Do you struggle to realize your strategy?

By Christine Denny

Have you ever noticed a gap between your strategic objectives and what value your initiatives really deliver over time?

Do your teams ever lose focus on an initiative’s ultimate purpose over its lifecycle?

Have you faced resistance to an initiative because stakeholders disagreed on priorities?

That’s exactly what one of our clients experienced before they implemented a Benefits Realization Management process last year.

Typically, C-Suites, also called executive leadership teams, engage in strategic planning to determine where their organization needs to go, and translate that into strategic objectives and initiatives. That informs business and action plans set with each vice-president and conveyed to teams, typically during annual meetings.

For many, those objectives are soon filed away and forgotten. Managers wonder how to guide their teams, and why they’re tasked with making certain decisions and focus on regularly changing priorities. Employees feel their contributions don’t matter, and lose motivation. The root cause is typically a lack of clarity on the alignment between daily priorities and corporate strategic objectives.

While our client had communicated their strategic objectives and business plan to each department, the sheer volume of initiatives and changes left managers unclear on priorities. They didn’t know where to focus their efforts. This lead to difficulty demonstrating alignment between their own priorities, daily decisions, and strategic objectives.

Our first recommendation to our client on implementing Benefits Realization Management was to:

  1. Keep strategic objectives top of mind.
  2. Ensure decisions on all initiatives are aligned with relevant strategic objectives.
  3. Reinforce these principles during every team meeting.
  4. Ask how their decisions and efforts are relevant and contributing to meeting strategic objectives

By defining each initiative’s strategic business value (benefits) from the outset managers could then determine whether the decisions being made were leading them in the right direction.  Next, we asked them to identify a pilot project in which to experiment the three equally important stages of Benefits Realization Management:

  1. Benefits Identification: they defined three to five quantifiable or qualifiable key benefits per initiative, consulting impacted functions (business units).
  2. Benefits Realization: they determined how performance against benefits would be measured, by whom, and structured the performance monitoring dashboard.
  3. Benefits Sustainment: they monitored and assessed benefits, both expected and unexpected, and implemented corrective measures for underperforming benefits. 

The selected pilot project consisted of implementing a treasury management solution with benefits anticipated one year from the solution’s launch.

-According to our client, the identification stage helped the key players gain perspective and better understand their role in the bigger picture. Involving teams in the definition of metrics and measurement strategies left them with a team eager to capture baseline and performance measurements.

Finally, clearly framing expectations alleviated concerns around accepting accountability for benefits.  -The client is now ready to measure performance against baselines, and implement corrective measures if necessary. Most importantly, they’re ready to demonstrate how implementing this solution has and will contribute to achieving the organizations’ strategic objectives.

Since this pilot project’s implementation, our client chose to integrate this Benefits Realization Management approach across all transformational initiatives, and into their overall project governance framework.

So, what about your organization? What is your approach to Benefits Realization Management^ Have you considered implementing it? Why not start today?

By Christine Denny



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