Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

The Rapid, High-engagement, All-employee Cascade (from the Accelerated Corporate Transformation Method)

Editor’s Note: This article provides a thorough introduction and overview to a 14-minute lecture by Robert H. Miles, former Harvard Business School professor and the world’s foremost expert on Corporate Transformation.  Watch the full lecture on YouTube here.  Dr. Miles also has released a comprehensive Flevy Executive Learning program on his Accelerated Corporate Transformation (ACT) method, a proven methodology has been successfully implemented in some of the most iconic Corporate Transformations, including Apple, General Electric, IBM, Symantec, National Semiconductor, Office Depot, PwC, and many others.

* * * *

How can you engage and energize thousands of employees within a matter of weeks?

Leaders don’t generally raise that question because they are not aware that such a feat can be accomplished in a rapid, reliable manner.

But it’s one of the major questions executive leaders – and especially transformation leaders — should be asking when challenged with taking charge and launching the next major phase in an organization. Instead, many transformations stall at this point, where the planning work of the senior executives has drawn to a close, but before the subordinate managers and employees have begun aligning with and executing the transformation-defining initiatives. The common result in many aborted transformation launches is the great ideas and strategies constructed at the top never make it far enough down in the company to have a palpable impact on employees and customers, which is where it matters most.

Past efforts, employees recall, had taken months if not years to roll out from top to bottom in their very large, dispersed enterprise. Not surprising, a study of American workers revealed that only one in ten employees had a clear line of sight between their job tasks and their company’s goals. Moreover, only half of the surveyed employees felt there was follow through with discipline from above on the key transformation initiatives. No wonder that McKinsey, a global management consulting firm, recently reported that over 70 percent of attempted corporate transformations FAIL!

The problem with these mostly well-intentioned, but plodding and uncoordinated approaches is that by the time the transformation game plan reaches the lowest level, the top has already moved to new challenges and launched new strategies, putting the rest of the system out of alignment. It is also commonly observed that a message delivered by anyone other than the direct manager usually is ignored or paid lip service at best.

The key to enabling employee engagement and rapid performance success is that such efforts must be orchestrated in concert within an overall corporate transformation game plan; one that is leader-led at all levels, and whose employees are aligned and engaged by their immediate manager.

In a moment you will be taken to the front line of a global retailer’s transformation launch to witness what it takes to rapidly achieve a high degree of engagement during a company’s Engage Phase; one of three Phases (Launch, Engage and Execute) in the Accelerated Corporate Transformation methodology or ACT Method, which the incoming CEO selected to launch and guide the transformation of his global company.

Note as you work your way through the video of the day-long cascade meeting for upper middle managers how the event used the design elements of simplicity of content x compression of process to create high engagement and enable rapid transformation speed. But before we take the plunge, let’s anchor our video case.

Of primary focus in the video — which will be narrated by Robert H. Miles, creator of the ACT Method — is the Engage Phase, where the top management team cascade their transformation game plan to all managers and employees.

But first, the situation leading up to the transformation launch, had become grim. Desperate to break companywide gridlock caused by the proliferation of initiatives from the divisional heads, the sitting CEO launched a last stand by challenging everyone in the company to come up with initiatives that made sense to them to pursue in their own workplaces. Informal teams popped up everywhere!  The company quickly became gridlocked. It began hemorrhaging its highly talented, hard to replace employees across all organizational subunits and levels. The ensuing melee had countless teams scrambling to find sponsors to approve their plans before they could execute. The Board finally initiated a search for a successor.

A new CEO was quickly put in place. Within a few months of structured deliberation, a companywide transformation challenge “to fundamentally restore the shareholder value of this global retailer” emerged from the top three levels of executives. As one of them declared, “our purpose became to implement an urgent shift from putting out 1,000 fires to a focused turnaround.”

The CEO chose Dr. Robert H. Miles and his Accelerated Corporate Transformation (ACT) methodology for the transformation job. Bob is a former Harvard Business School professor and now President of Corporate Transformation Resources. The ACT Method intensively involved the top three levels of management before being rapidly cascaded to align and engage all parts and levels of the enterprise with the new corporate transformation game plan.

Restoring Shareholder Value at a Global Retailer:

  • Twelve months after it failed to merge with a major competitor, the new, internally promoted CEO faced a huge challenge: to rapidly revitalize the company’s sagging retail operations. By relying on the ACT Method — including its unique approach to cascading — the company’s leaders resolved to once again make the company the industry’s most compelling place to invest, shop, and work. Indeed, these became the major Transformation Initiatives upon which the company’s revitalization was launched. The game plan also called for an alignment of the company’s values and employee behaviors with the new corporate transformation constructs.
  • They succeeded. In one year, the company’s share price jumped by 156%, customer complaints fell by 50%, and employee retention rates rose by 72%. The company also moved up from the bottom 10% of Standard & Poor’s 500 to Number Two in terms of percentage increase in shareholder value. Truly transformational outcomes.
  • “The biggest surprise,” the new CEO reflected, “was how quickly people in our company said, ‘Count me in. Let’s go.’ I knew it would happen; I just didn’t think we’d get there this fast.”

How come so fast? So deliberate?

Let’s turn to the role played by the ACT Method; in particular, to the Engage Phase in its approach to rapid, organization-wide transformation.

The cascading methodology is known as the Rapid, High-engagement, All-employee Cascade [T]. Lots of words, but you’ll understand why when you witness the way in which the company went about rolling out its transformation game plan. Indeed, while we’re at it, we should add a fourth differentiating feature: Leader-led at all levels.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdz8JXpgh9M

Excel workbook
Accountants, accounting firms, and real estate property owners can all benefit from this cost segregation study (CSS) template. It makes the estimated benefit easy to figure out and has flexible assumptions for high level or detailed segregation analysis. You get a summary of cost [read more]

Do You Want to Implement Business Best Practices?

You can download in-depth presentations on 100s of management topics from the FlevyPro Library. FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.

For even more best practices available on Flevy, have a look at our top 100 lists:

These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.

Readers of This Article Are Interested in These Resources

Excel workbook
This Private Equity Profit Distribution Waterfall Model allows for the distribution of funds between the Limited Partners ('LPs') and the General Partner ('GP') for investment or private equity funds. This detailed model covers all the relevant concepts used in private equity cash [read more]

103-slide PowerPoint presentation
Excel workbook

About Flevy

Flevy (http://flevy.com) is the leading provider of premium business documents (such as business frameworks, financial models, and presentation templates). Our documents are of the same caliber as those used and produced by top tier consulting firms, like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte. Most documents were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of business frameworks and analysis tools. Scroll down a bit further on this page to download some of our free business training guides.

Complimentary Business Training Guides

Many companies develop robust strategies, but struggle with operationalizing their strategies into implementable steps. This presentation from flevy introduces 12 powerful business frameworks spanning both Strategy Development and Strategy Execution. [Learn more]

  This 48-page whitepaper, authored by consultancy Envisioning, provides the frameworks, tools, and insights needed to manage serious Change—under the backdrop of the business lifecycle. These lifecycle stages are each marked by distinct attributes, challenges, and behaviors. [Learn more]

We've developed a very comprehensive collection of Strategy & Transformation PowerPoint templates for you to use in your own business presentations, spanning topics from Growth Strategy to Brand Development to Innovation to Customer Experience to Strategic Management. [Learn more]

  We have compiled a collection of 10 Lean Six Sigma templates (Excel) and Operational Excellence guides (PowerPoint) by a multitude of LSS experts. These tools cover topics including 8 Disciplines (8D), 5 Why's, 7 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), and DMAIC. [Learn more]
Recent Articles by Corporate Function






The Flevy Business Blog (https://flevy.com/blog) is a leading source of information on business strategies, business theories, and business stories. Most of our articles are authored by management consultants and industry executives with over 20 years of experience.

Flevy (https://flevy.com) is the marketplace for business best practices, such as management frameworks, presentation templates, and financial models. Our best practice documents are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier consulting firms (like McKinsey, Bain, Accenture, BCG, and Deloitte) and used by Fortune 100 organizations. Learn more about Flevy here.

Flevy Marketplace: Top 100
· Strategy & Transformation
· Digital Transformation
· Operational Excellence
· Organization & Change
· Financial Models
· Consulting Frameworks
· PowerPoint Templates
FlevyPro (Subscription Service)
KPI Library
Streams (Functional Bundles)
Flevy Executive Learning (FEL)
PowerPoint Services

FREE Resources

About Flevy
Management Topics
Marcus (AI-Powered Consultant)
Partner Program
LinkedIn Influencer Marketing
FAQ / Terms / Privacy / Blog
Contact Us: support@flevy.com

Acquisition Strategy
Artificial Intelligence
Balanced Scorecard
Best Practices
Big Data
Breakout Strategy
Business Continuity Planning
Business Plan Financial Model
Business Transformation
Change Management
Communications Strategy
Company Financial Model
Competitive Advantage
Competitive Analysis
Consulting Frameworks
Continuous Improvement
Core Competencies
Corporate Culture
Cost Reduction Assessment
Customer Experience

Strategy, Transformation, & Innovation
Digital Transformation
Operational Excellence and LSS
Organization, Change, & HR
Management Consulting

Customer Journey
Customer Service
Cyber Security
Data Privacy
Decision Making
Digital Marketing Strategy
Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation Strategy
Due Diligence
Employee Engagement
Employee Training
Enterprise Architecture
Growth Strategy
HR Strategy
Hoshin Kanri
ISO 27001
Information Technology
Innovation Management
Integrated Financial Model
Key Performance Indicators

Business Strategy Frameworks
Case Studies
Consulting Training Guides
COVID-19 Trend Data
Digital Transformation
Financial Advising Services (FAS)

Knowledge Management
Lean Manufacturing
M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions)
Market Research
Marketing Plan Development
Maturity Model
McKinsey PowerPoint
McKinsey Templates
Operational Excellence
Organizational Change
Organizational Design
Performance Management
Post-merger Integration
Pricing Strategy
Process Improvement
Process Maps
Procurement Strategy
Product Launch Strategy
Product Strategy
Project Management
Quality Management

Free Resources
KPI Library
Lean Management
Lean Six Sigma Training Guides
Marcus Insights
Operational Excellence

Real Estate
Remote Work
Risk Management
Robotic Process Automation
Service Design
Six Sigma Project
Social Media Strategy
Strategic Planning
Strategic Thinking
Strategy Development
Supply Chain Analysis
Target Operating Model
Team Management
Total Productive Maintenance
Value Chain Analysis
Value Creation
Value Stream Mapping
Visual Workplace
Workplace Safety

Product Strategy
Small Business Owner
Startup Resources
Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning Process
Value Innovation Strategy

© 2012-2024 Copyright. Flevy LLC. All Rights Reserved.