In my book T&D Systems View and in the key model…the T&D Systems View…I attempted to emphasize the importance of one of the 12 systems…collections of processes and all of their enablers…by putting it at high noon…12 O’clock high.
From that book:
T&D Governance and Advisory System
There are 2 processes within this system…
- 12.1: T&D Governance Process
- 12.2: T&D Advisory Process
T&D systems must be driven and governed by the voice of customers and stakeholders as they formalize their plans and manage their activities.
This system’s 2 processes organize and formalize communication with key enterprise stakeholders. They channel advice up from the T&D internal marketplace customers to leadership, and then channel governance down from the leaders of the enterprise in response to that advice.
This system is the central, driving force behind the strategies and success of a business-based approach to T&D. Without this in place, it’s unlikely that the other systems/processes will truly have real return on investment and economic value add.
The Advisory Process provides a forum for T&D customers to communicate with governing decision-makers regarding which T&D products to build and which maintenance needs to address.
The Governance Process gives the organization’s executive-level leadership specific process mechanisms to affect T&D strategies, tactics, and resource allocations in order to achieve worthy business results.
If a T&D effort is not providing a positive return on the investments, then this system is clearly broken. In any T&D redesign/re-engineering effort, this is the place to start.
The Governance Process and Advisory Process are interdependent. When operating properly, they drive the alignment of the remaining T&D processes, as well as the T&D products and services. T&D products and services should be aligned and targeted at high-payback business needs and not at T&D offerings with perhaps mass appeal but little potential return on investment and little or negative economic value add.
The advisory councils provide continuous advice to the board of governors as to where to strategically and tactically place the organizational “bets” for the greatest payback. The personnel on the board of governors select the members of the advisory groups to ensure that both the quality and a high-level confidence of the advice provided is presented by credible individuals, acceptable to the members of the board of governors.
T&D Process 12.1: T&D Governance Process
The T&D Governance Process organizes the executives of the enterprise for the purpose of directing both the overall T&D system and the specific efforts to expend the limited resources allocated to T&D, toward only the high-priority/high-payback needs.
This process organizes the enterprise’s executives into a board of governors for the T&D system and charges them with stewardship for the overall T&D. They will act on behalf of the enterprise leadership, all other stakeholders, and especially the shareholders—the owners. The board of governors, with advice, will rule T&D. Business decisions will rule. No more undo attention will be paid to the “low-hanging fruit” with its mass appeal.
If these executives target T&D for return on investment or economic value add, as measured by human performance and business process performance, “time management” probably won’t be given the time of day. If the T&D effort and investment aren’t projected to provide a significant financial return now or later, they simply are not attended to. The body count of personnel to be affected by the T&D isn’t the driver for prioritization and expenditures.
Just because T&D professionals—who were recruited and selected for their skill in systematically uncovering T&D needs—uncover T&D needs, does not mean that the enterprise should meet those needs.
Only those needs with potential returns above the corporate “hurdle rate” for return on investment, or that make other business sense, should be addressed. The process performance-biased/oriented organization does not strive for T&D that will maximize the “butts in seats” measure (the key measure for the lowest of the “low-hanging fruit”). Nor does it automatically address the current, popular, faddish spin on “age-old wisdom” packaged in up-to-date, sexy, newfangled technology, just because it’s currently vogue. That’s just “butts on sites.” If it won’t result in better process performance, it isn’t done.
The only way to ensure that the T&D system is addressing the critical and highly important T&D is to systematically engage the leaders of the enterprise and to double-check with them regarding the findings of our systematic analyses. They then will cherry-pick what to address and will also be involved in the discussion of the alternative approaches with which to affect the high-payback situations. After all, they live with the results.
Depending on the overall complexity of the enterprise, the Governance System may be a hierarchy of committees/councils of the key leaders of the enterprise, or it could be one single group. It depends on the similarity or differences in the “business units” and their people’s T&D needs. Most companies can do with one single board of governors.
In addition to their day jobs, the “governors” are charged with the collateral duty of overseeing the entire T&D system. They may meet in an established forum, where T&D topics are added to their existing agenda, or their responsibilities can be carried out through a new committee/council structure established exclusively to manage the T&D system and its limited resources. The top committee(s)/council(s) would typically meet twice a year.
The T&D board of governors’ objective is to enable the human assets of the enterprise to better perform in all priority, critical business processes. It is consistent with the goals and objectives of the enterprise’s board of directors, which are typically to maximize shareholder return over the long run. They allocate the enterprise’s resources—headcount, facilities, equipment, and dollars—as means to an end.
The end target is high performance in targeted business operations or in all operations. It’s a business decision.
This team of executives establishes subprocesses to
- Communicate the current challenges and opportunities of the business.
- Communicate the general business plan.
- Communicate the T&D goals in measurable terms linked to the business plan.
- Establish and oversee the Advisory Process.
- Provide resources and oversee T&D programs and projects to build the required infrastructure.
- Provide resources and oversee T&D programs and projects to build and maintain the high-payback T&D products and services.
- Collect measurement data and direct improvement efforts at targeted areas.
- Champion the targeted development of relevant, economic value adding, enterprise competence.
The T&D Governance Process works closely with the T&D Advisory Process. Where the T&D Advisory Process provides advice to the enterprise leadership board of governors from their parochial needs and perspectives, the T&D Governance Process then makes the business decisions, which might be simply to agree and then fund the requests from the T&D Advisory Process.
More on the T&D Advisory Process is provided later.
The board of governors is more than just the final decision body regarding the allocation of most-likely limited enterprise resources. They are the stewards who target the results, redirect efforts as needed, and hold the entire system accountable, just as they are ultimately accountable to the enterprise shareholders.
Ladies and gentlemen of the board of governors, please place your strategic bets. The T&D Governance Process interfaces with many of the other T&D system processes in order to provide direction and obtain inputs and feedback.
Is It Broken?
Clues and Cues Your T&D Governance Process may be broken if
- The priorities and projects of the T&D system often change midstream, with little business rhyme or reason.
- There is little energy or enthusiasm for many of the T&D projects, and it is difficult to get the internal customer engaged and involved in timely, meaningful ways.
- Projects are under-resourced or improperly resourced (any “body” “will do”).
- Projects have unrealistic cycle times.
- Projects themselves have no structure and do not seem to be scheduled activities on the calendars of the customer to be served.
- T&D is not a major component of either the overall business plan, or the HR plan, or the business plans for the other business units and functions.
The T&D Governance Process governs. The leaders get together to go through the processes, with guidance and support from T&D professionals, to make business decisions regarding T&D. The board of governors of the T&D system directs the overall T&D system to meet the needs of the enterprise, wherever the cost of nonconformance or return on investment situation dictates.
But where will these leaders get the insight into what issues, problems, and opportunities exist that have high-payback potential? Where will they get such advice? From T&D Process 12.2, the T&D Advisory Process, which we’ll cover next.
T&D Process 12.2: T&D Advisory Process
The T&D Advisory Process is a set of advisory committees/councils that identify and communicate to the board of governors the parochial, high-payback, potential targets. They then oversee and conduct the approved, targeted T&D project efforts for their area of concern.
The advisory committees/councils are immediately below the decision-making body of the board of governors of the T&D Governance Process.
The advisory groups represent the needs of the business. This process is intended to look out for the parochial needs of the individual business units, and/or functions, and/or major processes of the enterprise, and the “expertise disciplines” as well.
Their structure depends on how the customer groups are structured. That could be along business unit lines, process lines, or functional/discipline lines. As always, it depends on the organization. Form should follow function.
The preference for structure should typically go toward functional/discipline over process-based councils due to the similarity of T&D need within a functional group. They will all need to be process oriented!
Ignoring the value of the function was a mistake of the quality movement. Taking away the “homeroom” of peers in their function and strewing them up and down the processes as organizations reorganized into the natural process flows was an antisocial move from the viewpoints of many of the citizens of the enterprise.
Enterprise T&D needs may more often fall in line with a functional/discipline segmentation scheme that recognizes and addresses the uniqueness of the focus of varied business units. This occurs after recognizing and addressing all of the “common needs” of all of the target audiences, such as mechanical engineers, merchandisers, finance professionals, human resource professionals, welders, or maintenance crew members.
The opportunity to see common needs, as well as unique needs (for, say, marketing professionals or welders), is easiest when the T&D Advisory Process is not process oriented, which may change over time, but focused on the discipline first and their related processes second. The performance orientation to T&D (addressed in positions 5 and 6 on the clockface) ensures that the specific process-related needs for those disciplines will be properly addressed.
No matter how you structure the T&D Advisory Process, the goal is to elicit the T&D needs from the entire organization in a systematic manner so that business decisions can be made about real, high-payback needs. With priorities in hand, the Advisory Process then drives the T&D efforts according to the level of resources that the enterprise is willing and able to invest based on the anticipated/projected returns.
It is still a business decision, even for a learning organization.
The T&D Advisory System directs the T&D product and service “lines” definition and design processes, in terms of which priority target audiences need to be addressed with products and services. This is accomplished via the establishment of Project Steering Teams for each effort.
The team members are handpicked by the advisory committees. Project Steering Teams may be disbanded after their projects have been completed, or they may be kept intact for when the high-priority gaps are addressed later by the T&D Product and Service Line Development/Acquisition processes. They would then oversee those T&D project efforts as well.
The designated Project Steering Teams populate the high-priority projects, established by the advisory councils, with members for the various teams on those projects, and then oversee each project to ensure high-payback return on investment and economic value add.
The T&D Marketing and Communications System communicates the messages consistent with the enterprise leadership’s desires and directions.
The T&D Financial Asset Management System identifies where the financial resources are going to assist in the stewardship role of the T&D Governance and Advisory System.
The T&D Advisory Process interfaces with many of the other T&D systems and processes in their effort to determine and prioritize the needs of the enterprise, and manage the efforts to meet those needs.
Is It Broken?
Clues and Cues Your T&D Advisory Process may be broken if
- The advice given to the ultimate, executive decision-makers regarding T&D resource allocations is happening without T&D’s active, structured involvement, and is more political than rational/process-performance based.
- There is no macro-development plan for key target audiences.
- Most T&D projects are “one-offs,” one-shot efforts, that do not lead to anything cohesive for key target audiences.
- T&D development projects are conducted without a clear understanding of their cost of conformance and cost of non-conformance or forecasting the life-cycle costs that will be incurred over time to offer this T&D product/service to the T&D marketplace.
- You feel that you have to continually roll with the punches and are constantly going from one T&D project “fire” to another.
The T&D Advisory Process is where the business drive comes from. T&D puts itself into the hands of its customers for key decisions regarding targets and value, but T&D controls the overall process on how customers address targets and conduct value determination.
The T&D Advisory Process ensures that the voice of the customer is heard in T&D decision-making. It’s a voice too often heard off in the distance or just plain too late. It’s a voice crying out not in uniform harmony, but in discord. It sounds like “noise” unless you know how to break it down and channel it.
This set of processes is one of the most critical. It pays homage to the adage of “know thy customer and listen, listen, listen.” The T&D Advisory Process provides everyone with just the forum for that occurrence.
12 O’clock System Summary
The T&D Governance and Advisory System includes two processes.
– 12-1: T&D Governance Process
– 12-2: T&D Advisory Process
The T&D Governance and Advisory System drives the T&D system via its engagement of key enterprise leaders from many of the enterprise constituencies in a rational set of systems and processes, to ensure value is achieved at the end of the day, month, and year, every year.
How important is it to have this tight a linkage with your T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management customers and stakeholders?
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For more, contact
Guy W Wallace
mobile: 704- 746- 5126
And get a free PDF copy of T&D Systems View at the web site.
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