Disruption is pushing companies to rethink their businesses. Yet, capabilities and talent are not pivoting fast enough. The workforce is performing tasks in ways that have been passed down from previous generations. So, employees are often performing work that no longer contributes to valued or strategic outcomes.

Only one quarter of executives think their company’s operating model has evolved quickly enough to align to their strategy.

Organizational inertia is deadly. ZBx (Zero-based mindset) is a new way to drive profitability that emphasizes the future over the past. A critical component of ZBx, ZBO (zero-based organization) designs the organization from a clean sheet, shifting talent toward work that contributes to the distinctive capabilities, operating model and outcomes needed to fuel growth.

Rethink the business

ZBO requires organizations to abandon "always done" mindsets and think and work in new ways.

  • A question of identity. Serious soul-searching is a prerequisite for ZBO approaches. Leaders must question what is happening in their company and use it to feed clean sheet design. Not just in moments of existential angst, but also when things are going well.
  • Control your own destiny. ZBO frees companies from first-quartile benchmarks and rear-view mirror peer analysis. They design as digital natives for a "should cost" approach by clean sheeting every line item to create transformational savings rather than incremental reductions.
  • Boundaries have disappeared. The right people doing the right work is critical to fuel profitable growth. Yet talent is a fluid ecosystem of fixed and variable human labor, bots, virtual and cognitive agents, crowdsourced talent, and customers and suppliers. ZBO designs for this boundaryless ecosystem.

Be who you aspire to be

ZBO is rooted in the future work routine. Revisiting your strategy is important. If the strategy is wrong, it doesn’t matter if the work is right.

Design from the outside in

With design thinking, companies can bring a customer-first spirit to recreate the value chain.

Build it so they come

Automation, consolidation, standardization, renegotiation, reskilling and other levers free resources to orchestrate the ecosystem for growth.

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Companies need to create better forensic visibility into spending, and then make savings sustainable through better accountability, process improvements and culture change. And most importantly, organizations should closely link spending reduction with their strategic growth plans.

Strategic cost reduction can only be successful if the savings are reinvested in areas of the company to drive growth, innovation, improved productivity, and better customer experiences.

About the Authors

Esther Colwill

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value


Naomi Hudson

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value


Paul Jeruchimowitz

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value


Kent McMillan

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Talent & Organization

Contributor

Tina Schimmenti

Principal Director – Accenture Strategy​

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