Bored with Benefits

Published: Saturday, 06 April 2019 11:29

Use of cavalry

It’s time to move on. I can’t walk into a meeting nowadays without someone mentioning ‘Benefits’ and the thrill has gone.

 

To all my Benefits Management colleagues and peers, I’m sorry but while we’ve not pitched our services high enough, the job you have now is about as good as it’s going to get.

To everyone else, tagging benefits onto your projects is better than nothing, and I appreciate the effort. But it’s not really the whole answer to what you need.

I don’t want to Realise Benefits anymore. I want to do something bigger than this. I don’t want to draw Benefits Maps. I want to draw Campaign Maps.

The use of Benefits Management in modern business is to lend an element of rationality to the exercise of power.

Frankly, it’s not good enough. Power is being exercised and all I seem to do is lend it a little air of rationality, usually long after the decisions have been made.

The concentration on benefits is better than what we had before. But it’s only part of the story. What we have now is an emphasis on benefits that are rarely strategic, lots of piecemeal rewards that don’t add up to a strategic whole. Too many people think that Benefits are now the treats you give your stakeholders so they will play nicely with each other. The ‘Benefits-Led Organisation’ is likely to be working towards a shopping list rather than a set of strategic objectives.

“…errant consilia nostra, quia non habent quo derigantur…”

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

When Seneca wrote this two thousand years ago, his readers probably muttered, “Non stercore, Sherlock.” The problem is hardly new. We don’t put the right effort into our strategy to begin with. It’s time for Benefits Management to raise its game. I want to move on from Benefits Management to Strategy Management. We should all be in it for the strategy, not the benefits.

Benefits Management as a method supports the better delivery of strategy. The tools and techniques are as valid for the whole organisation as for a single project. I just need people higher up the food-chain to take an interest.

If you are a leader then take a moment to think about the science as well as the art of leadership. Consider what a little more rationality could do for you.

If you’re a Benefits Manager then it’s time we got our heads together and raised some awareness of what we can do for our leaders.