When moving house you take the opportunity to do a clean-out and discard what’s no longer needed. Yet we also tend to hang onto a few items that we’re reluctant to part with – even though they are outdated.
You see the same pattern when industry service organisations (ISOs) innovate. For example, a lot of past practices, systems, committees and external relationships tend to continue on as before. The difference here is that dated practices and arrangements can translate into a source of performance-dampening risk for a newly reinvented industry body.
In the short-term, taking a phased approach to the transition makes sense. Intense management effort is needed to succeed with continuity of business in parallel with implementing complex structural reforms. The degree of difficulty is compounded when the changes involved are not just internal, but directly linked with the expectations of numerous industry businesses – many of which may be influential members.
The energy and investment needed to create a new ISO business model is substantial. However, the reality is that success here only marks the beginning of the real work – transitioning out of old practices that are now unnecessary or replacing them with better ways of working.
A clever new strategy will likely need fresh approaches for execution to enable different results. For example, do you need committees at all when an ISO can connect directly with people around the country and the globe in real time? If so, do you really need all the old committees? With the same terms of reference? And with the same people?
Confronting such questions can be a sensitive process. However, choosing to sit on the fence increases the risk that performance will suffer – it’s rather like having the accelerator down in a high-performance vehicle while the handbrake is on.
Give your industry service organisation the best chance of stellar performance – regularly have conversations about what you will stop doing and then clean-out the clutter.