When I was specifying a Management Consulting project about eighteen months ago, one of the topics that needed that need to be covered was Business Performance Management or Deployment of Objectives. I had worked with the company for a year and understood what they wanted. To grow, both organically by increasing sales of the current product families and to diversify their product portfolio.
I had planned to develop a typical Business Scorecard, encompassing the four different categories of business, Finance, Customers, People and Processes, with sixteen to twenty Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), split between the categories. Each of the KPIs would have an accountable owner and a responsible person for producing the monthly results.
The Reporting structure would have been developed, whereby each of the Business Functions would hold weekly Plan – Do – Review (PDR) meeting. The KPIs were to be broken down in to departmental measures and deployed through this Action meeting. The results would then be measured and displayed in their Visual Management area, with a simple Visual traffic light decal to quickly indicate the status. The monthly departmental report would have been written and sent to the company secretary to compile the agenda for the Monthly Management Meeting, (3M).
The 3M would be held at the same time, the same day and the same week of each month. The meeting would have been attended by Senior Managers and Department Managers. This would have been an action meeting whereby the Business Scorecard would have been discussed with actions required to bring the KPI back on target or actions required to take advantage of the better than target performance would have been taken outside of the meeting to be deployed. The meeting minutes would have been written and discussed at the next departmental PDR meeting.
What has happened in reality, here in the Middle East, is that we have had the Revolutions and an Arab Spring. The face of business has changed for the near future at least. All thoughts and plans for growth have been postponed, some indefinitely. There is an on-going pessimistic feeling which is adversely affecting business in some parts of the region.
The strategy is now for one of survival, of reducing costs and becoming very efficient, producing orders as quickly as possible and getting them to the customer ontime, to reduce the time of the cash flow cycle. Weekly and monthly meetings have become daily meetings, such is the necessity of the situation. Survival means becoming the best there is in a shrinking market and having enough funds to continue.
This illustrates that the Business Performance Management process is dynamic, both for business who have to change their Strategy quickly to survive and for the Management Consultants, like myself who have to be able to respond to the client’s needs and provide them with the Consulting Expertise to enable them to adapt to the situation.
The only positive to be taken out of this situation is that if the company survives, the actions taken will definitely make it stronger and it will be better prepared for business after this crisis has ended.