“Only the fittest survive” is a mantra of business. In a fast-changing world, the fitness factor is doubly important. So CEOs need to build or strengthen their capabilities to win—and they must do so in an enduring way.
Among our clients, the demand for enablement is growing. In response, we are partnering with companies across industries, helping them develop the right people with the right skills supported by the right organizational structure, processes, and tools. They know that if they have all this, they stand the best chance of outpacing their rivals in a fast-changing world.
We believe the best approach to achieve this goal is to follow a three-step enablement program. This can be designed for an entire enterprise, a business unit, or just a function.
First, you have to identify the capabilities required to win. Then, you have to develop better managers—providing them with an appropriate mix of technical, managerial, and leadership skills—and the next-level business platform to maximize their effectiveness.
This approach, which lies at the foundation of BCG's enablement programs, ensures that you benefit from a step-change improvement in business results and the next level of strategic capabilities and also achieve an enduring competitive advantage.
And that means sustainable success.
You need to decide which strategic capabilities you want to build or strengthen in order to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
To help you, we conduct a capability maturity assessment—a kind of corporate health check designed to determine the portfolio of capabilities your company needs to develop in the future.
For an enterprise or business unit, a portfolio of capabilities might include leadership, change management, lean or efficient manufacturing, pricing, organization design, or strategy. We have enablement centers of excellence for all of these capabilities.
After the assessment, we help you create a portfolio of initiatives for developing the capabilities, a roadmap to sequence their delivery, and a dedicated program-management team to ensure they are completed on time.
It is essential that your employees have the right technical, managerial, and leadership skills to run the business. So the first things we do are determine the required skill levels for each role and carry out an employee assessment.
Then, we develop a customized program to improve skills. A key feature is a curriculum tailored for specific cohorts and individuals. Our lean curriculum, for instance, has 24 modules. We help you select different combinations of modules for different cohorts.
Once the curriculum has been defined, the challenge of embedding the skills across the organization begins. Each member of your team follows an individual learning plan, using our “Learn-Do-Teach” approach. We have found that this is the most effective way to build skills.
We use a wide range of learning methods, including interactive workshops, simulations, online modules, and one-to-one coaching. We place great emphasis on building and ingraining key practical skills while your employees undertake real day-to-day work.
Throughout the enablement program, your employees have access to BCG’s state-of-the-art online learning system. Each participant can learn at an individual pace, using a customized library of the most relevant BCG content.
If you want to build strategic capabilities for enduring success, there are no short-cuts or silver bullets. This is why BCG enablement programs use a holistic approach, taking account of not just your people but also your business platform.
The best people need the best organizational structure, processes, and tools—the components of a business platform—to maximize their impact and effectiveness. These foster the free flow of information around the company and help improve the decision-making process.
We work together with you to upgrade the operational tools that form the backbone of the IT system—databases, computers, and other technical apparatus. Also, we can help you streamline the business processes—the collection of rules and regulations that ensure, among other things, the smooth supply of raw materials, the delivery of products to warehouses and customers, and the timely payment of bills.
As part of this organization redesign, we recommend—and can help you with—the clarification and layering of roles; the alignment of key employees to the overall corporate strategy through incentives and appropriate accountability; and the enhancement of decision-making tools for customer relationship management, human resources management, and enterprise resource planning.
A successful enablement program delivers immediate benefits to the bottom line. But what makes a program truly enabling is the extent to which the strategic capabilities developed to deliver those benefits are woven into the business and cultural fabric of the company.
What companies should get from an enablement program is not just a new set of skills and tools, but also a new way of working. The legacy should be a long-lasting approach to solving problems as well as a tangible infrastructure for embedding the solutions in the company.
Time and time again, we have found that companies embarking on an enablement program become stronger, fitter, and better able to achieve enduring competitive advantage.
We have compiled a series of impact stories so that you can see how enablement really works in practice.