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The Quest Effect™

The Power to Lead Successful Transformations
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Traditional Approaches

Traditional Change Approaches Fall Short For Transformation

Transformations are different from other forms of change. Instead of executing a defined change, they aim to discover or invent something new or revised. Typically, several transformation initiatives come together to create a breakthrough. Transformation is not amenable to traditional planning because it is fundamentally unpredictable and experimental. Transformations can be high risk, but the real peril is not attempting them when they are needed.

We know from complexity science that transformation is a highly disordered process, marked by complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. We cannot know how transformations will play out in advance.

Often leaders — fearing disruption, disorganization and chaos — try to impose order on transformation by applying traditional change-management approaches.  However, these approaches are based on a planning-and-execution mindset.  They may create the illusion of order, but that order can only really exist in a business-as-usual world, where things are known (or knowable) and agreed upon.  It does not exist in the space where transformation takes place.

Order is not the reality for the complex and uncertain world of transformation.  As a result, using traditional approaches for transformational change will result in missed expectations, failure and sometimes catastrophe.


Failed Transformations

Don’t Risk A Failed Transformation

Without the right tools and methods, we risk failed transformations. Failed transformations undermine opportunities for renewal and new vitality. The failure rate for transformational change is not due to any intrinsic quality of transformation but is instead to the way we approach transformation.

Transformational change fails when we approach it as a process that is knowable in advance if we only hire the right experts. While the traditional planning-and-execution approaches may be useful for many complicated change problems, they will fail when applied to complex change problems like transformation.

We cannot spell out transformation actions in advance because they are unpredictable and brimful of unexpected events. Since traditional methods do not work, we need a different system of change — purpose-built for transformational change.

Importance of the Right Approach

You Can Successfully Navigate Transformation

Transformation doesn’t have to be intimidating. As a capable leader, you have what it takes to make it work. But you need the right system to help you build a lasting legacy of transformation and renewal.

In essence, a Quest is a time-sensitive journey of discovery across an unexplored territory to discover and return with the prize of renewal. Quests either achieve their purpose, achieve something much more significant, or allow us to learn and build capability. Failure lies in not attempting the Quest.

The Quest Navigator guides you on that journey. Our purpose is to provide you with the system and the guidance to realize your breakthrough transformation. That’s why we developed the Quest Navigator.

The Gift of Renewal

Transformation Matters

Transformations are great moments of leadership. Organizations and communities thrive when transformations succeed. When leaders tackle transformations systematically, with confidence and boldness, change happens. With the right system, you can guide change and help deliver the gift of renewal.

We want to help you become a transformation rock star. We’ll equip you with the right system and the guidance to help you navigate the journey.

We’ve Been There

Transformation can be a Daunting Journey

We, too, have experienced the anxiety, disruption, disorganization, and chaos first hand. We have felt powerless to implement the change that was so badly needed.

We knew there had to be a better way.

That’s why we developed the Quest Navigator.

The Quest Effect

Transformation is a Quest; We Wrote the Book

The Quest Effect, by Randall Benson, is a guide for navigating complex change and transformation.

It guides leaders through transformation and complex, emergent change. Based on over 20 years of research and learning from successful transformations, the author explains how to improve your opportunity for success. He lays out a robust system for navigating transformational change that follows the Quest framework — a fundamental and essential pattern that drives virtually all transformations. Benson shows how all quests follow the same inherent theme. On Quests, pathfinders are called to a journey of exploration and discovery, searching for the breakthroughs that will ultimately renew their organization or community.

The Quest takes pathfinders away from the business-as-usual world into an unknown (but not unknowable) territory, characterized by complexity, uncertainty, and volatility. This territory is rife with opportunities for discoveries and remarkable breakthroughs. Pathfinders follow a Path of Trials where a spiraling path of evermore demanding experiments drive their transformation and build their capabilities. Ultimately, pathfinders achieve the prize of transformation and spread the change in their community or organization, creating renewal and new vitality.

The Quest Effect is the object of the Quest: transformation, breakthrough, and renewal. This book explains how to create the Quest Effect your organization or community.

The Quest Approach

Real Quests with Breakthrough Results

Emergency Department

Transformed dangerously overcrowded into fastest Emergency Department in US, most benchmarked ED,  and first with a 30-minute guarantee.

Insurance Company

Rebuilt insurance product with lackluster sales into achieving the regulatory maximum sales.

International Airport

Took international airport, not remodeled in 27 years and previously unranked in top 100, to ranked fifth worldwide in by industry customer-service survey.

Cruise Line

Remade a cruise-line call center from losing money on unfilled cruises into booking every cabin and maximizing profits.

Surgical Center

Transformed a surgical center that suffered from daily missed schedules, cancellations, and constant overtime into handling 30% more surgical cases with no slippage and no additional staff.

Truck Parts Manufacturer

Doubled its factory output within two weeks without increasing staff or equipment.

The Quest Navigator

A Powerful System for Transformation

The Quest Navigator

Use the Quest Navigator to guide your organization or community through the transformation journey. It consists of four high-level phases: Launch, Discovery, Application, and Renewal. At its heart, the Quest is the journey of exploration, discovery, and application.

During the Quest, pathfinders conduct fail-safe experiments to discover new knowledge, grow their capabilities, and apply innovations. As the Quest unfolds, they will create a spiral of increasingly sophisticated experiments until they emerge at a new level. The Quest Navigator works for a single initiative or a portfolio of initiatives.


The Quest Navigator is a system of transformation. It is an organized framework, built on the discoveries of the Quest Effect, and comprised of:

  • Quest Principles
  • Expert Council
  • Roles
  • Phases
  • Narrative Descriptions & Stories
  • Common Milestones
  • Events & Meetings
  • Steps on the Quest
  • Organizational Considerations
  • Criteria for Progressing
  • Useful Tools
  • Forms and Templates
  • Tips, Warning, Reminders & References

Our Commitment

As Quest Guides, Our Resolve is to Support Your Success

As we have guided others through their transformative quests, we are ready to support your transformation. We will help you use a reliable approach and tools purpose-built for complex change. We support you at every step of the process, sharing our knowledge and expertise. We will keep you on track until you achieve your Quest Effect.


Your Success Story

Imagine that your transformation is a success. It achieved your aims, or it could be that it accomplished something that far exceeds your expectations. As a result, your community or organization is experiencing a renewal and is bursting with new vitality. During the transformation, you tapped the passion, imagination, creativity, and innovation of the participants. Many contributed for the first time. Now they are sharing their excitement about the changes.

The participants achieved several breakthroughs and have set new standards that will guide others. The organization or community is performing at an entirely new level and, by transcending the limits of old systems, new normals emerged.

The participants chose adventure over security, exploration over exploitation, and created a journey instead of a project plan. They tell a new story, spread positive changes, and set their community or organization up for a future of prosperity.


The Quest Effect

Don’t Risk Failure

The data is compelling. The vast majority of complex change initiatives, including transformation, fail. Greater than 70% (and 83% of IT transformations) fall short of their objectives. Complex change is challenging enough, but using the wrong tools and methods makes failure a likely prospect. Even leaders who have had success leading other change initiatives can stumble on transformation. Transformation is crucially different from other types of change. It requires dedicated tools and approaches. Assumptions that work for routine change do not hold for transformation. We invested thousands of hours studying the Quest Effect and creating the Quest Navigator because we were unwilling to endure the consequences of failure.

The Quest Effect

Becoming a Transformational Leader

The good news is that you don’t have to be a transformational leader to undertake the Quest. In actuality, the Quest will turn you into one. The Quest transforms leaders as well as the communities or organizations. Here are some of the ways that leaders transform:

From To
Untested Proven
Planner Explorer
Visionary Shaper of events
Specifying means Fostering emergence
Shuning novelty In quest of novelty
Adherence to what is known
Embracing the unknowable
Wanting the right answers in advance Providing for emergent answers
Planning change in advance Encouraging experimentation
Trusting expert-driven solutions Trusting frontline solutions
Shaping performance Nurturing emergent leadership
Adhering to the proven path Opting for the unfolding path
Seeking improvement Pursuing a breakthrough
Draining spirit Generating spirit



What We Can Do For You

If you’re considering tackling a transformation or other complex change initiative, then a conversation could be in order. We can provide the methods, tools, and expert support to help you navigate your Quest. We’ve invested thousands of hours researching the Quest Effect and supporting leaders to create it in their organizations or communities.

We can advise you at each step of your journey, sharing Quest principles, asking the right questions, guiding you through the stages, providing powerful tools, and showing you how to create breakthroughs.

The Quest Framework

Understand and apply the archetypal Quest framework to your approach.

The Quest Navigator

Follow the four phases of the Quest and mark the milestones of your change journey. 

Quest Power Tools

Draw from the Quest tool set to manage every aspect of your Transformation. 

Expert Guidance & Support

Draw on our decades of experience guiding leaders on their Quest.

From Our Founder

Be The Hero of Your Journey

When you approach transformation or other complex change as a journey, not a steps program, then you’re already on your way to success. All complex change journeys that we’ve studied have followed the pattern of a Quest. By actively employing the Quest as your approach, you will dramatically reduce the risk of failure while substantially increasing your probability of a breakthrough.

The Quest will engage pathfinders in their innate propensity to quest and tap their passion, creativity, and innovation. Many will experience a sense of higher purpose.

Your Quest will attract needed resources, support, and helpers. The means to success will be obscure at the outset, but everything necessary will appear at the right time. Pathfinders’ capabilities will grow immensely. Ultimately, transformational change will emerge. That is the Quest Effect.  I invite you to start your journey. 

-Randall Benson

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