In a recent post I discussed the pressing need for companies to go fully digital with their process execution, and how doing so will result in sustained competitiveness and profitability. I also mentioned that a company’s success in a transformation project can be exponentially increased if they engage with an outside consulting firm. In this post I’m going to look more deeply at the reasons an unbiased third-party can help companies achieve their goals better than going it alone.

I know some of you are skeptical. After all, KnowledgePath is a consulting organization that specializes in business transformation. But no amount of skepticism can change the fact that reaching outside for someone to lead a project such as this can increase the odds of success. More than likely, internal resources are already overworked, and/or the company lacks the internal components necessary for project success. This is a common challenge simply because business transformation requires elements that are not needed for everyday business. In other words why would a company be expected to have a high level of project, program, or portfolio oversight or involvement when this is only required for company-wide shifts?

Often, the reasons for the increased project success with outside help can be a bit elusive. This is especially the case with those who think reaching beyond their own four walls for guidance is not only unnecessary, but is also a waste of time and money. If you haven’t completely changed your mind by the end of this 2-part post, I hope you are at least entertaining the merits of letting an objective party lead a project what is critical to your company’s ability to remain agile, not to mention its very survival.

Reasons to engage a third party

There are several reasons for the large disparity of success between companies that hire an outside party to lead their transformation process, and those that keep it internal. But two of these reasons rise above and, indeed, encompass many of the others; objectivity and focus. I will discuss objectivity in this post, and conclude with focus next week.


Business transformation requires companies to rethink every aspect of their business; from how products are developed, designed, sourced and serviced, to the underlying business models employed.

To accomplish this, one has to begin with an unbiased assessment of the company’s internal environment as it is today. Not just in one department, but across every functional area, in every site, across the entire enterprise. This is a complicated enough undertaking for single-site organizations, but, when you get into multi-site companies, the complexity grows with the introduction of culture and, perhaps, language barriers. Not to mention the territorial nature of people worried about what headquarters is forcing on them now.

Barriers to success are everywhere. Overcoming them is one of the primary jobs of an outside party.

The outside consultant brings no preconceived notions about what the company is, versus what it should be. They harbor no opinion of how any specific functional area is run or how it contributes to the company’s financial results. Most importantly, they come armed with no pre-judgement about any of the people with whom they will be working, directly or indirectly. What they do bring is deep experience in executing business transformation projects, many times within your specific industry. Their only goal is to guide your team through the transformation process so you come out the other end with a company that is more agile, stronger and sustainable.

When you hire a third-party to manage the project you are getting someone who is part therapist, part referee, and part Sherlock Holmes. Theirs is a difficult role to play. And if you keep the project lead in-house, you’ll have the impossible task of finding someone who can play all three parts with complete objectivity. There can be no favorites played in terms of people, departments, processes, etc. Everything – everything – is fair game and any hint of bias will destroy the credibility of the project.

The only way to avoid biases is with an objective third-party whose job it is to guide the process from the outset and make sure that every aspect of the business is represented fairly. Only then can you assure that everyone is working toward the common goal of transforming the business to make it sustainable into the future.

Stay tuned for next week’s post. I will discuss the reasons that a shift in focus (in the right direction) will vastly increase the chance of a successful outcome for your business transformation process.


Ron Bruner

Ron has over 35 years of professional business management and operations experience. His track record is exceptional for delivering results on time and on budget. His strong leadership and mentoring expertise translates to exceptional benefit for his clients.