CEO Today - September 2023 Edition

menting such a system necessitates top-level sponsorship, which requires a leap of faith from the CEO and the rest of the C-suite. Trusting the process, and accessing insights uncovered by quality data from numerous internal and external sources, might initially be uncomfortable for leaders still stuck in the 20th century. No longer can they make choices using their gut instinct or be swayed by influential colleagues. These elements still matter, of course, but the information surfaced by the system is grounded in truth. Moreover, IBP empowers leaders to make informed decisions, and the process frees everyone in the organisation to focus on efficiency rather than chasing the elusive – and never attainable – perfect plan. No time is wasted on working on strategies that are doomed to fail. Gavin Fallon, General Manager Northern Europe at Board, adds to this: “Truly integrated Business Planning means you leave less profit on the table and have less inventory write-off.” Embracing IBP will mean leaders accepting that it’s more beneficial to understand and address the gap between reality and ambition rather than seeking affirmation of their personal aspirations. Leaders should recognise that looking forward and planning for the future is more critical than dwelling on past performance. Additionally, business leaders must understand that their budget is only as old as the day it was created. Modern leadership style Implementing IBP brings about a paradigm shift in leadership styles, moving from the traditional command-and-control model to a more empowering, trust-based model better suited to the 21st century. Further, the best way to handle a polycrisis and plan for the future is not to increase complexity but the opposite: keep it simple. By aligning people, process, and technology, this simplicity is possible. It is ironic that in many major organisations, multiple technologies are present, but the information presented, discussed, and used for decision making in the C-suite remains mainly manually prepared, or financially focused. Why are businesses not able to build this bridge? This is still mainly related to the behaviours of leaders and the support they need for the validation of their own expectations. If we expect our technology to present perfect views of the future, we not only ask for the impossible but introduce complexity that is almost impossible to maintain. Organisations must move away from leadership behaviours that need to understand the detail to trust it, and instead look to properly equip people with processes and efficient technology to inform the organisation where to look and what to do. As Monte Maritz, Partner at Oliver Wight explains, it is about designing for an uncertain future: “There is an enormous gap between strategic visioning and business delivery – across process and tools – because businesses are not prepared to adapt their ways of working for a changing world. A world where plans can change, and leaders provide guidance and empowerment as opposed to targets and ultimatums. The solutions are out there, but the right questions must be asked.” Those bold enough to rip up their existing operating model in favour of an integrated model based on efficient, future focused information flow will equip their organisations with the necessary tools to navigate the uncertainty of the future and unlock growth potential in an era marked by constant change and digital transformation. It’s not just about staying afloat in the present but also about setting sail for a more prosperous future. An integrated modern business requires a vision of empowered execution, trusted escalation, and formal enablement. Are you courageous enough to leap? Find out more “It’s not just about staying afloat in the present but also about setting sail for a more prosperous future.”

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