The design and activation of a global operating model is a major undertaking that deserves a well–thought-out process and project infrastructure that is likely to be in place for two or more years. We are often invited to work with an executive team on a new organization design once their work on the growth strategy is complete. The CEO often has a design concept in mind, but wants assistance rendering it in the level of detail that will guide implementation.
We are also frequently asked to come two years or more after the initial implementation of a new organization model to assess what is not working and advise on how to speed activation. These latter projects have proven to be some of the richest learning experiences because we are able to take a close, diagnostic look at what has worked and what has stalled or has not produced the outcomes that were expected in a new organization design. Through this work, we have uncovered the following best practices that have helped organizations successfully activate their new designs:

SET A ROAD MAP WITH A REALISTIC VIEW OF THE TIMEFRAME
o Keep design teams focused on the process throughout iterations
o Align team members around a sustained activation mindset from the beginning (versus allowing them to believe activation happens at the end, after implementation)

 BUILD LEADERSHIP ALIGNMENT INTO THE PLAN
o Ensure a committed top team owns the case for change so it is not lost in a sea of competing priorities
o Include players one or two levels below the executive team to harness energy and ensure a candid and participative design process
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MANAGEMENT SUMMIT MEETINGS
o Leverage large-scale conferences to demonstrate leadership commitment to the change, create sponsors, and collect resources for development of specific capabilities
ESTABLISH THE RIGHT PROJECT INFRASTRUCTURE
o Consider assigning someone to oversee entire program and/or creating a project management organization to manage work streams and linkages across them
o Develop the right communication resources to keep the growth narrative sharp and consistent across all media and with all audiences as well as to model new attitudes

WORK THE INTERSECTIONS IN THE NEW ORGANIZATION
o Create maximum value within matrix intersections (global to local, business to function, etc.) by placing the right senior executives in key roles
o Executive leaders must learn to actively coach their reports and role model new behaviors
MEASURE PROGRESS AND MAKE COURSE CORRECTIONS
o Balance attention between short-term and long-term business results including regular reviews of change progress
o Measure collaboration and publicly celebrate positive examples

Careful consideration and implementation of these best practices will help an organization to bring its new design to life and fully embed new ways of working.

 

Amy Kates and Greg Kesler

Managing Partners