The goal of efficiency and effectiveness programs is simple...start doing the right things in the right way to improve your business results. The reasons for these exercises go beyond the impact to the bottom lin e, ideally facilitating the compan y’s ability to deliver on the promise to their customers.

Perhaps the need for an efficiency and effectiveness focus has never been more obvious than in the wake of the global C ovid - 19 pandemic. Companies seem to find themselves in one of three scenarios -- dramatic spikes in demand for products and services that meet a sudden and overwhelming need, dramatic reduction in demand that can be protracted and unavoidable , or a requirement to rethink their service and operating models entirely as we deal with today’s reality and the longer term evolution that comes with it. Efficiency and effectiveness programs and techniques can drive or facilitate the response to these issues, but to realize the best results there ar e some points to keep in mind.

Begin with the customer in mind. Any business improvement initiative, including those that are largely operational or financial in nature, must begin by asking the basic question of what the customer, internal and external, wants and needs. Ask questions like “ should we be doing this process at all? ” , “ are we focusing on the wrong features ? ” , “ how can we fulfill our customer demand faster and better ? ” to spur more creative and impactful decisions.

Understand your starting point. It is typical in these exercises to want to skip past current state analysis and begin brainstorming future state. This can be due to significant time pressure, or lack of available data , making the process seem overly burdensome. While you shouldn’t dwell unnecessarily on current state, knowing your starting point will help you understand the true extent of the problem, its impact, and often its origins, and allow you to track the impact of your go forward changes.

Take both a short term and long term view. Particularly in times of distress it is tempting to emphasize short term quick wins — often in the form of expense cuts. Quick wins are typically a necessary and important component of any change effort, and an important way to get buy - in for the initiative . Stopping there, however, causes two potential issues. First, expenses that are cut without understanding and adjusting underlying processes and capabilities generally come back quickly, often with a vengeance . Second, understanding and foundationally rethinking the underlying target operating model will often lead to more enduring and significant results .

Collaborate and invite multiple perspectives. Whenever possible invite stakeholders and participants into the process. Involvement upfront not only ensures the various perspectives are wrapped into the go forward design , but also speeds long term adoption and acceptance of any new changes.

Focus on change leadership. Transformation initiatives of any type are inherently difficult. Failure can often result from how a transformation is led and managed, rather than what changes are designed. Strong sponsorship and change leadership skills are necessary to facilitate decisions and actions throughout the lifetime of the initiative .

Establish an enduring capability for adaptability and continuous improvement. Even the most successful program results will fade over time as the environment changes . Efficiency and effectiveness must be a continual effort that is woven into the fabric of the organization.

While often daunting, efficiency and effectiveness programs can be critical to a company’s continued success. Keeping these points in mind can help you achieve the results you are looking for. For more information and guidance on how to design and implement efficiency and effectiveness programs , please contact me at patti.phillips@exechq.com