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Tag Archives: Transformation

3 Strategic Thinking Games for Decision Makers

10 Feb

Str Games2

Organizational leadership can draw on 3 Strategic Thinking Games to master Business Strategy and apply in varied scenarios and organizational structures.  The Strategic Thinking Games provide Decision Making models for senior executives to choose from and use as per the situation.

The Strategic Thinking Games are based on mathematics and statistics, particularly Probability Theory, and exhaustive research into the Business Strategy realm.  Probability Theory is actually a branch of mathematics that deals with analysis of random phenomena.  The basic element of Probability Theory is an experiment that can be at least hypothetically repeated under identical conditions, but may lead to different outcomes on different trials.

Each of the Strategic Thinking Games warrants employing a different mindset and decision-making approach to confront the challenges presented by a particular problem.  Executives can apply these Strategic Thinking Models to control their future:

  1. Planning as Positioning
  2. Organization Learning
  3. Constructive Transformation

Let’s discuss these Strategic Thinking Models in detail.

Planning as Positioning

The 1st Strategy game allows the players to make 40 blind draws from a pot holding 25 black and 75 red balls.  It costs $10 per draw—which has to be paid beforehand—and it allows the players the opportunity to win $20 on drawing a red ball but naught on drawing a black ball.  The game imitates a scenario where managers make informed bets about the future based on data and insights into the level of uncertainty encountered.

The Planning as Positioning Model enables the executives to learn about their industry and competition, gauge ambiguities and uncertainties, and select markets that have the potential to generate a positive Return on Investment (ROI).

A classic example of a company operating on the Planning & Positioning Model was the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT).  For 17 years, the company was led by Harold Geneen (from 1960 to 1977).   Harold Geneen was unrestricted by any company mission.  He expanded in multiple industries, acquired around 350 enterprises from varied industries, including auto parts, cosmetics, hospitality, insurance, and technology.  As a formal accountant, Harold considered facts as indisputable, final, and a foundation for making strategic decisions.  He would travel to far-flung regions to meet his business unit managers, who were free to make their own strategic decisions but were responsible for their unit’s performance and objectives’ achievement.

Organization Learning

The 2nd Strategy game allows the players to blind draw from a pot containing an unknown mix of red and black balls.  This time it costs $5 per draw.  Players have to bet on either color before each draw.  They can draw up to 50 times, or stop whenever they want, and win $20 if they draw the right ball.  This game imitates a scenario for training managers to dynamically respond to upcoming events with unpredictable degree of uncertainty.

Through the pot filled with balls experiment, it was revealed that when people are given complicated choices, they behave in manners conflicting with their beliefs.  In his famous Ellsberg Paradox, Ellsberg hypothesized that people make illogical preferences in order to avoid ambiguity.  The Organizational Learning Model underlines that in a world full of uncertainties instead of spending too much time predicting the future, planning and positioning, organizations should devise and implement an evolving strategy, take one step at a time, search for viable patterns, and then adjust the course based on results.

An example of successful implementation of the 2nd Strategic Thinking Model is Corning Inc. that embraced Organizational Learning to develop a healthy product pipeline.  The company developed Pyrex, TV tubes…..

Interested in learning more about the 3 Strategic Thinking Games?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Strategic Thinking Games here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

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– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Neuroscience of Change: 6 Core Principles

30 Nov

neuroscience change 2

Business Transformation initiatives are typically undertaken to solve a pressing issue, bring about improved performance, or to serve customers better.  A critical element of the success of such initiatives entails transforming the existing behaviors of the employees across the organization.  However, this isn’t a straightforward task.

Attitudes and practices get reinforced in people by following established routines day in and day out.  Such practices become a part of an Organizational Culture over time.  These ingrained behaviors and practices aren’t considered burdening until the organization’s performance keeps declining considerably over time.  That’s when the leaders think about changing these beliefs and habitual actions.

Psychology and Neuroscience can help enterprises change the deeply embedded attitudes and practices of people and replace those with new beliefs and practices.  Leading organizations are using psychology and brain research to induce successful Organizational Transformation.

The practices that these organizations employ to engender Transformation are based on the following 6 core Principles of Neuroscience:

  1. The brain is hardwired to hold on to habits, making it difficult to change them.
  2. Connections in the brain—even deeply embedded thoughts—are quite flexible to transform.
  3. Concentrating on new ways of thinking can overhaul individuals thinking habits.
  4. Don’t tell people what is wrong, just focus on drawing their attention to the positives.
  5. Encourage the ability to reject negative cerebral impulses.
  6. The competence to focus attention has to be created bit by bit.

Let’s dive deeper into these first 3 principles of Neuroscience.

Principle 1 – The brain is hardwired to hold on to habits, making it difficult to change them.

Our thinking patterns are stored in circuits by brain parts—including the habit center (basal ganglia), amygdala (emotion center), and hypothalamus (which manages hunger, thirst etc.).  These brain parts, especially the basal ganglia, process info unconsciously and the activity feels rewarding to the individual.  This activity makes stronger neuronal connections with other areas and gets the activity reinforced.

For the desired behaviors and practices to get embedded, the organization need to make stronger connections with the entire workforce’s’ basal ganglia to enable deep rooted neuronal circuits.  The practices ingrained this way are difficult to remove.

Principle 2 – Connections in the brain—even deeply embedded thoughts—are quite flexible to transform.

People with obsessive compulsive disorder keep deliberating on their impulse to wash hands to ensure cleanliness.  This fortifies brain circuits in the basal ganglia, which takes over their behaviors.  However, Neuroscience reveals that even the most well-established notions can be altered.  This can be done by making the individuals aware of what they are thinking and where their focus is in a given moment.

Training and directing people to think about their thoughts can make them conscious of their undesired behaviors, disengages brain areas notable for causing distraction, and adopt new behaviors.

Principle 3 – Concentrating on new ways of thinking can overhaul individuals thinking habits.

The 3rd principle highlights that persistent focus on unfamiliar, desired thoughts and objectives activates the habit center of the brain, which turns these desired thoughts into habits.  The mechanism according to Neuroscience is such that basal ganglia’s caudate nucleus region processes…

Interested in learning more about the other principles of Behavioral Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 6 Core Principles of Neuroscience here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

7 Principles of Culture Change

25 Nov

org culture 1

Employee behaviors are critical for the success of Business Transformation endeavors.  However, transforming the ingrained behaviors and mindsets of the workforce isn’t straightforward, and when tackled cause the enterprise’s emotional state to go down.

Leaders need to identify the components of Culture that are in line with their Corporate Strategy.  They have to ascertain and harness the positive elements of culture that can drive the desired Transformation and suppress those that obstruct it.

For the desired Organizational Culture to sustain, leaders should work on gaining acceptance of the transformed behaviors.  Leaders who do not give culture its due importance risk ruining their strategic endeavors, as they lack the commitment required from the employees to achieve success.

The real question is why senior leaders fail to use the positive elements of Organizational Culture constructively in the first place.  The answer is simple; there are 4 common yet wrong assumptions—or myths—regarding culture change that are deeply established in most businesses that are anything but facts.  Paying heed to—and acting on—these 4 myths results in grave consequences:

  1. Culture is the root cause of all our failures
  2. Changing our Organizational Culture is beyond us, forget about it
  3. Let Human Resources deal with Organizational Culture
  4. Culture is the responsibility of top management

When senior executives devise a strategy to transform the deeply entrenched organizational culture—by putting in place new policies, practices, reward structures, and performance management systems—there is strong resistance that outplays the strategy.

This is primarily due to employees’ reservations and uncertainties regarding the impact of these changes on their work, colleagues, atmosphere, routines, family, and their enterprise’s reputation.  Transforming the Organizational Culture using the individual’s actions and conduct necessitates seeking assistance from 7 guiding principles:

  1. Be Practical
  2. Reinforce New Behaviors
  3. Seek Out Role Models
  4. Identify Cultural Carriers
  5. Leverage Existing Culture
  6. Be a Role Model
  7. Explain Impact of New Behavior

Application of these guiding principles facilitates in transpiring successful culture change.  Let’s dive deeper into a few of these guiding principles.

Be Practical

The first guiding principle to changing the culture involves starting rationally and pragmatically.  It is not feasible to strive to change every behavior at once.  Leaders need to concentrate on the behaviors most critical for the organization.   The ones that reverberate with the existing company culture and have a key role in improving the organizational performance.  This entails ascertaining groups of employees whose behaviors should be transformed immediately.  A clear demonstration of the requisite changes goes a long way in reinforcing the desired behaviors and culture in the organization.

Reinforce New Behaviors

The 2nd principle to changing culture involves emphasizing new behaviors.  The desired behaviors should be reinforced using formal and informal mechanisms.  Formal reinforcement mechanisms include metrics, processes, appraisals, salary reviews, training, and incentives to reward new behaviors.  These formal mechanisms allow people to practice new behaviors repetitively, until they begin to realize their value.  Informal reinforcement mechanisms include support networks and associations to nurture sensitivity and devotion needed to cope with uncertainties.

Seek out Role Models

Organizational Culture Transformation necessitates distinguishing role models to demonstrate the desired behaviors.  Culture change begins when change practitioners act by modeling the new behaviors.  These change practitioners are pride builders for an organization.  The examples set by these practitioners assist in inculcating pride in others about embracing the desired behaviors.  This action is referred to as “positive deviance” or constructive non-conformity.  These pride builders in turn identify and develop more exemplars.

Interested in learning more about the other guiding principles of culture change?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 7 Guiding Principles of Culture Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy: 5 Top Priorities

1 Oct

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one area considered by many executives to enable Automation and steer positive growth.  A couple of years ago, most executives thought that deployment of Artificial Intelligence isn’t a big deal.  However, revamping traditional systems, implementing AI, and scaling it, in reality, is not as simple as it seems.

A survey by PwC Research in 2020, which gathered responses of 1062 business leaders, validates that scaling and industrializing AI is not straightforward at all.  Only 4% of the respondents asserted that they plan on implementing organization-wide AI in 2020.  A year earlier, the same survey revealed 20% of the executives planning to do that.  The survey shows a significant decrease in the number of senior leaders thinking of executing AI.

The reason for this dwindling interest in AI deployment is mainly because of the tough prerequisites necessary—contemplation, resources, preparedness, overhauling legacy systems, and integration of technology applications—for enterprise-wide AI implementation.

A robust AI Implementation Strategy needs to be first devised in order to assist the organizations in moving forward with their AI deployment plans.  Research reveals 5 key priorities of AI Strategy that businesses should follow to position themselves as AI leaders and reap value from Transformation in future.  These priorities not only highlight the key requirements for AI deployment but also pinpoint ways to maximize pay offs associated with the initiative:

  1. Boring AI
  2. AI-ready Workforce
  3. Responsible and Ethical AI
  4. AI Operationalization
  5. Business Model Innovation

Let’s delve deeper into a few of these key priorities.

Boring AI

One of the key reasons to employ AI, as cited by PwC research, is to automate routine administrative functions—e.g., using AI to pull information from tax forms, bills of lading, or invoices that can otherwise take up long hours of human effort.  44% of respondents revealed that AI will help them operate more efficiently.

To ensure AI adds value to the business, leaders should develop a strategy to identify the areas where AI can have a much deeper impact; build capabilities to do that; develop AI solutions, govern them, and embed them with existing systems.

AI-ready Workforce

Building or enhancing the capabilities of the workforce to become AI ready is critical today not only for technology enterprises but also for other businesses.  Organizations should identify the skills required for AI and train their people to deploy AI solutions.

However, thinking of achieving this through traditional means of offering training sessions isn’t a viable strategy to tap the opportunities offered by AI.  In addition to training people, organizations should cross-skill their people in multiple trades and provide them the opportunities to apply and hone in the skills learnt.  In fact, organizations should reward people who apply what they learn into real-time problem-solving and productivity enhancement.

Responsible and Ethical AI

AI can be perilous if adequate understanding of its responsible use and necessary procedures to protect against its risks and negative usage are not taken.  There are growing apprehensions around AI related risks e.g., biased algorithms, facial recognition tools, and deep fakes.  As per PwC survey, a large majority of respondents, using AI routinely, declared readiness in their organizations in terms of taking sufficient measures to protect against AI risks.

However, in reality most organizations are quite far from implementing controls around data and decisions generated using AI.  Just about 33% businesses mentioned having the ability to fully tackle risks associated with data powering AI, AI models, outputs, and reporting. It is imperative to have rigorous Risk Management processes in place to effectively use AI in the workplace and address the risks associated with it.   AI risks can be mitigated by integrating processes, tools, and controls needed to address AI bias, explainability, security, accountability, and ethics.

Interested in learning more about the other key strategic priorities essential for AI deployment readiness?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Artificial Intelligence Strategy: Top Priorities here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

3 Conditions for Sustainable Change

4 Sep

Change4

With most Transformation initiatives people gradually revert back to their old habits of doing things.  Sustainable Change Management necessitates 4 key processes:

  • Chartering—defining the scope, rationale, and team for the change initiative.
  • Learning—testing and refining ideas before a full-blown execution of the initiative.
  • Mobilizing—using symbols and metaphors to engage people and gain their buy-in for the change program.
  • Realigning—redefining the roles and responsibilities and managing performance of the initiative and the people driving it.

These processes are critical to enable an Organizational Culture which encourages execution of lasting change.

In addition to these key processes, for the change to entrench into the organizational fabric, Leadership needs to put in place the environment necessary for the people to embrace and own the new processes, systems, and desired behaviors.

The 4 critical processes aid in creating the enabling conditions necessary for institutionalizing change in the organization.  These enabling conditions for sustainable Change take place in 3 settings:

  1. Structural Context
  2. Procedural Context
  3. Emotional Context

The environment for sustainable change must be put in place way before the actual execution of the Transformation initiative.  These enabling conditions encompass making changes to the organization’s structure, procedures, and sentiments / behaviors.

Let’s dive deeper into the 3 conditions critical to enable sustainable change in the institution.

Structural Context

The first element of the enabling environment requires the change leadership to work on reshaping the organizational structure.  The 4 key processes have a direct bearing on the organization’s structure.  Their effect pervades over:

  • The organization’s hierarchy and reporting lines.
  • Compensations, benefits, and rewards systems.
  • Monitoring and control systems.

The Structural Context significantly affects the way employees’ work and expend their time and their interest in certain types of projects.

The structural context is altered during the Realigning process of Transformation in the way new personnel practices are employed.  The Learning process informs the redefinition of linkage between the leadership and field staff.  The Mobilizing process informs the changes to be made in the roles and responsibilities of the management and front-line people—through storytelling and metaphors.  Whereas, the Chartering process helps instill a reformed, team-building culture in the organization.  Together, these changes in the structural context cascade down across the organization.

Procedural Context

The Procedural context pertains to a feeling of objectivity and authenticity of new processes and systems.  The Procedural environment involves the perception of people that their views are taken seriously and acted upon while designing and implementing a new initiative.

Procedural authenticity is critical in gaining commitment from the employees on initiatives that were not validated by them earlier.   It involves belief of the people that the change initiative integrates well with the philosophies of the organization and the way business should be done.  It makes the people feel heard, ensures trustworthiness of the change leadership through positive track records and effective decision making abilities, and alignment of the change initiative with the core values of the organization.

Interested in learning more about the other enabling conditions mandatory for institutionalizing change?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Conditions for Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Sustainable Digital Transformation

28 Aug

Accelerated pace of technological disruption has forced organizations to change.  It has triggered leaders to think of the ways they must adopt to survive in these challenging times.

Organizations are confronting this scenario by embracing digital technologies.  Traditionally, the focus of the organizations in these Transformation initiatives has remained on speed of change.  To get the most out of their initiatives, they are making drastic changes, to include:

  • Creating Agile Teams
  • Introducing Mobile Apps
  • Building Big Data and Analytics capabilities
  • Experimenting with creative Digital Business Models.

Digital Transformation programs are launched with huge fanfare, see success early on, but fail to keep the momentum going.  The issues that plague the sustainability of these initiatives are typically:

  • Aging Technology Infrastructure
  • Incompatible Operating Models
  • Archaic ways of doing business
  • Change-agnostic culture.

Drivers of change for the Digital Leadership have changed significantly over the years.  There is an increased focus on building scale when executing Digital Transformation.  Leaders have realized that quick Decision Making is not the only element required for successful Transformation.  To achieve its full potential, they need to create differentiated offerings and scale the most viable initiatives across the organization to create value.

Traditional organizations have started following the footsteps of digital disrupters like Amazon and Tesla.  They are implementing new digital services and adjusting their operations.  However, typical hurdles—e.g., old enterprise systems, bureaucratic red tape, delayed decision making, and segregation between IT and business units—make them slip back into the outdated ways of doing things.

Sustainable Digital Transformation involves building not only the technology infrastructure but also revisiting the operating model.  Successful Digital Transformations essentially involve embracing 4 key strategies to enable an ecosystem that encourages change to stick as well as scale:

  1. Create a strong Digital Foundation
  2. Integrate and consolidate the Digital Ecosystem
  3. Front-end to back-end approach
  4. Create a new Business Model

Let’s delve deeper into these strategies.

Create a Strong Digital Foundation

Manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries are the major sectors that employ this strategy.  The typical state of affairs in organizations implementing this strategy is such that they are in need of developing new digital capabilities from scratch to tackle nimble rivals who are churning out novel value propositions using digital tech.  These companies are burdened by dated tech infrastructure, sluggish decision making, and dated business models.  The risk of disruption to these businesses is growing but it hasn’t challenged them to transform drastically.

To them, building a digital foundation warrants acquiring novel foundational capabilities.  Their approach should be to start implementing and managing small changes one step at a time.  For instance, building a smart technology architecture with advanced Big Data, Analytics, and predictive modeling capabilities.  This should be followed by testing prototypes of the new model to prove their worth before implementing a full-blown execution.

Integrate and Consolidate the Digital Ecosystem

This strategy has gained traction most in organizations from the Consumer Products industry.  These organizations are typically marred by scores of fragmented IT systems running in different parts of the organization.  There is a general inability to prioritize the most viable projects and scale them.  The need to reform and rapid deployment of Digital Infrastructure is critical for survival.

The approach to Digital Transformation in these organization should be to establish a central management position to manage the initiative and streamline dispersed technology landscape.  This entails revising the technology infrastructure and operating model, deploying a unified IT platform for gathering and storing customer data, establishing a common data repository accessible to all units to recognize customers’ needs, and creating a culture that encourages innovation, acts on creative ideas, and refines them through experimentation and advanced tools.

Interested in learning more about the other strategies to enable Digital Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Sustainable Digital Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

4 Processes of Sustainable Change

25 Aug

Initiatives aimed at improving performance are often launched with great uproar, costing an organization significant investments.  Such initiatives necessitate extensive changes in the Organizational Culture and the way the enterprise systems and processes function.

However, most initiatives fall short of realizing success.  Decades of scholarly research on Change Management reveals that the issues that contribute the most to the failure of strategic initiatives are:

  • Incompetence in sustaining process improvement.
  • Lack of trust on senior leadership.
  • Failure to embrace new ways of doing business.
  • Performance relapse.
  • Inability of the initiative to produce any positive financial returns.
  • Skepticism towards the desired behaviors and return of impractical employee behaviors.

Researchers have carried out scores of studies to isolate the drivers of lasting change.  Research published in MIT SMR in 2005 discusses how leadership can design and execute Transformation initiatives that bring lasting changes in the organization.The study entailed in-depth analysis of the strategic Customer Service Enhancement (CSE) initiative undertaken by a large clothing retailer, having franchises in multiple geographic locations.

The researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders, in-store operations and support function managers.  Detailed notes of the interviews were shared amongst the researchers alongside an exhaustive literature review.  A case study of the initiative was prepared using independent research to have an unprejudiced viewpoint, free from any bias.  Feedback from the organization’s management was gathered and incorporated throughout the study to seek clarifications or corrections.  Data analysis was carried out employing a coding scheme developed using Atlas.ti tool.  Comparative analysis was conducted and similarities and differences in conclusions were discussed.

The study brought to light 4 key processes necessary for change to stick in an organization.   These key processes assist in laying the foundation for successful institutionalization of change initiatives by creating a company-wide culture that encourages enduring change:

  1. Chartering
  2. Learning
  3. Mobilizing
  4. Realigning

Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 processes.

Chartering

Chartering is a process through which an enterprise classifies the purpose, scope, and the way people interact with each other on a strategic initiative.  Clear delineation of project boundaries, resources, responsibilities, and reporting lines are the elements integral for the success of a change initiative.

The Chartering process entails 2 critical components:

  • Boundary Setting
  • Team Design

Boundary Setting involves the key steps a team takes for accurate definition of change initiative’s scope.

The project team should clearly outline the problem(s) that the project is, and isn’t, going to tackle.  Ideally, while designing and executing a change initiative, the focus of the engagement should be on confronting the most crucial problem area.  The leadership should ensure not to confuse the core team by eyeing too many priorities to deal with through the strategic initiative.

The Team Design element of Chartering involves ascertaining the roles, accountabilities, and guiding principles for team’s collaboration.  Team design entails creating ground rules for team members to interact, devising mechanisms to manage conflicts.  The leadership needs to not only maintain diversity of the project team’s expertise, but also ensure they complement each other, and inculcate a standardized approach to decision making in project teams.  There needs to be fostered a culture of positive discourse and testing ideas amongst the team members.  Incorporating these guidelines helps spark thinking, learning, and decision making.

Learning

Learning aids in anticipating and dealing with hurdles during implementation of Transformation initiatives.  Learning enables the managers to improve the quality of the new processes.  it is a process through which managers develop, test, and refine ideas before full-scale implementation.  The process entails 2 critical components:

  • Discovery
  • Experimentation

For more information on Learning and Development and how to elevate your organization into a Learning Organization, check out the frameworks and tools on Flevy here: https://flevy.com/business-toolkit/learning-organization

The discovery element involves gathering data to identify the objectives of the change initiative and outlining ways to achieve those objectives.  Before rolling out a complete implementation of a change initiative, testing and refining the individual elements of the initiative immensely assists in the success of the initiative.  Gathering adequate information relevant to the initiative, setting up baseline metrics to measure performance, and identifying issues hampering customer satisfactions are the key aspects of this phase.  The team should learn from the failures of prior initiatives, introduce change in a systemic fashion rather than piecemeal, and encourage people to change rationally as well as emotionally.

Interested in learning more about the other processes critical for change to stick?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 4 Processes of Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

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“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Customer Experience (CX) Pyramid

28 Apr

Most organizations aren’t ready to deliver great Customer Experiences across all channels.  Many of them have invested heavily in conventional methods of doing business, backed by in person or over-the-phone customer experience.  This has led to creation of siloed operational structures within companies, where each silo operates individually.

With the advent of digital channels, these organizations set out to use and proffer their services via digital channels.  They did this by creating discrete digital-product groups in their existing operational infrastructure.  However, their siloed infrastructure falls short of meeting customers’ requirements in terms of seamless communication and interaction across all channels.  The reason being:

  • Customers’ utilization of multiple channels and touchpoints across Customer Journeys.
  • Requirements of personalized services / products by the customers.
  • Anticipation of impeccable coordination and communication by the customers no matter how they interact with the business.

This necessitates the businesses to not only provide great Customer Experiences at each channel, but also make the transitions across these channels simple to improve the overall Customer Experience (CX). However, improving the overall Customer Experience isn’t that simple a feat, especially with silo-based operational infrastructures.  Providing consistent amazing Customer Experience warrants:

  • Creation of a robust operational ecosystem through Transformation of internal operations, to respond quickly to customers’ expectations.
  • Meticulous design and delivery of Customer Experiences.

Most organizations understand the significance of Transforming their Customer Experience—however, they lack the direction and support required to realize this goal. Organizational leadership can make use of the Customer Experience Pyramid to guide their CX Transformation.

The Customer Experience Pyramid is an empirical research based framework, which is quite effective in not only improving individual touchpoints but streamlining the entire Customer Journeys.  The CX Pyramid entails 2 core dimensions:

  • Focus Areas – the organizational spheres that must change to enable provision of amazing digital Customer Experiences.
  • Strategic Building Blocks – the strategies that define how this change can take place and made part of the organizational processes to deliver exceptional Customer Experiences.

The 4 Focus Areas crucial in a business to change in order to deliver top-quality Digital Customer Experiences at scale are:

  1. Vision and Strategy
  2. Talent Management
  3. Operations
  4. Technology

Let’s discuss the first 2 individual Focus Areas of the CX Pyramid in detail for now.

Vision and Strategy

Redirecting focus on making Customer Experience a part of the Organizational DNA necessitates creating a Vision statement and Strategy to depict, clarify, and plan out the purpose and objectives of serving the customers.  The senior leadership needs to come up with a short and crisp Vision statement.  The Vision sets out the foundation that reflects the leadership’s focus, importance the organization gives to Customer Experience, and the high-level objectives associated with the provision of quality Customer Experiences.

Next, the leadership should work on developing strategies to build fundamental competencies within the 4 CX Building Blocks—i.e., CX operations, metrics, CX-centric culture, systems and governance protocols.

Talent Management

Once the Vision statement has been agreed upon, it’s time to work towards carrying out the required actions to produce customer-centric outcomes.  The first step in that direction involves linking all employees who work in discrete silos (in conventional structures).  To align all employees, there is a need to create a Transformation team and define new roles / CX groups.  The Transformation team should train and direct teams responsible for the different stages of the Customer Journey, instill new ideas, and foster desired behaviors in them.

Senior Leadership need to also assign a CX Team to run the CX program.  The CX Team has to lay out processes and yardsticks to foster cross-functional collaboration and coach functional units to adopt customer-centric design practices in their operations.

Interested in learning more about the other focus areas of the CX Pyramid Framework?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Customer Experience Pyramid here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

4 Key Characteristics of a Successful M&A Deal

7 Apr

M&A Turnaround Strategy 1

The impact of the global pandemic, volatile stock markets, and slowed economic outlook across the globe has hurt the performance of enterprises across the world.  The scenario has forced leaders to consider undertaking Transformation of their strategy and operations significantly.

The strategy to buy out troubled businesses and determining to fix the issues that upset the target companies has been a focus of Buyers’ senior leadership for the past 2 decades.  In the year 2017 alone, 36,000 M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) transactions were announced globally.  Acquisition of troubled businesses hoping to have a Turnaround account for around 50% of all M&A deals.

A Turnaround can be defined as the financial recovery of an economy or an organization after a period of inertia or Downturn.  Several issues trigger a Downturn—issues pertaining to technological disruption, regulations, processes, organization’s financial health, management, business model, hierarchy, or competition.

The ratio of success for M&As is, however, not very healthy.  Historical data of 61% of M&A deals based on a BCG’s study, carried out on 1400 M&A deals globally between 2005 and 2018, shows a high failure rate (61%), where they remained unsuccessful to show any improvement in financial performance.

The ones that do succeed offer significant revenue growth and profit margins—around 25% positive variance in TSR than unsuccessful M&As.  However, buying and fixing a business under the weather isn’t an easy job.  This necessitates a meticulous strategy.

In order to materialize a Turnaround, the leadership needs to thoroughly understand the root cause(s) of the Downturn, have a willingness and plan to reform or transform, and rigorously implement the strategy to rectify the situation (Transformation Execution).

Empirical Research demonstrates that the triumph of M&A Turnaround deals is attributable to 6 Critical Success Factors:

  • Investment in R&D
  • Long-term Horizon
  • Clear Purpose
  • Investment in Transformation
  • Synergy Targets
  • Quickness to Action

Deployment of a combination of these CSFs bring about more pronounced outcomes—in terms of positive 3-year TSR and overall Organizational Performance.

A robust M&A Turnaround Strategy—based on lessons learnt from empirical research—revolves around 4 key M&A Deal Characteristics.  These M&A deal characteristics have a profound impact on the outcome of the transaction:

  1. Level of Performance
  2. Sector Alignment
  3. ESG Factors
  4. Deal Size

Knowledge of these key Deal Characteristics allow the senior leadership to ascertain the factors liable to affect the deal outcomes.  Now, let’s discuss the first 2 deal characteristics in a bit detail.

Level of Performance

The performance of the Target company during 2 years pre-deal is a key point to consider for a M&A, as it is directly proportional to the deal success rate and Total Shareholder Return.  BCG’s research demonstrates that M&A transactions where the target entity had a 2-year TSR decline of lower than 10% were liable to be more successful than deals where target companies were in more distress (a decline of ~30% or more).

Sector Alignment

Senior leaders should not ignore the significance of uniformity of sectors of the target and acquiring company.  Based on research, the rate of success for an acquisition transaction involving the buyer and the target operating in the same industry is 5% superior to the rate for transactions involving the companies from different sectors.  The reason for this higher success rate is attributed predominantly to similar business models, customers, vendors, and processes in firms of the same sector, which make the Post-merger Integration of the buyer and target a lot easier.

Interested in learning more about the other characteristics influencing the outcome of an M&A deal?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on M&A Turnaround Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

– Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)

Successful Business Transformation—5 Critical Success Factors

29 Mar

Stock Image 2 - Business Transfromation CSFs

Business Transformations have become a necessity in the fast-changing technological and competitive business environment.  Transformation is characterized by significant and risk-laden Restructuring of a company, with the objective of accomplishing Operational Excellence and changing its future course.

Business Transformation is a priority for many top executives but it is usually a reaction to challenging circumstances rather than being a preemptive measure.

Business Transformation is prompted by a combination of 2 situations:

  • Need to address inherent problems causing organizational drag—these problems may be internal and/or external.
  • Aspiration by the top management and other senior stakeholders to seize the occasion of addressing these problems, in ways that deeply alter the Business Model of the organization including Value Creation.

Business Transformation entails not just making incremental changes but fundamentally changing all or some of the following:

  • Organizational Structure
  • Core Product or Service Portfolio
  • Systems
  • Processes
  • People—the way employees work
  • Technology

Undertaking such arduous effort requires approaching the task in a structured way.  Research shows that quite a few of such undertakings are based on anecdotal beliefs instead of being based on empirical data.

Countering this trend, the Boston Consulting Group conducted an empirical study of financial and non-financial data-set comprising 300 U.S. public companies.  The data spanned a period of 12 years from 2004 to 2016.  Selection was based on the following criteria:

  • Companies that had a $10 billion or more market capitalization between 2004 and 2016.
  • Of these, companies with an annualized deterioration in Total Share-holder Return (TSR) of 10% or more relative to their industry average (2 years running or more) were identified.

Based on extensive analysis—that included use of methodologies like trained proprietary algorithms, prediction models, and Multivariate Regression Analysis—a pattern pertaining to Business Transformation emerged.  The pattern depicted the following themes:

  1. Frequency of Failure
  2. Impact of Digital Disruption
  3. Impact of Downturn
  4. Competitive Volatility

The study also suggested the following 5 evidence-based Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for achieving Transformation Success.

  1. Cost Management (drives short-term success)
  2. Revenue Growth (drives long-term success)
  3. Long-term Strategy and R&D Investment
  4. New, External Leadership
  5. Holistic Transformation Programs

Let us examine in a bit more detail some of the CSFs.

Cost Management

In order to launch the Transformation effort on the correct footing, Cost Management is key, in the short term especially.  Predictably, empirical analysis suggests that the leading driver for organizations recovering from severe TSR deterioration is a determined Cost-cutting effort during the 1st year of Turnaround.  By year 3, Cost Reduction is accountable for the major share of TSR growth as companies divert their portfolios and make available funding for growth investments.

Revenue Growth

Merely short-term operational improvements do not augur well for a sustainable Transformation.  There has to be a long-term Growth Strategy put in place.  For this to happen, leaders have to challenge the foundations of the company’s Business Model.

Research divulges that Revenue Growth progressively becomes the driver for TSR recovery after year 1 in all the successful Transformation efforts.  Revenue Growth overshadows, by far, all the initial drivers for TSR recovery by year 5 of all successful Turnaround efforts.

Long-term Strategy and R&D Investment

Turbulent competitive environments, particularly, require long-term Strategic Planning and investment in Research and Development for fruitful Business Transformations.  Empirical research and analysis demonstrates:

  • A 4.8% difference between Transforming companies showing above-average long-term strategic direction compared to companies with a below-average orientation.
  • More pronounced findings in transforming companies operating in turbulent competitive environments—long-term orientation linked with a TSR increase of 7%.
  • Companies with above-average R&D investments had upwards of 5.1% TSR impact in contrast to those with below-average spending.

These CSFs strengthen the odds of success in Business Transformation individually.  When used together, most of them produce an impact that is larger than the totality of their individual parts.

Interested in learning more about the 5 Critical Success Factors for Successful Business Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 5 Critical Success Factors for Successful Business Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Business Transformation?

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“If you don’t transform your company, you’re stuck.” – Ursula Burns, Chairperson and CEO of VEON; former Chairperson and CEO of Xerox

Business Transformation is the process of fundamentally changing the systems, processes, people, and technology across an entire organization, business unit, or corporate function with the intention of achieving significant improvements in Revenue Growth, Cost Reduction, and/or Customer Satisfaction.

Transformation is pervasive across industries, particularly during times of disruption, as we are witnessing now as a result of COVID-19. However, despite how common these large scale efforts are, research shows that about 75% of these initiatives fail.

Leverage our frameworks to increase your chances of a successful Transformation by following best practices and avoiding failure-causing “Transformation Traps.”

Learn about our Business Transformation Best Practice Frameworks here.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

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