Five moves to make during a digital transformation

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Digitalisering / Internet, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete on May 20th, 2019 by admin

Surveyed executives confirm that digital transformations rarely achieve success. But in those that do lie the structural elements that may help organizations overcome the odds.

Despite the abundance of digital and analytics transformations underway across the business landscape, few companies are achieving the results envisioned. Our latest McKinsey Global Survey on the topic confirms that the rate of success is alarmingly low.1 About eight in ten respondents say their organizations have begun digital transformations in recent years, but just 14 percent say their efforts have made and sustained performance improvements.2 What’s more, only 3 percent report complete success at sustaining their change. (Explore the survey results in our data visualization, “An interactive look at digital transformations.”)

That companies find difficulty turning in successful digital transformations is not surprising, since we know from previous research that digital transformations are harder than more traditional ones to get right. But a look at the structure of digital and analytics transformations points to five key moves at particular stages of a transformation that set successful change efforts apart. These actions suggest ways that other organizations can plan and execute digital transformations successfully.

For starters, respondents who report the greatest levels of success in pursuing digital transformations say their organizations ruthlessly focus on a handful of digital themes tied to performance outcomes. In defining their transformations’ scope, these successful organizations boldly establish enterprise-wide efforts and build new businesses. They also create an adaptive design that allows the transformation strategy and resource allocation to adjust over time. In addition, they adopt agile execution practices and mind-sets by encouraging risk taking and collaboration across parts of the organization. Moreover, in successful efforts, leadership and accountability are crystal clear for each portion of the transformation.

Ruthlessly focus on a clear set of objectives

When considering a response to digital disruptions, organizations face many critical choices. Should they transform their existing business model or build a new one? Should they drive down costs or focus on customer engagement? Which areas of the business will require more investment in digital initiatives, and which will need to defund their own initiatives to free up resources for the ones that perform well or reflect higher-priority objectives? Getting leaders to agree upon the best way forward can be challenging, but the survey results suggest a need for consensus.Would you like to learn more about McKinsey Digital?Visit our Digital Organization page

With successful digital transformations, respondents say their organizations keep efforts focused on a few digital themes—that is, the high-level objectives for the transformation, such as driving innovation, improving productivity, or reshaping an end-to-end customer journey—that are tied to business outcomes, rather than pursuing many different agendas (Exhibit 1). At successful organizations, accountability for those objectives also spans the organization. These respondents are 3.7 times more likely than others to report a shared sense of accountability for meeting their transformations’ objectives. They also say their organizations have been clear about the financial effects of their initiatives; for example, they estimate impact based on the company’s current business momentum and models of near- and long-term scenarios.

Exhibit 1

Be bold when setting the scope

We know from previous research that digital strategies should be bold in magnitude and scope,3and the survey results show that this also holds true for digital transformations. The successful digital and analytics transformations are about 1.5 times more likely than others to be enterprise-wide in scale (Exhibit 2). This result aligns with earlier research, which found that companies making digital moves often use new digital technologies at scale to capture the full benefits from their technology investments.4 Respondents at successful organizations are also 1.4 times more likely than others to report the creation of new digital businesses during their transformations.

Exhibit 2

Create an adaptive design

The fast pace at which digital drives change explains why so many companies are launching digital transformations and why the transformations themselves must be flexible. Defining a multiyear transformation’s investment requirements and performance targets up front—and not revisiting them as the transformation progresses—has perhaps never been a sound approach. But digital transformations require monthly, if not weekly, adjustments. We see this adaptability ingrained in the design of successful transformations: respondents reporting success are almost three times more likely than others to say their efforts involve at least monthly adjustments to their strategic plans, based on business leaders’ input on the state of the transformation (Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 3

Along with the need for adaptable transformation targets, flexible talent allocation is a differentiator in a transformation’s success. Respondents at successful organizations are more than twice as likely as others to strongly agree that their allocation of talent to digital initiatives has been dynamic during their transformations. Finally, a larger share of respondents reporting success say their organizations have reallocated their operating expenditures to fund the transformation. Earmarking resources for initiatives that span organizational silos can help ensure that a transformation is properly funded and that initiatives aren’t partially funded by one part of the organization only to be deprioritized by another.

Adopt agile execution approaches and mind-sets

Just as the transformation’s design must be adaptable, so must the execution of its initiatives. Successful digital and analytics transformations are likelier than others to employ more agile ways of working, such as encouraging risk taking, innovation, and collaboration across parts of the business, during a transformation.5 Agility’s importance to transformation success is clear when we look at the agile characteristics of companies’ organizational culture. Respondents at successful organizations are more than twice as likely as their peers elsewhere to strongly agree that employees are rewarded for taking risks of an appropriate level and 2.6 times likelier to say their organizations reward employees for generating new ideas (Exhibit 4). Additionally, these respondents are three times likelier to say employees collaborate effectively across business units, functions, and reporting lines. These findings align with previous research on successful digital cultures, which found that being risk averse and too siloed often prevents incumbents from realizing business impact from their digital activities.

Exhibit 4

Of course, organizations can rely on employees to be innovative, take appropriate risks, and work collaboratively only if they have the right digital talent. Talent is another aspect in which successful digital and analytics transformations differ notably from the rest. A larger share of success-group respondents than their peers strongly agree that their organizations are focused on attracting and developing highly talented individuals. They are 1.8 times likelier than others to say their organizations have hired new employees with strong digital and analytics capabilities during their transformations. What’s more, these respondents report that an average of 53 percent of employees have been trained in new digital and analytics capabilities since their transformations began—1.7 times greater than the share of employees reported at other organizations.

Make leadership and accountability crystal clear

Who owns the digital and analytics transformation is often a hotly contested question, since the initiatives that organizations pursue will affect how company resources are prioritized and might even change the entire direction of the organization. A look at responses describing leadership roles shows significant differences between the success group and others in how certain roles lead the transformation’s strategy and its execution. Respondents reporting successful transformations are likelier than others to say their leaders—from the board and CEO down to the leaders of specific initiatives—engage materially in the efforts (Exhibit 5). For example, leaders at these organizations are more likely to communicate their transformations’ progress regularly to the markets. There also is greater clarity at successful organizations about who is responsible for which portion of the transformation, whether it’s the ownership of a specific initiative or a particular stage in the process.

Exhibit 5

Clarity about ownership is critical, since responsibility often shifts among different groups as the digital transformation progresses, and the handoffs must be well-defined. The survey results show how successful companies manage ownership over time during their digital and analytics transformations (Exhibit 6). For setting strategy and measuring impact, the largest shares of respondents from successful organizations say responsibility lies with the corporate strategy function, which has visibility across the entire business and broader ecosystem. By contrast, respondents at all other organizations are more likely than the success-group respondents to say individual business units or functions are responsible for these steps. Meanwhile, respondents from successful organizations say business units most often oversee the actual execution of initiatives—that is, building and refining them.

Exhibit 6

Looking ahead

While most respondents say their organizations have not fully sustained the improvements made during transformations, lessons can be learned from the approaches of the organizations that did succeed. The results from those efforts point to moves companies can make to keep their transformations on a path toward success:

  • Raise the bar on leadership alignment and commitment. The broader scope of successful transformations further underscores the importance of having buy-in and alignment across the full organization to keep efforts coordinated and prioritized. Lack of leadership alignment around objectives often leads to many subscale and misaligned initiatives. One way to encourage commitment to a transformation’s initiatives is to show leaders, using pilots and proof-of-concept exercises, that the strategy will work, followed by investment in a single cross-cutting initiative. Building these proof points can galvanize support for the change effort. The same is true of increasing leaders’ digital fluency. These steps help make leaders comfortable with dedicating operating and capital expenditures at an enterprise level, which shows executive commitment and reduces the risk of wasting resources on incomplete initiatives.
  • Build in flexibility with clearly defined handoffs. Not only are successful transformations more likely than others to span large parts of the organization, but the ownership of each transformation will evolve over time as it moves from ideation through execution. The results suggest that there must be a clear plan for how these shifts in accountability will occur. Handoffs and overlap are notorious friction points that are critical to manage and define. Leaders should gather the pertinent groups across the business and provide a clear plan for each transition, to avoid duplication, misalignment, and dropped balls.
  • Enforce survival of the fittest among digital initiatives. Like ownership, funding for initiatives requires clarity: there should be clear criteria for reallocation of resources, whether operating or capital expenditures, based on performance. All digital initiatives should be expected to meet their targets to continue to receive funding. When initiatives fail to do so, organizations should defund them without delay to free up capital for new ones and quickly move on to the next approach. Seeking out M&A and partnership opportunities to quickly build out missing capabilities for new initiatives has been shown to be an important differentiator for success,6  and this seems likely to continue to hold true as the pace of digital transformations continues to increase.

About the author(s)

The survey content and analysis were developed by Jonathan Deakin, a partner in McKinsey’s London office; Laura LaBerge, a senior expert in the Stamford office; and Barbara O’Beirne, an associate partner in the Dublin office.

They wish to thank Jacques Bughin, Tanguy Catlin, Oisin O’Sullivan, and Soyoko Umeno for their contributions to this work.

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Three keys to faster, better decisions

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on May 3rd, 2019 by admin

Decision makers fed up with slow or subpar results take heart. Three practices can help improve decision making and convince skeptical business leaders that there is life after death by committee.

Two years ago, we wrote about how it was simultaneously the best and worst of times for decision makers in senior management. Best because of more data, better analytics, and clearer understanding of how to mitigate the cognitive biases that often undermine corporate decision processes. Worst because organizational dynamics and digital decision-making dysfunctions were causing growing levels of frustration among senior leaders we knew.

Since then, we’ve conducted research to more clearly understand this balance, and the results have been disquieting. A survey we conducted recently with more than 1,200 managers across a range of global companies gave strong signs of growing levels of frustration with broken decision-making processes, with the slow pace of decision-making deliberations, and with the uneven quality of decision-making outcomes. Fewer than half of the survey respondents say that decisions are timely, and 61 percent say that at least half the time spent making them is ineffective. The opportunity costs of this are staggering: about 530,000 days of managers’ time potentially squandered each year for a typical Fortune 500 company, equivalent to some $250 million in wages annually.1

Managers at a typical Fortune 500 company may waste more than 500,000 days a year on ineffective decision making.

The reasons for the dissatisfaction are manifold: decision makers complain about everything from lack of real debate, convoluted processes, and an overreliance on consensus and death by committee, to unclear organizational roles, information overload (and the resulting inability to separate signal from noise), and company cultures that lack empowerment. One healthcare executive told us he sat through the same 90-minute proposal three times on separate committees because no one knew who was authorized to approve the decision. A pharma company hesitated so long over whether to pounce on an acquisition target that it lost the deal to a competitor. And a chemicals company CEO we know found himself devoting precious time to making hiring decisions four levels down the organization.

In our previous article, we proposed solutions that centered around categorizing decision types and organizing quite different processes against them. Our latest research confirms the importance of this approach, and it also highlights for each major decision category a noteworthy practice—sometimes stimulating debate, for example, while in other cases empowering employees—that can yield outsize improvements in effectiveness. When improvements in these areas are coupled with an organizational commitment to implement decisions—embracing not undercutting them—companies can achieve lasting improvements in both decision quality and speed. Indeed, faster decisions are often a happy outcome of these efforts. Our survey showed a strong correlation between quick decisions and good ones, suggesting that a commonly held assumption among executives—namely, “We can have good decisions or fast ones, but not both”—is flawed.

Three fixes that make a difference

Avoiding life on the bubble

Of the four decision categories we identified two years ago, three matter most to senior leaders. Big-bet decisions (such as a possible acquisition) are infrequent but high risk and have the potential to shape the future of the company; these are generally the domain of the top team and the board. Cross-cutting decisions (such as a pricing decision), which can be high risk, happen frequently and are made in cross-functional forums as part of a collaborative, end-to-end process. Delegated decisions are frequent but low risk and are effectively handled by an individual or working team, with limited input from others. (The fourth category, ad hoc decisions, which are infrequent and low stakes, is not addressed in this article.) Clearly, it is important that these types of decisions happen at the appropriate level of the company (CEOs, for example, shouldn’t make decisions that are best delegated). And yet, just as clearly, many decisions rise up much higher in the company than they should (see sidebar, “Avoiding life on the bubble”).

Even those businesses that do make decisions at the right level, however, complain about slow and bad outcomes. The evidence of our survey—and our experience watching executives grapple with this—suggests that while the best practices for making better decisions are interrelated, there’s nonetheless one standout practice that makes the biggest difference for each type of decision.

Big bets—facilitate productive debate

Big-bet decisions can be future-shapers for a company, the most important decisions leaders make. And they often receive much less scrutiny than they should.

The dynamic inside many decision meetings doesn’t help. It’s as if there is an unspoken understanding that the meeting should proceed like a short, three-act play. In the first act, the proposal is delivered in a snappy PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the relevant information; in the second, a few tough yet perfunctory questions are asked of the presenter and answered well; in the final act, resolution arrives in the form of an undramatic “yes” that may seem preordained. Little substantive discussion takes place.

In a global agricultural company, for example, the members of the executive committee tended to speak up only if their particular area of the business was being discussed. The tacit assumption was that people wouldn’t intrude on colleagues’ area of responsibility. Consequently, when the top team moved to decide on a proposed new initiative in Europe, the leaders from the US business stayed silent, even though they had years of hard-won experience in marketing and cross-selling similar agricultural products to those new ones under discussion. Nonetheless, the decision was made, the products launched—and sales lagged expectations. Later, the European sales force was frustrated to learn their US counterparts had relevant experience that would have helped.

Whether the cause of such dynamics is siloed thinking or a consensus-driven culture (of which, more later), the effect on decision making is decidedly negative. Bet-the-company decisions require productive interactions and healthy debate that balance inquiry and advocacy. In fact, the presence of high-quality interactions and debate was the factor most predictive of whether a respondent in our survey also said their company made good, fast big-bet decisions?

Leaders can encourage debate by helping overcome the “conspiracy of approval” approach to group discussion. Simple behavior changes can help. For example, consider starting the decision meeting by reminding participants of the overall organizational goals the meeting supports, in order to reframe the subsequent discussions. Then assign someone to argue the case for, and against, a potential decision or the various options under consideration. Similarly, ask the leaders of business units, regions, or functions to examine the decision from outside their own point of view. A rotating devil’s advocate role can bolster critical thinking, while premortem exercises (in which you start by assuming the initiative in question turned out to be a failure, and then work back for likely explanations) can pressure test for weak spots in an argument or plan.

The objective should be to explore assumptions and alternatives beyond what’s been presented and actively seek information that might disconfirm the group’s initial hypotheses. Creating a safe space for this is vital; at first it can be helpful for the most senior participants to ask questions instead of expressing opinions and to actively encourage dissenting views. Productive debate is essentially a form of conflict—a healthy form—so senior executives will need to devote time to building trust and giving permission to dissent, irrespective of the organizational hierarchy in the room.

A final note of caution: minimizing the number of debate participants to speed up decision making could harm decision quality. As many studies show, greater diversity brings greater collective wisdom and expertise, along with better performance. This is also true in decision making. To ensure a faster process, companies should manage the expectations of debate participants by limiting their voting rights and sticking to other agreed-upon processes, as we explore next.

Cross-cutting decisions—understand the power of process

An executive we know joked during a meeting that “a committee is born every day in this organization.” Just then, another executive nearby looked up from his computer to announce he had just been invited to join a new committee. The comedic timing of the line was perfect, but it wasn’t a joke.

Or perhaps the joke is on the rest of us? We often find companies maintaining a dozen or more senior-executive-level committees and related support committees, all of which recycle the same members in different configurations. The impetus for this is understandable—cross-cutting decisions, in particular, are the culmination of smaller decisions taking place elsewhere in the company. And cross-cutting decisions were the ones that executives in our survey had the most exposure to, regardless of their seniority.

Yet when it comes to cross-cutting decisions (involving, for example, pricing, sales, and operations planning processes or new-product launches), only 34 percent of respondents said that their organization made decisions that were both good and timely.

There are many reasons cross-cutting decisions go crosswise. Leaders may not have visibility on who is—or should be—involved; silos make it fiendishly hard to see how smaller decisions aggregate into bigger ones; there may be no process at all, or one that’s poorly understood.

Solving for cross-cutting decisions, therefore, starts with commitment to a well-coordinated process that helps clarify objectives, measures, targets, and roles. In practical terms, this might mean drawing a bright line between the portion of a meeting dedicated to decisions from the parts of a meeting meant to inform or discuss. Any recurring meetings (particularly topic-focused ones) where the nature of the decision isn’t clear are ripe for a rethink—and quite possibly for elimination.

Good meeting discipline is also a must. For example, a mining company realized that its poor decision making was related to the lack of rigor with which executives ran important meetings. As a result, the top team developed a “meeting manifesto” that spelled out required behaviors, starting with punctuality. The new rules also required leaders to clarify their decision rights in advance, and to be more deliberate about managing the number of participants so that meetings wouldn’t become bloated, on the one hand, or lack diverse views, on the other.

The manifesto was printed on laminated posters that were put in all meeting rooms, and when the CEO was seen personally reinforcing the new rules, the news spread quickly that there was a new game afoot. As the new practices took hold, the benefits became apparent. In pulse-check surveys conducted over the course of the following year, the company’s measures of meeting effectiveness and efficiency went up by almost 50 percent.

A social-network analysis, meanwhile, allowed a global consumer company to identify time wasting around decision making on a heroic scale—as many as 45 percent of interactions were found to be potentially inefficient, and 23 percent of the individuals involved in an average interaction added no value. In response, the company broke down complex processes into key decisions, clarified roles and responsibilities for each one, defined inputs and outputs for each process, and made one person accountable for each outcome. After conducting pilots in several countries, executives used two-day workshops to roll out the process redesign. The resulting benefits included a significant financial boost (as employees used the freed-up time in higher-value ways), as well as an arguably more important boost in employees’ morale and sense of work–life balance, which in turn has helped the company attract and retain talent.

Delegated decisions—make empowerment real

Delegated decisions are generally far narrower in scope than big-bet decisions or cross-cutting ones. They are frequent and relatively routine elements of day-to-day management. But given the multiplier effect, there is a lot of value at stake here, and when the organization’s approach is flawed it’s costly.

In our experience, ensuring that responsibility for delegated decisions is firmly in the hands of those closest to the work typically delivers faster, better, and more efficiently executed outcomes, while also enhancing engagement and accountability.

Our research supports this view. Survey respondents who report that employees at their company are empowered to make decisions and receive sufficient coaching from leaders were 3.2 times more likely than other respondents to also say their company’s delegated decisions were both high quality and speedy.

A vital aspect of empowerment, we find, involves creating an environment where employees can “fail safely.” For example, a European financial-services company we know started a series of monthly, after-work gatherings where leaders could meet over drinks to discuss failure stories and the lessons they’d learned from them. The meetings were purposely kept informal, but top management nonetheless established ground rules to ensure that the stories would be meaningful (not trivial) and that employees telling the stories would be protected. The meetings started small but became popular quickly. Today, a typical session includes 40 to 50 of the company’s top 150 leaders. The climate of trust and openness the sessions encourage has translated into better ideas, including practical lessons that have helped the company speed up its release of new products.

As this example suggests, empowerment means not only giving employees a strong sense of ownership and accountability but also fostering a bias for action, especially in situations where time is of the essence. That’s easier said than done if there’s no penalty for avoiding a decision or sanction for escalating issues unnecessarily.

Executives who get delegated decisions right are clear about the boundaries of delegation (including what’s off-limits and how and where to escalate what’s beyond an individual’s competence), ensure that those they entrust with decision-making authority have the relevant skills and knowledge to act (and if not, provide them with the opportunity to acquire those capabilities), and explicitly make people accountable for their areas of decision-making responsibility (including spelling out the consequences for those who fail to respond to the challenge). This often means senior leaders engaging in conversations and dialogue, encouraging those newly empowered to seek help, and in the early days subtly and invisibly monitoring the performance of those participating in “delegated” forums so as not to appear to be taking over. Leaders might want to start mentoring their reports with a small “box” of accountability, slowly expanding it as more junior executives grow in confidence.

For leaders looking to become better delegators, it’s not a question of choosing between a style that is “hands-on” or “hands-off,” or between one that is “controlling” or “empowering.” There’s a balance to be struck. Root out micromanagers who are both hands-on and controlling, as well as “helicopter autocrats” who are hands-off and controlling, occasionally swooping in, barking orders, and disappearing again. But the laissez-faire executive—generally too hands-off, delegating but leaving those with the responsibility too much to their own devices (sometimes with disastrous results)—is also a danger. The ideal in our experience are hands-on and delegating leaders who coach, challenge, and inspire their reports, are there to help those who need help, and stay well clear of actually making the decision.

After the decision: Seek commitment, not unanimous agreement

In his April 2017 letter to Amazon shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the concept of “disagree and commit” with respect to decision making. It’s good advice that often goes overlooked. Too frequently, executives charged with making decisions at the three levels discussed earlier leave the meeting assuming that once there’s been a show of hands—or nods of agreement—the job is done. Far from it.

Indeed, any agreement voiced in the absence of a strong sense of collective responsibility can prove ephemeral. This was true at a US-based global financial-services company, where a business-unit leader initially agreed during a committee meeting not to change the fee structure for a key product but later reversed course. The temptation was too great: the fee changes helped the leader’s own business unit—albeit ultimately at the expense of other units whose revenues were cannibalized.

One of the most important characteristics of a good decision is that it’s made in such a way that it will be fully and effectively implemented. That requires commitment, something that is not always straightforward in companies where consensus is a strong part of the culture (and key players acquiesce reluctantly) or after big-bet situations where the vigorous debate we recommended earlier has taken place. At a mining company, real commitment proved difficult because the culture valued “firefighting” behavior. In staff meetings, company executives would quickly agree to take on new tasks because it made them look good in front of the CEO, but they weren’t truly committed to following through. It was only when the leadership team changed this dynamic by focusing on follow-up, execution risks, and bandwidth constraints that execution improved.

While it’s important to devote enough resources to help propel follow-through, and it’s also important to assign accountability for getting things done to an individual or at most a small group of individuals, the biggest challenge is to foster an “all-in” culture that encourages everyone to pull together. That often means involving as many people as possible in the outcome—something that, paradoxically, in the end will enable the decision to be implemented more speedily.

While it’s important to assign accountability for getting things done to an individual, the biggest challenge is to foster an “all-in” culture that encourages everyone to pull together.

Follow the value

There are many keys to better decision making, but in our experience focusing on the three practices discussed here—and on the commitment to implement decisions once taken—can reap early and substantial dividends. This presupposes, of course, that the decisions leaders make at all levels of the organization reflect the company’s strategy and its value-creation agenda. That may seem obvious, but it bears repeating because all too often it simply doesn’t happen. Take the manufacturing company whose operations managers, faced with calls from the sales team to raise production in response to anticipated customer demand, had to consider whether they should spend unbudgeted money on overtime and hiring extra staff. With their bonuses linked exclusively to cost targets, they faced a dilemma. If they took the decision to increase costs and new orders failed to materialize, their remuneration would suffer; if the sales team managed to win new business, the sales representatives would get the kudos, but the operations team would receive no additional credit and no additional reward. Not surprisingly, the operations managers, in their weekly planning meeting, opted not to take the risk, rejected a proposal to set up a new production line, and thereby hindered (albeit inadvertently) the group’s higher growth ambitions. This poor-quality—and in our view avoidable—outcome was the direct result of siloed thinking and a set of narrow incentives in conflict with the group’s broader strategy and value-creation agenda. The underlying management challenge is part of a dynamic we see repeated again and again: when senior executives fail to explore—and then explain—the context and underlying strategic intentions associated with various targets and directives they set, they make unintended consequences inevitable. Worse, the lack of clarity makes it very difficult for colleagues further down in the organization to use their judgment to see past the silos and remedy the situation.

Designing an organization to deliver its strategic objectives—setting a clear mission, aligning incentives—is a big topic and outside the scope of this article. But if different functions and teams do not feel a connection to the bigger picture, the likelihood of executives making good decisions, whether or not they adopt the ideas discussed earlier, is significantly diminished.

Source: McKinsey.com, April 2019
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About the authors: Aaron De Smet is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Houston office, Gregor Jost is a partner in the Vienna office, and Leigh Weiss is a senior expert in the Boston office.

The authors wish to thank Iskandar Aminov, Alison Boyd, Elizabeth Foote, and Kanika Kakkar for their contributions to this article.

Shifting the board’s focus from compliance to engagement

Posted in Board work / Styrelsearbete on March 4th, 2019 by admin

Board members today must grapple with increasingly complex matters of strategy and risk. In response, many companies are rethinking board meetings to enhance alignment, energize the board and elevate its performance.

In a conversation with a board chair and a CEO following a successful board search, we asked if their recently completed board review had surfaced any issues regarding the chair of the governance committee. The board chair was a bit surprised and asked what prompted our question. We then discussed what “good” looked like for a governance committee chair, and compared that benchmark of behaviors with the experience and inclinations of the incumbent. It quickly became evident that the board review they had undergone had relied too heavily on a simple questionnaire, which, to make matters worse, was analyzed in a cursory way by an outside firm. This “check the box” compliance-oriented exercise rarely leads to a meaningful improvement of board effectiveness and engagement.

Given that today’s investors scrutinize a company’s board of directors as closely as its financial results, boards increasingly are seeking more thorough board reviews to help ensure that their team interactions and processes are aligned. A proper board effectiveness review goes beyond the standard questionnaire and is centered on individual behaviors and team dynamics and interactions.

Each board has its own set of issues, depending on the history, structure and personalities involved. Even so, in the more than 550 board effectiveness reviews that Egon Zehnder has conducted, we have seen a common challenge emerge: The ongoing struggle to stay focused on strategy and not get bogged down with administrative and procedural matters. And it is a struggle: As more and more topics, from digitalization to diversity, are added to the board’s agenda, it becomes increasingly difficult even to track the various issues that directors must monitor, let alone for directors to step back and consider those issues in a larger context. The reality is that the board’s processes and information flow can unwittingly be at cross purposes with a strategic perspective. These are the sorts of derailers that a thorough board effectiveness review can uncover, while also putting in place mechanisms for ongoing, rather than periodic, feedback.

The board meeting today: Documentation and the agenda

Consider how the typical two-day board meeting unfolds. Approximately two weeks before the meeting, members receive the agenda and supporting materials to review. In the hard-copy era, the thickness of the board book was limited by the size of the FedEx box it was shipped in. Today, however, most companies use digital board books accessed through tablets. These applications are rightly heralded for their convenience, but they also remove any physical constraints on the amount of material distributed to the board. As a result, we have found that board members are inundated with reports, presentation decks and miscellaneous analyses on everything from investor relations to cybersecurity to safety compliance. Board members are sometimes surprised to learn that they contribute to this problem by their own requests for additional information. This is why some governance experts have sounded an alarm on a “boardroom information crisis”; it becomes harder and harder for even the most diligent board members to absorb, digest and reflect on all the material they are given. Managing the deluge of data crowds out the time needed to ask important questions. The board book material, instead of supporting the agenda, can detract from the agenda items truly needing attention.

We see this when we examine how typical board meetings unfold. The first day is frequently devoted to committee meetings. The board then gathers for dinner and then convenes the next day to work through the board agenda. At some point in the afternoon the meeting adjourns and everyone departs.

On its face, there is nothing objectionable about this structure, but a better approach is to recognize that significant amounts of committee work today can be conducted by teleconference, allowing the committee to work through many issues before the board meeting. This is not to say that the entire committee agenda can be dealt by phone, but that there are many ways of being more effective in filtering what requires the attention of the full board.

The board meeting reconsidered: Deep dives and discussion

What would a board meeting look like if the meeting were designed to maximize meaningful strategic discussion? Two to three weeks before the board meeting, a much thinner board book would be distributed. It would start with a one- or two-page letter from the CEO and board chair. The CEO would summarize the state of the company and frame key issues, and the chairman would outline the agenda for the upcoming board meeting, The agenda would include more time for discussion and debate, and be centered on a select number of strategic issues, sizable operating issues and major risk items. The supporting material in the board book would provide background on those topics. Of course, other administrative matters will still need to be discussed, but the majority of time would center on priorities that could unlock value.

For example, instead of reviewing in detail an investor relations presentation that has already been vetted and approved by the CFO and CEO, the board might be asked to consider the key issues and concerns that shareholders and analysts have most recently surfaced and flagged. Instead of the company’s latest 100-page sustainability report, the quarterly board book might include a summary of metrics and performance indicators while reserving a full-board “deep dive” discussion for once a year.

Committee chairs would conduct many agenda items by conference call. When the directors arrive on the first day, instead of breaking into committees, the entire board would meet for a detailed briefing by the CEO on the most pressing matters. A working dinner would follow, during which directors would discuss specific topics and could begin to identify points of agreement and divergence. The next day, the board would meet for a frank discussion to stretch and challenge assumptions and to work toward decisions. While some of the board meeting will have to be devoted to procedural matters, the board’s major focus is kept on a higher, strategic plane. The board chair of one of the world’s largest public companies recently shared with us his realization that when he was CEO and chairman of a prior company, he didn’t devote sufficient time to the board agenda. Only later did he realize that getting the agenda right has a sizable impact on board performance.

In an earlier day, it was sufficient for boards to monitor management’s performance, approve major decisions and ensure conformity with a much smaller set of regulations. But in today’s much more complex environment, it is not enough for boards to be stewards; they, like management, need to create value. The board does this when it focuses on its role as advisor and resource to management, rather than its mere overseer. Rethinking board meetings, considering team dynamics and providing open feedback to board members can align the board with this goal. That, in turn, will energize the board and elevate its performance.




Source: Egon Zehnder, June 2017
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Ge styrelserna mer betalt

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on January 14th, 2019 by admin

Styrelseledamöterna i börsbolag behöver få högre ersättningar och generellt bättre villkor, anser börsens fjärde största svenska ägare AMF.

”Vi är i behov av bra personer som ställer upp och bidrar med sin kompetens i styrelser. Därför måste vi göra det mer attraktivt”, säger Anders Oscarsson, aktiechef på AMF.

Valberedningsarbetet inför vårens stämmosäsong är inne i ett avgörande skede. I en intervju med Di slår nu AMF-chefen Anders Oscarsson, som sitter i åtta tunga valberedningar, fast att trenden är att det blir svårare att hitta kompetenta styrelseledamöter.

För att bredda rekryteringsbasen måste villkoren för dem som väljer att ingå i börsbolagsstyrelser förbättras, enligt AMF-chefen som i mer än ett decennium har suttit i storbolags valberedningar.

”Mitt mål är att det ska bli attraktivare att sitta i styrelser. Då kan flera se styrelsearbete som en alternativ karriär eller vara beredda att lägga sin fritid på ett styrelseuppdrag för att det är roligt och ersättningen är bra”, säger Anders Oscarsson.

Han pekar på tre orsaker till att det har blivit svårare att rekrytera styrelseledamöter.

Den första är att mer omfattande regelverk och att ett större personligt ansvar har gjort det mindre lockande att sitta i styrelser.

Den andra är att högre krav i styrelsearbetet har medfört att styrelseproffs har färre uppdrag än tidigare.

”Den tredje orsaken är att valberedningarna har blivit mer professionaliserade på så sätt att en person som inte levererar får lämna styrelsen. För några år sedan gav valberedningen en styrelsemedlem som inte levererade chansen några år till”, säger Anders Oscarsson.

Varför har valberedningarna blivit hårdare?

”En styrelse blir allt viktigare som kravställare mot vd och verkställande ledning. Därför blir det också mer betydelsefullt för oss som förvaltar andra människors pengar att hitta bra styrelseledamöter som har rätt kompetenser, tid, kraft och engagemang”, säger Anders Oscarsson.

Han slår fast att en större höjning, jämfört med tidigare år, av arvodena är en viktig del för att göra det mer attraktivt att sitta styrelser. Men han poängterar att även andra förändringar bör genomföras.

Ett generellt problem, enligt AMF, är att villkoren för styrelseledamöter är utformade på ett sätt så de snarast passar ekonomiskt oberoende före detta direktörer och inte personer i karriären som försörjer sig på styrelseuppdrag.

”När man sätter sig i en styrelse i dag får man oftast arvodet ett år i efterskott. Flera bolag bör överväga att göra utbetalningar månadsvis eller kvartalsvis. Personer som inte är ekonomiskt oberoende utan försörjer sig på styrelsearbete behöver löpande ersättningar”, säger Anders Oscarsson.

Han konstaterar att styrelsearvodena inte heller är belåningsbara och framför allt inte pensionsgrundande.

”Det sätter dem som hoppar av sin operationella karriär för att bli styrelseproffs i en dålig position. Redan för tio år sedan när vi skulle öka kvinnoandelen i styrelserna var det flera kvinnor som vi rekryterade som slutade sina operationella jobb och satte sig i fem sex styrelser. Jag tycker man kan säga att många av dem gick i en kvinnofälla”, säger Anders Oscarsson.

”För det första för att man lämnade det operativa och inte var lika intressant tio år senare när man börjat tappa sina affärskontakter. För det andra har man inte tjänat in pension under den här perioden och för det tredje har man inte fått tillräckligt höga arvorden för i många fall mycket välutfört arbete.”

Hur mycket borde styrelsearvodena generellt höjas på vårens stämmor?

”De senaste tre fyra åren har arvodet till styrelseledamöter höjts med cirka 2 procent per år. Jag tror att höjningarna behöver bli högre i år i många fall. Vi talar snarare om 5 än 2 procent.”

”Dessutom ser jag att ersättningen till Revisionsutskottet kommer att stiga då arbetet för denna roll har blivit betydligt mer omfattande.”

AMF:s bedömning är att den procentuella höjningen av styrelsearvoden blir allra högst i mindre bolag.

”I mindre bolag som har haft styrelseledamöter som har fakturerat sitt arvode, vilket inte längre är möjligt sedan i våras, kommer nog ökningen i procent bli hög.”

Är det verkligen bra för det långsiktiga värdeskapandet för era pensionssparare att arvodena höjs mer än de senaste åren?

”Ja. Vi förvaltar andra människors pengar och vi är i behov av att det finns tillgång på bra personer som ställer upp och bidrar med sin kompetens i styrelser. Därför måste vi göra det attraktivt att sitta i styrelser, vilket också innebär att vi måste höja arvoden.”

”Styrelsen är nästan bolagets billigaste del. Styrelserna tillför mycket specialistkunskap och kompetens till bolagen för en kostnad som inte ger många konsulttimmar från de stora amerikanska konsultfirmorna”, säger Anders Oscarsson.

Källa: DI.se, 13 januari 2019
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Utmaningen handlar om nya krav från kunderna

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Customer care / Kundvård, Fact Based Management on January 3rd, 2019 by admin

Tiffani Bova är i Sverige för att lansera sin senaste bok ”Growth IQ: The Ten Paths To Growth”.
Utmaningen med den nya tekniken handlar inte alls om teknik – utan om att omdefiniera sin affär och hålla jämna steg med kundernas förväntningar.
Det menar tidigare Gartneranalytikern och molnstrategen Tiffani Bova.

Digitaliseringen rymmer så många möjligheter att det är svårt att veta var man ska börja. För Tiffani Bova – Innovation Evangelist på världens största mjukvaruföretag inom kundvård – är svaret enkelt:

– Utmaningen i dag handlar inte alls om teknik, utan om kundernas förväntningar och krav. De har förändrats mycket snabbare än de flesta företag inser och det är människorna som är den disruptiva, eller omstörtande, kraften i den tekniktransformation som vi nu genomgår, säger hon.

Ordet disruption finns egentligen inte på svenska, men används desto flitigare för att beteckna den svindlande omstöpning av hela branscher som vi ser. Kreativ förstörelse, menar Tiffani Bova, som jobbade som analytiker vid Gartner Group i tio år innan hon kom till Salesforce. Nu är hon i Sverige för att lansera sin senaste bok ”Growth IQ: The Ten Paths To Growth”.

Nya krav från kunder
AI, molntjänster, Internet of Things… det är lätt att tro att utmaningen handlar om själva tekniken. Det gör den inte, menar Tiffani Bova, utan om att kunderna nu blivit så bekväma med digital teknik att de kräver helt nya saker av företagen.

– Medarbetare och processer behöver förändras, annars kommer vi aldrig att utnyttja potentialen som den nya tekniken rymmer fullt ut. Många är skeptiska inför vad den nya tekniken kan göra, vilket är synd. Tekniken låter oss utföra allt det vi vill att den ska göra, från AI och maskininlärning till säkrare prognoser… Men förändring är bland det tuffaste för många, säger Tiffani Bova.”

Ny digital teknik används ofta till att automatisera och digitalisera befintliga processer. Det ser Tiffani Bova som slöseri med potential, om det är så att processerna i sig borde bytas ut för att spegla en ny tids affärsmodell. Men var ska ett företag börja?

– Reimagine, återskapa eller snarare nyskapa din affär och det sätt på vilket du tillför värde till människor. Skrota alla silos och se till att alla inom företaget har tillgång till all data om kunden. Låt försäljning flytta ihop med kundservice som ett sätt fördjupa kundrelationen och sälja mer.

Hur går det till att nyskapa?

– Det beror helt på kontexten – kunderna och marknaden. Men benchmarka dig inte mot konkurrenterna. Prata istället med kunderna och fråga vad de vill ha.

Men, vet kunderna verkligen vad den nya tekniken kan möjliggöra?

– Nej, men de vet hur de vill att en optimal köpupplevelse ska se ut – och vad de inte vill ha. Sen är det upp till dig att använda tekniken för att leverera den. Och skräddarsy en köpresa som verkligen går hem hos dem. Kanske ser den helt annorlunda ut än innan digitaliseringen. Men om du håller fast vid en leverans som bottnar i att ni sitter fast i system och tänkande som går decennier tillbaka i tiden, då kommer du inte att lyckas.”

Behov av fler säljare
Många hävdar att AI hotar jobben. Rätt använd blir effekten den rakt motsatta, menar Tiffani Bova.

– Vad gäller säljare märker vi på Salesforce hur användningen av AI faktiskt leder till ett ökat behov av fler säljare, inte färre. Ju smartare ett företag blir, desto mer potential finns det att faktiskt sälja mer.

För att styrka vikten av kundupplevelsen citerar hon fakta från Salesforces studier:

”80 procent av dagens kunder är beredda att byta leverantör och två av tre är beredda att betala mer för en bättre köpupplevelse. 51 procent av gångerna möts inte kundernas krav vid köpet.”

Hur skiljer sig kundens upplevelse av ett varumärke, eller ett företag, i dag jämfört med tiden innan digitaliseringen?

– Det handlar om två helt olika saker och har inget med varandra att göra. Förväntningarna är så mycket högre i dag. Även hos en äldre generation, som i dag är helt med på smartphonetåget.

Ny teknik och nytt kundtänk kräver ibland nya kompetenser. Hur ska företagen se till att medarbetarna har rätt kunskap?

– Lista de kompetenser som ni behöver i framtiden och låt medarbetarna veta vilka de är. Identifiera människors styrkor och vad de vill jobba med i framtiden. Dina kunder kommer att vara ungefär lika nöjda som dina medarbetare är. Ditt företag kommer inte att vara mer innovativt än vad dina medarbetare är.

Fortbildning – en del av kulturen
Det är ingen slump, menar Tiffani Bova, att Salesforce utsetts till ett av världens mest uppskattade företag att jobba för och samtidigt en av de mest innovativa.

– Vi pushar för ständig fortbildning, det är en del av kulturen.

Till sist, varför är CRM mer aktuellt än någonsin?

– Därför att kunderna kräver så mycket mer i dag, vilket ställer större krav på kundrelationshantering.

Detta är Salesforce
Salesforce är världsledande inom customer relationship management, CRM, tack vare en plattform som utnyttjar den senaste teknologin inom molntjänster, sociala medier, mobil kommunikation, sakernas internet (IoT) och artificiell intelligens (AI). Med den kan företag av alla storlekar i alla branscher kommunicera med sina kunder på ett helt nytt sätt.

Salesforce rankas som nummer ett på Forbes lista över världens bästa arbetsgivare.

Tidningen har också åtta år i rad utsett Salesforce till ett av världens mest innovativa företag.

Källa: Di.se, 3 januari 2019
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Seeing your way to better strategy

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on December 6th, 2018 by admin

Viewing strategy choices through four lenses—financial performance, markets, competitive advantage, and operating model—can help companies debias their strategic dialogues and make big, bold changes.

When executives gather in the strategy-planning room, they’re aiming to identify and prioritize the big, bold choices that will shape the future of the company. Many times, however, their choices get watered down and waylaid.

Companies that hold no conviction about priorities too often spread resources evenly across multiple projects rather than targeting a few projects with the potential to win big. Those companies seeking to escape slowing growth in their core businesses sabotage themselves by chasing new markets without critically evaluating if or how they can win.

To avoid this fate, companies should examine their strategic choices through four critical, interdependent lenses—the company’s financial performance, market opportunities, competitive advantage, and operating model (exhibit).

Executives tend to overemphasize the first two—viewing choices strictly in the context of financial and market opportunities—because those lenses represent critical inputs into the business case. But knowing what it will take to meet or beat financial expectations and which markets are profitable won’t do much good if the company doesn’t have the assets or capabilities required to win in those markets. Nor will it do much good if the company lacks the people, processes, and organizational structure to implement the proposed strategy successfully.

By viewing strategy choices through all four lenses, executives can identify and prioritize the big moves that will lead companies to new markets and growth opportunities, or the steps they can take to consolidate the core. When combined, the lenses provide a clear, balanced, holistic view of not just the opportunities in play but also what it will take to capture them. This kind of objective strategy diligence can improve conversations in the strategy room—and, ultimately, kick corporate performance into a higher gear.1

The financial lens
Most companies necessarily initiate their strategy processes with a look at their financial performance. The financial lens can help them incorporate an outside view into these discussions and develop an objective baseline for assessing the feasibility of long-term targets.

A company can use standard valuation methods to estimate what performance levels it must achieve in the long term to justify today’s value. If the company performs at these expectations, shareholder returns would roughly equal the cost of equity, compensating investors for their opportunity cost of capital.2 This, however, is not value creation—it’s simply the lowest threshold by which leaders can say their strategy was successful.

To create value, companies must deliver returns above and beyond the cost of capital, or they must deliver returns that exceed those of peers. Thus, executives should also use benchmarks to figure out how the company must perform to move well beyond that threshold—delivering top-quintile returns to shareholders, for instance. An objective look at peers’ performance will help companies develop a meaningful three- to five-year plan for how to earn excess returns. Companies can learn a lot from this benchmarking exercise: perhaps high returns in the past were the result of a run-up in multiples in the market and, hence, expectations, but not actual performance.

To anchor those perspectives in current company performance and market position, it is critical for teams to develop a market-momentum case (MMC). Using external market data and peer-performance benchmarks, the MMC gives the company a holistic view of how financial performance will be affected if the company follows its current trajectory relative to market growth, cost evolution, and pricing dynamics without taking any countervailing actions. The end result is an objective baseline for performance that allows executives to conduct an unbiased assessment of how to prioritize new initiatives (and big moves) without counting on them in the base plan.

By assessing implied performance, aspirations for performance, and the MMC, strategy and finance professionals can arm themselves with the information required to start meaningful, objective discussions on value creation: How does the company need to perform to achieve superior returns, and how would the company perform if it remained in steady state?

The market lens
Most companies are seeing slow growth in core businesses and wishing they were in higher-growth, higher-margin businesses. In some cases, the slowing core business may even be under attack. For instance, a low-cost entrant might destroy incumbents’ economic profit in a certain segment, as happened in markets as diverse as those for aluminum wheels and children’s electronic toys. In today’s fast-moving business environments, many companies start from a baseline of deteriorating profit, not slightly increasing earnings. This creates urgency to make big moves into new markets or to block attackers.

The market lens provides a means by which companies can identify pockets of growth within existing segments and beyond, and assess them against strategic options. The critical factor here is granularity; executives should quantify and validate shifts in profit pools in relevant markets given trends that are visible now. One consumer-apparel company, for instance, examined absolute dollar growth in the product markets it operated in. It assessed growth by channel and by region. The differences were striking. In some geographies, demand was expected to continue to grow mostly in brick-and-mortar stores for at least five years, with a significant price premium for high-end products. In other geographies, online channels were capturing profits much more rapidly than expected. Using the market lens, the strategy team recognized the need to allocate resources in product development and marketing for high-end products in brick-and-mortar stores in certain regions, as well as more localized, lower-cost production in others. By running the analysis in this granular way, it could capture better profit in all regions, leading to above-average growth.

Additionally, strategy and finance leaders should always examine adjacent markets, which may be not only attractive segments for growth but also breeding grounds for potential future competitors. Many times, the adjacencies are obvious, as in online retailers’ continued push into industrial distribution for small and medium-size businesses, or technology companies’ moves into software-as-a-service businesses. Other times, they are not as obvious—for instance, raw-materials companies selling consumer goods.

After conducting the requisite analyses of markets, strategy teams should be able to address two key questions: In which market segments will we be able to grow profitably over time? What additional attractive markets should be considered?

The competitive-advantage lens
Most companies face a critical strategic choice in the planning room: Are we better off consolidating the core, where growth is slower, or can we realistically enter new high-growth, high-profit markets and win? But given time pressures, innate biases, and other factors, executives typically fall short in their consideration of assets, capabilities, and the investments required to compete more effectively against rivals. As a result, companies end up chasing unattainable growth and underinvesting relative to what it would take to win.

The competitive-advantage lens can help executives identify whether the company has what it will take to win in current markets and those going forward, or whether a big change is required to capture value. An honest assessment of current capabilities should inform how the company chooses to play in its markets, as well as partnerships or acquisitions that may be necessary.

In the wake of new realities such as digitization and the fact that many industries are reaching the limits of consolidation, the competitive-advantage lens is more important than ever. Take as an example the notion of building a digital platform, a goal shared by many executives these days: What competitive advantage will the platform provide? What sort of market share does it need to capture to be considered a “winner” and not just “average”? Is an ecosystem of third-party players required for the digital platform to succeed, or can this be done organically—and will we be able to do it quickly enough to become the preferred platform for our customers?

The analyses and insights here are typically based more on firsthand “case load” expertise than on industry databases or reports. Interviews with sales teams and postmortems on deals that went awry can be very insightful, as can customer and supplier surveys. There is a lot at stake in gaining these perspectives. The apparel company mentioned earlier discovered that competitors still owned brick-and-mortar stores in certain markets in which the apparel company worked only through online partners. The competitors’ sales representatives in these markets had special training and a structured sales approach that allowed them to collect information on customer preferences—for instance, the shapes, colors, and sizes customers wanted to see in the next season’s designs. This gave competitors a leg up in product development that the apparel company no longer had. The essential competitive advantage in these high-growth markets was real-time customer insights fed back into a rapid product-development cycle. The apparel company learned, therefore, that it had to continue to invest in brick-and-mortar stores to recapture this advantage, even in markets driven by online sales.

The operating-model lens
Companies routinely take for granted the impact of their operating models on their strategy choices. They maintain the status quo rather than asking whether they have the people, processes, technologies, and other critical components required to make big moves. The operating-model lens, then, is essential for understanding whether the company is set up for future success. Indeed, a company’s approach to resource allocation, talent management, organizational design, and performance management can either reinforce or defeat strategic objectives. Consider the following talent- and performance-management-related examples.

A pharmaceutical company estimated that more than one-third of its cash flow would come from Asia within five to seven years. That outcome never materialized, however: senior management had stationed fewer than 10 percent of the company’s sales representatives in Asia—all of whom were focused on maintaining current sales and profit, not on expanding sales according to the strategic plan. An analysis of the growth opportunity at stake (in dollars) versus the number of full-time employees allocated to the regions over the past five years revealed the degree of underinvestment. Senior management decided to hire heavily in Asia.

Rather than prescribe performance metrics from the top down—ordering, for instance, that no one can have more than a 1 percent increase in cost in the next fiscal year—a retail company picks two or three “growth cells” each year that get twice the relative marketing budget (among other investments) compared with other areas of the business. As a result, strategy discussions are now focused solely on which cells should be designated for accelerated growth, rather than minutiae about the budget.

Companies need to look at more than just financial opportunities when embarking on a new strategy or implementing a transformation program. They need to follow a due-diligence process for strategy, in the same way they would dispassionately and holistically vet critical mergers and acquisitions. Such a process can counter innate biases that lead to indecision or incremental rather than bold moves. The four interrelated lenses we’ve described provide a road map for ensuring that a strategy plan is supported by the right investments and change in operating model.

Source: McKinsey.com, December 2018
By: Kevin Laczkowski, Werner Rehm, and Blair Warner
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Winning with your talent-management strategy

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on August 9th, 2018 by admin

Three best practices for managing and allocating talent support better business performance, according to a new survey.

The allocation of financial capital has long been recognized as a critical driver of an organization’s performance. The value of managing and allocating human capital, however, is less widely known. But the results from a new McKinsey Global Survey confirm the positive effects of talent management on business outcomes.1 According to respondents, organizations with effective talent-management programs2 have a better chance than other companies of outperforming competitors and, among publicly owned companies, are likelier to outpace their peers’ returns to shareholders.

The survey also sought to uncover the specific practices that are most predictive of successful talent-management strategy. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the effective management of human capital, the survey results reveal three common practices that have an outsize impact on the overall effectiveness of talent management as well as organizational performance: rapid allocation of talent, the HR function’s involvement in fostering a positive employee experience, and a strategically minded HR team. The survey results also point to underlying actions that organizations of all stripes can take to cultivate these practices and thereby improve their talent-management strategy and organizational performance.

Why effective talent management matters
According to the survey responses, there is a significant relationship between talent management—when done well—and organizational performance. Only 5 percent of respondents say their organizations’ talent management has been very effective at improving company performance. But those that do are much more likely to say they outperform their competitors: 99 percent of respondents reporting very effective talent management say so, compared with 56 percent of all other respondents.3

What is more, the effects of successful talent management seem to be cumulative. Like an overall effective talent-management program, the abilities to attract and retain talent appear to support outperformance. Among public companies, we see a similar effect on total returns to shareholders (TRS). At companies with very effective talent management, respondents are six times more likely than those with very ineffective talent management to report higher TRS than competitors.

Three drivers of successful talent-management strategy
To support these outcomes, the results suggest three practices that most closely link with effective talent management: rapid allocation of talent,4 HR’s involvement in employee experience, and a strategically minded HR team.

Respondents who say all three practices are in place—just 17 percent—are significantly more likely than their peers to rate their organizations’ overall performance, as well as TRS, as better than competitors. They are also 2.5 times more likely than others to rate their organizations’ overall talent-management efforts as effective.

Rapid allocation of talent
Only 39 percent of respondents say their organizations are fast or very fast at reallocating talent as strategic priorities arise and dissolve—a practice that leads to a 1.4-times-greater likelihood of outperformance. And while it is well established that companies with rapid capital allocation are likely to see higher TRS, our findings show that the same holds true for talent allocation. At public companies that quickly allocate talent, respondents are 1.5 times more likely than the slower allocators to report better TRS than competitors.5 The link between rapid allocation and effective talent management is also strong: nearly two-thirds of the fast allocators say their talent-management efforts have improved overall performance, compared with just 29 percent of their slower-moving peers.

To allocate talent more quickly, the survey results point to three specific actions that meaningfully correlate with the practice. The first of these is the effective deployment of talent based on the skills needed, which has a direct impact on the speed of allocation. Respondents are 7.4 times more likely to report rapid talent allocation when their organizations effectively assign talent to a given role based on the skills needed.

Second is executive-team involvement in talent management. Respondents who say their leaders are involved in talent management are 3.4 times more likely to report rapid talent allocation at their organizations. The frequency of leaders’ involvement also makes a difference. At organizations that quickly reallocate talent, executive teams usually review talent allocation at least once per quarter. Finally, the results suggest that organizations where employees work in small, cross-functional teams are more likely than others to allocate talent quickly.

HR’s involvement in employee experience
A second driver of effective talent management relates to employee experience—specifically, the HR function’s role in ensuring a positive experience across the employee life cycle. Only 37 percent of respondents say that their organizations’ HR functions facilitate a positive employee experience. But those who do are 1.3 times more likely than other respondents to report organizational outperformance and 2.7 times more likely to report effective talent management, though our experience suggests that the HR function’s role is just one of the critical factors that support great employee experience.

A couple of key actions underlie the HR function’s ability to ensure better employee experiences. One is quickly assembling teams of HR experts from various parts of the function to address business priorities. Just 24 percent of respondents say their organizations employ this characteristic of an agile HR operating model, and they are three times likelier than other respondents to report a positive employee experience. Second is deploying talent and skills in a way that supports the organization’s overall strategy. One-third of all respondents say their organizations’ HR business partners are effective at linking talent with strategy in this way, and those who do are over three times more likely than other respondents to say the HR team facilitates positive employee experiences.

Strategic HR teams
The third practice of effective talent management is an HR team with a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s strategy and business priorities. When respondents say their organizations have a strategy-minded HR team, they are 1.4 times more likely to report outperforming competitors and 2.5 times more likely to report the effective management of talent.

The factor that most supports this practice, according to the results, is cross-functional experience. When HR leaders have experience in other functions—including experience as line managers—they are 1.8 times more likely to have a comprehensive understanding of strategy and business priorities. Also important is close collaboration among the organization’s chief HR officer, CEO, and CFO.6 Fewer than half of all respondents say those executives work together very closely at their organizations,7 but those who do are 1.7 times likelier to report a strategy-minded HR function. The findings also point to the importance of transparency with all employees about strategy and business objectives. Respondents who say their organizations’ employees understand the overall strategy are twice as likely to say their HR team has a comprehensive understanding of the strategy.

In summary, effective talent management—and the practices that best support it—contributes to a company’s financial performance. No one approach works for every company, but the survey results confirm that rapid allocation of talent, the HR function’s involvement in fostering positive employee experience, and a strategic HR function have the greatest impact on a talent-management program’s effectiveness.

Source: McKinsey.com, 8 August 2018
About the authors: The contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Svetlana Andrianova, a specialist in McKinsey’s Charlotte office; Dana Maor, a senior partner in the Tel Aviv office; and Bill Schaninger, a senior partner in the Philadelphia office.
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Hotet mot styrelseproffsen

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on June 14th, 2018 by admin

Nio av tio styrelseproffs kommer att ta färre styrelseuppdrag på grund av förbudet mot att fakturera arvodet från eget bolag, visar en undersökning. Förbudet har redan lett till att fler bolag har infört rörlig ersättning till styrelseledamöter, hävdar man.

I juni 2017 kom en dom från Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen, HFD, som kastade om skattereglerna för styrelsearvoden, vilket Di har skrivit om tidigare.

Tidigare har styrelseproffs kunnat fakturera från egna bolag och därmed inte bara fått en lägre skatt utan även haft möjlighet att genom bolaget exempelvis teckna tjänstepensionsavtal och sjukförsäkring samt göra avdrag för arbetsrelaterade kostnader.

Men den möjligheten har HFD satt stopp för. Domstolen anser att styrelseledamöters ansvar är personligt och att arvodet därför måste beskattas som inkomst av tjänst.

Det här kan få stora konsekvenser, visar en enkätundersökning som har gjorts av Styrelseakademien, Ersättningsakademin och konsultfirman Novare Pay.

I undersökningen svarade 967 styrelseledamöter på frågan om det är sannolikt att de åtar sig färre styrelseuppdrag när det inte längre finns möjlighet att fakturera arvodet.

Drygt 80 procent svarade ja. Vad gäller styrelseproffs, definierat som personer med minst tre styrelseuppdrag, var motsvarande siffra 90 procent.

39 procent uppger att de kommer att banta uppdragsportföljen “på kort sikt”.

Enligt Andreas Lauritzen, ledamot i Ersättningsakademien och delägare i Novare Pay, handlar det om att de här personerna behöver frigöra tid till andra uppdrag som går att fakturera.

“De tänker alltså minska antalet styrelseuppdrag för att göra plats för konsultjobb av annan karaktär”, säger han.

Andreas Lauritzen ser det här som slutet för yrkeskategorin styrelseproffs i Sverige, som enligt Styrelseakademiens uppskattning består av cirka 1000 personer.

“För att vara det måste man kunna uppbära sina egna levnadskostnader, och den här nya tolkningen gör att man bara får fragment av anställningar”, säger han.

”Det är det som är det praktiska problemet – nu kan du inte stapla de här fakturorna i ett eget bolag där du tar ut en lön, har dina försäkringar och tar dina driftskostnader. Domen har fått effekten att den omöjliggör den här professionen.”

Risken är att framför allt små och medelstora företag dräneras på kompetens och erfarenhet.

“Det är brist på den här typen av erfarenhet, så när de här individerna minskar sina styrelseengagemang blir det en resurs- eller kunskapsförsvagning i företagen och företagens styrelserum. Det är det vi ser som det mest negativa i detta”, säger Andreas Lauritzen.

Dessutom kan det försvaga jämställdheten i styrelserummen.

“Majoriteten av de professionellt arbetande styrelseledamöterna är kvinnor, och det har varit en drivande kraft bakom att Sverige förra året var snubblande nära att nå upp till att 40 procent av ledamöterna är kvinnor”, säger Andreas Lauritzen.

Ett sätt för bolag att behålla kompetensen hos de som väljer att lämna styrelsen är att i stället anlita dem som rådgivande konsulter, eftersom det då är fritt fram att fakturera från eget bolag.

Därmed finns anledning att tro att informella rådgivande organ, så kallade advisory boards, kommer att bli vanligare i svenska företag.

“Vi ser redan nu att den här advisory board-funktionen används i större utsträckning”, säger Andreas Lauritzen.

Risken, enligt honom, är att delar av det strategiska beslutsfattande som traditionellt sköts av styrelse förflyttas till ett oreglerat organ som ligger utanför ramen för traditionell svensk ägarstyrning och saknar styrelsens formella ansvar.

Ytterligare en trolig konsekvens av faktureringsförbudet är att det blir vanligare med rörliga ersättningar till styrelseledamöter, hävdar han. Redan vid årets stämmor ökade antalet bolag på Stockholmsbörsen som ger styrelsen aktier eller optioner som en del av arvodet.

“Vi har anledning att tro att det redan i år var några bolag som införde program som även omfattade styrelsen på grund av den här regeln, och genom de diskussioner som vi har med företagen och individer som påverkas av det här har vi anledning att tro att det kommer att bli ännu vanligare”, säger Andreas Lauritzen.

Rörlig ersättning till styrelsen är samtidigt kontroversiellt eftersom det innebär en intressekonflikt när de som konstruerar och beslutar om bolagens incitamentsprogram samtidigt deltar i dem.

Flera tunga svenska institutionella investerare motsätter sig också rörlig styrelseersättning.

Källa: DI.se, 14 juni 2018
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How Netflix redesigned board meetings

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on May 30th, 2018 by admin

The board of directors of a public company has a long list of oversight responsibilities, but it is not always the case that directors receive the information they need to make fully informed decisions on key matters, such as strategy, succession, and performance monitoring. We recently studied a novel approach to information sharing at Netflix that provides a model for overcoming this governance shortfall.

At most companies, directors have a less complete understanding of the company than executives because of their limited exposure to day-to-day activities. The format of the information they receive does little to overcome this information deficit. The typical board book of a large corporation is a dense PowerPoint presentation spanning hundreds of pages in length. Some directors find these presentations heavy on data but light on analysis.

Furthermore, boardroom dynamics impede information flow, particularly in settings where the CEO maintains strict control over the content presented, when presentations are carefully scripted, and when presentations are made by only a limited number of executives.

Netflix takes a radically different approach. It incorporates two unique practices. First, board members periodically attend (in an observing capacity only) monthly and quarterly senior management meetings. What’s more, communication with the board comes in the form of a short, online memo that allows directors to ask questions and comment within the document. Executives can amend the text and answer questions in what is essentially a living document. We believe these two innovations meaningfully contributed to Netflix’s extraordinary performance in recent years.

Governance by Walking About
Unlike the stiff, formalized approach to most director-executive interactions, Netflix encourages its board members to spend time watching the company operate “in the wild.” The company holds three regularly scheduled executive meetings to which board members attend
– Staff meetings (R-Staff) are monthly meetings of the top seven leaders.
– Executive Staff meetings (E-Staff) are quarterly meetings of the top 90 executives.
– Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) are two-day gatherings of the top 500 employees.

One board member attends R-Staff meetings, one or two attend E-Staff meetings, and between two and four attend Quarterly Business Reviews. Directors who attend these meetings are expected to observe but not influence or participate in the discussion. The purpose of their attendance is primarily educational: By directly observing management, directors gain a greater understanding of the range of issues facing the company, the analytical approach that underpins managerial decisions, and the full scope of the tradeoffs involved. Ultimately, the aspiration is that this will translate to significantly more confidence in management and its choices. While warning that directors must be disciplined and exercise self-restraint about influencing decisions outside the boardroom, Netflix Founder and CEO Reed Hastings told us that providing deep access to management discussion “is an efficient way for the board to understand the company better.”

One director describes the benefit of attending management meetings: “You see a different level of dynamic of the executive team. You really see how different individuals contribute, you see their expertise, you see the voice that they have around the table, and you see the dynamic with the CEO. You see how the topics that have been discussed, resolved, and reported on in a board meeting actually got processed.”

Netflix directors believe that direct exposure to active strategic discussions gives them substantially deeper knowledge of the company than orchestrated visits to company offices or facilities. They also believe that frequent interaction with the senior executive team positions the board well for an eventual CEO succession. One small hazard: Hastings cautions that directors granted this level of access to management discussion and documentation need to exercise self-restraint about influencing decisions outside the boardroom.

A New Way to Write Board Memos
The next innovation is that Netflix’s board communications are structured as approximately 30-page online memos in narrative form that not only include links to supporting analysis but also allow open access to all data and information on the company’s internal shared systems. This includes the ability for directors to ask clarifying questions of the subject authors. This quarterly memo is written by and shared with the top 90 executives as well as the board.

The memo itself consists written text that highlights business performance, industry trends, competitive developments, and other strategic and organizational issues. High-level data is summarized in charts and graphs, but the memo’s emphasis is primarily the written discussion and analysis of issues. Embedded links within each section of the memo connect the reader to supplemental analysis, data, and details that support and expand the written discussion.

Board members receive the memo a few days prior to board meetings and are self-directed in reviewing the material and clicking through to review supplemental analysis on topics or issues they believe are most important, interesting, or require the most attention from a fiduciary standpoint. Directors estimate they spend four to six hours in preparation. They have the ability to pose questions or ask for clarification directly within the digital memo, to which senior management responds prior to the meeting. Directors take active advantage of this capability.

Because directors are extensively prepared, board meetings themselves are significantly more efficient, with a focus on questions and discussion rather than presentation. Meetings are only three to four hours in length (compared to all day or multiple days at many large corporations). Senior executives attend board meetings and answer questions if needed.

The Netflix approach to board governance is rooted in and reflective of the company’s culture and leadership. The Netflix culture emphasizes individual initiative, the sharing of information, and a focus on results rather than processes. In the words of one director, “A lot of CEOs like the notion of transparency. The difference is that Reed has decided to put mechanisms in place … that actually make it happen.”

Netflix directors believe that these processes give them confidence in management, particularly when facing challenges. Examples include its fierce competition with Blockbuster for dominance in the DVD-subscription market, costly decisions to invest in content for its website, international expansion, and the significant cost and risk of producing original content. According to one director, “It’s hard to imagine we could have done it without the intimate knowledge of the operations and the people.”

Directors of major companies take their oversight job seriously—but too often they are handicapped by a lack of transparency and usable information. Netflix provides a model for companies looking to overcome this challenge.

Source: HBR.org, May 2018
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Corporate boards need a facelift

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on May 17th, 2018 by admin

Nearly every week, I have several conversations with CEOs or corporate directors about their growing frustrations with activist investors and often each other.

Today’s aggressive shareholder activism against companies and their boards target poor performance. But the real aim often is over strategic direction, capital allocation and return of capital, and executive compensation – all really governance issues.

Crusading shareholders spend hundreds of hours and hefty sums to study their targets and prepare their perspectives. They (usually) come with a very informed perspective, grounded in shareholder value and sound economic principles.

In 2017, activists deployed record capital – double the 2016 amount – across 193 campaigns worldwide and secured 100 additional board seats, according to FactSet, Activist Insight, and public filings. In 2016, companies settled 47.5 percent of the proxy fights, indicating that targeted companies may resolve an issue rather than risk a shareholder vote. Activism clearly drives change.

With this growth in activism (and their success rate), it raises a fundamental question:
Does the current board construct work?

Boards often have common drawbacks:

Time spent:
In contrast to the immense amount of time activists spend understanding their targets, boards usually meet only a few times a year and directors acknowledge they often don’t spend sufficient time on their board duties. Directors in 2015 told us they were devoting five more days to board duties than they did in 2013 but still fell five days short of their “ideal” board time, and the new McKinsey survey of 1,100 directors finds that directors in 2017 spent two days less on board duties than in 2015, to 24 days from 26. The limited amount of time makes it difficult to really engage on the critical issues (e.g., strategy) and spend adequate time with customers and investors to really understand the mindsets of key stakeholders required to truly guide the company.
Board makeup: Often boards are looking to fill open seats with other active operating executives. But given the time it takes to really have impact; how can an active operating executive have the time to be a “great” board member and do their day job?
Lack of diversity and key expertise: An absence of diversity continues to be a major deficiency in terms of gender, race, ethnicity and experience – and that defect hinders the ability to obtain diverse perspectives. In the new McKinsey survey, only 43 percent say their board is diverse enough to ensure relevant perspectives are represented in decision-making. Another growing problem is the shortage of board expertise in increasingly critical areas: technology, cyber security, research and analysis, talent acquisition, and customer growth and care, among others.
Knowledge gap: Our 2013 survey of 772 directors revealed a shocking lack of comprehension of their companies. Only 16 percent said directors strongly understood the dynamics of their industries, just 22 percent said directors were aware of how their firms created value, and a mere 34 percent said directors fully comprehended their companies’ strategies. Our latest survey indicates these findings haven’t changed much since 2013. Frankly, these flaws limit the effectiveness in the board and often lead management to limit interactions with their board by trying to manage through meetings, rather than viewing the board as a helpful source of new ideas and expertise and a sanity check on strategy.

All of this begs questions for further debate:
– What should be the role of a director? How can they play more of the internal activist?
– Should we reassess the criteria for directors?
– What are the most critical topics boards need to be educated on? What is the best way to do so?
– How should directors be spending their time to have the greatest impact?
– How can CEOs help directors increase their effectiveness?

Source: McKinsy.com, May 2018
Author: Eric Kutcher, Senior Partner based in our Silicon Valley office
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