IDC Monthly Best Practice: December 2011
Adding to the bottom line by transforming your organisation to be more outward facing
As I noted in the November best practice, IDC has always specialised in helping organisations, both in the private and public sectors, transform to deliver business change strategies fast and sustainably. This month I describe how to go about making your organisation more outward facing to add value to the bottom line quickly. We helped a financial sector organisation achieve this by firstly holding a ½ day workshop where they identified the outward facing behaviours its directors needed to be exemplars in. They did this by working in small groups to: examine a statement of their strategy and deciding what behaviours their organisation needed to practise to be aligned with it; exchanging stories of occasions when things worked best at the customer interface and working out what were the behaviours that were common to these peak performance situations. This workshop generated a leadership behaviours’ template which they publicised widely across their organisation. The template included, amongst several other behaviours: ‘actively seek opportunities for engaging with customers’; ‘earn trust by honouring commitments’; ‘act to resolve issues and difficulties quickly’; ‘continually strive to improve service delivery quality’. In publicising the template, they reminded people of the new outward facing business strategy and the relevance of the behaviours in their template to driving it. They also made their commitment to the behaviours clear by stating that they would be seeking feedback on the extent to which they were setting an example in them.
They obtained feedback on their practice of the leadership behaviours in their template via IDC’s online survey. Each of the directors identified 8 - 10 reliable observers, i.e. people who saw them in action regularly. These included customers, suppliers, team members and peers. The 1st round of feedback was generated immediately after the publication of their template. Each director’s survey feedback was confidential to them and their coach. They each then worked with their coach to formulate strategies to improve their scores against their weaker behaviours and each developed an action plan for doing this. A 2nd survey was conducted around 3 months later and again they worked on ways of strengthening their weaker behaviours. A final round was conducted some 4 months later and again they each received coaching to further develop their weaker behaviours. Over the period the aggregated improvement of their leadership behaviours scores was 7%. The change this generated was being noticed by their Head office and it encouraged them to continue with the development process. Consequently, the leadership behaviours feedback and coaching was continued into a 2nd year. By the end of this they had transformed themselves from being one of the worst performers in their Group to being one of the best.
Another organisation I worked with also placed the emphasis on driving a change to being more outward facing on their directors’ behavioural example. In this case, their coaches informally obtained feedback on their practice of the behaviours they had identified as vital to driving their new ‘Fighting for the Customer’ strategy. Again the approach was hugely successful in helping them transform themselves from being a loss making business to a profitable one. Interestingly, a technology company, IDC worked with, successfully adopted the approach to ensure that they provided an inclusive service to their diverse customers.
Hence, as has been demonstrated, the key driver for such a change is the behavioural example set by an organisation’s leadership. Professor Ed Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT School of Management, has demonstrated that 80% to 90% of the behaviour in an organisation is influenced by that of its leaders. IDC has unrivalled expertise in delivering behavioural change in organisations. Its Founder and CEO, Ian Dodds, is an elected member of the NTL Institute of Behavioural Science, one of the most respected organisations in the world for its expertise and academic understanding of the drivers of behavioural change.
Dr Ian Dodds, firstname.lastname@example.org, 30 Nov 2011
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