Approach - Part Two

A “strategic initiative process” was designed and agreed to. Initiatives were chartered to explore and validate new opportunities that would capitalize on cross-business synergies. In 2001, Industrial Co. launched the first set of strategic initiatives designed to produce either dramatic growth or improved profitability, with minimal capital expenditure. Business cases were developed and a process for managing enterprise-wide initiatives was adopted. The initiatives were designed to accomplish all of the following objectives simultaneously:

  • Provide substantial dollar impact as well as real and sustainable business change
  • Develop high-potential leaders required to manage Industrial Co.’s growth
  • Create practical understanding and application of Dual Responsibility across multiple businesses and levels within the organization

Upon launch of the initiatives, behaviors and policies associated with the old, autonomous culture emerged, including:

  • Lack of effective transfer pricing between businesses
  • Inability to portray one-face to the customer through a common approach to selling, terms and conditions, and administrative processes
  • Increased complexity created by multi-dimensional internal and external relationships
  • Misalignment of existing goals between the sourcing and selling organizations
  • Unavailability of shared, timely business information across the organization

Alder Associates coached both team leaders and sponsors, working with them to understand and address these challenges in a way that would produce one of the benefits required of the initiatives - real business change. While in many cases short-term work-arounds for these issues may have been feasible, it was the role of the initiatives to reveal the “rocks lurking beneath the surface” that could undermine enterprise synergies. By identifying the obstacles and working together to resolve them, the initiative teams cleared the way for lasting transformation.

When, by the beginning of 2002, the initiative process was seen to be a success, and the vision was being driven further into the organization, the leadership team decided that the ability to conceive and run strategic initiatives should be brought in-house. As the 2001 initiatives moved out of the planning phase and into implementation, Alder worked with the client to design and staff an Enterprise Program Office (EPO). Alder consultants worked with the new group to transfer to them all relevant learning, tools, techniques and documentation from the strategic initiative process. A broad range of approaches was used to maximize take-up and understanding, including:

  • Full documentation of the strategic initiative management process
  • On-the-job coaching in the implementation of this process for 2002
  • Personal effectiveness coaching
  • Extensive competency-transfer sessions on areas chosen by the EPO and modeled specifically around the strategic initiative management process
  • Short-term role filling as requested by the EPO as it staffed up