Some examples of our work with clients

Organisational Review: Greater Accountability and Organisational Responsiveness

Key Challenge

With solid growth and a stable client base, a high profile multi-billion dollar financial services institution, was faced with significant exposure to operational and legal compliance risk, following an audit review of key business data, coinciding with the global financial crisis.

From the outset, poorly defined and exercised accountability was compromising core work and administrative processes, key operational outcomes, and critical customer touch points. In addition, the legacy business structure was no longer adequately serving the future vision or requirements for a strongly differentiated customer experience. The leadership team were divided on the urgency and scale of risk, and the chief executive was compelled to confront the effectiveness of his leadership team as key contributors to organisational risk.

The Solution

The first step was to sharply focus and confirm root causes and devise the case for significant and decisive change. The end-game: exceptional end-end member experience, operational efficiencies to deliver speed to market and organisational responsiveness, and effective operational risk management.

Maximise conducted an independent organisational review focussed in the theme of accountability , involving in-depth interviews with the executive team, selected direct reports and business specialists. Desk top analysis was also applied to existing the organisation structure, position descriptions and performance plans, strategy and planning documentation, employee surveys, and audit findings.

The aim of the review was to understand current organisation design, including reporting structure, key work process, customer touch-points and unit accountabilities – what worked, what didn’t, and what needed to happen to address possible factors influencing or inhibiting accountability.

Outcomes

Review findings revealed deep systemic issues, inherited over time, and embedded in the operating culture of key business divisions. It provided a comprehensive set of recommendations to address leadership and culture, strategy and metrics, structure, people and work.

It also provided a compelling rationale and business case for organisational restructure which enabled executive and internal project team to implement recommendations with favourable organisational acceptance and ownership for change.

Summary

An externally conducted, independent organisation review is always more than a data gathering exercise. It is the start of an organisational dialogue on the critical issues that drive value, – done well, it engages people for action.

Qualitative research methods provide an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the why and how of decision making informing key outcomes. Smaller, focused, sample-size using interviews or focus groups enable rapid diagnosis over a short period. It also brings together multiple “truths,” as the basis for collaborative decisions and effort. This approach is particularly powerful where diverse or conflicting viewpoints and experiences can be respectfully integrated. It also helps cut through to what really matters on fuzzy presenting problems.

Organisational Design: Designing the Foundations for Growth

Key Challenge

With a goal of more profitable growth, a mixed wholesale-retail business wished to strengthen existing operations, consolidate efficiencies, and more effectively leverage cross-business relationships. Externally, a weakened economic outlook and aggressive competition was eroding business growth potential. Internally, duplication of key support functions was reducing operating efficiencies and undermining resource utilisation. In addition, underperformance of some business units was reducing overall business performance. The recently appointed head of business favoured a review of the legacy organisational structure.

The Solution

Maximise conducted an initial organisational review, involving interviews with the leadership team and a series of employee focus groups. This revealed a significant gap in understanding between the leaders and employees on the future vision and direction for the organisation. It also revealed a significant split among the members of the leadership team and their capacity to win the trust of the workforce to own and implement the Vision.

A subsequent series of leadership team workshops were designed and facilitated to re-engage and re-focus the divisional leadership team to shape, own and implement a renewed business strategy.

With an agreed view on strategic priorities, drivers of value and competitive advantage, a final series of collaborative design workshops were conducted to agree upon a fit-for purpose organisation structure, including the creation of implementation plan to establish the foundations for growth and deliver on divisional strategic goals.

Outcomes

Joint-ownership for a fit-for purpose organisational structure linked to business portfolio life-cycle operating model, and successful implementation over a 6 month period.

More focussed and committed leadership team, better engaged workforce and maintenance of cost-neutral position during business transition.

Summary

Typically organisational and divisional restructures lack a formal business case, are intuitively created in the form of reporting charts with preferred incumbents, and often based on personal alliances. Consequently, they fail to provide a compelling change agenda and lack ownership where it matters most – implementation at the level of the workforce. Application of rigorous and systemic methodology ensures joint-ownership for creating and implementing fit-for purpose organisational structures linked to execution of strategy and sustainable value creation.

Leadership Effectiveness: Role Clarity Improves Collaboration

Key Challenge

In a competitive funding environment, the human resource function of a leading not-for-profit organisation required assistance to better align its internal service delivery and resourcing model in support of a diverse workforce. It also required improved role clarity and better utilisation of human resource capability.

The Solution

Maximise provided a series of facilitated role dialogue sessions with business unit leaders to establish greater clarity on their own roles and those roles they depended upon for shared outcomes. A key feature was the use of collaborative peer-peer reflection and organisational role analysis.

Participants took turns to publically explore their work role experiences, decision-making boundaries, role purpose and accountability in shaping every day action and attention. This was applied to specific role challenges and areas of concern. Participants were also supported to assist each other in gaining collective insight about their immediate role challenge, including development of root cause connections. Individuals were encouraged to apply emerging insights through a process of action-reflection between sessions to test and ground these in the workplace.

Outcomes

Participating managers reported significant insights into their understanding of role, formally assigned accountabilities, blind spots, and awareness of habitual ways of working. The structured process enabled them to re-frame the focus of their work, explicitly aligned to achieving outcomes through the collaboration with others. They also reported significant improvements in the effectiveness of their management team in jointly taking up authority for team goals, improved working relationships, more effective decision-making and enhanced reputation with internal clients.

Summary

Role clarity and alignment is key to high performance teamwork and execution of strategy. Leaders at all levels across all work functions benefit from periodically taking timeout to review roles and enhance intra-team and cross functional cooperation. This is particularly important in fast-paced and dynamic organisations where restructure, evolving role requirements, and change is prevalent.