The role and impact of EX in a 'Structural Break’

During structural breaks in hard times, cutting costs isn’t enough.
Things must be done differently, and on two levels:
At the corporate level, the first commandment is to simplify and simplify again.
Then start reforming individual businesses.

Richard Rumelt, UCLA Anderson School of Management
‘Strategy in a Structural Break’ in McKinsey Quarterly
Response to 'Structural Break Busines Value Business leader Functional leader (HR, IT, ...) Simplify and de-cost central functions Rethink individual businesses​ Leader Intent EX Action Adjust service levels to the real needs of employees​ Unlock ‘Manager Multiplier Effect’ MX • EX • CX​
Response to 'Structural Break Busines Value Business leader Functional leader (HR, IT, ...) Simplify and de-cost central functions Rethink individual businesses​ Leader Intent Adjust service levels to the real needs of employees​ Unlock ‘Manager Multiplier Effect’ MX • EX • CX​ EX Action

Unlock
‘Manager Multiplier Effect’

Front-line managers play an instrumental role in organizations. They are the difference makers for customers and employees. Consequently, they have the most direct impact on business performance – especially during present times of economic uncertainty.

Research shows that traditional programs like leadership development, culture and engagement surveys used to stimulate manager performance are inadequate. They fall short of the mark because they fail to consider the human experience of being a manager. An empathetic view into a day in the life of front-line managers would reveal numerous opportunities in this area.

By centering on the needs of front-line managers and co-creating solutions with them, we can simplify processes and structures, eliminate redundant work, make technology more useful, enhance the work environment and conditions, and nurture more authentic connections – making work more fulfilling and impactful.

Moreover, due to their reach and influence, improving managers’ experiences activates what we call a ‘multiplier effect.’ Better manager experience drives better employee experience and vice versa. In turn, both of these result in better customer experience and better business performance overall.

Adjust service levels
to the real needs of employees

Simplification is an ‘always on’ ambition, but in times of economic uncertainty becomes a necessity in two dimensions: To take cost out of central functions, and to ensure effortless decision-making and operations.

Traditional ways of taking out cost of central functions – reducing fixed costs, scope, and variety – may work in ordinary hard times. During structural breaks they don’t. Yes, let’s restructure our budgets towards the cost levels we need. But when unprecedented changes are ahead, let’s provide people at work with the experience they need. They will continue to bring their best to work and resolve the unforeseeable issues that arise during structural breaks. And companies will ramp up much faster once the economic downturn comes to an end.

Moreover, EX-led simplification should aim for an effortless experience for people to get their jobs done. Simplifying central processes allows faster decisions and gives time – previously spent on support processes or non-value-adding tasks – back to managers and employees. That new ‘effortless employee experience’ leads to better customer experience and higher business performance.

Both these dimensions require an understanding of the simplification impact on cost and experience, and the design of a rigorously effortless experience.

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