How to get everyone on the same page
In business there are often barriers that prevent everyone working towards the same goals.
While there is a view that all stakeholders within an organisation should be “on the same page” but commonly what is important to one stakeholder within an organisation will differ from other stakeholders. For instance:
- A Marketing Director is likely value increased revenue and increased reach
- A Production Director is likely to value operational efficiency, simplified processes, and lowering the skill base required)
- A CEO is likely to value share price, shareholder feedback, and board priorities
- An Auditor is likely to value risk management, audit trail, and governance
- A Finance Director will value return on investment, risk management, and process integration
- A CIO will value operational efficiency, data and process security, scalability and flexibility
- And so on ……………………..
For each manager to have confidence that initiatives provide the necessary outcomes for their sphere of influence, value must be measured at their level of interest. However, a balanced view of all these value drivers and how they inter-relate must somehow be developed. Moreover it will be necessary to understand their relative importance of each driver so that management can move to acceptance of a consensus view of what true business value is specific to the organisation.
Then too, validly relating the value measures to each other when some are completely tangible and others are intangible relies on personal opinion, which can be flawed for many reasons including experience, knowledge and over 180 differing types of cognitive bias.
No mean feat!!
The executive of significant organisations typically demonstrate strong personalities and on some occasions, as happens at all levels of the organisation, those with the most pressing personalities or greatest power hold sway over others. Yet, rarely does the executive consider in any detail the finer points of their differences of opinion of value to engender a true consensus that will underpin truly collegiate behaviour and there are generally no tools available to the executive that will underpin the drive to consensus.
Multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) utilises the science of Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) to provide a structured approach to making decisions through semi-quantitative analysis to determine the potential contribution to the business (or Relative Business Value). Similar to financial benefit analysis (FBA), MCDM adds a range of non-financial criteria to the mix in allowing more balanced and customer-focused investments to support the achievement of outcomes and objectives.
By utilising MCDA to define a hierarchy of value measures and apply the opinions of relative importance of each value measure by each of the executive will identify areas of divergence of opinion and provide an understanding of relative levels of compromise necessary to get to consensus. Additionally, the ability to accept that consensus is not necessary, that individuals can maintain differing opinions and the impact on value derived from each opinion can be analysed and understood will be delivered.
But, as the plan cascades through layers of management and into operations the challenge of also cascading belief and an understanding of the relative importance of each value driver becomes diluted and confused diluted.
Again, the use of MCDA can capture a hierarchy of value measures ranging from strategic drivers at the top to operational measures at the bottom so that each initiative and each process can be measured with contributions at any level of the value hierarchy cascading down or bubbling up so that those working with each layer of value measures have a clear understanding of what is true business value.
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