Leading the Strategic

Productivity Agenda from

the CTO

By: Friné Calderón

Estimated reading time 15 min.

A strategic cultural change

If you are familiar with the Productivity concept, keyed with success for some years now in the organizations, several projects or initiatives implemented to elevate the productivity in different areas of a company could come to mind. And if you reflect on it for long enough you will figure out that generally these productivity initiatives are implemented in functional areas and not throughout the company; sometimes we do think in an actual Strategic and Transformational Productivity working as a joint effort throughout the whole company that assures having the discipline to identify, quantify and decide on initiatives that better the expenses and that allow us to have a constant efficiency capture.

The Strategic and Transformational Productivity is a process that is currently being implemented in countless other organizations and that consists in a full company process that looks to assure the saving and efficiency decisions. It is as well a constant discipline, not an isolated and functional impact driven project.

Now, for a company to achieve the transformational productivity it is searching for, it first ought to have a good foundation; it needs a well-constructed and clear, as well as communicated and with shared objectives, Strategic Architecture. It is necessary to search for this productivity from the Differentiating Capacities and the Strategic Priorities defined for the company, linking it with the institutional processes model and capturing all the initiatives aligned to our strategic architecture that allow us to have an efficiency and valuable input, but above all, we need to make the strategical productivity a part of the culture inside the company as it implies always having a significant cultural change founded in making every move with the mindset of efficiency and saving.

Achieving a productivity driven culture is definitely a challenge, as Laercio once wrote: “Culture is something one has no need to remember, it simply flows spontaneously.”; it is as simple and complex as that, we need to achieve a culture so well founded that flows naturally throughout the whole organization, that every time a decision is being taken the company goes through a cost and efficiency premise and that it lives and breathes in every working team; from the highest position to the line of production, in the sales force and in every area of the company, we have a mutual understanding and dynamic of productivity.

To achieve this culture, it is primordial to integrate the Strategic Productivity to our Integral Transformation agenda, having the conviction and compromise from the CEO and the directive Committee, counting with a Transformational Team helping to coordinate the transformational efforts and developing a model of Strategic Productivity that consciously, consistently, and efficiently starts to generate impacts in regards to savings and efficiency and that permeates the culture all throughout the company.

At this point, it is important to ask yourself whether or not your company has a culture of saving and efficiency along its workers or if it even exists a worry about the expenses generated daily, as well as if the waste of resources is allowed or even ignored within the company. Your answer may surprise you…

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A Methodology of Strategic Productivity

The recent sanitary crisis with the impact it has had in the general environment and competition, has made that  many companies have had to cut down expenses and find a way to make more effective its operations. To better the competition, businesses resort to searching for avant-garde technologies in the market and the most modern methods of management, or when the company is going through an important financial crisis, it starts off with immediate actions to reduce expenses starting with the cancelation of services that are not primordial, implementing plans of austerity and savings on budgets already authorized, pausing or cancelling operative and strategic projects leading up to more complex and unfortunate scenarios like cutting staff.

To  appeal to these sort of solutions is a good way to exit a chaotic and temporal situation, however it is not lasting nor will it help to generate the Strategic Productivity we are searching for; on a general level, these companies must implement programs of productivity that are integral , well studied and planned and that are carried out throughout the different architectures but mostly in the Strategic and Management Architecture. It is important for these strategies to aid the company’s productivity growth as well as the implementation of initiatives for reducing expenses and efficiency, adequate for the achievement of set goals.

In BTConsortium, we have developed a methodology of Strategic Productivity that proposes significant changes regarding the manner in which we manage the productivity initiatives that arise throughout the company, as well as in what it actually means to be productive:

  • Start from the Strategic Architecture.
  • Capture initiatives of productivity throughout the company’s processes and operations through a method of ideation focused on the control of the lines of cost and expenses that will aid in removing “fat not muscle”.
  • Implement a continuous process to optimize decision making and assure valuable input from the initiatives through a Council of Multifunctional Productivity enabled by the CEO and co-sponsored by the CFO, CHRO and CTO who analyzes the initiatives aligned to the strategic architecture, the impact they have in the productivity as well as its feasibility and results, searching for a lasting and sustainable growth of the company.
  • Count with a Team of Transformation (Productivity Leader, PMO and Transformational Leader) that orchestrate the productivity efforts, ensures the adequate capture of the savings and efficiency initiative as well as guarantee a coherent agenda within the PMO.
  • Integrate the Strategic Productivity in the agenda of Transformation; implementing an annual process parallelly aligned with the agenda of Financial Planning.
  • Establish goals withing the process of yearly planning that allow to align all kinds of efforts and continually working towards the strategic productivity.
  • Change the leadership agenda to promote the continuous generation of ideas and the decision-making with a focus on efficiency and saving.

Our methodology of Strategic Productivity presents a proposal in which the projection starts from the strategy and is constructed through the management of all processes, that work synergistically to reach better results and create a culture of saving and efficiency all throughout the company.

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Leading the Strategic Productivity Agenda from the CTO

Strategic Productivity is rarely seen as part of the transformational agenda; this is to great scale due to the initiatives starting from an isolated and functional manner instead, as part of the culture of the whole company.

Think for a second in an area of productivity in your company, is it actually linked to the strategic architecture of the company? Is it in constant search of initiatives that develop the capacities or contribute to the strategical priorities of the organization? Are you concerned about generating a culture of total productivity in the company? Do you work in a multi-functional manner and are you constantly searching for synergies? Do you recognize people and their experience as the foundation of productivity? Does it involve teams and promotes savings and efficiency? Is it sponsored by the right leaders? Does it have a clear methodology to ensure results?

The companies that have successfully implemented the Strategic Productivity, answer to the previous questions positively, this is because they have linked productivity to the company’s overall transformation, they don’t see productivity as an isolated project that is born, developed and in the end die, but as a continuous process of generating ideas that then become projects, and once developed, impact the results of the company and aid in a continuous manner the achievement of previously set goals and the fulfillment of the vision.

To link the Strategic Productivity with the overall Transformation there are several things a CTO ensure are being done:

Integrate the Strategic Productivity as part of the transformation agenda.

The Strategic Productivity must be a part of the relevant topics spoken throughout the company, the level of deepness and focus will be determined by the forum in which each chapter’s revision is taken place, it is crucial for the CEO and the Directive Committee to establish it, in a recurrent manner, as one of the top priorities of the executive forum.

Give clarity to the CEO and the Directive Committee regarding the benefits of developing productivity as part of the company’s culture.

For the culture of productivity to permeate throughout the organization, it is necessary for the CEO and Directive Committee to be a clear example of efficiency behavior, the message they transmit to the team must be aligned with the decisions that are taken in the highest of positions, and to achieve this, the company’s leaders must have a shared understanding of what strategic productivity means, the benefits it provides to the organization and the importance of unfolding it in every area of it. This implies extensive efforts in adopting the culture in the senior management, training as well as discipline, integrating the key actors in the process and ensuring they are the principal promotors of said productivity.

Guide the company’s leaders in the methodology.

The most effective way to migrate a productivity culture is directly through a methodology that is developed along the different architectures and that assists the  organization in the implementation of savings in expenses and efficiency strategies. The CTO is responsible, along with its team of transformation, for forming the company’s leaders in a clear and ordered manner to achieve said objective, besides guiding them through the use of the methodology.

Assure the enablement, understanding and commitment of the leaders of transformation.

Identify the agents of change that will lead the methodology and culture, those collaborators in different levels of the company that are an example of productivity behavior and that positively affect the team, so that it ensures they know and understand the strategic productivity to carry it out as an adequate message in every team they are part of.

Ensure the adequate implementation of not only the methodology but also the initiatives of productivity derived from said implementation.

It’s crucial to assure that the methodology is installed and executed in a disciplined manner and that the derived projects of the application of the methodology follow an adequate cycle of capacitation, identification, evaluation and implementation, revision of results and that it’s in constant search of evolving.

The role that the CTO plays in the Strategic Productivity is highly important, as it is his or her responsibility to watch over the process of generating ideas that will then become into productivity projects, it is key for the installation of the Productivity Council and that it ensures that the right mechanisms are being used to promote a culture of productivity.

Taking the Strategic Productivity seriously implies having it visible as a key factor in the company’s Transformation Journey, having a space in different forums to discuss, evaluate, measure and adjust its efficiency, as well as having constant follow-up of the projects and promoting the culture.

Finally, I would like for you to leave with this in mind: the most attractive characteristic of the Strategic Productivity is that, making productivity a strategic enabler that your company needs, will aid not only in substantial savings but also in self-funding the efforts that the transformation needs while generating a culture that makes this a different commitment. So, this is the invitation, let’s change the misconception that productivity is an unwanted necessity, to the idea that Strategic Productivity is essential to our culture…