Whilst there’s a wealth of detail and circumstances that matter, here are outlined high-level strategies that are recommended for key issues that managers of each function typically face.
To find out how to execute strategies in detail and the principles and tools behind them, follow the links where provided and also explore the education area.
Their role includes working as a team, setting strategy, identifying opportunities, encouraging innovation and setting the tone for the whole global organisation.
This requires a high degree of collaboration and cross-functional working with a common mission.
It is amazing something as simple as provision of waste bins can have such a huge effect on the morale of a workforce.
The business environment is incredibly important and must not be sacrificed on the altar of cost savings because that can have a much bigger and more costly negative effect on productivity.
1) Will this change be highly visible?
For example, getting rid of local waste bins in favour of centralised recycling might seem to make sense, but it is highly visible cost-cutting and can be counter-productive with a proliferation of local home-made ‘bins’ and growth of cynicism.
2) Does it truly make sense to have a one-size-fits-all policy?
This requires an understanding of the needs of different departments.
Making best use of the available space is very important, so emphasis should be on flexible dividers and partitions, whiteboard walls, self-contained desks with wheels.
Local teams should be allow to configure their space themselves and change it at will, preferably without needing help from Facilities.
A healthier approach is to fund capacity in different service areas and closely monitor the value delivered, ensuring a good return on new investments and efficiency improvements elsewhere, coupled with an ability to flexibly and rapidly respond to changing needs during each financial year.
Rather than endure pain just to meet budget, it is healthier to implement rolling funding of capacity, insist on incremental delivery and re-assess budgets incrementally as new information becomes available.
Truly transforming service delivery costs requires an end-to-end approach (rather than local optimisations which can cause bigger costs than they save downstream).
Having a well-understood numeric basis for value allows costs to rise where investment is needed for much greater return.
It is important, however, to remember that this is a supporting role. The only purpose of IT in a business is to support and enable other departments in the delivery of services. It doesn’t exist for its own sake.
The desire to control and deliver can lead to IT dictating what the rest of the business will get, with typical low expectations and low levels of satisfaction. Since IT is extremely expensive, this just isn’t good enough.
Good Architecture is not about big up-front design (BUFD) or theories, it is about small up-front design followed by prototyping, testing (including performance and load testing) and real-world feedback.
All prior to any design to commit. That is what reduces both architectural risk and costs.
Sometimes these are best provided via non-digital means with face-to-face or telephone contact, particularly for groups for which Digital is not a good fit (e.g. the disabled and elderly).
People care about receiving a good and convenient service, however it is provided.
Of course it does have that role, but properly integrated Marketing directly affects and drives the development of services, responding to external shifts and helping to make services a success by driving their adoption.
Truly innovative organisations need to predict the trends and learn how to create new markets that don’t currently exist but for which the market is ready.
There should be no room for personal crusades – data and feedback is the only game in town. If learning is done poor or is absent altogether then the rest of the Marketing effort may be in vain.
Branding is also about how it feels to interact with the organisation and the values that are communicated. It is more about what the business does than what it says it does – so it is common to need other departments to make changes to improve the brand.
You need to walk the talk or it will undermine any amount of positioning.
By its nature it is frequently the biggest group but can also be the poor relation – because other departments are not as close to the work they can afford to respond to pressures and priorities of their own choosing.
A well-balanced business ensures that Operation is put first and end-to-end delivery of services to customers is the prime consideration.
This doesn’t means that the Operation calls all the shots, but it does mean that everyone should justify their positions and decisions in quantified terms of the impact on service delivery.
It is critically important to separate the two and understand how the existing service generates and drives failure demand.
Large reductions in workload are possible with a better understanding of demand.
The key to high quality while maintaining flexibility is to structure the Operation into small groups of expert permanent staff who directly support insourced and outsourced flexible labour.
Flexible labour focuses on the 80% simple cases of demand and help is pulled from the expensive permanent staff as needed for the complex 20%, with a small percentage handed over completely. This is directly reflected in any Call Centre structure.
However, all too often it bedomes a centralised bureaucratic barrier and blocker to change, through excessive red tape and rigid policies.
That means putting maximum control in local manager’s hands and supporting them with good information and light touch constraints.
A good strategy is a local recruitment contact who sits inside each department and can immediately respond to local needs.
That’s nonsense – every group needs to do that for itself – the Performance Management group needs to improve performance and spread knowledge of practical techniques and changes that will do precisely that.
This should not only be “hard numbers” but also anecdotal inputs and data from surveys and polls (both internal and external).
Care should be taken not to over-analyse and all outputs must be presented in simple clear terms that a layperson can follow.
Management of work, individual staff and tasks is best done locally within each team because they have a grasp of the detail and circumstances that needed to make daily judgements.
Where a PMO comes in is providing support to projects, helping to coordinate dependencies between them, monitoring and collating outcome measures and ensuring everyone talks with each other and knows the big picture. Micro-managing tasks is the wrong path.
These are all weak proxies for true control.
Most reports are not read. Most standards are not followed and most processes don’t match what really happens on the ground.
Real control is about ensuring maximum visibility of each team’s work through visualising work in the team space, tracking a few simple common measures and providing these every week to the PMO.
Planning needs to be a high-level: key milestones and dependencies only, anything beyond a few weeks ahead is basically unknown and not worth working out.
The best way to produce accurate plans is to work and deliver incrementally using Lean and Agile techniques, so that lightweight plans can be updated and adjusted regularly.
Risk departments can have a leading role in educating the whole business on how to assess and take sensible risks, raising collective performance and enabling better decisions to be made.
Replace auditing with visibility of work. Make every group make their work visible on a visual dashboard in their team area. Using a Kanban board is one approach.
As well as tracking tasks, track key measures directly associated with the work and how much of the work is done right first time vs. has to be re-done.
Audit the visual dashboards in a simple, brief and regular process. This is far more effective.
What matters is that people do the right thing and do it well most of the time.
Procedures and Policies are not effective tools to achieve this – far better are a simple set of principles coupled with close collaboration and high visibility of work.
This ensures that people can respond in a varied way according to specific situations but also have a level of oversight and scrutiny that is delivered naturally without the need for ‘inspectors’.
This kind of arrangement is a tragedy of lost opportunity.
With their constant contact with prospects and feedback from pitches and demonstrations, sales staff have a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the services the company provides.
It is essential that this valuable information is fed back and used to steer and prioritise development of service improvements.
Once cash-flow is taken care of then what matters is what is delivered in the long term. Customers respond better if they know a long-term relationship is the real objective.
Sales can be a lonely profession, so it is important to proactively create a sense of community and connect them to the rest of the business.