Since most organizations are aware about the risks involved in business transformation, therefore risk and change management are almost always in place. However, accountability risks challenge business transformation from strategic design till solutions deployment and then afterwards. A key point to consider is the close relationship between accountability and empowerment, thus the later should be taken into consideration throughout the whole E2E business transformation process as well. Moreover, accountability gaps might occur either when the target operating model is designed or deployed. Furthermore, accountability is an essential element to take into consideration whenever an organization is performing a maturity assessment of its business transformation process. Since it plays a key role throughout the whole transformation as well as it can be seen as an important outcome, I would like to invite you to deep dive into accountability in business transformation.

Empowerment and accountability relationship

To begin with, organizations take their first big decision regarding accountability when they define the strategy. If the transformation is completely driven from the “outside” through external consultants or an internal area, the stakeholders will be completely disempowered. Moreover, the accountability for the business transformation outcomes will be “outside” the processes due to the disempowerment of the process owners. However, empowerment can be built through capabilities development by training and coaching the stakeholders. Moreover, delegation not only of tasks but also decisions is essential to grow stakeholder’s empowerment. Furthermore, with new capabilities developed as well as tasks and decisions delegated, therefore the stakeholders will be empowered to be not only process owners but also owners for the transformation outcomes within their processes. In addition, the empowered process owners will not only take part in the analysis of the current situation to identify root causes and develop solutions during the transformation, but also, they would be able to drive by themselves the continuous improvement process after the initial target state has been achieved.

Accountability across organizational levels and areas

Another area to consider is finding the right accountability balance between organizational levels as well as among areas who are driven the transformation and those ones which are being transformed. First of all, it is necessary to understand the role of the upper management within the business transformation which is essentially empower leaders and teams. Besides coaching and delegation, to achieve empowerment will require also upper management’s accountability to identify and remove high level transformation’s barriers as well as to align systems and structures. Secondly, bring light to the role of transformation internal areas or external consultants is of a fundamental importance. On one hand, they are accountable for developing new capabilities on leaders and teams to empower them. On the other, these supporting areas don’t act only as trainers and coaches, but also perform knowledge and change management as well as capture and report benefits to follow up and provide feedback regarding the transformation at all organizational levels. Although either through capabilities development or delegation, both transformation areas and upper management are empowering leaders and team to create ownership and accountability for the transformation and its outcomes, neither this mean that they do not have a role nor accountability for it.

Business transformation maturity assessment through accountability

Whereas the degree of “outside” and “inside” might vary within the transformation strategy either because of the nature of the transformation itself or due to the organizational structure, it is important to empower people to bring them in the transformation process as actively as it is possible. What is more, to build ownership and accountability among leaders and teams are within the objective of the business transformation. Moreover, across the transformation process, empowerment should be built through new capabilities development and delegation not only tasks but also decisions. Furthermore, upper management can further empower leaders and teams by remaining accountable for removing high level barriers. In addition, transformation areas empower the organization at all levels by capturing and reporting benefits to create transparency in the transformation outcomes. In conclusion the business transformation depth as well as maturity can be assessed through the changes in accountability across the organization. While a superficial transformation won’t bring variations in accountability, a deep one in contrast will show profound changes. Finally, the business transformation acquires maturity through empowerment and ownership, as Leo Tolstoy pointed out: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”.

Thanks for Reading.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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