A lot is often said and written about the importance of strong leadership in driving organisations forward. Business schools espouse the virtues of participative management style, adopting the latest models and frameworks for addressing organisational challenges, and the power of focusing on customer centricity.
Whilst these are all very valid and proven, they alone are not enough as organisations and their Boards come to terms with the need to apply exceptional effort in adapting to change and reinventing themselves through continuous improvement initiatives and transformation programmes.
Agility is the order of the day … new ways of working that support rapid development and delivery through management approaches hinged on prototyping and flexibility. This new order is being fuelled by a turnaround in the economy with organisational austerity on the decline, and business units, divisions and teams bursting with enthusiasm to catch-up, be competitive, get ahead and retake market share.
But making up for lost time in the Boardroom can be dangerous if we abandon wise thinking … a caution is required before we throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water … time to take stock and consider a common sense approach to managing this business turbulence and accelerating rate of change.
Clearly, with transformation projects and programmes sprouting up all over organisations, it would be considered Best Practice and is highly recommended to deploy a proper Portfolio Management approach to leading the change, ensuring good linkage and control between strategy, utilisation of scarce resources and realisation of value through change benefits.
This should be seen as an integrated approach to driving business change and certainly undertaken in partnership with the Business-as-Usual leads, Strategic Planning, Budget & Resource allocation function, Project & Programme planning, and Corporate Governance.
A Portfolio Management approach should have senior level endorsement and commitment in order to yield it’s full potential and drive a singular view of what initiatives to pursue in the Boardroom as well as regularly tracking their progress and reporting this to the Board in support of effective leadership and timely decision making.
The following key principles apply to adopting Portfolio Management:
- Senior Management commitment to provide a basis for prioritisation of the portfolio in line with business objectives,
- Governance Alignment to ensure portfolio decisions are made consistently within the wider organisation structures,
- Strategy Alignment to provide linkage between allocation of resources and strategic objectives,
- Portfolio Office to provide timely and accurate information in support of decision making, and
- Energised Change Culture to mobilise the organisation in pursuit of its goals.
The process for establishing effective Portfolio Management capability within an organisation starts with the appointment of a Portfolio Director and assigning this person ownership for defining and delivering this capability in service of the organisations strategic objectives.
In part 2 we will discover the value the Portfolio Director brings to the organisation and the steps this person needs to take to drive change through effective portfolio management.