Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Corporate Initiative: Virus or Vaccine

For global giant companies, full of corporate structures with VPs, how do you initiate and prove global change? 
There you are, the Global VP of ??????????? (Insert Compliance, Talent Management, Ethics, Continuous Improvement, Sourcing.... etc). Your boss the CEO wants a significant reduction in costs/increase in performance of your chosen field across all Geographies. How do you do it?

Many take the route of launching a global initiative. Elements might include:
  • A single contracted in service (recruitment, lean six sigma)
  • A set of standardised methods, PowerPoint slides
  • Regional appointees to manage the process through
Such an initiative is then "Rolled out" across the business onto the divisions and units that are delivering the business. Cynics might say "Rolled over".

So a healthy but hard-pressed body (the business) is faced with the initiative. Now would you liken it to a Vaccine, described as:

  • "A mixture that is given to help stimulate the body's own immune system to produce antibodies to fight a certain disease"
Or a Virus:

  • "the causative agent of an infectious disease"
Of course the metrics of success can be highly visible, such as training courses run, projects completed, savings made at the Corporate P and L level. However the benefits can be harder to nail down and recognise at the local level.

So taking a challenge and making it into an initiative may not always be the best route... Will it be the equivalent of a corporate Vaccine, strengthening internal processes, adding to resilience, fighting off competition, or more of a Virus, creating a sapping debilitating disease that weakens the organs? 

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