Here is a brief excerpt from a book, Beyond Performance 2.0 written by Scott Keller and Bill Schaninger, that was featured in the McKinsey Quarterly, published by McKinsey & Company. To read the complete article, check out other resources, learn more about the firm, obtain subscription information, and register to receive email alerts, please click here.
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Isdell had a clear sense of what the company needed: to capture the full potential of the trademark Coca-Cola brand, develop other core brands in noncarbonated soft drinks, build wellness platforms, and create adjacent businesses. These weren’t new ideas, and Isdell’s predecessors had failed to make change happen at scale. No matter which direction he set, the company couldn’t make progress until it improved its declining morale, deficient capabilities, strained partnerships with bottlers, divisive politics, and flagging performance culture.
Just a hundred days into the new role, Isdell announced that the company would fall short of its meager earnings-growth target: 3 percent. Later that year, Coca-Cola announced that its third-quarter earnings had tanked by 24 percent. However, Isdell plowed onward, launching what he called “Coca-Cola’s Manifesto for Growth.” The goal was to outline a path that showed not just where the company aimed to go—its strategy—but also what it would do to get there and how people would work together differently along the way.
Isdell launched what he called “Coca-Cola’s Manifesto for Growth.” The goal was to outline a path that showed not just where the company aimed to go—its strategy—but also what it would do to get there and how people would work together differently along the way.
Working teams tackled performance-related issues, such as the company’s new targets and objectives, as well as the capabilities they would require. Other teams addressed organizational effectiveness: how people could work together as a global team; how to improve planning, metrics, rewards, and people development; and how once again to “live our values.” The manifesto was created using a collaborative process to ensure that the organization’s leaders would feel deep ownership and authorship of the program. As Isdell explained, “The magic of the manifesto is that it was written in detail by the top 150 managers and had input from the top 400. Therefore, it was their program for implementation.”3
Soon, the benefits of Isdell’s approach became apparent. Within three years, shareholder value jumped from negative territory to a 20 percent positive return. Volume growth in units sold increased by almost 10 percent, to 21.4 billion. Coca-Cola had amassed 13 billion-dollar brands—30 percent more than Pepsi. Of the 16 market analysts who followed the company, 13 rated it as outperforming.
Quantifiable improvements in people-related measures matched these impressive performance gains. Staff turnover at US operations fell by almost 25 percent. Employee-engagement scores jumped so high that researchers at the external company that conducted the survey hailed what it called an “unprecedented improvement.” Employees’ views of the company’s leadership improved by 19 percent. Communication and awareness of goals rose to 76 percent, from 17 percent. According to Isdell, however, the biggest change was qualitative. Three years into the role, Isdell noted that “when I first arrived, about 80 percent of the people would cast their eyes to the ground. Now, I would say it’s about 10 percent. Employees are engaged.”4 When he retired as CEO, he handed over a healthy, well-performing company.
Isdell explained the turnaround’s success by pointing out that he had “taken the ‘how’ as seriously as the ‘what.’” To put it another way, he put equal emphasis on the hard and the soft stuff: performance and health.
Isdell explained the turnaround’s success by pointing out that he had “taken the ‘how’ as seriously as the ‘what.’”5 Another way to explain it is that he put equal emphasis on the hard and the soft stuff: performance and health. Performance is what an enterprise does to deliver improved financial and operational results for its stakeholders. Companies evaluate their performance through financial and operational metrics such as net operating profit, returns on capital employed, total shareholder returns, net operating costs, and stock turn (and the relevant equivalents in not-for-profit and service industries). By contrast, health describes how effectively people work together to pursue a common goal. It is evaluated by an organization’s levels of internal alignment, quality of execution, and capacity to renew itself to sustain high performance in an ever-changing external environment. To deliver successful change at scale, leaders should emphasize performance- and health-related efforts equally.
How do we know? In 2010, we wrote Beyond Performance,6 which laid out a methodology we called the “five frames of performance and health,” a change-leadership approach that emphasized performance and health equally. The book included the finding (from our 2010 survey of 2,314 global business executives) that only a third of those who had experienced a large-scale change program during the previous five years reported that it had been “mostly” or “completely” successful. This was consistent with findings from previous research that we had conducted and others in the field had reported.7 By 2015, we felt enough time had passed to test how well the five-frames approach worked. A global survey of 1,713 executives who had taken part in at least one large-scale change program during the previous five years showed that 79 percent of those organizations fully implementing the five-frames methodology reported success.
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Here is a direct link to the complete article