Organizational transformation and cultural change
Over many years Colin has worked closely with senior executives of global corporations in relation to the executive education and management development components of their major organizational transformation programmes. In all cases he was also closely involved in the processes of design, delivery and faculty management relating to the successful implementation of initiatives and interventions such as courses, workshops and seminars.
Throughout the 1990s and into the ‘noughties’ Colin was engaged by Royal Philips International on an array of projects with senior leadership and functional departments in Business Units worldwide and across all Product Divisions. Initially, these were in support of the company’s ‘Centurion’ transformation initiative, one of the most ambitious corporate renewal programmes ever undertaken. He continued to work with the company for many years thereafter, latterly in partnership with Lapia International b.v., a company led by a former Philips executive.
Between 1994-2002 he was co-founder and Joint Academic Director of the IBM Marketing University alongside Professor David Shipley of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. The initiative was designed to meet the ‘Advanced Certificate in Marketing’ curriculum of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and had an academic roadmap which enabled participants to progress towards taking the CIM’s Professional Diploma in Marketing and, for selected individuals, to complete a Masters Degree in Marketing from Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK.
In the late 1990s and into the noughties he worked with executives of Castrol, the global lubricants brand, in developing a customer-centric organization in its international consumer and B2B businesses. This included the creation of a ‘Fast-track High Potentials’ programme to rapidly create marketing competencies (including brand management and trade marketing) in the ASPAC region which had the highest growth rate of all the company’s global market arenas. Castrol was acquired by BP in 2002.
In an interview with the Financial Times BP indicated that it was acquiring Castrol for its world-renowned marketing capabilities and not just its brand portfolio. The company’s CEO, Sir John (now Lord) Browne, had made a very public statement in his widely-reported ‘town-hall’ speech to employees in Chicago that he was personally committed to transforming BP into a customer-focused, market-driven organization:
In a global marketplace branding is crucially important in attracting customers and business. It is not just a matter of a few gasoline stations or the logo on poll signs. It is about the identity of the company, and the values which underpin everything that you do and every relationship that you have.
Following Castrol’s acquisition, Colin worked with BP Group Marketing as Principal Consultant, Academic Director and Faculty Manager in the creation of the BP Sales and Marketing Academy, a global initiative designed to give marketing the same level of recognition and ‘professionalism’ as that enjoyed by other functions in the organization, for example, finance. The framework adopted in the design and delivery of the academy was exactly the same as that already successfully deployed with IBM, a logical decision given that the organizational development objectives were similar and independent of specific country operations or business sectors. The BP marketing professionalisation programme was delivered worldwide until 2006.
Irrespective of the client, in all the projects undertaken each programme was designed to align marketing and global strategic management principles within a ‘real-life’ corporate context. Despite the variety of industries and markets which these companies participate in, the ‘organizational design’ and management development objectives were the same:
- To standardise strategic management processes and frameworks and to create a professional ‘language’ across multiple divisions and geographies. This was achieved using methodologies and models which provided a common approach to market analysis but which still accommodated the great diversity of the product/market segments in which the companies and their business units participated;
- To professionalise the marketing function and/or to develop a market-focused organizational capability in the companies profiled;
- In all cases, to facilitate a cultural shift within these organizations towards a much sharper external focus, a factor universally deemed essential for success in the contemporary business environment;
- In sum: the initiatives focused on managing cultural change to create an organization-wide capability in addition to developing the individual competencies of programme participants.
With major projects such as those described above and along with other, smaller-scale cases undertaken and successfully completed, the modus operandi has been to work with only one company per sector. This approach allows a close partnership/relationship with the client, crafting the ability to work on a wide range of strategic and operational projects with absolute confidentiality and trust.
There were a number of key organizational development themes in the initiatives profiled above:
- Strategic management and inspired leadership
- Growth and profitability via strategic clarity and operational excellence
- Inter-personal skills and management qualities
- Culture and organizations
- Creativity and innovation
- Working in teams and employee engagement
- Talent management
- Aligning theory and practice
In addition to this, a combination of interactive discussions of general management principles and the application of these to clients’ business situations using proven methodologies enabled participants in the various initiatives to construct their own personal development journals and management action plans.
In complementary skills development modules we provided participants with the frameworks, tools and processes required for them to develop into highly effective managers, leaders and team players, combining management and leadership principles with awareness of market, commercial and operational business drivers.
For insights into the practical framework and planning processes used in the IBM and BP case scenarios described above and for a detailed discussion of the issues associated with the successful implementation of global business strategies, we recommend the following two Volumes from the BiteSized Fortress Europe Series:
Colin Edward Egan (2018), A Practical Framework for Global Business Strategy Success.
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank.
Colin Edward Egan (2018), Implementing Global Business Strategy.
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank.
For post-MBA, DBA and management doctoral students seeking a robust discussion of the academic debates relating to theories of international business, strategy, competition, finance, organizational behaviour and strategic management we recommend the ‘Parent Book’ of the Outside Fortress Europe collection:
Colin Edward Egan (2018), Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market.
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank.
To read an extract from A Practical Framework for Global Business Strategy Success, which provides the background to and further details of the IBM, BP and Castrol organizational development case scenarios described above, please click/tap the ‘Global Business Strategy’ icon to the left/above.
strategic management workshops
Strategic management workshops provide a flexible approach to action-oriented decision-making, ranging from corporate-level policy-setting through new product creation to key account management planning sessions. They can fulfil the fundamental tenet of effective business administration: management by objectives. They are typically task-focused and results-orientated. They can foster teamwork and ‘shared values’, employee engagement and inclusion. But this management nirvana has a dark side: an inherent tendency towards ‘strategic drift’ from stated objectives coupled with neglect of organizational culture and inertias which potentially hinder the successful implementation of agreed workshop outcomes.
The workshop process
The masters of the ‘workshop art’ are management consultants, ranging from strategy consultancy giants such as McKinsey & Co. to the independent niche specialist. Danger lurks when an excessive reliance on external consultants for ‘process-based’ solutions arises at the expense of time and effort being assigned to internal capabilities assessment. Long term relationships between companies and trusted business partners provide an elegant solution.
The ‘textbook’ key point of departure between a ‘Workshop’ and a ‘Seminar’ can be summarised as ‘hands-on’ versus ‘thought-first’: doing versus thinking. For the most part, this is a false dichotomy, especially in a company environment where the most effective outcomes are invariably achieved by an effective combination of the two ‘ways-of-working’.
Business Unit (BU) strategy workshop
This is the most ‘generic’ of Workshops and amongst the most impactful given its broad remit, extended horizons and potential financial implications. The frameworks, processes and methods used combine a strategic audit with an implementation audit to provide detailed insights into a company’s present competitive market position and directions towards its future strategic focus. The following definition is provided in Chapter Eight of Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market:
Strategic business environment audits are more important than financial audits. The latter only count the cents the company has earned already whereas the former is the basis for generating a stream of cash flows for the future. A strategic audit is a comprehensive, systematic, independent and periodic examination of a company’s business environment, objectives, strategies and activities with a view to determining problem areas and opportunities and recommending plans of action to improve a company’s strategic and financial performance.
Cultural transformation workshops
The examples below show the diversity of successfully completed change management projects which lent themselves to the Workshop format.
BP E&P (Upstream) Internal Marketing Programme
Strategic Marketing Workshop for serving internal customers
Delivered worldwide to 180+ executives and managers from upstream technology units within a fifteen-month time frame.
Programme nominated for the prestigious annual BP Helios Award.
Philips Consumer Electronics
ASPAC Trade Marketing Workshop
Delivered across major countries of the Asia Pacific region. ‘Train the trainer’ method used. Workshop content and templates etc. translated into Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
YKK Cross-functional Marketing Excellence Programme
Designed with Senior Leadership Team for the UK & EMEA region.
Extended to the Iberian organization and delivered with simultaneous Spanish interpretation.
Bosch Communications Systems
Value-driven marketing seminar/workshops for EMEA technical teams
Element of cultural change programme following the acquisition of Philips Business Electronics Division by Bosch Communications Systems.
SKOLKOVO: Moscow School of Management
Executives & Entrepreneurs MasterClass Workshop, delivered via video link throughout the Russian Federation with simultaneous Russian interpretation
Strategic marketing for profitable growth.
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