Two words to safeguard innovation, transformation and continuous improvement projects
Ideas, actions, projects, pillars, axes, programs, action plans, group tasks, work streams. It’s enough to give you a headache, which is not surprising. Transformation processes are on the rise, and are showing no sign of abating. For a successful outcome, management teams preach simplicity. What if two words could bring clarity?
The success of these projects is largely dependent on employee buy-in. But, in the same company, we use different words to talk about the same thing. We toss in a little French when the terms are already unclear in English. As well as disengaging teams, and depending on a given program’s priority, this hodgepodge of words compartmentalizes systems, limits communication and disperses teams’ energies.
An emerging trend lets you define a common and effective framework. And this framework can be reduced to two words: “initiative” and “typology” - of performance levers.
Drive all processes with one word: “initiative”
It’s the only word that can be used interchangeably to refer to a new idea, an opportunity to be seized, a problem to be solved, an action, a group task or a project.
- An idea doesn’t really engage and can seem remote from strategic challenges.
- A project can be intimidating: we think project manager, Gannt Chart and tight resource management.
- Group task suggests operations when it doesn’t directly evoke the chaos of work in progress.
- Corrective or preventative action may threaten the standard.
- An irritant, a word that does what it says on the tin, can irritate.
An initiative, the act of proposing or organising something for the first time, is a generic term that lets different projects move forward with collective and entrepreneurial interaction.
Within innovation, transformation or continuous improvement processes, the initiative is the most effective and consensual entry point that we observe among our clients. A blend of ideas that helps facilitate internal connections. Check out: Why the holistic approach should be a priority for your transformation initiatives?.
Frame innovation, transformation, and continuous improvement with one word: “typology” (of performance levers)
Typology allows you to define a single frame of reference for multiple performance factors.
For some time, business performance has been considered from a more all-inclusive perspective, beyond simply assessing financial profitability. In organisations we talk about organisational, strategic, competitive, environmental and social performance. We target short- and long-term performance that encompasses both existing potential and developing future competitive advantages. Dig a little deeper: A unified approach to competitiveness through Total Experience (TX) to bring together teams, clients and technologies.
Beware of performance typology overload
We constantly come across organisations with as many typologies as departments and programs. The Quality team talk about Net Promoter Score, while Marketing is all about Customer Experience, and the Sales team focuses on Customer Satisfaction. The risk is that everyone is working in their own corner and not getting a cross-functional overview of progress.
Using communication issues and team engagement as a reason, all too often, new projects are launched with a new, over-simplistic performance benchmark. The new reference is heaped onto an already fragile system, weakening it overall and putting other processes at risk.
A single typology is essential to breakdown all initiatives in the broadest sense - action plans, projects and other group tasks - depending on different performance factors at an organisational level. Using a recognised and exhaustive framework means you avoid defining a typology for every new program, as we highlighted in this infographic.
Performance in plural, within a cross-functional framework
If your performance typology is shared at every level, your innovation, continuous improvement or transformation projects can focus on one part of the performance framework, without squashing the others. There’s no need to come up with yet another framework and waste energy while teams take ownership of new priorities.
The exercise might seem difficult at first, but in reality, it’s pretty simple. And it will bring clarity to your organisation. Usually it involves combining existing frameworks, removing duplication and introducing coherence so that teams can take ownership.
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Initiative and typology - guarantee long-term consistency
With these two shared notions, each project can have its own rules of play and its own governance. However, cross-functional interpretation and bridge-building between projects remains possible when it makes sense, as is often the case.
Speaking with one voice brings colossal gains in engaging teams and maximising a project’s chance of success when launched.
IDhall is the culmination of these convictions acquired through on the ground experience. It supports innovation, continuous improvement and transformation initiatives effectively in companies of all sizes and in all sectors, at different levels of maturity.