Navigate Complex Transformation Waters with the Change Leader's Roadmap

Organization transformation is a multi-faceted and complex journey, like a vast river splitting into myriad branches, each a required element of the overall journey to your outcome.

The branches of the transformational river represent the distinct initiatives that collectively drive a transformation. They're not isolated components but rather interdependent currents that, when managed effectively, propel the organization toward its desired future state.

Navigating this intricate landscape requires more than enthusiasm; it demands a clear guide. In this article, we'll explore the complexity of the transformational process and introduce a vital tool, the Change Leader's Roadmap, which can be your compass in the transformational wilderness.

The Change Leader's Roadmap: Your Navigational Tool

Before we delve into the branches of your transformation, it's essential to introduce your most valuable asset on this journey—the Change Leader's Roadmap. Think of it as the seasoned traveler's map, guiding you through unfamiliar territory.

The Change Leaders Roadmap 9-Phase Model 2023


The Change Leader's Roadmap (CLR) is a strategic guide that includes nine phases (shown in the image aboce.) The CLR empowers change leaders to effectively steer their organizations through the turbulent waters of transformation. It's a dynamic tool designed to provide direction and alignment across different aspects of the transformation journey. This Roadmap encompasses a comprehensive view of strategic, tactical and cultural changes needed for success.

The Fullstream Transformation Model

While the nine phases of the Change Leader’s Roadmap cover the detailed landscape, let’s take a more strategic view of that landscape to ensure leaders understand the full process they are guiding. That strategic view is described by the Fullstream Transformation Model, which comprises three stages:

CLR Fullstream Transformation Model


STAGE 1 - Upstream: Laying the Foundation for Success

The "Upstream" phase corresponds to leaders strategically planning and preparing for a smooth and clear launch. Picture it as the stage where you identify your requirements, gather your equipment, align to your outcomes and create a roadmap for your journey. However, it's often underestimated by leaders and their consultants, leading to unforeseen challenges downstream. A strong launch is critical!

Here's where the Change Leader's Roadmap truly shines. Just as a map is indispensable for plotting a course through an unfamiliar wilderness, the Change Leader's Roadmap helps you chart your transformation's course from start to completion. It assists in understanding the rationale for the change, clarifying outcomes, ensuring alignment with your organization's broader goals and identifying both what already serves your results and potential obstacles to them.

STAGE 2 - Midstream: Crafting Solutions

Once your launch strategy is secure, you move to the "Midstream" phase. Here, you design solutions to address the organizational challenges identified during the launch stage. This is where the transformation begins to take shape, akin to crafting a vessel capable of navigating the transformation waters.

The Change Leader's Roadmap remains your reliable companion during the Midstream phase. Much like a navigator using the stars to guide a ship, it helps you align strategic initiatives with operational requirements, cultural shifts and technological advancements. This stage helps you determine the magnitude and type of work required to deploy your initiatives and achieve sustained benefits. This ensures that the solutions crafted are effective and can be harmoniously integrated into the broader organization during implementation.

STAGE 3 - Downstream: Setting Sail

It's time to set sail into the transformative waters during the "Downstream" phase. Implementation is the name of the game here. The solutions designed in the Midstream phase are put into place, and the organization moves toward its future state. It has the opportunity to adjust in real time to make the new reality work optimally.

In the Downstream phase, the Change Leader's Roadmap continues to be your trusty guide. It assists in monitoring progress, adapting to challenges, and ensuring all requirements flow smoothly toward your desired outcomes.

The Alignment of River Branches and Stages of Change

The Fullstream Transformation Model's beauty lies in its alignment with the Change Leader's Roadmap. Each phase of the Roadmap corresponds to a stage in this model:

  • Upstream (Phases I-III)
  • Midstream (Phases IV-VI)
  • Downstream (Phases VII-IX)

CLR as a Fullstream Process

To best apply and adapt the Change Leader’s Roadmap to your project’s reality, it's crucial to understand that the process isn't strictly linear as if it were a cookbook to follow. Just as a river may meander or get into rough waters, the journey involves managing and guiding change from start to finish while adapting to new information and challenges. The key is to understand the nine phases of the Roadmap sufficiently to be able to select the tasks from each phase that are truly required for your transformation. The guideline is: Do as few of the tasks as possible and still be successful!

The Change Leader's Role

As a change leader, understanding the intricacies of organizational transformation is paramount. You gain a holistic perspective by embracing the Fullstream Transformation Model and tailoring the Change Leader's Roadmap from the outset. This perspective equips you to navigate the complex currents of change with confidence. And, according to this McKinsey study, when organizations take a rigorous approach during a transformation, their success rate more than doubles from 26% to 58%. We want you to go even higher!

Remember, transformation isn't about getting from one point to another in a linear fashion; it's about the organization and its employees thriving throughout the journey. With the Change Leader's Roadmap as your guide, you'll be well-prepared to navigate the turbulent waters of change, anticipate challenges and chart a course to an aspired future for your organization.

Dive Deeper into The Change Leader’s Roadmap

Join the originator of the Change Leader’s Roadmap, Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson, in her recent podcast episode, “Guiding Project Launch to Full Adoption” where she dives deeper into the Change Leader’s Roadmap and how to apply it to your unique transformations.

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About the author

Being First Team

We guide visionary leaders to transform themselves and their organizations to Achieve Breakthrough in business results, culture, leadership, and executive team performance, while building world-class change leadership capability. We are pioneers teaching Conscious Change Leadership, and provide a complete System of Transformation to our executive clients. We are not your typical consultants. Since our beginning, our primary business strategy has been to walk our own talk—to learn, grow, transform, and breakthrough to ever-increasing heights in who we are as people and what we can do as professionals. We strive every day to become models of the best humans we can become, while delivering the most innovative and impactful transformational solutions. While we don’t always achieve these goals, they are forever our intent and practice.