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The single most pressing challenge for an organization in this knowledge economy is attracting and retaining talented people.  This can be a make or break challenge for the organization and warrants careful consideration during Strategic Planning.

Starting on the right foot is absolutely essential to overcoming this challenge.  Organizations, particularly HR, need to have an Organizational Culture that boasts of an effective Employee Onboarding process.  In order to accomplish this, present-day HR needs to be clear regarding the challenges of modern-day Onboarding and develop a strategy to establish an onboarding process that yields a rewarding experience for the employees.

At many organizations the Employee Onboarding process follows a customary theme—a run down on “how things are done here”—with the traditional HR view that if the employee can be made to commit to the Organizational Culture from the get-go, they are easier to retain.

Such an Onboarding process does not help the new employee adjust to the company or the role, become an Engaged Employee, and meet the expectations of the organization.  Experts have identified various challenges with this conventional Onboarding approach.  Here is a list of 8 most frequent challenges:

  1. Poor Socialization of Organizational Values
  2. Lack of Role Clarity
  3. Challenges with Expectations and Results
  4. Managing Change
  5. Issues with Time Management
  6. Issues with the Manager
  7. Navigating the Culture
  8. Handling Personal Transition and Relocation

By addressing these challenges appropriately, organizations can establish a rewarding Employee Onboarding experience that results in Employee Retention, quality output in the short-term, and enhanced productivity in the longer run.

Let us delve a little deeper into the challenges.

1. Poor Socialization of Organizational Values

It is presumed that Organizational Values are a thing to be imparted and accepted by the new employee.  This is, indeed, essential knowledge, but it is not sacrosanct.  Studies suggest acceptance of organizational values in contravention of one’s own identity may be counter-productive in that it may exhaust the employee psychologically, restrict full engagement, hinder creativity, and create work dissatisfaction.  This can be overcome by allowing employee to express their unique perspective on the job from the beginning and welcoming them to incorporate what they do best in their work.

2. Lack of Role Clarity

Lack of clear understanding of one’s role is a widespread problem in organizations.  After spending some time in the new organization, the employee realizes that the expectation of the role is conflicting with what the employee thought he/she accepted.  Encouraging the new employee to identify the gaps in the expectation / perception and discussing it with their managers enables the employees to have a clear perspective and understanding of their roles and responsibilities, enhances employee satisfaction levels, and improves their efficiency and productivity.

3. Challenges with Expectations and Results

New employees are often unable to realize their workload.  In order to meet the perceived expectation of managers or peers, they take on too much of work resulting in overload, which diminishes their performance.  Informal discussions of new employees with managers and peers regarding their expectations eases the pressure and enables them to take on what is manageable and deliver quality results.

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5 Dimensions of EE - Stock image 2Organizations typically focus on Customer-centric Design in their Strategic Planning and overlook the critical driver of Performance, Growth, and Operational Excellence—their employees.  With cut-throat competition now the norm the realization has become clearer that employees are:

  • The face of the business and create lasting—or perishing—brand impression.
  • Sources of innovation and organizational knowledge.
  • Representation of the company’s service philosophy.
  • Expected to live by its Organizational Culture and values.

Employee Engagement has emerged as one of the significant pillars on which the Competitive Advantage, Productivity, and Growth of an organization rests.  What, exactly, does it mean when an employee is engaged?  Employee Engagement, over the years, has been thought of in terms of:

  • Personal engagement with the organization.
  • Focus on performance of assigned work.
  • Worker burnout.
  • Basic needs (meaningful work, safe workplace, abundant resources).
  • Attention on Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral components related to an individual’s performance.

Although Employee Engagement is widely seen as an important concept, there has been little consensus on its definition or its components either in business or in the academic literature.

Kumar and Pansari’s 2015 study define Employee Engagement as:

“a multidimensional construct that comprises all of the different facets of the attitudes and behaviors of employees towards the organization”.

The multidimensional construct of Employee Engagement has been synthesized into the following 5 components (or dimensions).

  1. Employee Satisfaction
  2. Employee Identification
  3. Employee Commitment
  4. Employee Loyalty
  5. Employee Performance

The 5 dimensions of Employee Engagement have been found to have a direct correlation with high profitability, as substantiated by a number of research studies:

For instance, a study of 30 companies in the airline, telecom and hotel industries shows a close relationship between Employee Engagement and growth in profits.  After controlling other relevant factors—i.e., GDP level, marketing costs, nature of business, and type of goods, the study found:

  • Highest profitability growth—10% to 15%—in companies with highly engaged employees.
  • Lowest level of profitability growth—0% to 1%—in companies with disengaged employees.

Research reveals that Employee Engagement affects 9 performance outcomes; including Customer Ratings, Profitability, Productivity, Safety Incidents, Shrinkage (theft), Absenteeism, Patient Safety Incidents, Quality (Defects), and Turnover.

The differences in performance between engaged and actively disengaged work units revealed:

  • Top half Employee Engagement scores nearly doubled the odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.
  • Companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS).

These 5 dimensions become the base for measuring Employee Engagement in a meaningful manner that permits managers to identify areas of improvement.  To assess an organization’s current status of Employee Engagement, a measurement system is needed that includes:

  • Metrics for each component of Employee Engagement.
  • A scale for scoring metrics in each component.
  • A comprehensive scorecard that pulls everything together.

Let us delve a little deeper into the first 2 dimensions of Employee Engagement.

Employee Satisfaction

Definition

Employee Satisfaction is the positive reaction employees have to their overall job circumstances, including their supervisors, pay and coworkers.

Details

When employees are satisfied, they tend to be:

  • Committed to their work.
  • Less absent and more productive in terms of quality of goods and services.
  • Connected with the organization’s values and goals.
  • Perceptive about being a part of the organization.

Metrics

The 5 metrics that gauge Employee Engagement in terms of Employee Satisfaction include:

  1. Receiving recognition for a job.
  2. Feeling close to people at work.
  3. Feeling good about working at the organization.
  4. Feeling secure about the job.
  5. Believing that the management is concerned about employees.

We take a look at another dimension central in significance.

Employee Commitment

Definition

Signifies what motivates the employees to do more than what’s in their job descriptions.

Details

Employee Commitment is much higher for the employees who identify with the organization.  This element:

  • Develops over time and is an outcome of shared experiences.
  • Is often an antecedent of loyalty.
  • Induces employees to guard the organization’s secrets.
  • Pushes employees to work for organization’s best interests.

Research has found that employees with the highest levels of commitment:

  • Perform 20% better.
  • Are 87% less likely to leave the organization.

Metrics

The 3 metrics that gauge the Employee Commitment dimension of Employee Engagement include:

  1. Commitment to deliver the brand promise along with knowledge of the brand.
  2. Very committed to delivering the brand promise.
  3. Feels like the organization has a great deal of personal meaning.

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The Sustainability Performance of a firm can be viewed as a spectrum ranging from outstanding to inadequate. Firms rated as Sustainability Leaders are often proactive in addressing sustainability issues, exploring innovative solutions by mobilizing resources and actors interested in particular sustainability issues, and many times setting the sustainability agenda for their industry or geographic region.

Conversely, firms that are considered sustainability laggards often ignore stakeholder concerns about Sustainability and the need to change their behavior. Contrary to leading firms that usually direct their attention externally as much as internally, laggards are marked by a widespread lack of interest in Sustainability and tend to focus on their internal concerns and priorities

Corporate commitment to Sustainability-based Management is strengthening.

Even as organizations overall are strengthening their commitments to Sustainability, one cohort of organization is expanding its commitments far more aggressively than others. They have emerged as Sustainability Strategy Leaders, while others stand as Laggards.

A study conducted between MIT Sloan and BCG Consulting Group, addresses the reasons for the gap which separates Leaders from Laggards of Sustainability.  The study found strategic approach to Sustainability is the main differentiator between Sustainability Leaders and Laggards:

  • Sustainability Leaders — Leaders act on their belief that Sustainability is already at the core of their business and is a necessity to respond well to shifting customer preference.
  • Sustainability Laggards — Laggards view Sustainability in terms of risk management and efficiency gains.

The strategic approach also acts as a differentiator as to how Sustainability Leaders deal with other business parameters, such as:

  • Response to challenges and opportunities in Sustainability.
  • Approach to “terms” of competition in the context of Sustainability concerns.
  • Transformation of management practices in response to Sustainability requirements.

Making early moves even when all needed information around Sustainability is not in place is the first marked step of early adopters of Sustainability.

In a survey of global corporate Leaders conducted by BCG and the MIT Sloan Management Review, it was revealed that an economic downturn caused more emphasis to be placed on Sustainability in companies’ corporate agendas.

As more companies take up Sustainability, the report reveals a striking difference between two groups of companies, based on how they incorporate Sustainability into their business operations.

image (7)

Brief Outline

Sustainability Leaders have high-leverage tactics and strategies that transform the way their organization competes on Sustainability.  They have incorporated  Sustainability into their Strategy Development and Strategic Planning process.  Likewise, they exhibit a broader perspective of Sustainability and its implications to business. They have identified a range of business drivers that support their Sustainability Investments.

  • Increased Margins
  • Increased Market Share
  • Greater potential for innovation in their business models, processes, and access to new markets
  • Competitive Advantage

There are 7 key practices consistently followed by Sustainability Leaders.

  1. Move Early - Leaders take bold steps with an understanding that they need to make early moves even before they have all the answers in place.
  2. Balance Long and Short-Term goals - Sustainability Leaders strike a balance between their overarching vision and being specific about areas where they can gain a Competitive Advantage.
  3. Drive top-down and bottom-up – Leaders recognize that as much as it is a top-down exercise, Sustainability is also a bottom-up exercise.
  4. De-silo Sustainability - Leaders do not drive Sustainability in a silo, instead they integrate it into the very fabric of their business processes.
  5. Measure and monitor - Leaders establish metrics and baselines to measure their progress with Sustainability Initiatives.
  6. Value intangible benefits - Leaders are distinguished by their readiness to ascribe the value of intangible benefits to competitiveness due to Sustainability measures.
  7. Be transparent and authentic – Leaders are realistic with their Sustainability targets, and they openly communicate about their challenges and success around Sustainability.

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In the modern age, organizations are striving to form a sustainable Supply Chain system to cope with the challenges that are arising. Such issues include the pic 1 Supply Chain Sustainabilityemission of hazardous substances, excessive resource consumption, Supply Chain risks, and complex procedures.

Through Strategic Planning, organizations around the globe are adopting strategies to become a sustainable organization.  In fact, there is an increasing trend towards organizations adopting sustainable Supply Chain Management practices.

Gaining a Foothold on Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of Supply Chain activities. It addresses the fundamental business problem of supplying products to meet demand in a complex and uncertain world.

Looking at Supply Chain Management, we can see that it draws on the value chain concept of business strategist, Michael Porter.  It looks at supply issues at the multi-company level.  It creates net value, builds a competitive infrastructure, leverages worldwide logistics, synchronizes supply with demand, and measures performance globally.

The need for Supply Chain Management came about when shorter product life cycles and greater product variety has increased Supply Chain costs and complexity.  And as outsourcing, globalization, and business fragmentation became a common practice, there was now the need for Supply Chain integration. This was further emphasized with the advances in emergent technologies. which created more opportunities for Digital Transformation within Supply Chains.

The 4 Levels of Supply Chain Management Strategies

There are 4 Levels of Supply Chain Management Strategies. The first 3 strategies are foundational Supply Chain Strategies.

Before any Supply Chain can be considered sustainable, there are 3 foundational Supply Chain Strategies that need to be undertaken.

  1. Legal Supply Chain Strategy. There are a number of legal rules and regulations that need to be followed by organizations. The Supply Chain Strategy must cater to all legal rules.  An example is a ruling according to the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) wherein an organization must not rely on the mercury, cadmium, and chromium as they result in huge emission of hazardous substances.
  1. Ethical Supply Chain Strategy. To become an ethically strong organization, it is required that the organization operates with integrity and focus on what is right. The organization could develop a policy that governs the organization’s operations. It is also essential that the Supply Chain quality assurance team that is built complies with ethical sustainability.
  1. Responsible Supply Chain Strategy. To become responsible, the organization could spend resources in compliance with sustainable rules. The organization could set up training and development programs to drive sustainability within the organization. It can also focus on environment-friendly activities to boost its social responsibility.

Before an organization can become sustainable, significant efforts must be exerted to put the 3 foundational Supply Chain Strategies in place within the organization.

Reaching the Level of Sustainability

Sustainable Supply Chain Strategy has become increasingly important as more and more organizations are focusing on putting it in place.  According to the MIT Slogan Review, over 75% of organizations listed in the S&P 500 reported sustainability reports where it shows that catering up to the responsibility is becoming highly challenging and important.  There has been a significant increase and inclination towards sustainability and this depicts the importance of becoming sustainable.

With the passage of time, it has become evident that organizations around the globe are becoming fond of sustainable considerations.

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Most organizations are unhealthy.  Only organizations that are recognized to be Resilient, Just-in-Time, and Military can be described and relatively free from pic 1 Organizational Behavioral Issuesdysfunction.  Yet, only 27% of the responses gathered from the Org DNA Profiler showed a healthy profile.

The Org DNA Profiler is a short online self-assessment tool launched on December 9, 2003. It was used to measure an organization’s relative strength in 4 key areas, on the basis of individual employees’ responses to 19 questions. From a total of 4,007 completed assessments collected, there were 6 Organizational Behavioral issues that were prompted.  These issues can still be turned around by undertaking the appropriate step.

The 6 Key Issues on Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavioral Issues are observations on the prevalence of dysfunctions among business organizations.

  1. Most organizations are unhealthy. More than 60% of the organizations are either Passive-Aggressive, Fits-and-Starts, Outgrown, or Overmanaged.
  1. Organizational DNA changes as companies grow. Small companies report more Resilient and Just-in-Time behaviors. They become more centralized and demonstrate Military traits as they grow.  Once annual revenues cross the $101B threshold, decentralization occurs. However, often this is undertaken badly.
  1. Attitude determines attitude. There are sharp differences between senior management and lower-level personnel. A disconnect exists between the organizations that senior executives believe they have established and the organizations they are actually running.
  1. Non-executives feel micromanaged. Junior managers feel a lack of maneuvering room compared to senior managers who view their self-professed involvement in operating decisions as good.
  1. Decision rights are unclear. More than 50% of the respondents believe that the accountability for decisions and actions in their organizations was vague.
  1. Execution is the exception, not the rule. Less than 50% of the respondents agreed that important strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action in their organizations.

It is expected that all organizations have behavioral issues.  However, unlike humans and other organisms, organizations can change their DNA by adjusting and adapting their building blocks and resolve these issues. There are just processes that organizations must take into consideration to effectively address these behavioral issues and turn them around for the benefit and advantages of the organization.

The Need to Unlearn, Learn, and Relearn

It is advisable for an organization to continue to analyze its organization as it grows into and occasionally out of dysfunction.  This can be done by using a 4-step evolutionary process.

Step 1: $0 – $500 Million. The first step or Step 1 generally demonstrates characteristics depicting Resilient or Just-in-Time profiles.

Organizations at this level are effective at executing and adapting to changes in the environment. They are generally younger small companies that are attuned to and aligned with the vision and strategy of the founders. They are known to be able to adapt more nimbly to market shifts.

Step 2: $500 Million – $1 Billion. The second step is an evolutionary phase where organizations are starting to experience the adverse effect of growth in terms of size.  This is basically the stage where Military profile has reached its peak in revenue segment. These are the organizations that are bureaucratic, slow, and overly politicized. At this point, expanding middle management starts to second guess and interfere in lower-level decision making.

Step 3 is where organizations are becoming too large and step 4 is returning back to a Resilient profile. The 4-step evolutionary process reflects the stages of development of organizations as they start from being small to being large and complex. It is a reflection of the issues they are encountering at each step of development that they are in. Knowing where they are at this point will enable an organization to better undertake their Strategy Development in a most effective approach.

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Organizations can change over the years. Change may happen because that is what the customers expect or it is because the organization gets to have even the most pic 1 Organizational DNA 10 Core Principlescoveted skills. Despite the changes, there are those that stay the same—the organization’s brand, its unique culture, and its shared lexicon. These are the underlying organizational and cultural design factors that define an organization’s personality. Metaphorically, these are called Organizational DNA. The Organizational DNA can indicate whether the organization is strong or weak in executing strategy.

Today, execution has come to a fore as organizations fail to effectively implement strategies. Organizations now realize that it must first resolve this dysfunction by understanding how the inherent traits of an organization influence and even determine each individual’s behavior. The idiosyncratic characteristics of an organization can be codified using the DNA. When the DNA of an organization is purely configured, unhealthy symptoms and counterproductive behaviors are demonstrated. High performing organizations have shown that there are precepts that they closely follow to ensure that their Organizational DNA is in order.

The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA

The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA are the precepts upon which high-performance companies are built on.

Let us take a look at 5 of the 10 Principles of Organizational DNA.

  1. Organizations always identify with 1 of 7 behavioral patterns regardless of industry and geography. Enterprise-wide behavior can either be passive-aggressive, overmanaged, outgrown, fits-and-starts, just-in-time, military-precision, or resilient. The complication here is that companies can face and conquer even the most pernicious performance problems by changing personalities. When this happens, it is crucial that the company must be ready for any problems that may arise as a result of the change in personality type. The inability to address these problems may be detrimental to the organization. Changing personality is not easy. It must be well-studied and strategically planned.
  1. Companies contain a mix of personalities. Business units fall under different archetypes, particularly in major acquisitions. At this stage, it is possible that a resilient organization may have a division that matches the fits-and-starts profile, characterized by smart entrepreneurial talent. However, despite that, it may lack the collective discipline necessary.
  1. There is a strong connection between personality type and strategy execution. In the survey conducted, 48% of the respondents fit a profile that is distinguished by weak execution. Passive-aggressive organizations may have people who pay lip service to results but they may consistently undermine some necessary efforts.
  1. Strong execution can be sustained. Organizations with a strong execution archetype cannot afford to be complacent. Leaders must continually seek feedback from the market, encourage and act on criticism from customers and frontline employees, and take action to address minor issues. These must be done before any problem gets bigger.
  1. The combination of building blocks determines the organization’s aptitude for execution. Organization DNA is made up of 4 building blocks. These are decision rights and norms, motivation and commitments, information and mindsets, and structure and networks. Complications may come in when companies decide to improve execution. At this point, building blocks must be considered and these must be considered as a whole and not individually.

The other 5 core principles of Organizational DNA are essentially necessary. Even the company with the most desirable profile, the resilient organization, must continually stay at the top of the game. Hence, it is essential that organizations must adopt the most appropriate behavioral pattern and personality to be able to build high-performance organizations. Strategy Development must be able to integrate into the organization’s Business Transformation the 10 core principles of Organizational DNA.

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A commonly quoted statistic is that 80% to 95% of the cost of a product is determined by its design and is therefore set before the item enters manufacturing. This pic 1 5 Cost Management Strategiesassumption suggests that the dominant focus of Cost Management should be during Product Development and not during Manufacturing.

However, contrary to a widely held assumption, companies can integrate a variety of Cost Management techniques not only in the design phase but throughout the product life cycle.  This is to ensure that there is a substantial reduction in costs.  In fact, companies achieving Operational Excellence and competing aggressively on cost might consider the adoption of some form of an Integrated Cost Management Program that spans the entire product life cycle.

An organization must have a good understanding of Integrated Cost Management and the 5 Cost Management Strategies that they can use to reduce costs but still attain the desired level of functionality and quality at the target costs.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies

 The 5 Cost Management Strategies play a crucial role in the company’s integrated approach to Cost Management.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies can be applied throughout the product life cycle with one technique used during the product design and the rest during manufacturing.

  1. Target Costing. This is a technique applied during the design stage. Target Costing is best used when the manufacturing phase of the life cycle of a product is short.
  1. Product-specific Kaizen Costing. This is a technique applied during the early stages of the manufacturing phase. It enables the rapid redesign of a new product to correct for any cost overruns. The primary rule in Product-specific Kaizen Costing is that the product’s functionality and quality have to remain constant.
  1. General Kaizen Costing. The third Cost Management Strategy, this technique is applied during the manufacturing phase. It focuses on the way a product is manufactured with the assumption that the product’s design is already set.  This technique is effective when addressing manufacturing processes that are used across several product generations.
  1. Functional Group Management. This is the technique that is applied in the production process. Functional Group Management consists of breaking the production process into autonomous groups and treating each group as a profit instead of a cost center. The switch to profit as opposed to cost allows groups to increase the throughput of production processes even if changes result in higher costs. It enables the change in mindset that functional group management induces.
  1. Product Costing. The 5th Cost Management Strategy, this is the technique that coordinates the efforts of the other four techniques. It does coordination work by providing the other four techniques with important, up-to-date information.

Target Costing vis-a-vis Kaizen Costing

Kaizen Costing as known as continuous improvement costing.  It is a method of reducing managing costs. Kaizen Costing has a similarity with Target Costing but it also has its differences.  (Note: Kaizen is the Japanese term for Continuous Improvement and often tied to the philosophy of Lean Management.)

Both Kaizen Costing and Target Costing can achieve results with lower resources. This is basically their similarity. On the other hand, the differences lie in their usage and involvement.

Target Costing is used on the design stage and requires the involvement only of designers. On the other hand, Kaizen Costing is used during the manufacturing stage and requires high involvement of employees.  The general idea of Kaizen Costing is to determine target costs, design products, and process to not exceed those costs.

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The uncertain times, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, have spur leaders to reflect on what kind of organization, culture, and operating model they need to put Pic 1 Team Resiliencyin place. This is to avoid returning to previous patterns of behavior and instead, be able to embrace the next normal.

In this rapidly changing environment, people in organizations need to respond with urgency, without senior executives and traditional governance slowing things down. Waiting to decide, or even waiting for approval, is the worst thing to happen. Today, some level of coordination across teams and activities is crucial for the organization’s response to be effective.

Getting Ready for Business Resilience

Business Resilience is a management approach that integrates many disciplines into a single set of integrated processes. It is an enterprise-wide term that encompasses Crisis Management and Business Continuity.

Business Resilience enables organizations to face a wide range of risks—risks that can cause long-term harm, from a financial penalty to reputational damage. This is further emphasized with the global economy greatly affected by COVID-19, a pandemic that has overturned business and rattled the entire global business environment.

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic

Leaders across industries cannot treat the Coronavirus pandemic like any other event. COVID-19 is unlike any other event. No single executive has the answer. In this rapidly changing environment, organizations need to respond with urgency. There are several initiatives that can be undertaken and integrated in Strategy Development. One of these initiatives is to build Team Resilience through the creation of a Network of Teams.

A Network of Teams is a cohesive and adaptable network of teams that are united by a common purpose. It is empowered to operate outside of the current hierarchy and bureaucratic structures of the organization.

The 4-phase Approach to Creating a Network of Teams

The Network of Teams needs to be created in phases for it to be effectively cohesive and adaptable.

Phase 1: Central Team with Response Teams. Phase 1 begins with a Central Team launching a few primary response teams very quickly. There are several key considerations that must be underscored in Phase 1.

Organizations must create teams that will tackle current strategic priorities and key challenges facing the organization. The model that is to be built must be flexible and capable of shifting when mistakes happen. The network must be created to learn, using the information to update actions and strategies. It must spur experimentation, innovation, and learning which is done simultaneously among many teams. There must be spontaneous learning in the face of challenges and opportunities at the individual, team, and network-wide levels.

Team leaders must be creative problem solvers with critical thinking skills, resilient, and battle-tested. Having teams that can respond to the dynamic demands of the external environment is one of the strengths of the network approach.

Phase 2: Hub and Spoke Model. The Hub and Spoke Model emerges when additional teams are launched to address rapidly evolving priorities and new challenges.

After the initial set of teams are created, leaders must shift toward ensuring that multidirectional communication takes place. There should be steady coordination with the central team hub in a daily stand-up meeting. Central Hub must make sure that support teams are using first-order problem-solving principles.

Leaders must take the role of catalyst and coach. The primary goal is to empower teams and support them at the same time, without micromanaging.

The next phase is Phase 3: Hub and Spoke with Subteams and Phase 4: the Network of Teams. The Hub and Spoke Model evolves into a Network of Teams when peripheral teams start connecting and collaborating directly with another.

With the Network of Teams, all self-organizations are turbocharged ready to face any disruptions the business has to encounter.

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COVID-19 is shaping a “New Normal”—a Low Touch Economy that requires a strategic response.pic 1 Strategy Development Responding to COVID 19

The world is changing. Forced isolation and social distancing restrictions have been put into place with the advent of the COVID-19 health crisis. This is not expected to end soon but is expected to have a lasting effect on the world. In fact, a new generation of consumer behaviors is already being shaped.

The new world will not be better off or worse. It will be different. During this period of influx, some businesses will thrive in this change and reach accelerated success, while others will struggle to find their footing in all of the chaos. The Low Touch Economy is here.

The New Normal

The post-COVID-19 era will have an economy shaped by new habits and regulations based on reduced close contact interaction, tighter travel, and hygiene restrictions. While managing the current health crisis is the first priority, companies must start adapting its strategic response to the mid and long-term ripple effects of COVID-19.

Businesses, to survive, must learn how to effectively respond to COVID-19 that is marked with plenty of ups and downs and economic uncertainty. There will be fundamental shifts that are here to stay and there will be industries that will be turned upside down. Until there is a vaccine or herd immunity, the base case scenario will be continuous up and down of disruptions for the coming 2 years. Strategy Development now calls for business to make the right strategic approach.

The 3-phase Approach to Strategic Planning

During turbulent times, businesses must have the agility to switch from defense to offense. Taking the 3-phase approach to Strategic Planning will prepare organizations for the Low Touch Economy.

Phase 1: Protect

The first phase is focused on acting now to protect and run the business today. It is basically responding to the crisis and protecting the business. The primary objective of Phase 1 is to ensure the continuity and stability of the business despite the ongoing crisis.
This is best undertaken when employees and customers are grappling with one basic emotion and that is fear. The organization is faced with a declining revenue with prospects of liquidity freeze. Unfortunately, time horizons at this phase also remain uncertain.

When these scenarios are happening, the organization must strive to undertake strategies that will both protect the business, as well as ensure its continuity and stability. One strategy that must be undertaken is to put the safety of employees and customers first. With the advent of COVID-19, this is considered the most urgent thing to do and the most important. Once this has been taken care of, senior leaders can set up a war room where they can tackle immediate challenges.

The war room discussions must shift from just being reactive to being proactive when it comes to crisis management. At this point, model scenarios that are developed must be more aggressive than any of the team can think of. It has to be aggressive in the sense that it is capable of protecting the business from the disruption that COVID-19 is greatly inflicting on the organization.

At this time, during this phase, this is the best time too to invest in Innovation Management and R&D. While others are stalling, the most innovative companies spend more on R&D during the recession. The other 2 phases are Recover and Grow. Phase 2, Recover is focused on accelerating through the recovery and Phase 3, Grow is focused on achieving growth in the Low Touch Economy.

In what phase is your organization now? Are you Protecting? Recovering? or Growing?

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Supply Chain Resiliency is the capability of the Supply Chain to be prepared for unexpected risk events. It is the Supply Chain’s ability to respond and recover pic 1 Supply Chain Resiliencyquickly to potential disruptions. It can return to its original situation or grow by moving to a new, more desirable state in order to increase customer service, market share, and financial performance.

Resilience is currently an increasing concern in the Supply Chain caused by globalization. The Supply Chain is globally being subject to diverse types of disturbances. The largest disruption so far in the global Supply Chain in modern history was the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011. With the rising level of logistical complexity, the resiliency of the Supply Chain has not kept pace. These disturbances need to be handled in the right way, compelling the use of tools and approaches that can support resilient Supply Chain decisions.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, resiliency in the Supply Chain is further emphasized.

Understanding Supply Chain Resilience 

The risk of Supply Chain disruption is increasing.  A recent study by Aon Risk Solutions showed that the percentage of global companies reporting a loss of income due to a Supply Chain disruption increased from 28% in 2011 to 42% in 2013.  The MIT Scale Network Study further showed that many large companies are unable to create contingency rules and procedures for operations during a complex, high-risk event.

According to the MIT study, approximately 60% of surveyed managers either do not actively work on Supply Chain risk management or do not consider their company’s risk management practice effective. Managers have been found to be lacking in a framework that will guide them in the deployment of risk management practices. In fact, it has been noted that there is little understanding of risks resulting in a lack of knowledge of what kind of framework fits a particular Supply Chain dynamics.

For Supply Chain Management to keep up with the increasing level of logistical complexity, there is a need to reconfigure the Supply Chain.

The 5-phase Approach to Supply Chain Resilience

In 2005, Cisco had difficulty coping when Hurricane Katrina struck. The Supply Chain performance level was not maintained to cope with the sudden surge in orders for new equipment to replace damaged telecommunication infrastructure.  The Cisco teams cannot locate all products in the Supply Chain or understand the financial impact of emergency sales. However, in 2011, that was a turning point for Cisco. Cisco had deployed a very solid Supply Chain resiliency program that addressed the impact of external vulnerabilities and the aftereffects it caused to the Supply Chain.

Cisco has succeeded by executing a 5-phase approach to Supply Chain Resiliency.

In reconfiguring its Supply Chain to make it more resilient, Cisco first identified its strategic objectives.

Phase 1: Identify Strategic Objectives. The first phase is focused on identifying competitive priorities for particular product categories. It matches priorities with Supply Chain capabilities.

Through Strategic Planning, Cisco was able to build its competitive advantage which depended on its ability to match global opportunities to outsource production with global market opportunities. This is known as the Cisco Lean Model.

Phase 2: Mapping Supply Chain Vulnerabilities. This focused on understanding the company’s vulnerabilities. Supply Chains are vulnerable on many fronts—political upheavals, regulatory compliance mandates, increasing economic uncertainty, natural disasters, etc.  Being aware of the vulnerabilities will enable the organization to come up with the appropriate design to achieve Supply Chain Resiliency.

In undertaking the second phase, Cisco focused on supporting a responsible global Supply Chain characterized by product differentiation, high value, and high margins. Mitigation measures were also implemented to make a resilient Supply Chain.

With the 5-phase approach, Cisco was able to achieve a resilient Supply Chain capable of effectively managing disruptions. It has also prepared them in addressing risk management warning signs and deploying the appropriate reactive tools to every kind of significantly disruptive event.

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