Alignment on the Digital Transformation Journey


Inspired by geese flying south this time of year, I looked at the lessons we can learn from their impressive migration patterns. When undertaking a digital strategy and transformation project, everyone must be aligned on project goals and apply structure to mobilize teams to reach these goals. Here are a few considerations:

1. Know your Destination  <there is no doubt where the geese are headed and why they are going there>

What is the purpose of the digital project?  Define the goals, metrics and outcomes you expect and make sure everyone is aware of it.  Clearly outline the benefits that will be achieved.

Many organizations get stuck on this step or skip it all together.  I suggest an alignment workshop to articulate the vision and set the team in the right direction with Guiding Principles and Roadmap.

2. Build an Effective Team Structure  <v-formation is an efficient use of resources on the long journey>

A team is more likely to trust a process with a good plan and structure. The project is more likely to succeed when the team is aligned on the process.  Timelines are more likely to be met when the team is empowered to make decisions and committed to keeping on track.  Ensure team members know what is expected of them and are equipped with tools for successful execution.

An Operating Model is a key tool to communicate scope and structure. I suggest you establish a good first version during the initial workshop and allow flexibility to iterate as the project evolves.

3. Share Responsibility  <the geese each have a role in the formation and rotate the lead>

A cross-functional team with different skill sets and view points will represents the diverse interests of the organization during the digital transformation. Ensure the team knows the expertise of its members and assess the need to fill or develop roles where there is a skills gap. Allow for opportunities to share leadership in different phases to promote team accountability and shared responsibility.

A Resourcing Plan aligned with Operating Model processes is a good place to start. The plan should outline process ownership, key roles and responsibilities and KPIs.

4. Provide Support  <the geese honk to encourage lead to maintain speed and help those that fall back>

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Keeping the team together, managing differences, encouraging each other will benefit the project in the long run.  Ensure the procedures are in place to support decision making, manage conflict resolution, measure project success, and provide feedback.

When the other elements are in place, we need a Governance and Communication Plan. Identify key stakeholders, their impact and influence, and what communicate to expect throughout the project.

5. Maintain Momentum  <when a goose goes out of formation, it quickly recovers and rejoins the group>

When we understand the importance of the team moving forward together, we must provide supports to keep on track.  To manage risk, keep a close eye on the barriers, and encourage success by promoting enablers.  Focus on teamwork and collaboration, deal with the concerns and keep the team energized by celebrating successes.

Identifying project barriers and enablers during kickoff is a great start. Articulate wins along the journey with a Benefits Tracker and mitigate risk (or better yet avoid them), with a Risk Register.


It is important to start your project off in the right direction. Plan in Motion, Inc. can support your ERP and HCM Strategy, Selection and Transformation projects. We help you navigate the journey with group facilitation, and program, strategy and roadmap development.

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Suanne McGrath-Kelly is President of Plan in Motion Inc. in Toronto. Her passion for problem solving and commitment to help clients achieve successful outcomes has made her a trusted executive advisor. She is a known thought leader and mentor in the business community with active involvement on boards and professional associations. She has published dozens of business technology papers and presented on the topics such as Digital Transformation, C-suite Alignment, and Women in Technology. Beyond her love of all things strategy, she enjoys creativity, cooking and the great outdoors.  

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 *Image content adapted from site: Leadership Lessons from Geese