transformation Series

Transformation Leadership

Transformation programs require leadership roles at three hierarchical levels: Program Governance, Program Management, and Program Implementation.

01 Mar 2024

▼ In this article

This article is part of the Global Transformation Series

Transformation programs require leadership roles at three hierarchical levels: Program Governance, Program Management, and Program Implementation.

Corresponding to these levels, we find:

  • “Sponsors”, using seniority and personal influence to resolve critical issues; review and lead decision making relating to potential changes in scope, budget and resources.
  • “Managers”, working under the Sponsor and governance bodies such as Steering Committees to coordinate, direct and escalate, problem-solve, track and report status
  • “Do-ers”, involving subject matter experts involved in detailed workstream activities as well as PMO administration and reporting

Program Structure (1) is only a starting point. It must be clear how these roles inter-operate (2). Matching the right people to these roles (3) is crucial, as is ensuring that leadership is expressed in behaviours that are effective and inspiring (4), and in line with the program’s governance principles.

Evolution Partners Program Leadership Model

It sounds easy, but it isn’t. Problems can occur in each of the four elements or in the way they interact. Common challenges are:

  • Poorly defined roles (1), leading to responsibility gaps and turf disputes. Avoid the extremes: too loose a structure, necessitating double-hatting and unrealistic spans of control; and an over-complex structure, with unproductive gate-keeping behaviour and loss of agility.
  • Wrong people in the roles (2), either because they’re already too busy to dedicate the time needed, or because they lack essential skills and/or experience for their assigned role.
  • Invisible leadership (3), technocratically efficient but too happy to stay in the background and tending to “go missing” when things go wrong or there is bad news.
  • Or the reverse (also 3): an over-assertive leadership fronting the program, setting extravagant expectations but erratic and inconsistent when it comes to supporting delivery and tackling real issues as they arise.
  • Different versions of the truth: confusion about program status arising from ineffective program management and governance processes (4).

Evolution Partners applies the Program Leadership Model in helping clients set up their programs for success from the get-go, and in helping pinpoint and address shortcomings in their existing program leadership structures.

Author

Philip Gudgeon

Partner, UK
London