Change Management

As a biller or merchant, you are vitally concerned about your payments “back office”, that set of core functions involved with accepting consumer payments. Whether you are in Treasury or Technology, if you are concerned with payments, you are asking yourself, every day, questions such as: Is my organization optimized to manage payments? Am I […]

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Glenbrook is kicking off a new payments organization optimization project for a biller client. Each time we do one of these projects, our client – with some embarrassment – admits that they think they are the only ones facing payments challenges. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the smooth-running, optimized payments organization […]

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Every now and then, I get brought in to trouble shoot a payments initiative gone awry. For the last week I was hunkered down in triage mode with a client team suffering from a derailed project. They were exhausted, drowning in user complaints, struggling to fix bugs, and disillusioned with their vendor. I’ve thought long […]

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The latest post at the Wells Fargo-Wachovia merger blog hints at the complexity involved in integrating the two banks' services, technology, and products. Let alone the people + organizational structure! I admire their honest, open approach.

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My work often involves bridging gaps, resolving misunderstandings, and fostering collaboration between the finance department and other parts of large, complex organizations. So I was intrigued by this recent research from HBS on " interaction patterns in modern, complex, multiunit firms." Key findings: Communication is heavily constrained by formal organizational structure: the vast majority of […]

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Wise counsel from Cisco's departing CFO Dennis Powell: The best finance teams should "think strategically, work cross-functionally, and actually embrace change," says Powell, who spent 11 years at the San Jose, California-based computer networking giant, 5 of them as CFO. To lead successfully, he adds, "CFOs need to really evaluate what role finance is playing […]

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One of the key success factors in introducing wide scale change is to involve impacted stakeholders early and often. Open discussion of challenges and obstacles fosters collaboration to resolve issues. The SEC is welcoming criticism from financial managers which bodes well for it's XBRL effort. [excerpted from CFO.com] The commission hopes to use such feedback […]

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Ace Hardware has painfully realized the importance of employee training. A mid-level employee in the finance department caused a $152 million accounting discrepancy between the GL and actual inventory. Journal entires were made that made it look like the ledgers were reconciled when they were not. Ace Hardware will restate earnings for fiscal years 2004-2006 […]

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I recently attended a lecture by Carly Fiorina (in the magnificent Paramount Theater) on the topic of change. She made one point that I thought was particularly noteworthy (paraphrased): By the time you've got consensus that change is necessary it's too late – you've lost your opportunity to competitors. The biggest challenge in leading change […]

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Recent cocktail napkin wisdom from Idea Sandbox features change management: More cocktail napkin wisdom from the Idea Sandbox blog. Zag: The Number One Strategy of High Performance Brandsby Marty NeumeierSeptember 2006

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Today's New York Times features an article about the book Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter with Holger Rathgeber. It's an illustrated tale that demonstrates Kotter's philosophy of change management. I prefer the more extensive discussion in his best selling work Leading Change (1996) but this is accessible and a quick read for non-specialists. […]

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A recent post by CIO Magazine's blogger Christopher Koch explores our evolutionary, biological reaction to change. Humans automatically respond with fear and anger when facing the unfamiliar. Understanding this innate reaction and working to help employees come to their own conclusion that change is necessary and beneficial. This requires communication and compassion. Sympathy is a […]

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According to the WSJ, interim CEO Robert Fisher at the Gap, Inc. is counting on faster decision making and less bureaucracy to turn around the struggling clothing retailer.  Fisher hopes to combat high turnover in critical leadership roles by attracting and retaining creative talent. The company has become paralyzed by analysis and overly reliant on […]

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Promoting Process Improvement Company-wide Increasing responsibility for operations efficiency and performance management requires a more proactive approach than finance has traditionally held. Financial professionals have a uniquely analytical skill set and holistic perspective to share with colleagues. The following strategies are useful when promoting process improvement company-wide: SHARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENTAs a result of Sarbanes-Oxley […]

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Today Tom Peters blog observes that company culture is critical to strategic execution. When your company's underlying values, behavioral norms, and informal reward systems undermine the strategic direction the strategy is bound to fail. If your strategy is to create synergies and economies of scale, while the culture is one where people work autonomously and […]

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