As with the previous post, I highly encourage you to share your comments and feedback.
In this commentary which builds upon the previous Process articles, I would like point out that although the Korean model appears to move quickly, potential projects are, in fact, reviewed with a high level of scrutiny.
Prior to the approval of any major initiative a “behind the scenes” dedicated task force (TF) is formed. The TF’s job is to research and benchmark the best practices of similar projects outside Korea. In many cases the team is cross-functional, comprised of staff from across the company—each member representing a department. Quite often the TF operates under a code name and work is kept confidential and private, even from most of their own organizations. Over the course of several months the team will compile a comprehensive report for leadership on which management can base a decision. TF reports can vary from a PPT presentation to thick binders.
The preparation work by the TF can provide considerable data and establish timelines, benchmarks and a roadmap for the project. For the Korean market, with which Korean business is most familiar, there is little gap between this in-house planning and the start of implementation.
More significant gaps between planning and implementation occur when Korean firms expand globally and the TF are unfamiliar with the nuances of the local market. Plans crafted in Korea often have little relevance to the actual execution of an overseas project –the timelines, cost estimates and roadmaps requiring constant adjustment and revisions.
As a solution, I suggest TFs solicit local support, and industry expertise--realizing that in many cases, especially in new global launches, there are no overseas operations yet to draw upon. This means the TF not only benchmark best practices globally but also seek out common pitfalls, potential challenges and worst-case situations.
In turn, local teams who will be required to implement need to realize and accept the Plan as more of a roadmap vs. a detailed blueprint. Once leadership has approved the project, the teams assigned to the project are expected to make all efforts to achieve the milestones.
Your Questions, Comments, Feedback?