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Oliver Wight EAME Blog

FC Company Integrated Business Planning (IBP) journey – Part 2

5 March 2019


By Liam Harrington and Anne Marie Kilkenny, Associates at Oliver Wight

We’re now 3 weeks in and getting the design teams underway. This is a very important task, as well as a critical role in developing an Integrated Business Planning process that will work effectively at FC. The design teams will also be change agents who will drive the new ways of working into the organisation. Each design team has cross functional representation. In our experience this is essential in order to deliver the best possible design for the business and it really helps improve communication and break down silo thinking. 

The business case is clear and has been signed off. The targeted improvements are compelling and have been communicated. Despite this, getting the right people with enough time to do the job properly has been a big challenge. In particular we’re having issues getting the right leaders for each design team. 

It is often hard to convince people in the organisation to free up the time to make this happen. It feels sometimes like we are in a vicious circle, they are so caught up dealing with short-term issues they cannot spend time developing the process that will help them manage the longer-term. Yet if they do not do this they will never break out of the short term firefighting and will continue to overpromise and under deliver to their key stakeholders. 

It really helps that we can refer to the Exec discussions in and communication from their Workshop where they said (and meant it!) that this is the most important thing to work on and is the priority for everyone. We are able to call this out when key people say they don’t have the time to lead or participate in one of the teams. Last week Rachel, the Consumer Divisional President committed to leading the Demand design team. This single action has sent a really strong message to the whole business. The organisation is now thinking much more seriously about how to carve out the space to make this happen.

We have made some progress after a challenging couple of weeks, but this is a difficult time for us. We have seen the “movie” of successful implementation many times in many different organizations. Though obviously all are not the same, there are keys to success, things you just have to do; things we know will not work; blind alleys that we know won't yield success and compromises that do more damage than either of the alternatives.

Here, as in many implementations, we have people who are seeing the movie for the first time and want to change the story line, edit out some of the more difficult bits and believe they will still get the desired outcome. Striking a balance between letting organizations find out the hard way and telling them what to do is difficult. Change is a “do it yourself” process, so if people are alienated by what they perceive as smart-ass consultants, then that helps no one. This is why education is so important - this allows for people to change how they think and decide for themselves. This does not stop voluntary mistakes but with the right relationships we can keep these to a minimum.

This organisation has a wealth of talent. Now that we are closer to having the right people leading and participating in the design teams we can start to look forward to what they will deliver. Sara and Alex, the CEO and CFO have been very clear in all of their communication that they have high expectations of the process and the value it will bring for FC. The next step now is to educate the design teams so they understand the process and what it takes to make it happen and share the understanding, expectation and excitement that the Leadership team now has. Then we can get into the application of excellence in the FC environment through the design process. We can expect some additional resistance points of course in the workshops.

Our expectations are high, the FC leadership team expectations are also high. Let’s get to it!

Read the story from the beginning here.

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