Exploring the Machinery for Calibrating Optimism and Realism in Transformation Programs: A Practical Toolkit

  • Leasil BurrowEmail author


Optimism is essential when initiating transformation programs. Without it, they lack vision and momentum. Yet when left unchecked, optimism bias leads to divergence of ambition and reality. Transformation programs are doomed to disappoint the stakeholders and operators. Calibrating optimism and realism is critical. Stakeholders must first understand and recognize optimism bias in themselves and the system they are seeing to change. Failure to do so is failure to learn and evolve, leading to stagnation and transformation failure. As all transformation has a fundamental element of culture/behavior change, developing a people and leadership strategy that underpins the transformation is essential. The author will offer a practical toolkit for developing the strategy and ensuring successful implementation. This chapter will examine the causes and impact of optimism bias in megaprojects context and establish the application of the theory in the transformation program context. It will then set out a toolkit for strategic change that draws upon behavioral insights to de-risk the operational phase. Thus enabling senior stakeholders and operators to ensure the transformation drifts toward a mutually satisfactory conclusion.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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