Enabling global organisational alignment: A Methodology

Posted on : 30-09-2013 | By : jo.rose | In : General News

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Globalisation versus localisation:  it’s not a new topic of discussion at Board level, but with the increasing complexity in the market, ease of access to information, and an ever-more crowded market, it is more and more important to have a clear strategy on how to attract and retain clients.

So, whatever the appropriate strategy, it is critical to get the balance right, between offering a scalable global product, and a tailored customer experience.  There are big gains to be had for those who get it right:  Deloitte Consulting estimates that the globalisation of assets, investment opportunities and information can bring efficiency gains of between 5 and 30 percent for providers of financial services that are able to build scale and efficiency into their operating model.

Identifying and implementing the appropriate solution is much more all-encompassing than building a technology platform and encouraging people to work better together.  It’s about defining and embedding a permanent behaviour change.  Put another way, it is about aligning the entire organisation to service the customer.  In other words, it’s really about the most unquantifiable of concepts:  ‘culture change’!

So what is the secret to defining and embedding a customer culture?  Over the coming months we’ll be covering these in detail. Here is a brief introduction to our methodology:


Step 1:  Build the team, purpose and philosophy

Any commitment to aligning the organisation must be led by the CEO, and must have the engagement, buy in and involvement of the key Executives in the organisation.  That team must decide on what the Purpose of the organisation is.  An effective Purpose is not ‘to make money’ – that is a by-product.  The most effective Purpose will be around servicing the customer. Until they are clear on what they are trying to achieve, it will be impossible to align the organisation.

Step 2:  Create a customer strategy

Once the Executive team are aligned around servicing the customer, they next step is to establish the growth strategy.  Broadly there are three options:

  • Sell more to existing clients
  • Develop and sell new products to existing clients
  • Sell existing products to new clients

How should the team decide what to focus on?  The only way to do it is to develop an in depth understanding of the (existing and potential) customers’ needs

Once clear on the customer strategy, the team must devise a way to articulate that strategy internally, to engage and inspire the entire organisation. 

Step 3:  Organisation design

Clarity on the customer needs will bring clarity to the appropriate organisation structure to service the client effectively:  How many people are required to service each segment?  How should they work together?  Who should they report to?  Should teams be product-centric, geography-centric or customer-centric?  These are critical questions to answer.

Step 4:  Consistent and aligned metrics and incentives

What is the most effective and appropriate data to deliver the customer strategy and align and incentivise employees?  What metrics should be provided, and how should those metrics be balanced between ‘lag’ and ‘lead’, and financial’ and ‘non-financial data.

 Step 5:  Aligned systems and processes

Only at this stage should the team tackle the question of what systems and processes are required, what reporting tools are required and how the systems and processes underpin and enable the teams to deliver the customer strategy.  The technology infrastructure is a critical enabler to embed a change in ways of working, and are central to the change process, but must be implemented as part of a bigger customer strategy.

Step 6:  Training and follow up

For employees that have worked in a certain way for their entire career, the challenge of changing behaviours and ways of working must not be underestimated.  Key considerations are:

  • What is the ‘story’ that is being sold to the employees?  How is that story engaging and compelling?
  • How is the training delivered and embedded to make it stick?
  • How do we ensure each level of the organisation buys into and embeds the change?

Step 7:  Performance Management

To embed the change, a long term shift in the approach to performance management is required.  How can you use information and performance data to measure people against the appropriate behaviours, as well as results?

The ‘culture’ of an organisation is the aggregation of the behaviours of all employees.  Changing, and aligning those behaviours requires a comprehensive, and all-encompassing change programme.  Technology is the enabler at the heart of that programme, each one of these phases is critical to the success of a process to create global alignment.  Those companies that jump in to one or two of the stages, thinking that’s ‘job done’ will soon find the changes are not embedded and the ‘change process’ has been a costly failure.

Piers Robinson, biography

Piers has a passion for creating high performance business environments.  His philosophy of aligning the entire organisation to service the customer is founded upon his unique combination of blue chip sales management experience with PepsiCo and Diageo, alongside his strategic HR experience as the Global HR Director of Fitness First and organisational change consulting with a range of blue chip clients.  Piers has also developed his leadership skills as a Commonwealth Gold medal winning rowing coach and as a Visiting Fellow at Imperial College Business School.