Technology is dramatically lowering costs, making new products and services possible, and connecting communities. Expectations are rapidly increasing – across customers, employees, shareholders and broader society.
Organisations need to be much more than roles and reporting lines. They must address big questions about how they create value, automate and balance agility with process control. In parallel, they must build a work environment that attracts and retains the best talent.
Reacting to major market shifts
Applying technology to unleash people’s potential
Shaping a high-performance culture
Of late, the global economy has been subject to a plethora of disrupting forces, causing many companies to adapt their strategy and operating models.
These forces include the rapid automation and digitisation of processes, combined with major advances in analytical processing capability; the trend towards renewable energy and sustainable business practices, and the rapid adoption of ‘work‑from‑home’ and hybrid work models. Product development cycles are accelerating, and productive assets are extending their economic life substantially.
The accelerated pace of business, along with increasing reliance on new technologies, is causing many industries fundamentally to rethink the way in which they do business – at a minimum, to defend against competitive threats.
For many companies, this constitutes a steep challenge, as not only do you need to invest in new technology, but you also need to ensure that you have a workforce that can work with it. Typically, while fewer people may be required, they need more advanced skill sets, particularly in leadership, analytics, and in implementing and managing successive iterations of new tools. Clearly, a workforce that has been operating in a certain way for decades will find the prospect of such change quite daunting.
As clients navigate through required operating shifts, our strength is in guiding them to design and implement change programs that focus on the rapid adoption of new practices without leaving the humans behind.
Our experience suggests that it is better to evolve sustainably than attempt to ‘leap too far’ in ensuring that the change program generates lasting value for the business. In this sense, our approach is to optimise the operating model first before considering what organisational structure and performance model are the most suited to then running the new business.
As repetitive work becomes progressively more automated, leaders are faced with the choice of how to reallocate a valuable resource: their people’s time and expertise.
At the same time, running increasingly tech‑enabled operations has put many organisations into fierce competition for scarce skills – both directly in the technology space (particularly in data enablement and cyber security), and more indirectly in the leadership space (particularly the people skills required to lead diverse and creative teams).
This presents a pivotal opportunity to create an organisation that is robust to ongoing disruption: building an operating model around the right tools, the right skills and the right accountabilities can not only free the strongest performers in your existing team to do their best work, but also provide access to global talent pools.
The successful evolution of new ways of working requires significant leadership commitment, both to continuously raising the bar and to bringing their team on the journey. From the very start of the change program, it is critical to train and support leaders in driving the change, empowering them to create lasting impact.
Shaping a high‑performance culture requires moving beyond what an organisation is, to understanding what it is trying to achieve; over and above pure financial results.
Getting culture right delivers value for all stakeholder groups – from shareholders and employees to customers and society. In our increasingly interconnected world, with near real‑time communication, remote workforces and global markets, the cost of getting it wrong can have substantial consequences.
Culture can take years to build but can easily be eroded, often unconsciously. Therefore, we consider defining and monitoring culture a key element in achieving long‑term success and safeguarding against risks.
The most effective values address both strategy and social responsibility. Values, in turn, must be reflected in target behaviours across business functions and work stages, captured in an operating blueprint. A change plan, integrated into the overall transformation plan, must then address identified gaps to target behaviours.
Alignment and ownership across the organisation are essential in ensuring that the change lasts. Leadership teams must actively support their people to adopt new behaviours, loudly and proudly embodying the culture change.
‟No two organisations share the exact same set of strategic opportunities, so there is no simple template for how to set up for success. By working with the leadership team to define clearly what success means, we can then map out what it will take to get there, and then work across all levels of the organisation to shape and reinforce new ways of working.”
We partner with our clients to build high‑performing organisations. Our uniquely value‑based approach to organisation consulting looks ahead to execution and the measurable value it will create. We support our clients to focus on those changes that will deliver the greatest impact.
We believe that structure is an outcome, not a starting point. How an organisation deploys technology, how its people work together, how it approaches skill development, and how it coordinates activity across teams to deliver value – these are critical inputs to size and structure, and ultimately to accountability for effective strategy execution.
Australia and New Zealand
‟You need your structure to fit your operating model, and you need a good performance model to make it run. You also need to build the ability to be dynamic in the organisation. It is not something you do once and it is finished, it is an ongoing exercise.”