02 Feb 2022
Once a business has successfully deployed a business process, such as Integrated Tactical Planning, the real test begins. This is based on the ability of a company to sustain its process in order to be a true success story. If a business can master process sustainability it will reap the rewards with ongoing benefits, preventing regression over time and creating a solid platform for building further improvements. To achieve this goal, a business must have a disciplined approach and follow the five keys to sustainability:
1. Education and Training
When someone new starts with a company and is not familiar with a process, it is down to the business to educate and train them in the right way. When referring to training on the Integrated Tactical Planning process this should cover time fence management, strategy deployment and deployment processes, continuous improvement methodology and key metrics used to monitor business performance. Annual refresher sessions should also be factored into education to reenergize people, solicit feedback on improvements and ensure their knowledge is refreshed.
2. Communication and feedback
Routine communication is vital to ensure people know what is going on within a process and allow them to give feedback. Communication should be two-way with feedback mechanisms in place; during the weekly Integrated Tactical Planning meeting; during change requests; when decisions are being escalated; and when key metrics, root cause analysis and corrective actions are being published. This communication will allow businesses to actively look for opportunities to improve.
3. Formality and discipline
For sustainability to happen, policies and procedures are fundamental in creating formality to stop a business from regressing. This formality can capture knowledge, which is used for education and can guide employees who join the company. While the definition of policy and procedure can vary widely from company to company, the general guideline is that policies are the rules by which a business is run, signed off by the CEO and leadership team, and are the driving force behind improvement. Procedures outline the detailed steps and are managed by the process owner and users of the process – not the CEO or lead team. Lastly, there must be an effective document-control process in place to ensure policies and procedures are kept current, relevant and are of use to people.
4. Role descriptions aligned with process
Role descriptions are necessary for employees to know what is expected of them to ensure better outcomes. To align expectations, the key is to join the dots from the roles defined in a policy to what is identified in the role description. This assists in performance appraisals, because it is fairer (and easier) to appraise against specific roles (what a person does), responsibilities (how the person performs) and accountabilities (the measurement).
A useful technique for mapping the integration of roles with policies and procedures is to use a RACI chart. It succinctly captures the cross?functionality of the process and the expectations and deliverables by role via a table identifying who is responsible, who is accountable, who should be consulted, and who should be informed.
5. Reward and recognition approach aligned with role descriptions
It is hardly surprising that people are heavily influenced by the way they are recognized and rewarded, and if given the choice, people will always choose the path that will earn them the most recognition and reward. When applied in an Integrated Tactical Planning context, this means that process and behavioural expectations have been defined, they are aligned with policies and procedures, and then are used for people's performance appraisals. If the role description is not aligned or actively used, then there is a risk that people will not be committed to their roles in the process, because they receive neither recognition nor reward.
Having the discipline to adhere to a sustainability framework is what will set a business apart from its competition. By routinely capturing feedback, injecting education and refresher programmes, ensuring ongoing communication and not allowing the organization to be blindsided by believing the process is as good as it is ever going to be, your business will thrive.
This blog has been adapted from the book – Integrated Tactical Planning
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