Two weeks ago, we talked about how to drive technological advances, because it’s one of the critical three T’s of Supply Management success (with the other two being talent and transition to better processes). But technological advancement is not enough if your processes, to be blunt, outright suck. That’s why, as the Big C’s say, you will need to achieve some “process transformation” if you ever want to become best in class (and why each of these Big C’s claim to have the best advice [for a price] to help you along your journey).
However, as we outlined in detail in our first post last week, it’s very difficult to tell if any of the Big C’s have WHAT you need when, for example, the difference between the four-step framework promoted by one of these C’s (PwC, although SI could have picked any of them … and we mean any one of them) and four of the first eight random mission statements generated by the mission statement generator at cmorse.org (which is almost as good as the now defunct Dilbert mission statement generator) is pretty hard to discern!
Then, as outlined in our second post, we made it clear that what you really need is a simple process that starts with understanding where you are now, moves on to figuring out where you want to be, creates a plan to get there, and, finally, executes the plan. Then we began our series in earnest by outlining what is involved in understanding where you are now (which is more involved than you might think), which often doesn’t require a team of 10K a day consultants, continued on by specifying how you go about figuring out where you want to be (which is often more difficult than one may think), and, in our last post, dove into how you put together the plan.
But a plan is just a plan is just a plan until it is executed.
And execution isn’t just throwing the plan over the wall and saying “Go”.
In order for plan to be successfully executed their has to be focus, alignment, and drive – not just in the plan, but in the talent. Not only should the plan be focussed on achieving the goals of closing the gaps but so should the talent. Not only should the goals of the plan be aligned with the overall goals and objectives and strategy of the business, but so should the talent. And, most importantly, the talent should be driven to achieve the focus and alignment in all that they do.
But this, as any change management manager will tell you, is much easier said than done. You will meet resistance every step of the way. It will be a slow slog and you will have to get your champions to convince the talent leaders to get the talent in line. You will have to watch for process and platform bypass. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Why? Because the plan, and more importantly the people executing the plan, are always focussing on the process and platform first, and not the people. People who are continually overworked, underpaid, continually pressured, and micromanaged by at least one pointy-haired boss (to the point that all you need to do to get them to quit is promise more boss time).
The key to execution is the talent, and the key to success is fostering a drive in the talent to implement the plan and achieve that success. This means that you have to go back to the WHAT, listen to WHAT they said they needed, and start by giving them all of the capabilities in the process or platform that they wanted FIRST. Now, sometimes you will have to implement technology X before you can implement feature Y, and that’s okay, but the features and functions desired by the team members who will be using the platform every day have to come before the fancy reporting or oversight functions the CXOs, who might use it once a week or once a month, want. Focus in on anything that will make someone’s life easier, and start there. That’s how you get interest, drive, and adoption — which is the ultimate key to process and platform success. (There’s a reason that even among organizations that utilization is a mere 25% even among organizations that have adopted modern Supply Management platforms, and it is partly because they focussed on feature / function / executive wants / price and not every day user requirements in selection, and went about implementing the feature / function / executive wants first.)
In other words, successful execution is all about focussing on the needs of the talent, and helping them achieve success. If they see value, they will make the project successful. It really is almost that simple. (There will always be a few curmudgeons, but most people will migrate to anything that makes their job easier. It’s psychology — everyone wants to work smarter, not harder, so take advantage of that and give them something to makes their lives more productive and easier.)
And you don’t need a 5K/day consultant to tell you this — you just got this advice for free. (And if your old-school boss won’t trust free advice, feel free to send SI a $5K cheque or wire (USD) and we will happily send this series to you in a fancy PDF with your logo so you can make the boss happy. Contact the doctor for payment details.)