KingChapman Blog

Creating Organizational Transformation With Breakthrough Projects

Posted by Bob Chapman on Aug 24, 2017 8:12:00 AM


Sustainable value creation in a business requires growth. Growth requires change. Substantial, sustainable growth requires transformative change. That’s well known. What’s not so well know is how to achieve transformative changes. That is the hard part, which requires leadership and breakthroughs. KingChapman has long assisted leaders design and execute breakthroughs in their organizations.

An obvious first question is what is a breakthrough? A breakthrough is step level change in an organizations level of performance. A breakthrough leads to results that otherwise were not going to happen. A breakthrough requires a fundamental change, rather than simply working harder. Further, the change introduced to produce the result will also make this new level of performance sustainable over time. This extraordinary result is achieved through intentional actions in the business, including transforming the organization’s orientation to be more externally focused.

KingChapman has found the best approach to achieving breakthrough results is through Breakthrough Projects. We have used Breakthrough Projects in many different industries around the globe. The consistent theme in Breakthrough Projects is:

  • Strong leadership from managers
  • Commitment to achieving results beyond the currently level of knowledge and practice
  • Teams that are empowered to find ways to achieve these breakthroughs
  • Commitment to sustain the breakthroughs and introduce into ongoing operations in performance beyond what is currently being produced

Breakthrough Projects are leadership inventions designed to transform part of an organization with specific, concrete and unprecedented results. In addition, Breakthrough Projects provide a unique learning environment for developing leaders and engaging employees.

Value Creation in Breakthrough Projects

Breakthrough Projects create value by testing the organization’s “conventional wisdom” about what can and cannot be accomplished. This opens up opportunities for creativity and innovative thinking in exploring how to implement breakthroughs.

Breakthrough Projects are crucial to successfully executing strategies for growth. The results from Breakthrough Projects become core building blocks for strategic growth and organizational transformation.

Breakthrough Projects in Action

When a series of well-managed breakthrough projects is underway, the predictable actions of teams are to be:

  • Challenging the myths about current performance and customer perceptions
  • Generating a visible break with “business as usual,” and replacing it with agile, empowering Business Design for an element of the organization
  • Delivering exceptional business results more quickly than expected
  • Developing transformational leaders in different levels of the business
  • Engaging employees in a way they have never been engaged before

Collateral Value from Breakthrough Projects

In addition to creating breakthroughs for improved performance, there are other benefits which predictably occur in the organization.

  • Improving business acumen of employees. We recommend development of business acumen courses by front line employees working on the breakthrough projects as part of their work in enrolling others in the organization for the changes to be introduced. Education about the basics of how the organization creates value has proven to be an exceptional means for changing the conversations in organization and increasing enrollment of employees
  • Increasing level of employee’s knowledge of the organizations metrics as well as how success can be achieved in meeting those metrics
  • Enhancing supervisor’s leadership capabilities by working collaboratively with teams as team leaders, coaches, resource providers and links to other parts of the business
  • Mobilizing front-line employees to be actively engaged in dramatically improved business results. This happens as front-line employees initiate conversations with others on actions which achieve these dramatic business improvements
  • Changing the culture. Through conversations the “old culture” is completed, and the desired new culture implemented. This involves putting the good and the bad of the past behind, and focusing on creating a better future for the organization


Achieving breakthroughs is possible, if not predictable, through the use of Breakthrough Projects. Often the largest challenge is executives willingness to try something new, which is not linear and predictable. Leadership is required to initiate changes which are non-linear and at times unpredictable. Creating value through sustained growth rarely is linear and predictable, so the courage to empower employees to be creative and at times “outrageous” is a true test of leadership. Breakthrough Projects provide a vehicle to executives for engaging others in the organization to achieve what many considered to be impossible and “unreasonable”.

If you want to further learn how to develop leaders that identify potential failures and mistakes before they happen so they can transform your organization, download our whitepaper ‘Breakdowns: Access To Breakthroughs’.


  • What are ‘Breakthrough Projects’ and how do they deliver transformation in an organization?
  • How to identify circumstances or events that thwart exceptional results?
  • What are ‘breakdowns’ and what is a proven methodology to help teams overcome ‘breakdowns’ and achieve at a high level?


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Topics: Leading Breakthroughs