GEO Group and Performax integrate Collective IQ with State-of-the-art Engagement and Analytics Technology

GEO Group and Performax Partner

GEO Group (www.geogroup.net) is a strategic services consulting firm based in Louisiana, lead by senior advisors, Leland Russell and Joyce Reynolds-Sinclair, Ph.D. – globally recognized thought leaders in strategic management, innovative collaboration, virtual strategic thinking, planning and execution. GEO Group Strategic Services Inc. specializes in the design and deployment of high-velocity leadership practices, processes and tools that address a key organizational challenge: Effective Execution. Leland Russell is the author of “Winning In FastTime®”.

Performax Inc. (www.performax360.com) is a stakeholder engagement automation and business intelligence software platform, based in California, offered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) powered by IBM Watson. Suitable for mid-size and large organizations across all industries, it engages employees, customers, and partners “at scale” in a LIVE 360° feedback and feed-forward process, and captures grass-roots stakeholder intelligence on critical issues related to  projects, processes or internal functions. It facilitates collaborative innovation and agile sense and respond capability within organizations.

GEO Group and Performax today announced a strategic partnership, whereby GEO strategic services: Think, Plan, Act, and Learn; and its Collective IQ toolset is integrated with Performax – an award-winning stakeholder engagement and business intelligence platform powered by IBM. In its capacity as a “Global Partner” in the Performax Global Partner Network (GPN), GEO Group will represent Performax around the globe. Organizations will now be able to rapidly implement a cutting-edge technology platform for LIVE stakeholder engagement throughout their strategy development and execution cycles.

The partnership enables a practical and innovative blend of strategy-execution best practices and near real-time availability of actionable stakeholder intelligence.  This integrated solution offering will help mid-to-large organizations across industry verticals accelerate growth and gain competitive advantage in the marketplace through: (1) capturing real-time stakeholder intelligence and insights on critical success factors, (2) enabling greater organizational agility and innovation, (3) leveraging best and next practices for strategic and operational decisions, and (4) determining, developing and delivering agile strategies.

Organizations will also have the capability to monitor organizational and team performance dynamically and in real-time, supported by IBM Watson cognitive analytics, which delivers stakeholder sentiment analysis.

“It is my pleasure to announce that GEO Group’s strategy consulting services and Performax360’s stakeholder engagement and business intelligence platform can now be accessed by customers through a seamless single-point solution. This partnership offers strong support for our business and our clients at all stages of the iterative Think, Plan, Act, and Learn cycle” said Leland Russell, Founder & CEO at GEO Group.

“Performax360’s Digital Engagement Process promotes an open and connected environment throughout the enterprise. This extends to all internal functions, processes, and projects as we and our partners look to streamline the overall process of enterprise engagement, alignment and performance management to something that’s real-time, agile, and hyper-aware. We are excited to partner with GEO Group and look forward to servicing our customers with value-added solutions” said Dr. Samir Asaf, President & CEO at Performax Inc.

Contact Leland Russell at GEO Group at leland.russell@geogroup.net, or Dr. Samir Asaf at Performax Inc. at samir.asaf@performax360.com. Or see www.geogroup.net and www.performax360.com.

Customer-centricity: a multi-stakeholder approach

Dr. Samir Asaf and James Creelman

Customer-centricity meets LIVE Stakeholder Engagement

Few organizations would dare state they were not “customer-centric.” CEOs talk endlessly about “putting the customer first” and “customer engagement.” We can trace the origins back 25+ years when we began using terms (nonsensical in hindsight) such as “the customer is always right” and, even worse, “the customer is King.”

Since then, firms have routinely ensured customer service training, and obsessively monitored quarterly Customer Satisfaction and, more recently, Net Promoter Scores.

Today, service design, customer journey mapping, and real-time customer engagement platforms are leveraged to accelerate customer-centric strategy-making and execution. We are seeing a plethora of digital capabilities brought to bear on customer touchpoints, moments of truth, self-service processes, and strategies to increase customer loyalty (loyalty scheme abound), retention, and customer-led innovation (whatever that means!).

Customer Loyalty Continues to Fall

So is this feverish focus on the customer delivering expected results. Well, not exactly – at least if customer loyalty is the intended outcome of all this activity. According to Forbes magazine and other recent research, customer loyalty is declining across industries, categories, and brands – and has been for some time.

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, consultants from McKinsey claimed that the reasons customer loyalty is declining are manifold:

·       organizations are not being able to keep up with the rising customer expectations

·       competitors are emerging with wider sets of product lines for ever thinner-sliced customer segments

·       mass-customisation, powered by 3D printing, is increasingly driving the shift away from standardization

·        loyalty programs are failing to increase retention and acquisition revenue but rather leading to lower profit margins

·       digitalization and transparency in product and service pricing make customers more likely to switch.

Disengagement is the Norm

While not disagreeing with these observations, we would argue there’s another, and more, profound cause for lack of loyalty, or disengagement. Customers are not disengaging and for one simple reason – increasingly they have never actually been engaged. Most customer-supplier relationships are more transactional in nature now than they ever been. Loyalty doesn’t come into it.

Customers are not disengaging and for one simple reason – increasingly they have neveractually been engaged.

Herein lies a problem, and one that is more mindset that structural. In maintaining the adherence to “silo-based” thinking, organizations habitually compartmentalize stakeholders. We have shareholders, customers, employees, partners, suppliers and even the community.

Each group is viewed through distinct lenses and brought together in a Stakeholder visual map. But more often than not, this is not a stakeholder ecosystem that works together dynamically, but simply a labelling of the different stakeholders who are then provided with their own “engagement” strategy.

So, for example, we have one process for engaging customers and another for engaging employees. And we all know that for more than a decade, according to Gallup and others, employee engagement has remained shockingly and stubbornly low across all industries and sectors – despite untold billions spent on programs to “engage” the employee.

A fundamental failing here is that for customer engagement to rise requires a commensurate rise in employee engagement and also, we would add, partner and supplier engagement. If one part of the system is disengaged the whole value system is weakened and will ultimately fail.

Transition to Stakeholder Engagement

What’s needed to optimise customer experience is to dynamically, and holistically, engage customers, employees and partners, at all stages of the strategy development, execution and refinement cycle.

This dynamic interplay can be achieved by leveraging cutting edge technology, such as Performax360, to capture the, even slight, fluctuations in stakeholder sentiment. Advanced data analytics will then inform management about key areas of focus, and an agile culture comes into play where key customer value decisions are collaboratively taken and flawlessly executed. Stakeholder ecosystem engagement and alignment can be achieved and therefore a greater likelihood of securing the one thing most organization want, and that is proven ephemeral at best – customer loyalty.

Ends

 Performax360 (www.performax360.com) is a real-time stakeholder engagement and business intelligence software solution that enables organizations to engage key stakeholders on critical customer touchpoints.

Across cross-functional teams, and both vertically and horizontally, it automates stakeholder feedback capture, analytics, reporting, collaborative action planning, and action plan implementation monitoring.

With Performax360’s 3-step digital engagement process (discovery, analysis, and action), organizations can ensure that stakeholders are engaged during the customer strategy development and execution process and have a ‘voice’ on critical issues related to the customer journey. Organizations can ensure ‘continuous touchpoints’ with customer focus groups, partners, and customer-facing employees, so that it can maximise their contribution and participation in the customer strategy development and continuous refinement process.

About the Authors

Dr. Samir Asaf is currently President and CEO of Performax Inc. Formerly, he held positions including Senior Advisor at the World Bank and Financial Director at AT&T Corp. and Group CEO at Rahimafrooz.

Author of ‘Executive Corporate Finance: the business of enhancing shareholder value’ (Financial Times Prentice Hall, London, 2004), he is currently a Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), USA; and a Fellow and Chartered Director at the Institute of Directors (IOD), UK. 

A graduate from Boston College with a BSc in Business Administration. He completed his Doctorate in Business Administration from SMC University; MSc in Economics from London School of Economics; Advanced Management Programme from Oxford University; Professional Certificate in Data Science and Enterprise Systems Engineering from MIT, and Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University.

He is a Strategic Management Professional (ASP), Certified Customer Experience Professional (CXPA), Project Management Professional (PMI), and Kaplan-Norton BSC Certified Practitioner (Palladium); and Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (ISACA). He is a Business Excellence Assessor for EFQM and Malcolm Baldrige Frameworks, and a Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ); Certified in Digital Business Transformation from Boston Consulting Group (BCG); He was a research scholar in Finance and Strategy at the Harvard Business School (1998).

James Creelman provides expert guidance in strategy management to commercial and government organizations across the globe. He is a Director of the UK-based Cardinal Management Consulting and the Nigeria-based Straticution.

James’ main focus areas involve guiding leadership teams in the building and implementing of:

·         Agile and Adaptive Balanced Scorecard Frameworks

·         Integrated Strategy Formulation and Execution Approaches for the Digital Era

·         Strategic Risk Management

·        Strategy-Aligned Corporate Cultures.

The author of numerous books, articles and blogs, his most recent books include:

·        Agile Strategy Management in the Digital Age: how dynamic balanced scorecards transform decision making, speed and effectiveness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Co-authored with David Wiraeus.

·         Doing More with Less: measuring, analyzing and improving performance in the government and not-for profit sector (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Co-authored with LinkedIn Influencer Bernard Marr.

·        Risk-based Performance Management: integrating strategy and risk management (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Co-authored with Andrew Smart.

The Age of Collaboration: Leveraging the Partner Eco-System to Drive Customer Value

Dr. Samir Asaf and James Creelman

We all know we live in a business environment that is dynamic, unpredictable and increasingly complex, both internally and externally. No need to elaborate.

Despite being constantly, and often painfully reminded of these truisms, we are also struggling to figure how, to such a backdrop, we can deliver superior value to increasingly discerning and spoilt-for-choice customer. A 2014 research project by The Palladium Group, for example, involving a survey of 1300 firms from across the globe, found that 60% of firms believed that their customer value proposition was under threat. Furthermore, 81% were skeptical that their organization was capable of developing new products or services strong enough to overcome customer threats (1). It is reasonable to assume that five years on, little has changed.

The Dangers of an Internal Mindset

That little has changed has many Fathers, but one Alpha Male parent is likely the continued reliance on a purely internal view of how we think about delivering value to customers. A mindset that is typically transactional in nature – we do A (and decided by the same managerial process that has always identified A) and the customer buys and gets B. Everyone’s happy.

Unfortunately for such management teams, things just don’t work that way anymore,

Taking a Collaborative Approach

The most successful organizations today have long since moved on from such a value destroying way of thinking and have accepted that they in isolation cannot provide all the added value that customers demand. Embracing a truly solution-based approach, these firms are happily, and proactively, collaborating with others (including competitors – think coopetition) to deliver a more extended value portfolio to customers. Put simply, they have mastered the art of leveraging partner eco-systems.

Regardless of how dominant in the market, those that fail to master this art are increasingly paying a heavy price; and there’s already a long list of notable casualties. For example, why did Blackberry and Nokia, both once dominant, suffer near-extinction, whereas Apple was almost unimaginably successful? 

Creating Dynamic Partner Eco-Systems

We argue that central to the answer is that Apple created a dynamic partner eco-system that was greatly valued by its customers. This included, among other things, the AppStore, that now holds more than two million apps. Customers don’t just buy the iPhone for its hardware but because of Apple’s digital eco-system, powered by its partners (and note, few Apple customers are aware of the members of the eco-system – or care!).

Additional examples of partner eco-systems include the Star Alliance in the airline industry, the SWIFT global payments system in financial services, the Sabre travel reservation system in the travel industry.

The Importance of “Sense and Respond”

But to be continually successful over time, such partner eco-systems need to be innovative, with the inbuilt ability to sense and respond to changing needs and expectations of partners and end-customers. Just as customer needs change quickly these days (and often suddenly), the same holds true for other stakeholders.

Often, such eco-systems become monolithic and lack the agility required to remain on the cutting edge. Partners lose interest as other and more exciting opportunities arise – perhaps another partner eco-system.

Leveraging Customer Touchpoints

What’s needed in today’s digital economy is dynamic partner eco-systems, powered by near real-time data capture, analysis, swift decision-making and execution. Key to success is wresting value from partner touchpoint.

Since key partner touchpoints are known as part of business processes, it should be relatively straightforward to determine how an organization or its partner eco-system is performing on each of these critical success factors, and so identify under-performing areas and take remedial action quickly. Moreover, partner contributions and their “ideas for action” can be captured and implemented to ensure that the eco-system remains relevant, healthy, and effective – and a win-win for all members of the system.

Partner Engagement Platforms

Thanks to recent advances in data science, cloud computing, cognitive analytics, and mobile computing, partner engagement software platforms are available (see www.performax360.com) that are helping organizations to reap the many benefits of a vibrant partner eco-system.

Organizations can now engage partners in a live and ongoing dialogue, receive regular and valuable feedback, and feed-forward processes to extract maximum value from partner eco-systems. As planning cycles shorten due to market dynamics and uncertainty, partner engagement software platforms facilitate outside-in, data-driven, and evidence-based decision-making at both strategic and operational levels.

In the financial services, for example, the unbundling of technology has enabled fintech companies such as Saxo Bank (Denmark) to create a highly scalable digital eco-system around its partners: this is supported by the platform core, technology, customers, and its brand. Innovation is enabled continuously through its open API platform, as Saxo Bank plays the role of the keystone organization in the eco-system.

Parting Words

To continue to deliver value to customers, organizations must leverage technology to remain connected to partners in real-time, both from a technology integration perspective and from a managerial communications perspective. Such collaborative relationships evolve through time, where value is co-created together with partners.

For firms to become truly collaborative, they must finally jettison the notion that all the answers to customer needs are found within the firm and, perhaps more challenging for many, the relinquishing of the deeply ingrained belief that they must keep partners/suppliers at arms-length and that competitors can never be trusted.

The digital age is also often called “the age of the customer.” We argue that it is also the “age of collaboration.”

Ends

  1. 2014 Global State of Strategy and Leadership Survey Report, James Creelman, Jade Evans, Caroline Lamaison, Matt Tice, Palladium Group.

About Performax360

Performax360 (www.performax360.com) is a real-time a real-time stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and business intelligence software solution that enables organizations to engage key stakeholders on critical issues. It automates stakeholder feedback capture, analytics, reporting, collaborative action planning, and action plan implementation monitoring.

With Performax360’s 3-step digital engagement process (discovery, analysis, and action), organizations can ensure that partners are engaged during the strategy development and strategy execution process and have a voice on critical issues relevant to the partner eco-system. Organizations can ensure “continuous touchpoints” with partners, so that it can maximize their contribution and participation in the eco-system strategy development and continuous refinement process. This helps with: (1) progressive steering of the strategy based on collective intelligence, (2) uncovering hidden risks based on grass-roots operational intelligence, and (3) collaborative innovation based on ongoing feedback capture.

In addition, Performax360 carries out partner sentiment analysis, powered by IBM Watson cognitive analytics, which allows management teams to gain an unprecedented level of insights into partner sentiment and emotions on all critical strategic and operational issues relevant to the organization and the partner eco-system. This analysis is carried out in real time, which contributes to partner eco-system agility and responsiveness. Finally, Performax360 supports collaborative action planning and action plan implementation monitoring, thus facilitating partner buy-in during the partner eco-system strategy execution process.

About the Authors

Dr. Samir Asaf is currently President and CEO of Performax Inc. Formerly, he held positions including Senior Advisor at the World Bank and Financial Director at AT&T Corp. and Group CEO at Rahimafrooz.

Author of ‘Executive Corporate Finance: the business of enhancing shareholder value’ (Financial Times Prentice Hall, London, 2004), he is currently a Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), USA; and a Fellow and Chartered Director at the Institute of Directors (IOD), UK. 

A graduate from Boston College with a BSc in Business Administration. He completed his Doctorate in Business Administration from SMC University; MSc in Economics from London School of Economics; Advanced Management Programme from Oxford University; Professional Certificate in Data Science and Enterprise Systems Engineering from MIT, and Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University.

He is a Strategic Management Professional (ASP), Certified Customer Experience Professional (CXPA), Project Management Professional (PMI), and Kaplan-Norton BSC Certified Practitioner (Palladium); and Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (ISACA). He is a Business Excellence Assessor for EFQM and Malcolm Baldrige Frameworks, and a Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ); Certified in Digital Business Transformation from Boston Consulting Group (BCG); He was a research scholar in Finance and Strategy at the Harvard Business School (1998).

James Creelman provides expert guidance in strategy management to commercial and government organizations across the globe.

James’ main focus areas involve guiding leadership teams in the building and implementing of:

  •  Agile and Adaptive Balanced Scorecard Frameworks
  •  Integrated Strategy Formulation and Execution Approaches for the Digital Era
  •  Strategic Risk Management
  • Strategy-Aligned Corporate Cultures.

The author of numerous books, articles and blogs, his most recent books include:

  • Agile Strategy Management in the Digital Age: how dynamic balanced scorecards transform decision making, speed and effectiveness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Co-authored with David Wiraeus.
  •  Doing More with Less: measuring, analyzing and improving performance in the government and not-for profit sector (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Co-authored with LinkedIn Influencer Bernard Marr.
  • Risk-based Performance Management: integrating strategy and risk management (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Co-authored with Andrew Smart.

Outside in, not Inside out: The Key to Becoming Customer-Centric.

Dr. Samir Asaf and James Creelman

Stakeholder Engagement through Outside-In

A study by Bain & Co. showed that whereas 80% of CEOs believe their organizations are customer-centric, only 8% of their customers agree.

Herein lies a dangerous “managerial blindspot” that has often proven fatal to organizations. The top management teams tend to be over-confident that their mindset and strategic approach are customer-centric, without recognizing that their organization is not configured to deliver customer-centricity: and not even close! The result: dissatisfied and disengaged customers.

The underlying problem is that organizations, and in particular their leadership teams, take an “inside-out” view of performance and resource allocation (i.e, starts with the internal organization) rather than one that is “outside-in” ( i.e., starts with the customer).

Changing the Question

The starting point for an outside-in approach is the question, “how do we deliver value to the customer and how do we continually capture and respond to the changes in their expectations and solution offerings?” This goes to the very heart of strategic planning and execution. 

Such a customer-value approach to management flies in the face of a conventional, inside-out finance-based planning, which has as its starting point financial targets and the spreadsheet: Many refer to this as “the tyranny of the spreadsheet” where the starting question tends to be, “how much money do we have and where do we best allocate resources to deliver those numbers?” Despite hollow platitudes the customer rarely comes into the equation.

Sadly, many organizations are slavishly devoted to this inward-focused mindset. The customer perspective is often relegated the next best seat because of other operational and strategic priorities. In addition, since most customers, according to research, don’t bother to complain or communicate their frustrations or expectations, an information-gap is created which results in an over-estimation in customer satisfaction scores.

…many organizations are slavishly devoted to this inward-focused mindset.

Compounding the Problem

As well as the described tyranny, much of conventional management practices compound the problem. Management teams are rewarded primarily on earnings growth, while the quality of customer experience does not show up on the balance sheet or income statement, at least not in the short term.

Making matters worse, this inward-focused mindset steers the prioritization of performance measurement, whereby the lagging financial metrics take precedence, rather than the leading customer, process, and learning goals and measures. Consequently customer-centricity goals at best suffer or more likely become totally unattainable, and competitive advantage erodes due to lack of customer focus during strategy development and execution. This is not helped by the fact that the perfect Customer Experience metric is hard to find, as Net Promoter (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores fail to provide actionable business intelligence, and thus serve as “somewhat useful” indicators for improvement initiatives.

Where are all the Chief Customer Experience Officers?

That organizations are still mainly inwardly-focused is strongly suggested by the fact that despite the almost deafening organizational screams that, “we put the customer first” few organizations have a ‘Chief Customer Experience Officer’. This is partly because it is a tough role to fill. Customer experience management is not a vertical function, it is horizontal, with broad cross-cutting roles and so anathematic to the conventional, and now increasingly dysfunctional, silo-based approach to structuring organizations: Frederick W. Taylor has much to answer for!

…despite the almost deafening organizational screams that, “we put the customer first” few organizations have a ‘Chief Customer Experience Officer’.

Optimizing the customer experience requires great pre-sales, point-of-sale, and post-sales lifecycle management. It requires excellence in sales and marketing, credit management, quality management, process and operational excellence, sales and operational planning, customer lifecycle management, employee training and development, service design, data-analytics, and technology platforms.

With his/her enterprise-wide remit the CEO is probably best suited to lead the delivery of such an experience, but alas wears far too many hats. Therefore, customer engagement is relegated, by default, to the customer service department and its Chief, who is neither trained, equipped nor has the authority to ensure all CXOs work collectively rather than functionally.

Delivering a Competitive Advantage

With customer experience management recognized as the next frontier in organisational success, companies that do get it right enjoy a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Such organizations centre their business strategies and execution plans around their customers.

As examples, highly customer-centric firms such as FedEx, Disney, and McDonald’s focus on “Glocal” (Global/Local) strategies that are agile and flexible based on the needs of the local markets they serve. Key customer segments are engaged, and competitive advantage is continually renewed as these organizations deliver on their customer-centric strategies, processes, and values. The “customer culture” permeates across the enterprise, both vertically and horizontally and with seamless coordination across functional silos – and, crucially, from strategy to execution.

A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective

So, how can we begin to transition from an inside-out to an outside-in mindset; one that ensures that the internal organization is aligned with the needs of its customers, and indeed other external stakeholders? 

A good starting point is to implement a multi-stakeholder perspective, which plays a critical role in balancing the outside-in and inside-out perspectives. A new breed of big-data and analytics technologies, such as Performax360, are being deployed to enable and facilitate continuous customer engagement; thus enhancing competitive advantage for firms that figure out how to do it right. 

All of this is accelerated through the online engagement of customer focus groups in an ongoing and iterative partnership, where they have the incentive to give their valuable opinions and feedback on critical issues related to the customer experience.

Parting Words

The key to success is to embrace customer-centricity first (that requires the challenging of conventional approach to management and organizational structuring, among others) and then engage customers on a continuous improvement journey. This voyage of discovery is powered by advanced data analytics that furnish the rich insights required to support customer-centric decision-making and ultimately long-term and sustainable growth.  

Ends

About Performax360

Performax360 (www.performax360.com) is a real-time stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and business intelligence software solution that enables organizations to engage key stakeholders on critical issues. It automates stakeholder feedback capture, analytics, reporting, collaborative action planning, and action plan implementation monitoring.

With Performax360’s 3-step digital engagement process (discovery, analysis, and action), organizations can ensure that stakeholders are engaged during the strategy development and strategy execution process and have a voice on critical issues. Organizations can ensure ‘continuous touchpoints’ with senior, mid-level, and junior staff throughout the enterprise, so that it can maximize their contribution and participation in the strategy development and continuous refinement process. This helps with: (1) progressive steering of the strategy based on collective intelligence, (2) uncovering hidden risks based on grass-roots operational intelligence, and (3) collaborative innovation based on ongoing feedback capture.

In addition, Performax360 carries out stakeholder sentiment analysis, powered by IBM Watson cognitive analytics, which allows management teams to gain an unprecedented level of insights into stakeholder sentiment and emotions on all critical strategic and operational issues relevant to the organization. This analysis is carried out in real time, which contributes to organizational agility and responsiveness. Finally, Performax360 supports collaborative action planning and action plan implementation monitoring, thus facilitating stakeholder buy-in during the strategy execution process.

About the Authors

Dr. Samir Asaf is currently President and CEO of Performax Inc. Formerly, he held positions including Senior Advisor at the World Bank and Financial Director at AT&T Corp. and Group CEO at Rahimafrooz.

Author of ‘Executive Corporate Finance: the business of enhancing shareholder value’ (Financial Times Prentice Hall, London, 2004), he is currently a Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), USA; and a Fellow and Chartered Director at the Institute of Directors (IOD), UK. 

A graduate from Boston College with a BSc in Business Administration. He completed his Doctorate in Business Administration from SMC University; MSc in Economics from London School of Economics; Advanced Management Programme from Oxford University; Professional Certificate in Data Science and Enterprise Systems Engineering from MIT, and Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University.

He is a Strategic Management Professional (ASP), Certified Customer Experience Professional (CXPA), Project Management Professional (PMI), and Kaplan-Norton BSC Certified Practitioner (Palladium); and Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (ISACA). He is a Business Excellence Assessor for EFQM and Malcolm Baldrige Frameworks, and a Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ); Certified in Digital Business Transformation from Boston Consulting Group (BCG); He was a research scholar in Finance and Strategy at the Harvard Business School (1998).

James Creelman provides expert guidance in strategy management to private and government organizations across the globe.

James’ main focus areas involve guiding leadership teams in the building and implementing of:

  •  Agile and Adaptive Balanced Scorecard Frameworks
  •  Integrated Strategy Formulation and Execution Approaches for the Digital Era
  •  Strategic Risk Management
  • Strategy-Aligned Corporate Cultures.

The author of numerous books, articles and blogs, his most recent books include:

  • Agile Strategy Management in the Digital Age: how dynamic balanced scorecards transform decision making, speed and effectiveness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Co-authored with David Wiraeus.
  •  Doing More with Less: measuring, analyzing and improving performance in the government and not-for profit sector (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Co-authored with LinkedIn Influencer Bernard Marr.
  • Risk-based Performance Management: integrating strategy and risk management (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Co-authored with Andrew Smart.

360° Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration: The Key to Effective Strategy Management

Dr. Samir Asaf and James Creelman

We all know the story. Once a year the senior team disappear for a two-day off-site (typically at a very comfortable hotel) and craft the organization’s strategy and goals for the following year. Highly enthused by their “brilliant” strategy they return to the workplace and expect middle managers to be equally excited and in turn junior managers and front-line staff.

The next part of this very familiar tale is the gradual replacing of executive enthusiasm with frustration and finger pointing, as the strategy faces formidable implementation challenges related to stakeholder buy-in, organizational complexity, emergence of internal and external dynamics, operational and strategic risks, communication, resourcing, internal alignment and coordination, capacity planning, project management, and other unexpected constraints. This results in off-site strategies that either significantly fall short of expectations or fail completely. 70-80% failure rates are routinely reported.

Overlooking Internal Collaboration

The simple, and typically overlooked, truth is that failure is largely the result of internal stakeholders not being involved in the early stages of the strategy dialogue. Put another way, as they are not invited to collaborate, they rarely buy-in to the strategy, and more often than not don’t really understand the rationale – the thinking that shaped the strategic thrusts and goals. Any involvement is cursory at best.

Most commentators concur that collaboration is now considered the key to “buy-in” from internal stakeholders. And increasingly so as the generations raised with the Internet and Social Media as their first language make up a bigger percentage of the employee base. They expect to contribute and be heard. They expect two-way and multi-way dialogue. This is as true at the workplace as it is in their digitally connected personal lives. When it fails to materialize, disengagement soon takes place.

Most commentators concur that collaboration is now considered the key to “buy-in” from internal stakeholders

According to Gallup and AON Hewitt research, employee engagement rates across industries are around 32%, which means that two-thirds of employees say that they do not feel highly engaged at the workplace! Low employee engagement during strategy development compromises the effectiveness of the strategic plan as it is not adequately informed by key stakeholder inputs and insights.

Overlooking External Collaboration

But however important, successfully formulating and executing strategy is not only about internal stakeholders. Equally important are external stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, partners and community members. A 360-degree stakeholder engagement process, such as embodied in the Perfomax360 Stakeholder Engagement, Collaboration and Business Intelligence Software Solution, should be inculcated throughout the strategy management cycle. We need to hear from all stakeholders.

Stakeholder Engagement

Organizations must engage employees, customers, and partners early in the strategic dialogue, capturing their insights into opportunities and capability requirements. What do they think the firm does well? Does not do well? Where are the opportunities? Are their disruptive risks on the horizon? Invaluable intelligence for senior teams.

Organizations must engage employees, customers, and partners early in the strategic dialogue…

But insights are one thing, the senior team must then distil that feedback (which will not always be comfortable reading) and feed-forward on critical issues affecting the strategy implementation effort. What must we act on now to heighten the likelihood of success tomorrow? An essential component of strategy execution.

As well as being open to new “ideas for action” and new ways of seeing things (a significant mindset change for many senior teams, and indeed organizations), the executive leaders must also be prepared to act on innovations that emerge from a dynamic stakeholder engagement process. Such innovations should be, and using simple approaches such as online collaborative panels, be assembled and prioritized for action and then the impact tracked and assessed by stakeholder groups.

Engagement as a “Closed Loop” Process

It is also critically important that there is a near real-time “closed-loop” process for stakeholder engagement, not a uni-directional or one-off process. Engagement is only effective when it is a continual process, with a dynamic interplay of ideas and insights that are translated into actionable business intelligence and co-created solutions to stakeholder challenges. And when co-created, buy-in is much more likely – be that for customer solutions or business strategy.

Parting Words

For collaboration to take hold and for winning strategies to be developed and successfully executed, organizations need to implement a systematic approach to the stakeholder engagement process, supported by real-time technology and advanced data-analytics. Collaboration doesn’t just take place once a year in a comfortable hotel.

Ends

About Performax360

Performax360 (www.performax360.com) is a real-time stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and business intelligence software solution that enables organizations to engage key stakeholders on critical issues. It automates stakeholder feedback capture, analytics, reporting, collaborative action planning, and action plan implementation monitoring.

With Performax360’s 3-step digital engagement process (discovery, analysis, and action), organizations can ensure that stakeholders are engaged during the strategy development and strategy execution process and have a voice on critical issues. Organizations can ensure ‘continuous touchpoints’ with senior, mid-level, and junior staff throughout the enterprise, so that it can maximize their contribution and participation in the strategy development and continuous refinement process. This helps with: (1) progressive steering of the strategy based on collective intelligence, (2) uncovering hidden risks based on grass-roots operational intelligence, and (3) collaborative innovation based on ongoing feedback capture.

In addition, Performax360 carries out stakeholder sentiment analysis, powered by IBM Watson cognitive analytics, which allows management teams to gain an unprecedented level of insights into stakeholder sentiment and emotions on all critical strategic and operational issues relevant to the organization. This analysis is carried out in real time, which contributes to organizational agility and responsiveness. Finally, Performax360 supports collaborative action planning and action plan implementation monitoring, thus facilitating stakeholder buy-in during the strategy execution process.

About the Authors

Dr. Samir Asaf is currently President and CEO of Performax Inc. Formerly, he held positions including Senior Advisor at the World Bank and Financial Director at AT&T Corp. and Group CEO at Rahimafrooz.

Author of ‘Executive Corporate Finance: the business of enhancing shareholder value’ (Financial Times Prentice Hall, London, 2004), he is currently a Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), USA; and a Fellow and Chartered Director at the Institute of Directors (IOD), UK. 

A graduate from Boston College with a BSc in Business Administration. He completed his Doctorate in Business Administration from SMC University; MSc in Economics from London School of Economics; Advanced Management Programme from Oxford University; Professional Certificate in Data Science and Enterprise Systems Engineering from MIT, and Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University.

He is a Strategic Management Professional (ASP), Project Management Professional (PMI), and Kaplan-Norton BSC Certified Practitioner (Palladium); and Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (ISACA). He is a Business Excellence Assessor for EFQM and Malcolm Baldrige Frameworks, and a Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ); Certified in Digital Business Transformation from Boston Consulting Group (BCG); He was a research scholar in Finance and Strategy at the Harvard Business School (1998).

James Creelman provides expert guidance in strategy management to private and government organizations across the globe.

James’ main focus areas involve guiding leadership teams in the building and implementing of:

  •  Agile and Adaptive Balanced Scorecard Frameworks
  •  Integrated Strategy Formulation and Execution Approaches for the Digital Era
  •  Strategic Risk Management
  • Strategy-Aligned Corporate Cultures.

The author of numerous books, articles and blogs, his most recent books include:

  • Agile Strategy Management in the Digital Age: how dynamic balanced scorecards transform decision making, speed and effectiveness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Co-authored with David Wiraeus.
  •  Doing More with Less: measuring, analyzing and improving performance in the government and not-for profit sector (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Co-authored with LinkedIn Influencer Bernard Marr.
  • Risk-based Performance Management: integrating strategy and risk management (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Co-authored with Andrew Smart.

A 360° Performance Lens for Financial Services

The Financial Services landscape is being disrupted by the need for digital transformation. Is your Financial Services firm ready to meet the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0… characterised by automation, internet of things, cloud, social, mobile, big-data, and cognitive computing.

  • The impact of risk and regulation has been a challenge.
  • Financial crime and Cyber-Security issues are taking center stage.
  • Innovations in mobile and digital technologies are creating new possibilities.
  • While the disruptive impact of FinTech promises to power the emerging financial services sector in the 21st century, the changing face of the customer requires equal, if not more, attention.

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In this rapidly changing environment, traditional KPI-based business intelligence and financial reporting systems are failing to provide financial services firms with the 360° Performance Lens needed to shape their businesses and execute their strategies.  What’s the way forward?

In this fast-evolving Financial Services marketplace, digital transformation is essential, but financial firms cannot stop there… They need to go beyond digital. In addition to Automated Servicing and Personalization, seamless Omni-Channel Customer Experiences need to be designed and flawlessly executed. In a data-driven enterprise, the capability to ‘Sense and Respond’ to optimize the employee and customer experience becomes a critical success factor.

A focus on Employee and Customer-Centricity is becoming an increasingly important differentiator in the marketplace. Engaging employees is ever more important for attracting and nurturing people with the mindset and ideas to develop lasting relationships, work within tougher risk and compliance demands, and create customer value over the long-term.

What if you could cover the full spectrum of employee, customer, and stakeholder feedback on all critical areas? Gain 360° strategic and operational insights on key issues from people from the front-line to the boardroom… and identify hidden risks and emerging opportunities in near real-time…

With 360° cognitive insights, what if you could enhance your situational awareness and the ability to anticipate rather than react, to operational risks and strategic opportunities… What if you could give your team members the ability to participate in a collaborative business improvement and innovation process? With Performax360, you can.

  • Engage employees, customers, and partners in a LIVE 360° feedback process, leveraging latest advances in data science and cognitive analytics.
  • Through this award-winning big-data platform, access more than 30 Analytics Features, to gain high-resolution Business Intelligence on internal functions, processes, and key projects.
  • Access Stakeholder Sentiment and Emotions, powered by IBM Watson cognitive analytics.
  • Capture innovative ideas from people in the know, to discover and implement breakthrough improvements.
  • Engage internal Subject Matter Experts for assessment design, stakeholder selection, and action planning.
  • Leverage Best Practices Questionnaire Templates for the Financial Services Industry

Performax360 provides financial services firms with ‘360° performance insights’, which helps them identify operational risk and compliance issues.

  • It deepens Employee Motivation by giving them a voice on both strategic and operational issues.
  • It helps foster greater Internal Alignment and Cross-functional coordination
  • It facilitates Organizational Agility and Speed by capturing multi-stakeholder insights, and helping you act on them collaboratively.
  • It fosters mutual trust and accountability by helping make ‘performance improvement’ a team-sport.
  • It promotes Transparency and Trust within your team, and with your customers, and partners.
  • It’s designed to help you evaluate the effectiveness of core internal functions such as: Finance, Operations, Sales, Marketing, IT, HR, Customer Service, and Strategy
  • It carries out LIVE 360° Surveys to assess the effectiveness of your key projects, processes, Organizational Climate, Organizational Pulse, Voice of Employee, Voice of Customer, or any other business component.

Implementing Performax360 is easy…  It’s a Customisable, Scalable, and Robust business intelligence platform that works side-by-side your existing BI solutions.  As a SaaS solution, it is deployed on the powerful Microsoft Azure cloud with high-grade data security features built-in.

We take data security and privacy very seriously, and are compliant with the US-EU Data Privacy Shield requirements. Access Free online Training and On-boarding for all your team members, and 24/7 customer support. In addition, we offer a customisable ‘On-premise’ deployment option.

Leverage our Turnkey Implementation Services to help you with:

  • Assessment Customization
  • User Training and On-boarding
  • Assessment Administration, and
  • Results Interpretation Support.

It takes about 4-6 weeks to complete an assessment cycle, before the ongoing ‘stakeholder feedback’ phase begins.

Try Performax360, free, for 30-days, or request a live demo at www.performax360.com

Redefining ‘Stakeholder Engagement’ for the 21st Century

A 360° Business Intelligence Platform, and a next-generation Stakeholder Engagement Solution that delivers LIVE 360° ‘Sense & Respond’ capabilities through enabling continuous touchpounts with employees, customers, partners, and key stakeholders.

  • USP #1: automates the stakeholder engagement process, and uncovers 360° business intelligence on critical issues for projects, processes, and internal functions.
  • USP#2: Analyzes organizational effectiveness trends, stakeholder sentiment and emotions, SWOT analysis, Balanced Scorecards, and 30+ analytics features, powered by IBM Watson and artificial intelligence.
  • USP #3: In addition to presenting performance diagnostics, Performax360 helps with collaborative action planning and implementation monitoring, leveraging internal subject matter experts.

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Performax360 is a ‘next generation‘ Business Intelligence (BI) solution that works side-by-side with ‘traditional‘ enterprise softwares such as ERP, CRM, HRIS, etc.  We do not compete with SAP, Oracle, SAS, Microsoft BI, Tablaeu, Birst, and other BI platforms. Rather, we extend an organization’s ability to see the 360° picture by providing ‘incremental intelligence’ over and above what they get from traditional BI platforms.

While traditional BI solutions primarily rely on ‘Structured’, i.e., numerical data, they only leverage 20% of organizational data assets. According to IBM Institute for Business Value, 80% of organizational data is ‘Unstructured’. Performax360 helps organizations overcome this limitation by capturing ‘Unstructured Data’, i.e., text feedback, from employees, customers (through customer focus groups), and partners, so that management teams can gain 360° insights on all critical organizational issues.

Through Performax360, organizations assess specific business components, such as Internal Functions (Finance, Marketing, Sales, etc.) or Projects. Its fully customisable and scalable, hosted in Microsoft Azure cloud. We also offer an on-premise version. It is a web-app, and has synchronised IOS and Android Apps.

A typical customer has 5-8 functional departments, and thus may run an assessment for each core function. So, for say 6 assessments, the average deal value could be $6,000/month (professional plan), $15,000/month (analytics plan), and $30,000/month (cognitive plan).

We offer free online training and onboarding. It takes 4-6 weeks to implement an assessment and see results and reports. There is a 30-day free trial, and a no-risk 100% moneyback guarantee for the first 30 days after purchase.

We have partnered with IBM for the cognitive analytics (stakeholder sentiment analysis) part of the platform. Performax360 was recognized by CIO Review within the ‘Top 100 Big-Data Solution Providers for 2017‘.