The country context – past achievements and current challenges
Country development scenario and UNDP’s role in it
India is a diverse, big and challenging country, with a wide range of economic, social, demographic and developmental scenarios prevailing across its landscape. However, being a social state, its government has always taken on an active role in ensuring the well-being of its people, through diverse policy making and development programme implementation agencies of its own as well as its partners.
UN has always been seen by the Government of India as a key partner and enabler in its developmental goals, with respect to its ability to provide a broad sense of direction to developmental policy formulation as well as its leveraging ability to generate resources that could play a major role in the country’s developmental programmes.
In the recent times, UN’s MDG and UNDAF framework has been accepted as a very important guiding framework for policy formulation and specific programme formulation by the Government of India.
As a key agency of United Nations, UNDP has always been seen as one of the key partners in development planning and programme formulation, by the Government of India. Its status as a think-tank and a capacity building partner in areas as diverse as Environmental Management, Poverty Alleviation, Gender Equality, HIV/AIDS Prevention & Care and Governance has been accepted and resourcefully used by the GOI. Being directly headed by the Resident Coordinator of all UN agencies within the country helps enhance this status further.
Transformation in the UNDP’s partner relationships and expectations from the same
With the advent of economic liberalization, the country has seen a sea change in some of its key economic and social as well as demographic parameters, but not to an equitable degree. This has led to certain newer or more complex issues of focus coming out in the context of the country development policy making and programme formulation.
Coupled with the increasing self-sufficiency being achieved by the country on the economic front, this changing scenario has led to transformation in the relationships and its leveraging potential between GOI and UNDP. Today, UNDP needs to demonstrate greater Knowledge and Influential capacity to get the engagement levels with GOI going, and also needs to diversify its portfolio of partners so as to continue to enhance its role in the country’s developmental framework.
Likely impact of the transformation on UNDP’s way of working
The first and most immediate impact that the above transformation should have in the context of UNDP India is to provoke the organization to look at strengthening its delivery capacity in the context of its original goals of capacity building and policy influence as well as strengthen its internal competencies and their utilization through a set of clear accountabilities, processes and structures.
The organizational context for change – evolution of Structure, Roles and Processes
UNDP India’s traditional structure and processes
The organization manages its diverse goals through a collective leadership of programs and operations. Assistant Resident Representatives at UNDP are a critical component of UNDP leadership who would need to adopt and adapt to the change and, thereafter, direct it through the organization at next levels. Though it is well appreciated that this is not to be seen as the only level which needs to adopt and adapt to change, every level has to contribute in defining, owning, implementing, contributing self-change as well as being a part of the success.
Traditionally, the different Units at UNDP have evolved in response to the short-term needs of the organization and its environment. While such response has at times been in line with goals set for itself by the organization, of being a think tank and capacity building organization for UN as a whole as well as for respective country planning bodies, at times such short term led responses have also given a certain lack of alignment to its different functional units.
For example, Management Support Unit has evolved over the years to be able to support the top management as well as the key programme units to follow certain high standards of programme management as well as help the organization collate best practices and knowledge insights. However, over the years, it has also become an under-utilized unit which has, at times, taken up simple process compliance activities on behalf of the program units, which the units could have been empowered to handle themselves.
Similarly, the Communications & Advocacy Unit, which is meant to provide Program Advocacy and overall Outreach capacity to the organization, has inadvertently taken up the internal employee engagement related communication role, which could have been handled by the organizational HR.
Overall, with other similar examples across different units, it was realized that the organization has developed enough scope for re-alignment of functional units, first within themselves on the basis of greater functional clarity, and then with each other on the basis of greater accountability and interdependent processes.
In the absence of high level alignment of different functional units, it was felt that the organization’s potential to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency also left a lot of room for improvement.
Current challenges of alignment between expectations from the organization and its internal systems and processes
Therefore, UNDP India started looking at directing a change process towards its time bound goals of achieving greater efficiency & effective performance through structural, role related and processes related changes.
At the onset of this realization, and sharing of the thought process by the senior management with different key components of the organization, the process of change was seen with varied perspectives by different levels of leadership, and therefore, a common ground needed to be created on which all can walk together in an agreed direction.
For example, whereas, it was felt that the Programme function needed to develop greater sense of accountability over its programme outcomes, fund utilization and timely completion of projects. However, at certain levels it was also recognized that the programmes suffered at the hands of partner inefficiencies (in this case Government of India) and also due to greater involvement of valuable resources into implementation work on behalf of partners rather than capacity building and monitoring & evaluation work. All this, everyone felt, also led to under-utilization or mis-utilization of precious intellectual and human resource capital built by the organization over decades of work.
Additionally, the diverse strategic support units to programme units, such as MSU, C&A and Finance had not developed any conscious system of collaboratively and regularly working together, leading to long stints of independent working or dis-jointed working. The absence of such conscious realization at functional leadership levels and past habits, tended to come in the way of accepting the need for change, even when the senior management attempted to bring forth such an awareness and urgency towards change.
The current drivers for change
Convergence of country and organizational challenges into key drivers of change
By putting the country development scenario driven changes and the internal organizational challenges together, one can see the urgency that the organization faces to transform itself into a far more cohesive, strategically driven, high impact organization in the eyes of all its stakeholders and partners.
This is because, for example, a strong Programme function, ably and synergistically supported by strong MSU, C&A and Finance functions would be in a far better position
to leverage its equity with GOI as a developmental partner and donors as the resource partners.
In this context, the donors would expect a more robust planning and delivery through far-sightedness, robustness to overcome external variables and diversity to spread risks. Similarly, the GOI or any other future development partners would wish to see a clear value-add beyond what is obvious to them and yet fits into their paradigm of thinking and working.
What if the change response is delayed
With the increasing self-sufficiency of the country on the economic and intellectual front and an increasing proliferation of developmental partners within the country landscape, the situation is turning as competitive as it would for a business player in a given market that is maturing fast.
History has proven that such situations demand a speedy and strategic response, failing which even historically robust and thriving organizations can fade into oblivion or marginalization within their domain of working.
Therefore, UNDP India as a whole needs to look at change as a huge opportunity for self-sustenance and growth rather than as a luxury to be looked at in a slow and steady manner., or when it can be afforded at leisure.
The Change Process at UNDP India – approach and consensus
Anticipated internal challenges to change
As outlined above, while the change was an imperative for UNDP India, everyone within the organization did not see it with the same lense of contextual understanding, sense of urgency and proactiveness.
Therefore, it became important that any high impact and strategic change be brought out with a healthy involvement of all the constituents of the organization, so that everyone becomes aware of its needs and way forward. Equally, such participation was necessary so as to build a collective sense of ownership and contribution, so as to speed up its implementation and make the entire organization assimilate its impact more organically.
Outline of the Change Process planned at UNDP India
Since the entire change process was to be a high impact one, cutting across all levels and functions of the organization and also bringing with it the entire gamut of change elements like habit change, process change, competency change, role change and structural change, UNDP India chose to adopt a highly participative Change Process,
which used the basic tenets of the UNDP Change Management Toolkit. How the Change Toolkit and the specific stages of UNDP India Change Process mapped with each other becomes clear if we see the two together, as indicated below :
Key steps and their planned outcomes
In line with map for the Change Management Process at UNDP India, the following step details were worked out in collaboration among the organizational leadership, HR and the external Change Management Facilitators-Maps ‘n’ Grow Consulting (MnG).
Module 1 – Free Expression
Objective : Understanding self-perception of change, sharing this perception with team members, listening to others’ perception of change, capturing everyone’s perspective
Methodology : Facilitated retreats
Suggested role division between UNDP & Maps ‘n’ Grow (MnG) : Co-facilitated retreat(s) by UNDP & MnG, detailing by UNDP, documentation & support by MnG
Module 2 – Change Visioning
Objective : Evolving a collective big picture for change that is optimally inclusive, achieving commonly understood articulation of its functional, individual and collective impact as well as external and internal goals
Methodology : Facilitated retreat combined with leadership and functional leadership sessions on one-to-one basis. Collation of different articulations and evolving of common articulation
Suggested role division between UNDP & Maps ‘n’ Grow (MnG) : Facilitated retreat(s) by MnG, functional sessions by UNDP, Leadership sessions by MnG, collation & documentation by MnG
Module 3 – Building Guiding Coalition
Objective : Develop consensual and logical teams around critical components of Change vision and its processes, create ownership goals & commitments, clarify resources and support mechanisms, voice individual commitments to change
Methodology : One-to-one sessions with leadership levels followed by facilitated retreats-some collective while others task force based
Suggested role division between UNDP & Maps ‘n’ Grow (MnG) : Task force creation by UNDP, advisory support by MnG, gaining task force commitments in terms of timelines & support issues by UNDP
Module 4 – Roles/Processes/Functional Mapping
Objective : Evolving Role Definitions, Process Maps, Functional Definitions and comparing old v/s. new, preparing competency development plan to align with new Roles/Functions/Processes and the new structure
Methodology : Facilitated task force retreats, Leadership one-to-one sessions, facilitated presentations, facilitated collective retreat
Suggested role division between UNDP & Maps ‘n’ Grow (MnG) : Facilitated retreat(s) by MnG, back-end work and its collation by UNDP, documentation & support by MnG
Module 5 – Reengineering Action
Objective : Going forward on implementation of new roles, functional definitions, process definitions and competency development plans
Methodology : Visit based review of progress, documentation of milestones achieved and challenges or deviations to be corrected, leadership presentations
Suggested role division between UNDP & Maps ‘n’ Grow (MnG) : Review and corrections by UNDP, documentation support by MnG
Module 6 – Final Review and Success Sharing
Objective : To do a medium term or long term review of the achievements of the change process and to create shared celebrations of success as well as shared review of further corrective actions, if any
Methodology : Extended review, leadership perception interactions and facilitated Or internally conducted celebration retreats
Suggested role division between UNDP & Maps ‘n’ Grow (MnG) : All by UNDP, some advisory support by MnG
Work Plan and Communication Plan as part of the Change Process
In line with the above approach to Change Management, the organization evolved a detailed Work-Plan as well as a Communication-Plan to see the entire process through in a participative, timely and planned manner. While the work plan was developed with a very optimistic view of everyone’s availability and the ease of taking each step forward, it had to be adjusted and re-adjusted as the Change Process progresses. At each critical stage, it was realized that either people needed more time to discuss, decide and delineate or the key members were unable to devote scheduled time due to real-time delivery pressures.
Owing to all these realizations, from time to time, the organization adapted the change process workplan, without at any stage compromising on the substantive aspects of the process.
The Work Plan and Communication Plan details are placed in Annexure 1
Common Ground – Collective Free Expression towards change at UNDP
Till now, the process of change was being seen with varied perspectives by different levels of leadership, and therefore, a common ground needed to be created on which all can walk together in an agreed direction. To be able to do that 4 steps approach was agreed upon:
Step 1 Single day ARR retreat to take their inputs
Step 2 Sharing ARRs inputs with the Management Team and incorporating
Management Team’s suggestions
Step 3 Identification and selection of Change Management Team members
from various sections/levels of UNDP India.
Step 4 Placing the Change Vision, formed till now, to the new members and
taking their inputs so as to reach the finalize the Change Vision.
The details of the ARR retreat and subsequent stages of Change Management Team(CMT) as well as Task Team(TT) formation are placed in Annexure 2.
Next Change steps by CMT and TTs
In line with the CO’s Change vision, the CMT in collaboration with different TTs began to look at the following outputs, through a series of meetings :
• Detailed delineation of the tasks performed by each member in each of the Units, viz. Programmes, MSU, C&A, Finance and RC/IASU
• Systematic categorization of the tasks aligned to the end deliverable of the Unit.
• Taking inputs from internal clients and stakeholders so as to add or subtract deliverables based on “what is necessary” and “what is not called for by stakeholders or by UNDP India corporate goals.
• Aligning deliverables or evolving insights about missing links based on UNDAF framework and RMG guidelines
• Processes identified by each Unit for Business Process Re-engineering
• Nominees proposed by each team for being a part of the Change Process BPR Team
• Criteria given by each Unit for re-staffing
• Regular and continuous communication/update provided to all staff of UNDP.
Each TT was assigned the task of looking at a single functional unit of UNDP India. Their output was presented to the larger CMT in a matrix form.
The details of unitwise functional analysis are placed in Annexure3.
What were further next steps?
After the TTs had worked with CMT to come up with the Functional Analysis for each Unit, it was decided to reconstitute a larger team comprising CMT, some Unit members and Senior Management to go for a two day retreat, with the following output objectives :
Objectives of the Meet:
• To be able to clearly delineate the specific deliverables of each Unit within UNDP India.
• Based on deliverable selection/clarity, be able to specify the management structure of each Unit in terms of roles and hierarchies.
• On the basis of the Unitwise management structure as well as the overall goals of the organization, arrive at an organizational management structure as well.
• To be able to map 3-4 high-level organization impacting processes in terms of their key component representation.
• Plan way forward for BPR of the rest of the processes of the Units
• Way forward on written Job Descriptions (JDs) wherever staffing is required/identified
• Way forward on training and re-skilling of members/staff wherever appropriate
Deliberations based on Task Team’s unit wise work-study matrices:
During the retreat, smaller teams looked at the matrix output of all the Task Teams and the other inputs that the Task Teams had collated based on their Client Need Assessments as well as internal deliberations within each Unit.
The details of the findings and deliberations of the small teams are placed in Annexure 4.
Group work on evolving the ideal structure for each unit:
After the analysis of the Task Teams’ outputs, the group decided to look at the basic functional structures for each unit at UNDP India. Such a structure was to be drawn out based on certain uniform logic. These logic points were developed as follows :
1. CONCEPTUAL BASIS FOR A GOOD STRUCTURE (FOR EVERY UNIT)
What all should we do in a Unit, based on Task Team matrices and client expressed needs
What all should we not do in a Unit, based on historic deviations that have crept in which are out of line with core organizational and unit wise deliverables.
Clear accountabilities of roles…. interdependence not withstanding, so that accountability related roles are included in a single unit, even though the contributions therein may come from other units as well.
2. “UNDAF” basis for a good structure
Conceptualise & implement programme strategies (RMG)
Manage CO programme including prog. assurance (RMG)
3. STRENGTHEN SCANNING OF STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS
4. STRENGTHEN PARTNER CAPACITY ASSESMENT (HACT MICRO-
Identification of partners and follow-up to assessment report (develop methodology, in house Capacity Development for Capacity Assessment)
5. STRENGTHEN MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Activate prog. monitoring to fulfill project assurance role as well as feeding into office RBM/MYFF
(Off. Evaluation plan, strategic M&E support, indicators development by MSU)
6. STRENGTHEN KNOWLEDGE SHARING
Substantive engaging of partners and policy advice
Replication and/or up scaling of best practices and insights from different program units (link to communications team)
7. STRENGTHEN COUNTRY OFFICE PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT SUPPORT
Programme management module in atlas
Financial oversight of programme and project in atlas
8. STRENGTHEN DONOR REPORTING
Timely and accurate donor reporting (MSU will assure timely reporting and quality assurance of donor report
Level of quality assurance
• DRR PROG.
9. STRENGTHEN RESOURCE MOBILISATION
Programme Units to identify opportunities
Proposal Development to be done in team with Programme Units,
MSU, Communications Units and CD/DCD
Strengthen support to CD and DCD, in this regard
10. ESTABLISH AND MAINTAING STRATEGIC PARTNER SHIP
Primary role to be substantive partner to Govt. & other partners
Credibility and Trust building with all stakeholders on the strength of Knowledge, Strategy, Value-add and Process Adherence
11. COMMUNICATION TO BE CENTRALISED AND STRENGTHENED
Programme to support comm. by feeding information and draw upon communications unit
Interaction with Media – work on Communication Management Skills of Programme Unit Staff.
Overall organizational structure for UNDP India
On the basis of the above logic points, the structure for each unit was evolved by the retreat group. A new unit called Resource Management Unit (RMU) was carved out of the larger Finance Unit, but continuing to report within the Finance Unit.
Details of the Unitwise Functional Structures are placed in Annexure 5
Once the functional structure of each unit was evolved, it led to the entire team working together on the overall structure of UNDP India office. Here, the following logic points were used to evolve the overall structure :
The strategic role performed by Communication Unit, with respect to Programmes on one side and CD Office and RC Office on the other must be clearly brought out
The Capacity Development and Strategic role performed by the MSU with respect to Programmes must also be indicated appropriately
The newly created position of Country Director and its relationship with RC and rest of the organization must be clearly indicated
The interdependencies among various units, their value add to senior office of RC as well as their convergence to ad value to all partners must also be brought forth by the structure. Based on these logic points, the following overall organizational structure was evolved for UNDP India :
Based on the above principles, the overall organizational structure for a more effective, efficient and accountable UNDP India was evolved as follows :
Population structure evolved for each Unit
Based on the functional structure evolved for each unit, which clearly excluded non-core activities from the unit and included core current as well as core desired/asked for activities of the unit, the teams then worked on the population structure of each unit.
Population structure for the units was to be evolved on the basis of the logic/criteria, such as :
Strategic/complexity dominant roles demanding high degree of intellectual capital, seniority profile to head such roles within the unit
Managerial/oversight accountable roles involving middle management profiles
Execution and detail follow-up based roles involving execution profiles
Approximate analysis of the intensity/volume of each role so as to look at probable numbers at each profile level that would strengthen the unit to deliver on its functional promise
The details of the Population Structures for each Unit are placed in Annexure 6.
Taking some high level processes for mapping
Having developed the first-cut Unitwise structure as well as the overall organizational structure, the retreat team went on to deliberate on some high level processes that could be re-engineered and strengthened for greater effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.
On the basis of the imperatives and insights drawn from the Change Management Task Forces as well as in-retreat deliberations, it was agreed that the following key processes be identified for clear mapping and strengthening :
Monitoring & Evaluation
It was decided that the Change Management Team with Management should take up the all encompassing process of Monitoring & Evaluation, as an example, so as to indicate, at an initial level, what a good process map could look like. It was then decided that the M&E Process mapped at an initial level, as well as the other unmapped processes mentioned above, would then be taken up by small teams within the CMT, to be mapped further.
The CMT decided to draw support from some Task Team as well as other organizational members to lend credence to this high impact Process Mapping exercise.
Key logic points to be kept in mind while mapping key processes were :
They must indicate clear start and stop points, alongwith key sources of inputs and outputs at each stage
They must bring out key inter-unit interdependencies, so as to bring out accountabilities of specific unit as well as intra-unit level for each stage, as well as contributing inputs and supportive outputs from/to different units
They must address current concerns and weaknesses in the key functional and organizational deliverables of UNDP India.
Based on the above logic, the High Level Process mapped by the organization, through collaborative effort of CMT, Senior Management, Task Teams and other organizational resources were detailed in the form of diagrammatic representations indicating levelwise accountabilities for their different components and interdependencies with various internal and external partners.
The details of these high level processes are placed in Annexure 7.
Milestones of the Change Process – key intermediate outputs, components reviewed for change
Key outputs at some intermediate stages of the Change Process
The following outputs were achieved at each milestone stage :
Consensus and common Vision for the need for change and the participative process
Consensually formed Change Management Team and Task Teams
Detailed functional analysis of each unit on “as is” basis
Inputs from key stakeholders/internal clients of each unit to assess what is useful and what needs to get deleted or added in each unit’s current work output
Key functional accountabilities for each unit, so that each contributes to its own and the organization’s “Greater Effectiveness, Accountability and Efficiency” vision
Estimation of the Populating Structure for each unit, based on its functional structure, so that the organization can assess how many people at what level are needed for each unit
Clear, interdependent and accountable structure for the overall UNDP India organization so that each unit works to deliver its functional promises and draws on other units’ input needs and output advantages to strengthen its own and overall efficacy
Key high level processes mapped with a view to delineate levelwise and functional unitwise accountabilities as well as interdependencies.
Emergence and identification of key organizational components to be reviewed during Change Process
As is clear, the key organizational components that came up for review and would further be reviewed in detail, in Phase 1, were :
Cross-cutting High Impact Processes
In addition to the above, the following will further be analysed and strengthened :
Job Descriptions for greater role and competency clarity
Finer workload analysis based on functional deliverables and process deliverables to arrive at fine tuned job requirements
Certain intra-functional processes that would further strengthen the working of each unit
Softer elements of Change to be addressed
All along the Change Process, the organization realized and appreciated that the following softer elements of the organizational culture or way of working would also need to be steadily improved upon, so that all its functional structures and processes as well as each role deliver to the fullest, without any wasteful utilization of energies :
Transparency during change as well as non-change periods
Ongoing dialogue based on mutual appreciation of each other’s work and constructive feedback for improvement
Greater teamwork based on proactive communication between different units and levels
An overall culture of greater accountability and interdependent working
Key deliverables of UNDP India Change Process
Key outputs after review of the identified change components
As detailed in the previous section(s), the key outputs of the change process after review of critical components has been as follows :
Clear and detailed organizational structure
Clear and sub-functionally accountable unitwise structure
A stronger Communications & Programme Support Functions
More focused and rationalized Programme Units
Clear understanding of the relationships between RC, CD, DRRs’ offices
A rational reporting of units like C&A and RMU
Following clearly mapped processes indicating levelwise, unitwise accountabilities and interdependencies :
o Programme/Project Management
o Monitoring & Evaluation
o Resource Mobilization
o Programme Advocacy
Work in Progress
The work so far has clearly indicated the direction for and laid the foundation for the next steps in Change Management Process and fine-tuning and strengthening of the following areas :
Job descriptions – to be evolved on the basis of accountabilities indicated by High Level Processes and also on the basis of the Unitwise Population/Functional Structures
Clear and transparent filling of the posts for internal or external candidates, with clear role detailing right from the onset of the selection process
Competency Development Plan for the entire organization, in generic areas as well as role specific areas
Planned alignment between various change components
As is clear, if the organizational structures, processes and job descriptions are seamlessly integrated into a comprehensive and clear system of accountabilities and interdependencies, then there is no reason why the organization would not deliver its promised value-addition to its external partners as well as internal stakeholders.
Equally, if any current or future selection activities are carried out on the basis of transparent guidelines provided by the above components and nurtured on the basis of the softer elements like transparency, dialogue and sharing, then the organization should never face any insurmountable challenges of mis-alignment, resistance or stakeholder/partner value-erosion.