Transformation is hard: by the time you realize one is required, the idea of making necessary changes can be overwhelming. A lot goes into transforming a company. While the primary focus during a transitional period could be on navigating through interlocking sets of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes, and assumptions, I believe we were so successful at Raritan because we highlighted company culture and values during our seminal planning stages. Remembering these tenets and using them as a touchstone during this dynamic period provided us with a strong and tangible means to pursue a new strategic direction. 
First, we defined our vision: our technologies had to be focused on both solving customers’ business problems and inspiring the intelligent use of resources. As such, all of our efforts to innovate and improve relied on this foundational goal. We grew to intimately understand our customers’ environments and used this knowledge to provide thoughtful input; we became their trusted advisors, a significant part of our go-to-market approach. Moreover, we designed product architecture and integrated processes in pre-sales, development, and manufacturing, enabling a unique and highly differentiated Engineering-to-Order (ETO) engine and allowing us to provide a superior customer experience. 
Every employee in the company was also engaged in the transformation, questioning whether the status quo aligned with our new mission. Each person was then given the freedom to experiment with our new processes.
One nice (and intended) result of having a focused, customer-driven mission: happy customers = increasing shareholder value. 
Here are a few of the more uniform key items that we practiced daily, which I believe are critical for running a dynamic business:
  • Respect, trust, and be candid to one another
  • Customers’ and market needs drive our choice of product offer and delivery
  • For quick and clearly decision making, develop a few guiding principles centered around delighting customers, increasing shareholder values, and growing person and company capabilities
  • Keep strategic objectives and metrics visible, communicate, and update the team as often as you can to maximize participation in decision making
  • Define the right set of inter-process level metrics, measure them frequently, and be agile to change priorities and processes based on learning as long as the overall purpose does not change
  • Speed to actions: if you are going to make mistakes (which we made many times), fail quickly, learn, take corrective actions, and move on
  • Challenge status quo: ask what are we accomplishing by doing it this way
  • Experiment doing things differently by taking baby steps, always with the goal to serve customers better
Transformations can be quite difficult. Companies are idiosyncratic: every situation is different and must be approached from a new perspective. However, one guiding principle always holds: values must align with the strategic direction.