The Importance of an All-Encompassing Consultative Approach to Operating Model Design

    In the realm of organisational change, Operating Model Design is a complex and pivotal endeavour that impacts the very core of how a business operates. Over the years, I've had the privilege of engaging with various organisations as a change catalyst, observer, and collaborator. I'm not just fascinated by the mechanics of change; I'm equally intrigued by the psychology that underpins it. Having been part of numerous end-to-end Operating Model design efforts alongside highly skilled professionals, I've come to appreciate the significance of considering the psychological dynamics of change.



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    Operating Model Design involves numerous stakeholders, each with their own unique perspectives, agendas, preferences, and concerns. These diverse elements are ever-present but are often overlooked in a universal manner. In the context of Operating Model Design, the number of stakeholders multiplies, as does the scale of change, intensifying the psychological factor. This amplifies and exposes the natural character traits of individuals involved in what is perhaps the most significant organisational transformation.

    These character traits are the inherent tendencies of individuals that are accentuated by the stress of change. While I won't delve into the intricacies of the change curve here, it's crucial to be aware of and inclusive of all stakeholders, both internal and external, when undertaking Operating Model Design. This inclusivity is essential to harness their perspectives and alleviate insecurities.

    Therefore, an all-encompassing and consultative approach to Operating Model Design is the key to achieving widespread acceptance and ensuring the sustainability of a proposed transformation. Let's break down this approach into two core areas: Embracing Your Stakeholders and The Approach Itself.

    1. Embracing Your Stakeholders

    In the landscape of Operating Model Design, you'll encounter various personas, each with their unique perspectives and challenges. It's imperative that an all-encompassing approach includes these viewpoints, and effective management is equally important. While there are many personas to consider, here are a few common ones that you'll encounter:

    • The Emperor/Empress: These individuals often hold direct responsibility for the business area and may have preconceived ideas about how it should be run. It's crucial to challenge their thinking and ensure alignment with customer needs.
    • The Perfectionist: Typically responsible for TOM design or implementation, they seek perfection, which can lead to analysis paralysis. Pragmatism and prioritization are essential to prevent wasted time and resources.
    • The Pragmatist: Their focus on data-driven decisions is commendable, but too much pragmatism can lead to missed opportunities. Encourage peer reviews and consider appointing a Devil's Advocate to challenge ideas.
    • The Bureaucrat: Excessive governance can slow down decision-making. Streamlining the decision-making process can lead to faster, higher-quality design.
    • The Militant: Fear of change drives this behaviour. Overcommunication and involvement are key to addressing their concerns.
    • The Champion: They understand the value of change and are eager to embrace it. Regular communication and understanding their unique position can help garner their support.
    • Your Customers: The most important stakeholder of all. Every choice and process should align with their needs and desires.
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    2. The All-Inclusive Approach to Operating Model Design 

    My approach to Operating Model Design is structured, all-encompassing, and consultative. It ensures that every stakeholder, including the personas described above, is fully involved. This approach consists of the following steps:

    Vision and Strategy: Aligning the management team with a common goal is essential. Assess the alignment of projects in the portfolio with the organisation's strategy to avoid wasteful spending.

    Outline Requirements and Current State Diagnostics: Understand the needs and desires of customers and internal users. Engage in Current State Analysis to identify challenges and opportunities for change. This helps in building a foundation for the future state design.

    In conclusion, while some high-level design choices may be made by senior leaders, an all-inclusive consultative approach to Operating Model Design is essential to achieve the right design from the ground up. It ensures that the unique needs of every persona are understood and their character traits managed. This inclusivity is crucial for change acceptance, ultimately saving time and maintaining sanity during the implementation phase.

    Learn more about our approach to Operating Model Design and how your organisation’s people, processes and technology can be configured effectively to deliver your organisational and functional strategies and to meet the needs of your customers.



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    Graham Turnbull

    Graham is a Managing Partner at Reinvigoration. His reputation for creating and delivering enterprise-wide change is amongst the highest regarded in the industry. He is an expert within all aspects of operations and transformation, challenging the conventional, simplifying the complex, and taking a hands-on approach to delivery – with the P&L results to match. You can get in touch with him directly by Email or connect on LinkedIn.


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