World Monitor Magazine April 2017 - Page 111

additional content but they often go unappreciated. Find them, recognize and reward them, and give them opportunities to influence others. Foster ambidexterity in practices and processes as well as in people. For example, in your annual budgeting exercises, ask people to explain the relationship of each line item to the company’s strategy, and specifically to the capability it is enabling. Over time, this approach will channel investments toward projects with a more strategic rationale. 4. Clarify Everyone’s Strategic Role When the leaders of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia decided to improve the way they ran the country’s 25 airports, they started with the hub in Riyadh, one of the largest airports in the country. They had already outsourced much of their activity, redesigning airport practices and enhancing operations. But not much had changed. Convening the directors and some department leaders, the head of the airport explained that some seemingly minor operational issues — long customs lines, slow boarding processes, and inadequate basic amenities — were not just problems in execution. They stood in the way of the country’s goal of becoming a commercial and logistics hub for Africa, Asia, and Europe. Individual airport employees, he added, could make a difference. The head of the airport then conducted in-depth sessions with employees on breaking down silos and improving operations. In these sessions, he turned repeatedly to a common theme: Each minor operational improvement would affect the attractiveness of the country for commercial travel and logistics. A wake-up call for staff, the sessions marked a turning point for the airport’s operational success. Other airports in the Saudi system are now expected to follow suit. The people in your day-to-day operations — wherever they are, and on whatever level — are continually called upon to make decisions on behalf of the enterprise. If they are not motivated to deliver the strategy, the strategy won’t reach the customers. It is well established that financial rewards and other tangible incentives will go only so far in motivating people. Workers cannot make a greater personal commitment unless they understand why their jobs make a difference, and why the company’s advancement will help their own advancement. Successful leaders spend a great deal of time and attention on the connection between strategy and personal commitment. One such leader has run the trade promotion effectiveness (TPE) capability at two global consumer products goods (CPG) companies over the past several years. CPG companies use this capability to build the momentum of key brands. It involves assembling assortments of products to promote, merchandising them to retailers, arranging in-store displays and online promotions, adjusting prices and discounts to test demand, and assessing the results. A great TPE capability consistently attracts customers and compels them to seek out the same products for months after the campaign ends. TPE and related activities often represent the second-largest item (after the cost of goods sold) on the P&L statement. This in itself indicates the capability’s strategic importance for CPG companies. In both enterprises, this executive took the time to go up and down the organization, making a case for why the specific mechanics of trade promotion matter to the value proposition of the company and, ultimately, to its survival. He made it a point to talk numbers but didn’t limit the conversation to them. “We spend billions at this company on promotions,” he might say. “We have to get back $100 million in added revenue next year, and another $100 million on top of that the year after.” He then urged employees to develop better