Transformation Talks with Jason Borstal, Group Head of IT, J&J Denholm Ltd

Hamilton Forth recently held the latest in our virtual Transformation Talks series featuring Jason Borstal, Group Head of IT at J&J Denholm Ltd.  Jason has 30 years’ experience working in the IT industry, including a number of senior IT leadership roles in large multinational companies.  Jason has been involved in various technology led transformation management programmes.

Jason shared valuable insights into his experiences of leading transformational change programmes based around analysis and communication, planning, and execution.  He described the change process as a journey with several steps that allows a business to undergo a metamorphosis.  Here we share some insights from the event.


Analyse and Communicate

Jason focussed on the importance of ensuring engagement across the organisation, and understanding the landscape you are working in.  He advised targeting communications to specific people and to always be transparent and avoid jargon.

Jason outlined the importance of influencing the workforce from both the top down and the bottom up, focusing on the ‘art of the possible’ to allay any concerns, and empowering your business colleagues to participate in the transformation process.


Planning is crucial to the transformation process, and Jason highlighted the importance of doing the basics with excellence and setting up your organisation for true, trusted business partnering.

The impact of change is significant, and shouldn’t be underestimated when planning the process.  Identifying and recruiting early adopters and change ambassadors from across your organisation should be a key part of your plan and will be essential to a successful process.

By focusing on value creation, leveraging existing investments and ‘emulating before you innovate’ your transformation plan is likely to succeed.


Once you have your plan in place, it is all down to the execution.  Jason discussed the importance of being aware of the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, which describes the internal emotional journey that individuals typically experience when dealing with change and transition.

Due to the potential emotional reactions from colleagues, Jason explained the importance of leading by example and always doing what you say you’re going to do.  Avoid subjective views and instead use data to measure success or failure.  Listen and show empathy to your colleagues, but don’t be afraid to challenge the norms.

Jason explained that if your project aligns with the business and IT holistic plans, you are more likely to have business buy-in and therefore more likely to have a successful transformation project.

The Journey

A successful transformation process will be a journey of metamorphosis.  In order to achieve this, Jason reemphasised the importance of being clear about what you are trying to achieve and more importantly why, and the importance of building your transformation plan by starting with the end state and reverse engineering.

Jason explained that the transformation process should focus efforts on business value, and not technologies.  Recruiting early adopters, influencers, and ambassadors, and displaying credibility by meeting your commitments are all essential parts of the journey.

In summation, Jason explained that the transformation process is the sum of its parts, and that whilst your progress should be measured using reliable metrics, in reality, the transformation process is one that never ends!


For more information on this or any of our forthcoming Transformation Talks events, contact [email protected]

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