BPI Envision Phase – Storyline
The purpose of the Envision phase is to develop a common context and understanding (between the chief executive, senior management and the consultant) of the organization, its current challenges and its future direction. As rudimentary it may seem, unaligned perceptions and perspectives of senior managers and consultants will delay or derail the program. This phase enables the organization to initiate the BPI efforts so that all project activities strive toward consistent objectives.
The initial meetings with the client serve to validate the client’s expectations regarding the timing and scope of the overall project. These discussions serve to initiate and structure the BPI program, and may involve reviewing and revamping proposed project work-plans initially submitted to the client. The resulting Mobilization Plan outlines in broad terms the anticipated approach, time-frame and deliverables for all phases, while detailing the activities to be undertaken during the early phases of the project. Since this plan assures the client that all important steps that need to occur are being addressed, the client develops ownership of the program and understands his or her role in it. The Mobilization Plan will focus on project events as well as on the activities required to appropriately mobilize the organization for the program ahead.
Building a common understanding of the organization’s current situation both its internal operations and its position within the marketplace is essential to set the proper context for the BPI program and to gather and accurately interpret pertinent information received from the client during the program. The complete portrait of the organization’s situation is defined through the combined development of the Internal Organizational Overview, Business Position and Holistic Business Model. All three deliverables can be significantly short-cut, when the client is an audit client and the output of the Audit framework is incorporated into the BPI effort.
The Internal Organizational Overview provides an initial snapshot of the current environment in which the company operates. Readily-available documentation is reviewed to gather internal data such as company history, core competencies, recent financial trends and current technology. Articulating the Business Position provides complementary information, which takes an external view of the company and highlights key elements of its business environment, such as market strengths / weaknesses / opportunities versus those of competitors. Finally, the Holistic Business Model takes a ‘value chain’ perspective of the entire organization, offering management a non-traditional look at the internal and external relationships that form the foundation of how the company operates on a daily basis. It serves as a unifying focal point for client personnel and consultants alike.
While a common view of the current situation is key to understanding ‘why’ dramatic change is necessary, a Readiness for Change Assessment examines the feasibility of the proposed program in light of the company’s past experiences with change. This assessment serves as the foundation for establishing and continuously updating a comprehensive strategy for managing the ‘human side’ of BPI. This assessment provides a backdrop for creating a Sponsorship Role Map that identifies those key individuals within the company who will ‘champion’ the project, by promoting new behaviours and driving the adoption of the change into the organization. This sponsorship portrait provides a unique view of the organization, pinpointing which executives can lead the change (versus only supporting it), and gauging how extensive the mobilization efforts will need to be for the organization to embrace the change.
Ultimately, to be successful, the entire BPI program needs to be oriented around a future vision for the organization that is articulated by senior management. Although most organizations possess a vision or mission statement, its is imperative to validate the relevance and degree of management/employee acceptance of this declaration in light of the company’s current situation. Senior management’s endorsement of the shared vision leads to a formal statement of the (Confirmed) Business Vision.
For certain organizations, a full strategic visioning exercise may be required at this point to develop a credible future direction. A variety of methods are employed to help the client leadership team envisage a ‘future state’ (i.e. ‘what could be’). For example, preliminary Focus Areas and new technology enablers may be explored, and certain deliverables (Best Practices Comparisons, ‘To-Be’ Process Model, Technology Architecture) may be initiated early to stimulate and accelerate the envisioning process. It is here that the first breakthrough ideas about how to change the status quo will occur.
Similarly, the exploration of the current business situation during this phase will often lead the client to recognize that alternative business, market and product strategies may be in order.
The Envision phase ends when multiple levels of the client organization have an image of where the organization wants to be and can consistently and uniformly articulate where the organization is going. At this point, both the client and consultant share a common understanding of the organization’s structure and operations, the external context in which it operates and what the organization wishes to become. This shared view provides a single focus for BPI activities outlined in the Mobilization Plan. At this stage, the BPI program is publicly announced throughout the organization, a Program Office is established and a core team is chartered to explore the (as yet unquantified) opportunities of the ‘future state’.