A client with annual revenue greater than $5 billion was concerned about the decision-making process of its New Ventures group. A culture of over-optimism, coupled with failure to appropriately characterize risk and uncertainty, had resulted in numerous endeavors meeting disappointing ends. Additionally, many of the managers came from other companies, and they brought their own way of doing things with them. The result was a lack of consistency across the board.
Whenever a company makes fundamental changes to its business practices, human nature tends to get in the way and people want to hold on to familiar or comfortable methods of making decisions. But managing change appropriately is critical to success as a new, more consistent method is implemented throughout the organization. It is also key to retain beneficial portions from the original process. Combining the best of existing approaches with industry best-practice methods can help to achieve buy-in and engagement from employees.
Achieving clarity and consistency in decision-making is a difficult task, and it is important to ensure employees have the opportunity to input their issues and concerns. People are generally willing to change their perspective, provided they understand the reasoning behind the shift. So when one approach is chosen over another, the reasoning needs to be transparent. By giving each employee a voice and including them in the development, total engagement with the new process was achieved.
Methods, Training, and Support
We developed and customized the proper tools and methods the client would need to adhere to a first-rate decision process. We conducted training workshops, followed by hands-on application of the principles. An in-house team of practitioners was established to maintain the process after our engagement ended. We coached and worked closely with this team for months as they traveled to client offices around the world.
Spreading to the Rest of the Company
Once word spread about the results that were achieved by the New Ventures group, the rest of the company wanted to improve their decision processes, too. We worked with the Major Capital Investment teams and the production groups to ensure a consistent approach throughout the entire company. The client now sees this as simply “how we do business.”