Customers, process and people
A Standard Life case study

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Page 4: Strategy

Standard Life 5 Image 4As its starting point, the TCS management process sets out the overall direction the company wants to take and the working environment it wants to create. Five key elements serve to provide people within the company with this clear sense of direction and define the culture it wants to establish.

Mission, values and vision

A mission describes the purpose of a business, outlines its reasons for being and answers the following questions:

  • What business are we in?
  • Where will we conduct our business?
  • How will we conduct our business?
  • Who do we do it for?
  • What products will be provided?

Values are the things that are important to an organisation, what it believes in and always adheres to. A clear set of values provides a sense of what is important to the organisation and the approach that should be adopted towards day to day work.

A vision gives a clear and ambitious description of the desired future state of an organisation, setting out what it stands for and how success will affect it.

Operating principles and key competencies

Operating principles are key reference points on how to run an organisation and provide a focus for making improvements and measuring progress. Key competencies are everyone’s responsibility within the organisation and set out how the organisation will behave and how principles will be effective.

Strategy is the organisation’s overall, long term plan. Strategies have clearly defined objectives that provide direction and assists decision making within the organisation and help it to achieve its long term strategic intent. To manage the overall change process of defining and implementing the new TCS management process and the significant change in culture it represented for the company, three phases of activity were undertaken:

Phase 1 - Preparing the foundations
The aim of Phase 1 was to create a sense of urgency through facts and data and building commitment to the future state throughout the organisation. This involved:

  • assessing the company’s current position with customers and competitors
  • increasing knowledge of managers (e.g. site visits and reading)
  • setting direction (mission, values, vision, operating principles and strategy)
  • agreeing to a move ahead plan
  • starting improvement initiatives.

Phase 2 - Building capability and ownership
The overall aim of Phase 2 was to cascade education downwards through the organisation to engage people about the future state and improve the capabilities of the organisation to achieve the new direction. This involved:

  • developing leadership and management capability
  • improvement from the bottom up through employee involvement
  • managing through customer facts and data.

Phase 3 - Sustaining continuous improvement
This phase aims to sustain the degree of continuous improvement started under Phase 2. This involves:

  • communicating customers’ needs and expectations throughout the organisation
  • new product development
  • widespread cross-functional improvements
  • keeping the organisation energised

Standard Life | Customers, process and people