How a simple, focused, and cost-effective evidence-based plan enabled successful change.

Transformative Change of Community Collaboration in only 18 months

Their new products were enormously popular in the Christmas sales. They could have sold 10x as much as they ended up doing. If only the forecasting had been more accurate. The new CEO was fuming. How could they miss the target by so much? The collaboration inside the Forecasting Community needed to change transformative!

He requested a meeting with the Forecasting Director. His initial thought was “we need a new IT-system, so we can predict with greater accuracy”. To his surprise, the Forecasting Director, a mathematical whiz, responded with “it is a people issue”.

Mathematical Whiz: “It is a People Issue!”

A couple of months before Christmas the Forecasting Director had run a baseline analysis of the collaboration in the Forecasting Community. It was clear why the community was unsuccessful and the forecasting terrible.

The regions were disconnected from each other. Knowledge and intelligence from the market was neither shared across countries, nor with the Center of Excellence. The Center of Excellence was on the periphery of the community. It consisted of about 15 highly educated individuals, who did not hide that they felt superior in expertise and intelligence. Their arrogance was detrimental to the community. Nobody wanted to ask them for their help and guidance in how to improve the forecasts.

The Baseline of the Community Collaboration was Astonishing

The CEO was astonished when the Forecasting Director showed him the below baseline illustration of the community. It backed the words of the Forecasting Director.

NB! The picture shows regions by color. Green is Europe. Red is Asia. Blue is North and South America. Yellow is the Center of Excellence.

The image shows how the Center of Excellence of a Community was disconnected from the rest of the regions. Their poor collaboration hurt the bottom line as they were not able to forecast sales

“So, what is your plan?” – It was evident to the CEO that an IT-system would not solve the problem.

The plan was simple, focused, cost-effective and immediately approved

The plan was simple, focused, cost-effective, and immediately approved.

  • Use the baseline analysis to develop a desired target picture
  • Mobilize and engage the most influential employees in the regions around the change journey
  • Connect the regions at regional level. Connect the right people on the right forecasting disciplines
  • Transform the Center of Excellence into a humble, sympathetic & supportive group that the regions want to reach out to
  • Build mechanisms & principles for learning and knowledge sharing

The Forecasting of the Christmas Sales was Bullseye

The Forecasting Director took charge of the change. He knew he needed to get his hands muddy if they were to succeed. But as he showed the baseline to the community, and it was clear he had strong sponsorship from the CEO, things started to move.

18 months down the line he reran the analysis of the community to confirm his gut feeling that they were ready for the Christmas sales. He was happy being able to report back the CEO that the people issue was fixed.

The forecasting of the Christmas sales confirmed this. It hit the bullseye!

Author: Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard

Case written by

Jeppe V. Hansgaard

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