Observations on Capability Driven Management

Monday, March 7, 2011 |

I'm finalizing my presentation for Business Ecology Initiative's Optimization for Innovation conference slated for March 22nd in Washington DC.  Initially, I was approaching it as a humorous rejoinder on how to cope with taking the reigns of an organization one didn't have much knowledge of.  But life has a funny way of throwing curveballs, so here are some thoughts that I'll be delving quite deeply into in 2 weeks:

  1. As I hinted at a few weeks ago, investment into succession management programs -  a laudable organizational investment into sustainable leadership - has evolved into a serious operational capability risk.  While competing capabilities were always a possibility in our model, this is the first real example where investment into one has a negative impact on others.
  2. I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Jeanne Ross of MITSloan CISR a couple of weeks back.  She made a lot of interesting points that will be expounded on in future posts, but the one that's relevant to the topic at hand came from a success story at PepsiCo.  I'll paraphrase - as she interviewed the chief change protagonist, one of the off-the-cuff comments was that a major contributing factor to PepsiCo's success in creating their Optimized Core was stability at the executive sponsor ranks throughout the process.  The quote was something along the lines of "I don't know what I would've done or would've happened if we didn't have that stability throughout the change process."
  3. So that got me thinking.  I've personally gone through an executive sponsor change as the "face" of a major change program.  It's not an experience I'd like to repeat - nor have I heard of anyone in a similar position finding it a positive experience.  So instead of looking at this topic from the viewpoint of the new boss, perhaps the real need is to prepare the people who are running these programs and operational units with tools to minimize the impact of this operational capability risk.  
See you on the 22nd!

AAB