“You must unlearn everything you learned…” – Yoda to Luke Skywalker

So much is said and written these days about transformation that it almost feels redundant to… yet again… write about transformation!!!

These days… transformation seems to be fashion… everyone talks transformation … and everything seems to be about transformation… and if it isn’t, then tagging it as transformation will surely place it high on everyone’s radar screen.

We seem to be treating transformation like the “flavour of the month”… so to speak…

We talk digital transformation (this flavour is high on the list of favourites)… we talk people transformation… we talk systems transformation… etc… etc… etc… and yet, as I am deeply into another process of transformation with a major client I am, once again, reminded about the holistic nature of transformation.

And it has, once again, reminded me that the piecemeal “flavour of the month” approach to transformation may sound good and make headlines… but it falls way short of what our clients and we need and expect.

As I have been co-creating the way forward with my client, I have been delighted to see how clearly we have been able to describe and visualise the process of transformation we are designing and implementing. It is almost organic in nature. It clearly demonstrates how the pieces come together and are interdependent. Designing it has been a collaborative and “viral” process that has involved a significant part of his human capital.

As we now approach the moment to “embed” significant transformation across the whole business ecosystem, it is surprising to see the positive energy the process has gathered from the various corners of the organisation. There is expectation and there is receptiveness, because people from throughout the organization have been part of creating something they see as their own. The DNA of what will be embedded throughout has already been absorbed by people, who clearly know “the why” they are doing what they are doing. There is a sense of purpose that is powerfully unifying.

What is Transformation

Life as we know it is being transformed at a vertiginous pace and is producing deep successive waves of transformation… and these “tsunamis of transformation” will, by no means, slow down.

Concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation, Digital Transformation, Internet of Everything, Exponential Technologies are becoming a natural part of our daily lives.

Disruption is the new normal… and change is no longer gradual. It has become an exponential Tsunami of Transformation. What used to be dumb and disconnected… is now wired and intelligent!

In a world where very soon everything will be connected, anything that can be digitised will become vulgar and loose its value… Technology represents THE HOW OF CHANGE… but human beings represent THE WHY.

Today, more than ever, CEOs, business owners and their C-level executives live in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world that, often, challenges them beyond their current levels of understanding.

Speed, clarity, fitness, leadership, flexibility, trust, agility…are words more often used to describe world-class athletes than an organization’s leader or its teams. Given the complexity and uncertainty of the world we live in, we can no longer operate within our comfort zones. In fact, there are no comfort zones anymore in this type of environment.


There are many definitions of transformation. I like to keep it simple. So, for me, Holistic Transformation covers three key areas

  • 01 – we CORRECT – where we focus on correcting past inefficiencies and creating “new ways of working” and “new ways of being” within the organisation


  • 02 – we ANTICIPATE – where we focus on anticipating current and upcoming challenges and shifting beyond the organization to deepen our collaboration and value generation capability with our business ecosystem


  • 03 – we INNOVATE – where we focus on innovating the business model and re-inventing key components of our strategy


In organizations that are complex, global, diverse, rich in experiences and ultra dynamic, we can no longer expect that senior leadership and its teams be prepared to respond to the continuous and complex daily challenges. To be resilient and live without comfort zones, senior executives and their teams must constantly assess the context they operate in, their skills, knowledge and development needs, and must ensure they are able to cope productively and timely with an environment that is in constant transformation.

This is where CEOs become a key piece of the puzzle. Through their conversations with their C-level executives, teams and stakeholders, CEOs become partners in a “real play” thought-provoking and creative process which inspires them to “connect the dots”, maximize their personal and professional potential, and look for answers and solutions to the complex business issues they are currently dealing with.

Through a robust transformation process, we co-create, collaborate, disrupt, construct, generate value, and we continue to transform.

A Holistic View of Transformation

Over the years, I have understood transformation to be almost organic in nature. In other words, there is equilibrium and interdependence to the whole system.

Not only do we require clarity on what are the pieces that make up the transformation puzzle, we also need to ensure that there is a common language and a synchronicity between the pieces…

There are seven key pieces that make up the transformation puzzle. For transformation to be real and sustainable, these pieces need to be developed, transformed and aligned at the same time… and as part of the same process. These seven key pieces are


  • Purpose and Strategy provides a clear and unifying direction through a strategic narrative. A strategic narrative is a unique type of story. It talks about who we are as a company, where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going. It describes how we believe value is generated and what’s important in our relationships. It explains why we exist and what makes us unique. Our story will inspire our people, excite our partners, attract our clients, and engage influencers. The story is concise but comprehensive. It’s specific but with room to grow. It transmits your company’s vision, communicates our strategy, and embodies our DNA.


  • People are the “viral” drivers of transformation, not just in the way they own the process, but most importantly in the way they re-invent themselves and redefine purpose into new and challenging situations. Their Perceptions and Experiences are key to embedding a process of transformation sustainably. How we shape these perceptions and experiences fast tracks the process, not just into the organization, but throughout its business ecosystem.


  • The Corporate DNA, blends eight powerful ingredients to create a common language. It creates a playing field that is embraced by all members of the organisation. The Corporate DNA becomes the cements upon which the team builds its story. In a matter of speaking, the Corporate DNA is the common thread that runs through all members of the organisation and creates a unified sense of purpose. The 8 ingredients of the DNA Framework are (1) Vision, (2) Values and Behaviours, (3) Communication Model, (4) Decision Making Model, (5) Leadership Model, (6) Diversity Model, (7) Relationship Model,


  • Experience provides valuable insights into the experience of our clients, our people, our providers, and other stakeholders throughout our business ecosystem. Shifting pieces of the puzzle will obviously affect the experience of others in their process of interacting with us and our organization. We need to understand how their experience shifts and how we need to adjust the various pieces of the transformation puzzle in order to optimize their experience with us.


  • Architecture – including Processes, Policies, Systems, Structures, and Technologies, are the simple, but necessary, side of transformation. We say “simple” because we are dealing with “things” and, as such, defined, changed and implemented by people. As well, this is the side of transformation we have spent the better part of the XXthcentury dealing with. This is the area where there are the most experts. However, it cannot be addressed independently from the rest of the transformation puzzle. It must d¡be dealt with in context of the rest of the model and understanding and adjusting the impacts it generates in other areas of the model.


  • The Business Ecosystem is so much more than the organization’s traditional market. It brings together a multitude of valuable players (even some unlikely players) that come together to integrate the organization’s value generating model. The Business Ecosystem brings together competitors and suppliers, competitors with their own clients and suppliers, suppliers with their own clients and competitors, professional and trade associations, government, regulators, lobbies, learning institutions, innovation incubators… and so much more… Understanding the extent of the organization’s business ecosystem is key to understanding the extent of its value generating potential and the extent of its transformation requirements.


  • Value Generation is transformed, not just as a consequence of a holistic transformation process… but also often as the cause for transformation. In this new world, with new challenges and new opportunities and potential, we also look to redefine the way value is generated within the organization and across its business ecosystem. Value generation in a transformation context also focus on the duality of quantifiable and qualifiable value, both withing the organization and across the business ecosystem.

We want to captivate the hearts and minds of intelligent, passionate and experienced people to integrate our projects, our teams and our business ecosystems. Our holistic transformation models need to preserve and harness the sense of purpose, the richness and the diversity they bring to the process. In the fast changing and instantly communicated world we live in, the old biases no longer hold true.

This holistic view of transformation is based on the simple concept that, if we want to capture the hearts and minds of an organization and its people, we need to treat it as an organic being where harmony, synchronicity and alignment of the transformation puzzle is a basic requirement to sustainable transformation.



About Luis Soares Costa

From the very beginning, coaching has always been at the core of my passions.

For the past 38 years I have been an Executive and Team Coach working globally with CEOs and their C-Suite Executives, Business Owners and top talent in a significant number of the major global companies (including a significant number of Fortune 500), innovative companies operating in new ecosystems and dynamic family owned businesses.

During the past 28 years, I have also been an Executive and Team Coach and a “consultant to consultants” developing partners and top talent at major consultancies, Big4 Firms and Legal Firms

As an Executive and Team Coach, I partner with you and/or your teams in a “real play” thought-provoking and creative process which inspires you to “connect the dots” and maximize your personal and professional potential. The aim of the partnership is to bring about a sustained behavioral and performance transformation and profoundly shift the quality of your and your team’s working and personal life, whilst maximizing your potential and generating sustainable value.

You can contact me at coach@LuisSoaresCosta.com and visit my Website at www.LuisSoaresCosta.com