Communicating the vision: Conducting a "process PR" campaign"

Part 3: Translating Management Objectives in Practice – Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank (CA-CIB) Case Study

How you communicate about your process excellence program is critical to keeping progress and benefits front of mind for your stakeholders. Here’s how Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank structured its "process PR" campaign to communicate the vision.

Read Part 1: Strategic thinking for business reality

Read Part 2: 5 Steps to demonstrate the value of process excellence

In the first two articles, we talked about how Strategy is in reality more fluid and less formalized than traditional management theory dictates and also how important showing benefit in a quantifiable manner is for a programme to survive. Building the communication competency to demonstrate value is what we are looking at in this final extract; how to communicate effectively, and, how to build the formal communication processes necessary to be an effective support for your programme and its strategic objectives.

Communication Channels (Processes leading Communication)

Once you’ve defined your key stakeholder groups for the programme, along with the key messages you need to convey, it is important to identify the appropriate communication channels. Understand the culture of your organization, the ways that people are used to hearing key messages, then work at communication consistently and review the feedback from your main interest groups.

In order to manage the need for consistent communication for both the needs of senior management and the business, and to ensure the our program communication workload remained manageable, we developed the following three channels:

#1: Global Communications:

The objective was to spread awareness of the programme, introducing the key process improvements concepts for a wider business audience. We developed key messages centrally introducing the objectives of the programme and shared past project successes for the business to understand what was technically possible in ways which were appropriate for the bank. Key deployment tools included establishing a dedicated intranet site and producing regular content for existing internal magazines.

#2: Benefit Demonstration:

Programme Status updates:

We developed a monthly report with a combination of key messages and an aggregate dashboard showing the statistical performance of the programme against key performance indicators. This was sent via our central PMO as updates to C-Level and all the key Senior Management/ Programme stakeholders.

Project level status updates:

We developed a one page report templates to deliver consistent information for project specific target audiences to be used according to their preferred way of communicating. These again were a combination of key messages and statistics on progress with a standardized look and feel sent to relevant stakeholder groups at a project level.

#3: Execution Support:

We clearly defined communication products with appropriate ownership (by project managers) and timelines assigned for all project delivery support materials. We developed common communication packs and clearly identifiable branding with consistent messages throughout project delivery; standardized communication products from project selection, through each part of the DMAIC engagement model.

Figure 1: Select your main communication channels and the key stakeholder groups you need to engage with

Establish the Program pillars for a sustainable PEX journey

The communication supports we developed were linked to either program, or, Project level activities and as such all have a clear timetable (diarised) or a specific trigger event. For each of our key communication activities we have identified a specific product, an owner (as per the ‘RACI’ in the diagram below) and a specific process which shows how we expect to produce each update, document or feedback. The RACI is the tool that we used to documents clearly the actor level of responsibility (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted & Informed) for each communication task; it is transparent who should be performing each update required and to what standard.

Consistency of communication is vital as it is the way people will often remember a project and the programme. For us,‘Process Excellence’ is about devising our processes to manage the programme appropriately; with key actors involved and owning their delivery with the flexibility to be pragmatic and incorporate feedback into the approach of the Programme.

Figure 2: Each activity and communication has a defined product (output), process (with key trigger points) and ownership (RACI roles and responsibilities clearly identified)

Continuous Improvement

Effective communication is, of course, a two way process, and it is by listening to feedback and incorporating the lessons from this that a programme will achieve the objective of continuous improvement.

To initiate this proactive feedback this we have implemented processes:

  • Project level post mortems to ensure we improve our delivery and implementation
  • Training feedback scores
  • Sponsor and Senior Management satisfaction surveys
  • Global satisfaction levels (as captured through wider NPS surveys)

Our preferred surveying approach is NPS (Net Promoter Score); which allows us to be systematic and also capture the changes over time for our specific questions (a dozen or so) on each key axis. This approach allows us to collect metrics on how well we are doing, and also allows us to compare our effectiveness in delivery and communication for our key stakeholder groups.

In conclusion our process excellence approach at Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank has been based around "setting up for success" by agreeing pragmatic targets with senior management, delivering against these in a measurable way and using this credibility to negotiate client targets with the business to develop a balanced change agenda. This cannot be achieved without a strong communication layer to sustain the change agenda within the company.

The way we see our role within this program is as a facilitator for change, but we cannot own the strategy or the new processes that will be implemented. So for us and for the company, it is key to have the management and business leaders to have consensus and agree on the future key drivers for the organization, because it secures the effective implementation of the projects we define together.

The projects typically cross different departments – front and support – and even within these different departments there are siloed teams. Sharing this learning and the data that supports it, to agree change roadmaps and having management agree on these objectives, is vital…

Share the vision of change in the company!

Editor's note: Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank won PEX Network’s award for Best Process Improvement Project Over 90 days, a pan-European award judged on operational and business results as well as clarity in execution throughout the process and sustainability of change. You can download a full account of the award winning cash payment process improvement project here: FS Case Study: Improving the Cash Payment Process at Credit Agricole