The Winning Plan

by NIck Frank on November 19, 2014

Winning PlanThe latest blog in my series on service transformation written for Field Service News.

It sounds too obvious, but companies who ‘plan’ for success, are more likely to get results from their service transformation programmes.

 

So found Dr Wolfgang Ulaga, Professor at the IMD Business School when researching how companies transform their service business profitably.  He identified that companies who release their service potential have done so not only because they were well positioned to deliver value, but because they had an explicit and supported plan. (an interesting guy and would well recommend reading his Harvard Business Review Article on service transformation)

But why do we need a professor to tell us this!  Most well run companies have a planning cycle that lays out the financial numbers and the high level strategies to achieve their objectives. It always surprises me how many leaders of transformation believe that this is enough. It’s not!

Yes, experience says that the plan has to be clear and ‘light’ enough to inspire the team and colleagues. Yet it has to be backed by the detailed analysis which gives it credibility not only to business leaders, but also your agents of change themselves. This means the plan has to be explicit. It has to describe the detail of how strategies are achieved and most importantly it must be written down!

So managers wanting successfully drive transformation programmes should prioritise their resources, whether that be their own time or a programme manager into developing the plan. The more the stakeholders are involved, the more credible and supported it will be. The more senior management support managers have, the more likely that the resources required will be committed. But what are we talking about:

  • Put in place strong project management resources with a governance structure and steering team that has the muscle to move many of the obstacles you might face
  • Clearly define the objectives for the projects that will get you to your goal.  Each should have a kind of charter that defines the project in detail and most importantly who is responsible for what. The charter should show the expected outcomes and the impact on the business
  •  Clearly define the objectives for the projects that will get you to your goal.  Each should have a kind of charter that defines the project in detail and most importantly who is responsible for what. The charter should show the expected outcomes and the impact on the business
  • Plan out the investments you require and the potential timing. More and more we see companies looking to rationalise their business systems and will cost time as well as money. This is especially true in the implementation phase. So the motto is ‘Be Prepared’.
  • Ensure your plan clearly identifies early wins to demonstrate success to your management and help them keep faith with the vision
  • Make sure that your communication strategy is built into your plan. Often great ideas fail because the troops are not sure what is expected of them.

The last remaining piece of the puzzle is that your plan needs to be back by the decision makers of your business. It’s not just a question of a polite yes in the annual business plan review. It needs real commitment such as being part of your governance structure or taking a very active and vocal interest. If you don’t see this, be very aware!

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