Brooks International has worked with hundreds of companies in dozens of industries over our 61-year history. Prior to working with us, many of our clients have tried to steer through change projects but have failed to capture the promised benefits of such change. For successful transformation, organizations must alter not only their processes and practices, but also change their behaviors and culture to make changes feasible and long-lasting.
Over the years, we’ve uncovered three common traits that characterize successful companies that do the best job of delivering performance and profitability. Highly effective organizations:
- Align performance expectations to ensure consistency of purpose and priorities across functions and processes;
- Continuously improve their capabilities; They recognize the importance of the reengineering process and improving competencies in pursuit of competitive excellence;
- Work to ensure rewards, recognition and other motivators are tied as closely as possible to the performance they are seeking.
We call this approach and framework for organizational effectiveness the E-C-M model (Expectations – Capabilities – Motivators). The E-C-M methodology blends behavioral and tactical considerations and consistently outperforms other change strategies by:
- Enabling organizations to redesign their operating models and the three tactical drivers (expectations, capabilities and motivators) at the same time, accelerating the pace of change and results.
- Producing changes and results that are sustainable, because the behavioral environment, not just the processes or structure, has been reengineered.
- Producing higher levels of commitment and motivation because it addresses the fundamental reason why people work in the first place: to earn rewards and recognition.
Historically, Brooks International was strong at tactical work and weaker at behavioral considerations. However, we discovered the single greatest barrier to sustained complex organizational change was behavior. We reengineered ourselves in 1988, implementing the E-C-M model to address integrated tactical and behavioral change within our own organization and have been using it successfully with our clients ever since.
The Key to Successful Engagements
Utilizing the E-C-M approach, Brooks will:
- Identify and quantify the value of major organizational improvement opportunities;
- Recommend a transformation program to take advantage of them; and then
- Implement/execute the processes, management systems and behaviors to produce step-change results.
Only by aligning expectations from the top of the organization to the front lines, ensuring that strategically aligned and continuously improving capabilities are present and consistently motivating and recognizing desired performance, can organizations deliver on their potential. The presence or absence of these three conditions determines the level of organizational effectiveness.
We apply the E-C-M methodology by assessing a number of areas within an organization.
Expectations – Areas include stakeholder value, customer demands, business strategy, SMART goals, individual terms, company vision, strategy and tactics, goals and objectives and expert models. Expectations must be strongly and measurably aligned up and down the organization, and should answer these questions: What does my boss expect of me? What am I supposed to do? Which things are more important? How do I set priorities when things get hectic? What is my responsibility?
Capabilities – Areas to assess include process design, core processes, best practices, skills and knowledge, systems, information/data, structure and systems for managing, which answer these questions: Do I have everything I need to do what’s expected of me? Are there any tools or special knowledge that would help me to perform? Am I skilled enough to meet my manager’s expectations as I understand them?
Motivators – Assessment areas include compensation, security, recognition, advancement, incentives and other rewards that are performance based, answering these questions: How do I know how I’m doing? How does my boss know? Does anyone think my level of performance is important? Are there consequences if I do not meet my manager’s expectations? Am I noticed if I outperform my colleagues? How does the company show it cares about my work?
The E-C-M Deliverable
The primary deliverable with the E-C-M model is a dramatic, sustainable increase in total business unit performance. We define that further as the company’s ability to deliver superior customer satisfaction at the lowest possible cost. Brooks is dedicated to producing significant and sustainable improvements in overall organizational performance.
Each client has its own operating model that aligns, enables and motivates. We at Brooks International assess the health of our client’s operating model by how well it performs these functions in our Stage 1 Assessment. In our Stage 2 Implementation, we redesign and implement a new operating model.
The E-C-M methodology is so powerful because it produces tactical and behavioral changes simultaneously. Successful change always involves managing tactical and behavioral issues. While tactical change addresses how people and organizations work, behavioral change speaks to why they work. The accelerated, sustainable results Brooks International commits to require addressing both tactics and behavior. Balance and integration are critical. If we ignore the behavior component, we encounter resistance, passivity and short-lived results. If we ignore the tactical component, we are faced with the inevitable question of “Where’s the beef?” with our clients.
E-C-M: Our Framework for Change
Once we begin the tactical and behavioral changes for an organization, it’s necessary to measure and manage them. Most organizations measure something but not enough of the right things. They focus on results and outcomes. However, the better you manage the inputs and processes, the more likely the results and outcomes will be favorable.
Performance against the translated goals should be measurable on a daily basis at the front line. If daily is not possible, then weekly measurement is a must. Accountability through measurement should be maintained at other levels of the organization on at least a weekly basis.
The E-C-M methodology is sustainable and continues working for an organization even if there is a change in senior management.
No matter how complex an organization’s business model or strategic imperatives, armed with the E-C-M methodology, Brooks International can achieve significant, measurable and sustainable improvements in the company’s operational and financial performance.