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Middle Managers Should Drive Your Business Transformation

Middle Managers Should Drive Your Business Transformation

Shift your approach from top-down to middle-out.

April 16, 2024

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  • Successful transformations harness the collective wisdom of middle managers and teams. To increase your company’s chances, you need to: 1) Enlist your very best middle managers. Transforming a business demands a blend of creativity and ingenuity. By setting this challenge you can also test and nurture the next generation of leaders. 2) Empower the middle to sponsor transformative changes. It’s imperative to actively encourage middle managers to bring forth innovative ideas and to provide adequate support when these managers propose significant changes. 3) Reward bold action and results. Successful transformation demands a fundamental reexamination of every aspect of a business to achieve breakthrough results. To achieve this, rewards must reinforce this need for wholesale change.

    The conventional approach to business transformation — top-down directives coupled with bottom-up execution — isn’t working. Today, fewer than one in eight transformations yield lasting results, leaving seven in eight lacking sustained impact. While the traditional top-down method may aid in cost-cutting and efficiency, it fails to produce enduring breakthroughs in business performance.

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    • PL


      Patrick Litre leads Bain’s Global Transformation and Change practice and is a partner based in Atlanta.



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  • New!

    HBR Learning

    Change Management Course

    Accelerate your career with Harvard ManageMentor®. HBR Learning’s online leadership training helps you hone your skills with courses like Change Management. Earn badges to share on LinkedIn and your resume. Access more than 40 courses trusted by Fortune 500 companies.

    Change may be the only constant in today’s organizations. Here’s how to lead through it.

    Read More