Below you will find an overview of a case where LeverSource sorted through budget cuts and 72 areas of improvement to help identify the biggest bang for the buck to the organization.

Situation

Individual budgets were reduced and consolidated across the executive team.

Complication

This was the first time the organization had to cut discretionary budget. The culture has been one of a consensus decision making, and this was the first time executives were told their pet projects were not going to be funded.

Approach

Held one-on-one meetings with 74 stakeholders across the organization.  Each person was ask to provide possible nouns that complete the sentence: “Our new corporate strategy initiative will be successful if <blank> increases/decreases/stabilizes” The group surfaced 72 unique suggestions.  Using the LeverSource method each suggestion was analyzed against all other suggestions resulting in 5,112 comparisons. This analysis yielded the following insights: 1) 47 of the 72 suggestions were low leverage in nature 2) 8 were outcomes that could not be directly influenced but provided the starting point for a tailored dashboard 3) 17 were high leverage and should be started now 4) 0 were strategic regarding limitations to the growth and the stability of the organization

Leverage

Having no suggested strategic constraints is very rare.  It really speaks to the silo mentality across the organization. Some executives pointed out this being a positive having no single point of of failure, others (including this author) pointed out the lack of a single silver bullet improvement opportunity.  The nearest metric to the strategic quadrant was “Business Analytics.” This was supported by the fact that their IT landscape had grown organically and consisted of silo’d legacy systems. Data was everywhere with no consistent management or definitions.  Attempts to build a data warehouse failed given the chaotic number and quality of data sources.  Since management had previous negative experiences with ERP solutions, a hybrid approach using best-of-breed and custom development using a SOA architecture was suggested.

Feedback

The executive team approved a large scale transformation initiative to upgrade the IT platform based on solving the operational pain points captured in the LeverSource approach. Additionally, the leverage map surfaced the vicious decision loops that  management needed to change to keep them from reverting back to their silo’d mentality and disjointed operational systems.