What to Call Your Transformation Program

The word “Transformation” is being used quite a bit as today’s organizations realize they must innovate in order to compete or they must transform to Agile to build products faster, better and cheaper.

The problem with the word “Transformation” is that is assumes a logically starting and ending point.  Once the ‘transformation’ program is done, you’re transformed and voila!  Problems are solved!

The other problem with the word “Transformation” is that it’s so over-used that it’s not as compelling of a statement as it used to be.

Recently I started a Lean Change initiative with a new client who had intended on using the word transformation in the title of their program.  They initially described is as “The XYX transformation in order to innovate…be best of breed….” etc etc.  All fantastic thoughts and phrases, unfortunately not all that memorable or actionable.

Then something amazing happened, one of the managers said “well, Bill and Jane“, the executive sponsors, “really want us to think like a startup.


There you go!” I said, “that’s the name of the transformation program!”  If you look at any change management framework, they all talk about the fact that you can’t over communicate and that you need to energize and engage people.  Imagine the power of posters that simply have the slogan “Think Like a Startup” on them.  Imagine the mantra that slogan can create in meetings when someone brings up something like “guys, is this 100 page plan really helping us think like a startup?”

There is power in language and any transformation, whether it be Agile Transformation or a business transformation is a powerful trigger for change.  Carefully naming your program to give off a vibe of the purpose of the transformation can be much more effective in engaging people to participate.


  • Kenny Grant

    I really like this Jason – especially to help people with the perception that they’ve already ‘transformed’.

    I have an opportunity to use this soon, will share what impact it has.


    • Jason Little

      Thanks for the comment Kenny! Let me know how it works out!

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