How firms can build for success with the final quarter of 2023

01 November 2023 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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With an uncertain new year on the horizon, making the most of 2023 may prove crucial in the months ahead. Entec Si CEO Eman Al-Hillawi explores what businesses can do to maximise their performance in the final quarter, and plan for future success.

There’s no denying that businesses across the UK have battled through numerous challenges over recent years, from economic instability, inflation and political uncertainty to what appear to be ever-increasing interest rates that have consistently threatened to herald a recession.

As a result of all this, many businesses have been hesitant to invest in growth and change as they continue to recover from this instability. However, the end of the third quarter has seen steady growth and recovery for many, and while the growth is not rapid, businesses have started to gain more clarity regarding their future pipeline, and an increasing number are hoping to invest in change programmes. But how can they create the best opportunity for success?

Maximise performance  in the final quarter

The first step to successfully delivering change throughout the last quarter of 2023 is for decision-makers to consider budgets and identify areas where they may be underspending or have any surplus. Throughout the summer, businesses, including those in the public sector, have gained more confidence in both performance and economic stability.

A report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that during the third quarter of 2023, 18% of trading businesses expected their turnover to increase, up from 15% reported for August 2023. A further 55% reported that they expect their turnover to stay the same. By identifying areas which require more spending and growth, businesses can allocate resources to implement change programmes to better their business.

Considering realistic timescales is equally important for decision-makers, as it’s imperative for businesses to understand that it is, in most cases, unlikely for a project to be completed within the same quarter in which it is initiated. Therefore, considering the project holistically is essential. This means understanding the size, scope and deliverables fully, as well as understanding the potential impact and challenges that may arise if the project should span different financial years.

Similarly, building a robust change or transformation programme is contingent on pre-empting challenges and thinking beyond the current time frame to ensure deliverables can be met. This means ensuring that, where projects are straddling financial years, sufficient funds are correctly allocated and accounted for. 

A common mistake that employers make during the planning process is that they often overlook the impact that change and transformation programmes will have on their employees and, essentially, the business’ work culture. For instance, if a company implements a new system or undergoes a transformation, its leadership must consider the effects on the team as it could mean significant organisational changes.

This may require hiring more staff or increasing the efficiency of existing employees, or it may even lead to downsizing or redeploying teams if the new system can take care of the work more efficiently. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in the right resources and training to ensure that employees are well-equipped to handle any changes that come their way.

Transformation

As a part of any business transformation, it is crucial to consider the processes that need to be implemented from project start. In larger organisations, a Project Management Office (PMO) runs through a planning cycle for the projects alongside the budgeting cycle to ensure that progress is being made and resources are correctly monitored. The PMO provides an invaluable service by offering a detailed roadmap of the necessary steps to be taken and tracking progress along the way. This way businesses can ensure that their projects are completed on time and within budget. It can also help to highlight any potential issues and provide solutions to ensure the project remains on track.

For businesses that do not have a PMO, it is important to first acknowledge how the lack of a PMO has affected the team, as this can help to understand the full scope requirements needed to improve project delivery. Depending on the results of this discussion, the business could choose to outsource PMO services. This could help to ensure that the right guidance and support are provided to the team. Additionally, it could also provide external perspectives and advice that can be invaluable in helping the team to achieve their goals.

Overall, for any successful transformational change, it is important that businesses keep the momentum going through the holiday periods and beyond so that the change can be adopted and implemented successfully. With the right transformational strategy and project management behind it, businesses can ensure a smooth transition and kick off the new year successfully.

Eman Al-Hillawai is the chief executive officer of business change consultancy Entec Si.