Xerox’s strategic transformation: 8 things you don’t know

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that real, lasting transformation is not going to come from four to five big ideas spearheaded by management; it’s  a thousand decisions made differently every day by thousands of our colleagues — their ideas, their passion, and their leadership. My job is to enable that.

Without a doubt, Xerox has been in “productivity mode” for years. It may be our most commonly used word. And we’re good at cost cutting in response to market conditions that have challenged our business but we now have the opportunity to shift from just enough to chase what’s possible.

When we first started down the strategic transformation path, I was one of the biggest skeptics. That said, I truly believe now that what we’re doing is fundamentally different than anything we’ve ever attempted. Here’s why:

  • We know how we’re going to get there (no “tasks”): We have over 1,500 initiatives, each with a business plan and detailed milestones.
  • We execute on a relentless cadence: Every week I meet with people who own more than 15 workstreams and discuss their initiatives in detail. This is tough, but I’m convinced that the clarity of thought around “what does success look like by next week” has taken us to new heights in terms of execution pace.
  • It’s not just about cost: We will capture value, wherever we find it. We take the same diligence to growth, pricing and margin management.
  • It’s not just about the “what;” it’s also about the “how”: Many of the ideas that will deliver our targets have existed in the business for years. That being said, “how” we’re executing on them is completely different. We’re focused on removing the barriers (some self-inflicted) to get these done once and for all.
  • We’re all-in: We’re not treating this as a “project.” It’s the new way we operate the business. This is not the flavor of the month.
  • We have a partner that we trust who has done this many times: McKinsey is our partner in this effort; not just our “consultant.” They have expertise, processes and resources that have successfully led many, very large transformation/turnaround efforts, and we are working as a unified team to get this done. This is not a made-up process; we’re going with what works.
  • We have one source of truth and one process: We have adopted an online tool that gives us a level of transparency that I’ve never seen. It allows us to talk in the same language and track our progress week to week.
  • Xerox employees are engaged to own this transformation: We want to know what they are doing to help Xerox reach its full potential More important, we ask how we can help them succeed – and they’re telling us!

I’ll leave you with an example from our Xerox Print Services Operations team in Guatemala. In less than 6 months, through their willingness to challenge long-held paradigms, we have increased revenue, decreased costs, and most important, improved client satisfaction (including some cool YouTube videos!) for 814 client accounts. This team shows that we can do it all (cost, revenue, satisfaction), but we have to be willing to re-think “business as usual.”

I’m looking forward to sharing additional change stories that highlight how we are reimagining our business one initiative at a time.


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