A 1200 FTE strong business unit formed part of a major retail bank. Whilst part of a much larger group, they could be viewed as a distinct business in their own right and they had a high degree of autonomy over their activities.
In a climate of rapid change driven both by the parent Group and the regulator, the business was under pressure and unable to effectively prioritise strategic change activity, whilst maintaining effective operational performance.
There was no clearly articulated strategic plan in place which created a disconnect between the strategic intent of the senior leadership team and the change activities being driven further down the organisation. The resulting difference in priorities led to valuable resources being consumed on change efforts that didn’t actually contribute to the intended strategic direction of the business.
The client needed a way of defining a strategic plan that would drive breakthrough improvement in performance, supported by a method of deploying it throughout the business to not only provide clarity of strategic intent, but also ensure that all change activity completely aligned to that strategic intent.
Using an established strategic deployment process also known as Policy Deployment (sometimes called Hoshin Kanri), we worked with the business on a part-time basis over a three months’ period to define and deploy their strategic objectives.
There were a number of key steps in this process:
- Define breakthrough strategic objectives. Following a number of workshops analysing both the internal business pressures and external market landscape, we created six five-year breakthrough strategic objectives. These were to be the catalyst to drive a significant step change in business performance.
- Create the annual objectives. Fed from the 5-year plan, we set the annual objectives that would drive a step change in performance in year 1.
- Define & prioritise change. Based on the annual objectives, we defined a list of change initiatives that needed to be mobilised and delivered to hit the objectives. This was a time consuming element of the process filled with much debate, as the tendency from the group was to justify the inclusion of old or existing change projects, even if they didn’t contribute to the new objectives set.
- Carry out feedback reviews. Once the draft structure was agreed, this went through a series of feedback reviews with people further down in the organisational structure. This served as a good engagement tool but also as a sense check on the scale of the ambitions proposed by Senior Management.
- Cascade the strategic objectives. The strategic objectives and change initiatives were then cascaded to the appropriate people down through the organisation, with further detail added where required. The cascade continued until the ‘point of action’ i.e. where the change delivery plan was owned and managed.
- Measurement & Management. A centralised dashboard was created that allowed measurement and management at every level of the deployed strategy. This enabled Senior Management to only focus on critical KPIs, however should something deviate from the plan, they were able to quickly drop through the organisational layers to pinpoint a problem area that required intervention.
The client found the approach used highly useful in terms of providing clarity in a time of vast change.
The accountable Director commented, “The approach that we used to define, deploy and manage my strategic goals was incredibly well structured and really got the best out of me and my team. We operate in a complex business in an ever changing market and this process has really given me comfort in not only do we have a plan, but we have the right plan, and we have the plan well managed”.MORE BLOGS