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Oliver Wight EAME Blog

Healthcare: Is IBP worth the hassle?

19 November 2018


By Jerry Shanahan, Partner at Oliver Wight

This is a question which is occasionally posed by Healthcare companies, when they evaluate the effort involved in driving the monthly IBP process, versus the value extracted. At Oliver Wight, we find that the organisations that ask this question most often, are failing to correctly implement the IBP process to begin with.

It’s human nature to be easily seduced by the promise
of a quick-fix – who wouldn’t be tempted by maximum results for minimum effort? However, IBP is not a quick-fix – it’s anything but. IBP is a long-term plan for transformation, and although the solution may be straightforward, it’s not necessarily simple and often requires more effort than many organisations are willing to put in.

So, keen for some ‘quick wins’, some Healthcare companies get the process up and running quickly, rather than correctly. They make the mistake of focusing on the mechanics of the process, and neglect to allocate adequate focus on the more important aspect of change management of behaviours and discipline. Company cultural transformation is critical to IBP’s success, and is required to extract the full value from the process.

By not placing enough emphasis on the importance of people and behaviours, some organisations end up with a process that provides a holistic view of the business, but does not achieve the core principles of operation. Without principles such as “one set of numbers”, “roughly right rather than precisely wrong”, "truth as we know it” and “planning based on demonstrated performance”, the behaviours which create the maximum value from IBP do not exist.

This change of behaviours has to start with the Leadership Team. Leaders provide the vision for the business and by taking ownership of the process, the Leadership Team enables it to gain momentum and become that way the organisation operates. But for it to truly function as intended, not only does there need to buy-in from the Leadership team on how these key principles will be applied, they also must apply these principles to their own behaviour. Otherwise, the process will be labelled as ‘cumbersome’ and ‘just another improvement process’ dished out by those at the top, and likely sit on top of a whole set of other governance processes. Without a functioning IBP process, key decisions will not be made, there will be no proactive management of the business and organisations will not extract the expected value from the process.

Do you find your IBP process is too cumbersome versus the value being achieved ? It’s time to diagnose the problem and the solution starts with people and behaviours, from the very top of the organisation, down to the very bottom.

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