Have you ever built a new habit, worked for months to reach a new level of fitness or a weight goal… only to be back to where you started a few months later? You celebrate the new success and then wake up to find that weight crept back up or you are no longer running at an 8 min pace.
Or you vowed to spend more time with your family, so you make a real concerted effort and are present for the family meal, you call your mother twice a week for months. Then a crisis at work occurs and all the good intensions are set aside to deal with the “higher priority”.
How about the idea you had to learn how to code or learn a new language or tackle your finances to get debt free? You have a vision for something bigger, more meaningful. A desire to be someone or to give something bigger than yourself today.
But. You. Just. Can’t. Get. Started!!!!
These challenges we face as individuals are exactly what our Service teams face without good governance. Properly designed, a governance process helps you deliver on the objectives you worked so hard to negotiate. Governance is stewardship – the care and responsible management of something entrusted to your care. Governance is an investment that should be applied when the stakes or the risks demand intentional effort.
Think about the sustainability of your weight loss, the family relationships you could foster or the intellectual growth you could achieve with some stewardship – proper care and attention paid to those things that are important to you.
Governance provides the “Stewardship” to help you:
- Deliver on commitments and establish operational excellence by establishing the routine and the work process to get things done.
- Achieve aspirational goals – whether these be on-going continuous improvement or reaching new business targets neither team has seen before. Good governance helps Client and Partner eliminate the ‘ankle biters’ – those little critters of our everyday work that crave our attention distract us from achieving big goals. Governance also puts in place the tactics needed to sustain improvement overtime.
- Build a rewarding business relationship. There will be a business crisis that could destroy rather than build the partnership. Governance provides the glue that keeps the team motivated to work through whatever tough challenges come along.
There are six characteristics of good governance that are designed in to any successful Service partnership.
- Alignment to the Strategic Vision. A Deal Team will take months, sometimes longer, inking a contract that both parties believe will be good for business. Once the deal is done, the work continues. It shifts into Change Management, Transition and Implementation. These are all points where teams can stray from the strategic vision so take time to reinforce where you are going at these critical milestones.
- Engagement and Communication. The governance team is entrusted with overall program management. They provide the appropriate news on delivery, progress, accomplishments – the “what have you done for me lately” factor.
- Assessment and Progress Tracking. Governance is responsible for review of KPI metrics and incentives schemes. This is the heart of governance – are we doing what we committed to do? If not, why and what actions will we take to get back on track? Governance sets the tone for how performance is felt at the lowest delivery level – take an inspection or audit tone, or punish sub-par results and you inadvertently reward hiding and risk aversion. Take a tone of continual improvement to stimulate local thinking to improve proceedures or identify productivity opportunities.
- Guidance and Escalation Management. Governance is the single point of truth. It is the arbiter of disagreement and the point at which both parties come together to resolve issues. Governance plays a big role in balancing the local and scale dynamics that affect both performance and relationship.
- Administration and Risk Management. Governance is responsible for ensuring the records, the delivery, the rules and regulations are followed – the single version of truth for both parties. Depending on the size of the engagement, this can be a substantial effort that requires dedication and a digital tool that provides reliable and consistent documentation of work and results.
- Setting the Culture Tone. Governance allows behaviors that either destroy trust: missed commitments with no notice, perpetuating barrier to success, disrespect for service personnel, hidden messages. Or promotes behaviors that build it – demand respectful interactions and delivery on commitments, ensure honesty is the way of working and tough issues are dealt with openly.
Paulo Cuelho, author of The Alchemist says: “When you want something, all the world conspires in helping you achieve it.”
Governance also needs dedicated time, personnel and funds to do well. So triage your Service programs and ensure you are applying good governance commensurate with the risk and reward expected from the partnership.
Don’t skimp but also don’t overdo it.