Driving Change Through Corporate Programs
CEOs of large companies introduce corporate programs as a way to foster strategic renewal. Whether the goal is boosting profitability, improving business models or establishing new directions for growth, it's important to match the design of the program with the desired outcomes.
A study of 125 corporate programs at large European organizations found that CEOs use three very different designs for corporate programs.
One approach is something the authors call "goal splitting." In this model, the CEO breaks down the program's main objectives into specific goals. Those goals are then assigned to business-unit managers. Those managers devote some of their time to that program and trying to realize its objectives.
"The major benefits of the goal-splitting approach originate from its tight integration with the know-how and involvement of line managers," write authors Michael Boppel, Sven Kunisch, Thomas Keil and Christoph Lechner. "However, the tight integration with the line organization can become a liability, as managers must balance time allocated to the program with a continued focus on day-to-day business. Through close monitoring and clear accountability, the CEO can ensure that the program's initiatives maintain their initial momentum and are not steered off course."
The authors also detail two other designs also used by CEOs: "task force" and "overlay."