Off The Shelf

The Three Box Solution By Vijay Govindarajan

December 14, 2016

For the past 30 years, I have been focused on the following core business principles:

  1. Driving customer service excellence
  2. Applying Kaizen across key business functions
  3. Attracting, developing and retaining top talent
  4. Driving innovation and sharing it with our key partners, and
  5. Being first and/or best to market

When attending a Harman conference in June 2016, Mohit Parasher (President, Harman Professional Solutions) referenced the Three Box Solution principles and how Harman continued to apply this thinking across their global business.

Within days, our team purchased several copies of The Three Box Solution by Vijay Govindarajan. Whilst we had been formulating many strategic objectives, the framework articulated by Vijay provided us with clarity on how to structure the business to:

  1. Drive maximum efficiencies from our core business (Box 1)
  2. Identify what to STOP doing, including some past habits and attitudes (Box 2)
  3. Allocate resources to turbo charge innovation initiatives (Box 3)

Within 60 days, we had restructured our leadership team, reviewed the broader team structures and highlighted how their portfolios would align with our FY17 strategic objectives. Overlaying their portfolios with the Three Box framework simplified our communication to the broader team, who easily identified with and grasped these concepts, allowing them to swiftly go about their respective core functions.

With any change comes both resistance and opportunity, generally proportionate to the size of the change.

It is a basic requirement for Box 1 to deliver sustained growth as it funds Box 3 initiatives. Hence, it is vital that the team responsible for this output are aware of, but not threatened by the uncertainty, experimentation and excitement surrounding Box 3 initiatives.

Stopping some of the Box 2 habits and changing long-term attitudes has proven the hardest to execute thus far, as it is often what created the past successes of the business. That said, we are committed to the required change and taking our team on the journey.

For team members involved in the excitement of Box 3, we have budgeted in some patience as we work on the next generation of Box 1 revenue and more innovative plays. That said, we have a line in the sand by which time Box 3 initiatives have to deliver a reasonable RoI.

In summary, The Box Solutions had an immediate and sustained effect on our strategic setting. The simplistic nature in which Vijay articulates the rationale behind the Three Boxes is nothing short of empowering.

GEGraham Evans | CEO



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