Becoming a ‘ChAMP’: How the US Navy’s methods guarantee companies can turn strategy into results
September 30, 2016
PitchBook Dealmakers Column
By Harry Gray and Greg Calaman, graduates of the US Naval Academy and Senior Partners at The Lucas Group
As Naval Officers, we were trained to guarantee results are delivered on time, without fail, in mission-critical situations. This included everything from nighttime beach landings involving hundreds of vessels to the construction and operation of warships designed to carry thousands of crewmen. Despite the high-stakes stress of these situations, our Navy functions with a crispness unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
On the other hand, as consultants to private equity groups, we have seen operating companies fall flat in situations where leadership has the perfect strategy and the right people, but lacks a process to help them succeed.
So, how can organizations improve? Increasingly, we are seeing the implementation of military operating principles to help business leaders succeed. Here are five key elements that, when woven into a coherent operating plan, guarantee improved delivery of EBITDA and growth results at portfolio companies:
1. Proactive leadership from the top of the organization
2. Established key goals that ‘Must Be Achieved’ to realize the investment thesis
3. Responsible parties for every goal, along with each of the related dependencies, coordination requirements, and timelines
4. Urgency, i.e. a corporate tempo and team cadence for deliverables and progress
5. A culture of ‘No Place to Hide’—a binary system where people are either delivering on their responsibilities or they are not, and corrective action can be taken
The secret is for these elements to be intertwined into an all-encompassing programmatic effort with ‘staying power,’ adapted to the environment and culture of each specific situation. Our numerous decades of working on growth strategy and performance improvement projects, and especially our leadership of complex operations in the military, led to the development of a new management consulting paradigm called ChAMP—the Change Acceleration and Management Program.
Click here to find out how ChAMP enables us to execute strategy.
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