In the third of a five-part series, Mike Reed, Managing Partner at Oliver Wight Asia Pacific, explains why education is critical to ensuring Integrated Business Planning (IBP) is successfully implemented, sustained and evolved.
So who needs to be educated and what do they need to be educated about?
The Oliver Wight philosophy for success was created by Oliver Wight himself and has stood the test of time over 40 years. We refer to this as the Proven Path. It is the tried and trusted approach to managing change.
Some fundamentals of this approach include:
Recognising people are the key to success. Competitive advantage is gained through people and behaviours; not just from process and certainly not from tools.
Educating to drive behavioural change.
Creating internal experts to lead and drive change.
Developing multi-disciplinary teams.
Improving the business to world-class / best practice levels.
Hence, education is a core element of the Proven Path methodology.
The Proven Path has three distinct phases, each with its own requirement for education.
Phase 1: Establishing the leadership for change
In Part 1 of this series, we examined the role of leadership in championing the change by creating excitement, commitment and direction. To do this, the leadership team must understand, a common definition and a common language around the change required. This understanding must then become excitement that can be translated into action.
For IBP to get a good start in any company, the leadership team needs to be familiar with the core principles of IBP and how these would apply to their company.
The leadership team needs to have a solid understanding so that they can hold meaningful conversations at all levels.
Leadership needs to be committed to the IBP change in order for it to work. However, there is an old saying in Oliver Wight - "Commitment without understanding is a liability."
Phase 2 - Developing Internal Experts and Agents of Change
These are the people within the company that will redesign the processes and drive the implementation so they must have the necessary knowledge to do the job! All members of the project team require an in-depth understanding of best practice IBP, so that they can apply this to developing the processes that will work in their company. They also need to be able to describe IBP to others in the organisation, using language that makes sense to them.
Phase 3 - Ownership
In this final phase, the rest of the organisation must be brought on board to the change. Again, education is critical to their understanding. They need to know the reasons why the change is important, the key elements that they will be concerned with and how it will affect them. Following Cohen and Tichy's "Teachable Point of View" approach, we recommend that this education be delivered by the leadership team to their people supported by the newly minted experts and agents of change from the project team.
There is one final step to consider. Embedding education through the 3 phases of the project itself will be fundamental to ensuring effective implementation of IBP. However, success will only be realised if the new process is sustained and evolved over time through ongoing education. This will keep IBP alive and well in the company with the benefits continuing to be realised.
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