“The Reasons Why Many Change Programmes Fail”

Part 4

Lack of Short Term Goals

In this series I will be sharing my experiences of leading and facilitating large Transformational Change Programmes and Business Improvement initiatives to ensure you have the opportunity to maximise your programmes and ensure they don’t fail.

This month I’m looking at the fourth reason why significant programmes fail, that is “Lack of Short Term Goals”

It’s a frequent problem that planning by senior managers fails to include tangible, meaningful, easily defined short term goals that the workforce relates to.

The average person in the organisation will often struggle to comprehend where to contribute in saving £2m. (It’s a lottery win!), but will be first to suggest and implement ideas to reduce the stationery spend in the office by £1k.

In other newsletters I have mentioned having a Vision and key Business Objectives (See our OGSM process) but if these are cascaded down into bit size chucks implementation is severely compromised.

Below shows the position of short term goals in the bigger picture of a Transformation Programme:

The diagram shows that teams and individuals at the “coal face” need short term targets. A short term goal is something that can be accomplished within a few days, weeks or at most a couple of months. Maybe at a stretch a year, in a large organisation at the middle level of the management group, a short term project.

The best way to ensure short term goals are aligned is to work backward from the top level Vision. The OGSM process below is the key approach for this and the most successful I have ever used.

These are the key steps to achieve aligned short term goals from high level vision and high level objectives.

How the process works

  1. Senior managers develop a vision for business
  • This should be a “dream” of what the business could look like… what the perfect operation is!
  • Usually in 3-4 paragraphs
  • Should exclude target numbers and timescales. Should be timeless…(at least 5 years out)
  • It is NOT a slogan
  • Corporate direction and customer and business environment needs should be considered as inputs
  • Discussion, debate and reiteration is part of the process
    • An effective communication tool in its own right, but must not become “wallpaper”
  1. Senior managers produce “top tier” Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures (OGSM)
  • Look at the Vision for key themes
  • Develop these themes into key objectives (what do we want the business to achieve over the next 3-5 years?)
  • Should be no more then 4-5 objectives at this level
  • Agree hard target numbers for objectives. These now become the goals
  • Develop strategies for each objective…these are “HOW” are we going to achieve the objectives
  • Rule:- “Objectives are givens, but strategies are choices”
  • There can be more than one strategy for each objective
  • When strategies defined, agree a measure for each one.
  • This is to measure how well the business is delivering the strategies…Not a target
  • Ensure the O=words, G=numbers, S=words and M=numbers
  1. Cascade top tier OGSM to tier two
  • Senior managers decide how to divide business to identify tier two areas….site, function, location or business?
  • Each of these “areas” should be owned by a senior manager
  • The S and Ms from top tier are literally “cut and pasted” into O and G of tier two
  • These become the objectives and goals for these parts of the business
  • The senior manager then shares this with his/her own “team” and runs sessions to generate the strategies and measures for that area
  • People in the areas must be clear that the O and G from top tier are givens, but their creativity is required to generate the S and M
  • Some areas of the business may not feel able to contribute to all the top level objectives, but should look for opportunities
  1. Cascade tier two OGSM to tier three. This is getting to aligned, effective short term goals
  • Principles the same as top tier to tier two
  • Decide breakdown of areas for tier three…department, function, process or location
  • Cut and Paste S and M for above OGSM sheets
  • Communicate and run sessions with managers, team leaders, department heads, key operators etc. to create S and M for the area
  • At this level many of the recognised business tools and techniques would appear as strategies
  • Again the O and G must remain as “givens”
  1. Deploy down to individuals
  • Within tier three areas identify key personal…team leaders, managers, area leaders, six sigma green belts/yellow belts….etc. who will lead projects or teams to deliver the identified strategies
  • These people “charter” teams or their projects.
  • The charter process is like a mini OGSM…i.e… purpose, objectives and measures
  • Integrated training and development programmes should be introduced to train people in effective delivery of the strategies. This provides a meaningful reason for training.

If you would like to know more about NewLeaf International, OGSM and the work we do, please make contact for an informal chat.

Tel: 01905 425209

Email: headoffice@newleafinter.co.uk

Martin Gummery, Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd