After working in the trenches of business transformation programs for years, there is one thing that I am struck by. Whether they involve a 400-person or a 40,000-person company, if you need to grow and scale your business, cut costs, deploy enterprise data management, launch new AI tools, globalize your workforce, or adopt a new technology strategy, the essential elements that bring success—or failure—are the same.

To echo a well-worn phrase, change is hard. Companies undertaking any form of transformation seem to run into the same roadblocks over and over again. In order to help you drive that next big transformation in your organization, we’ve compiled a list of the most common lessons learned to keep in mind.

Bring people along for the ride

The more people you involve in the process, the better. Gaining team member acceptance and understanding of what you are trying to achieve from the outset makes all the difference in your program’s success. I have seen some cases where a company sets up a small “tiger team” that goes off and designs a substantial business change. Leadership and the tiger team then announce it to the broader organization and wonder why it isn’t well-received. Communicating and getting feedback from those affected by the changes you are contemplating not only makes team members feel invested, but can also reveal valuable issues and insights that tiger teams may not have considered.

Get senior executive buy-in and support

Enlisting the support of senior executives before, during, and after the transformation effort is critical. You can’t deliver a major transformation from the bottom up. You need executives to back the effort consistently, not just when it is launched. Even after a transformation is put in place, their continued attention over the coming months is crucial as any challenges arise with the new processes. If senior management moves on to the next “shiny thing” and won’t give the program the time of day three months down the line when adjustments are needed, things will likely fall apart, and team members will revert to their old practices. Bottom line: don’t move forward with a transformation if senior management is wishy-washy on supporting it.

Set goals and measure against them

Setting clear and specific goals for your transformation program and consistently measuring your progress against those goals is imperative. For example, if you are moving data to a cloud ecosystem from your traditional data centers, spell out how many servers or applications you need to decommission over that period of time and the steps needed. Track those steps. Team members can’t stay focused on what they need to achieve if they don’t know where they are in the process. Measurable goals provide the light at the end of the program tunnel.

Leverage strategic vendors

Don’t hesitate to seek the help of trusted vendors to gain expertise that team members may not have for your transformation project. While you may have employees that have considerable experience with the technology or processes you are deploying, chances are with large projects there are some aspects they have not worked on before. That’s where tapping into the experience of outside vendors can be extremely helpful in navigating challenges that could derail your project.

Be mindful of employees’ needs

Transformations can be unsettling to team members, especially if you are careless about the way you communicate about the journey the team is on. Be aware that rumors are inevitable when change is afoot which may make employees fear for their jobs or stress unnecessarily over the future. Try to convey as much stability as you can. Practicing common compassion will help smooth your change process as well as avoid dips in productivity if teams start to spiral due to the uncertainty.

Ensure proper goal alignment

Make sure program goals are aligned across all teams involved or impacted by the transition. You don’t want your progress impeded by groups whose goals conflict with those of the program at hand. If, for example, the project calls for globalizing your workforce, make sure that parts of your organization don’t have conflicting commitments or incentives to build a base of employees in alternate locations. Program goals need to be inserted in the goal and bonus structure for the whole management team and all related groups involved.

Plan for operational expertise

Oftentimes staffing for a transformation program tends to be focused on the planning and delivery of the transformation without providing enough expertise or capacity for the actual execution and operationalization of the changes once the program goes live. Make sure consultants provide an executable plan before they roll off the project and retain program experts to stay on for the actual execution. Balance the team member resource mix to have a combination of consultants and employees involved in the design and build phase, while also retaining consulting resources for three to six months through the stabilization phase to ensure the transformation is successful. It doesn’t help to have a shiny new transformation plan if you don’t have the capacity to get it from point A to point B.

Observe the laws of geography and time zones

As you set up the team for your transformation program, don’t overlook how time zones across all geographies involved will impact your plans. It’s a basic concept, but if there’s not sufficient time zone overlap, the team can’t be effective. We’ve seen too many times where teams in Asia are working with groups spanning coast to coast in the US, which requires many team members to work very long days. When you stretch team members working hours to be on calls from very early in the morning through the evening on a regular basis, you burn them out before the program goes live, which leads to attrition. Losing key resources two thirds of the way through a transformation program can create program risk, delays, and reduce the quality of the desired outcomes.

While change will inevitably always be hard in the throes of whatever transformation program you pursue, following some of these basic best practices will hopefully give you the edge you need to be successful.