ITV Partners with McKinney Rogers© to Drive Technology Transformation

ITV is the largest commercial television network in the UK. It is the home of popular television from the biggest entertainment events, to original drama, major sport, landmark factual series and independent news. It operates a family of channels including ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 and CITV which are broadcast free-to-air on analogue (ITV1 only), Freeview, digital satellite (Sky/ Freesat) and cable.

ITV is also focused on delivering its programming across multiple platforms including, video-on-demand, on cable television and other ‘closed’ platforms, mobile devices and games consoles. ITV Studios produces and sells programmes and formats in the UK and worldwide, and comprises of ITV’s UK and international production operations, international distribution, home entertainment, publishing, merchandising and licensing.

The Television industry has changed rapidly over the last 10 years. Emerging media companies competing for advertising revenue have adopted cutting edge digital technologies in order to grow in a market place which has been revolutionised by developments in broadband internet, high-speed mobile networks and smart phones. ITV’s extensive analogue infrastructure struggled to accommodate and effectively exploit this digital revolution and piece-meal investment was being undermined by handling and transmission processes.

ITV recognised that delivering digitised, high quality content to a global audience was the future and in order to address ITV’s lagging technology position in the market, CEO Adam Crozier recruited Paul Dale to create and fulfil the position of CTO. Paul Dale is an industry veteran who had a well-deserved reputation for turning broadcasters around. In a previous role, Paul had worked with Astro in Malaysia, where he transformed a company lacking in strategy and innovation by delivering the technology that was needed to reposition the company and take advantage of the opportunities that were emerging from the digital broadcast revolution. Paul was recruited to perform a similar transformation for ITV, a far larger corporation. He immediately realized that in order to achieve this ambitious goal, he needed a partner who could help align hundreds of people to his strategy and empower them to execute and deliver on his vision.
Paul Dale recognized what ITV Technology required in order to support the delivery of the 2015 ITV vision of a “lean ITV that can create world class content, executed across multiple platforms and sold around the world”. One of his biggest challenges was to build a team with the right commitment, behaviours and leadership skills to inspire his Division, driving change whilst ensuring the gap between his strategy and its execution was minimized. Having previously worked with business execution professionals from McKinney Rogers, Paul knew that their expertise at delivering alignment solutions and their unique results-oriented approach would drive the company to achieve his technology vision.

Setting the Strategy - MR Mission Planning™
The first step was to ensure the senior executives were aligned and invested in the approach. McKinney Rogers conducted a two-day Mission Planning session with Paul’s top 40 executives. This consisted of leading the group through a strategic exercise that enabled them to critically examine their ideas for future growth. This accounted for the constraints and opportunities that the current operating environment presented. This generated informed decisions about where and how to invest for growth, whilst clearly defining every individuals’ role in the process.

The outcome of their analysis was a four-year strategy to transform ITV’s technology with the aim of positioning the broadcaster as a market leader, therefore achieving Technology’s contribution to the ITV vision. The strategy was visualized in an octagonal diagram called The Arena, which communicates the relationship between every component of the strategy.

Having constructed and articulated the strategy, Paul and McKinney Rogers went on a series of road shows to London, Leeds and Newcastle to personally involve and communicate with the members of Paul’s direct team; ensuring that each person had a clear understanding of their role in the journey ahead.

Creating Dynamic Alignment - MR Mission Alignment™
Having secured intellectual and emotional buy-in, McKinney Rogers worked with all directors and controllers to ensure absolute clarity in their roles - and their ability to engage and fully align the teams. This ensured that all parties were clear about the importance of what needed to be completed throughout the year, and what foundation activities would have to be started immediately, in order to generate results.

Empowering Through Transparency - Mission Leadership Dashboard™
Once the first step in delivering the strategy had been discussed in detail, the in-year plan was loaded into a performance tracking and task alignment dashboard that enabled effective execution. The Dashboard is a critical component of the McKinney Rogers solution, and encourages a forward looking, proactive approach to monitor performance and respond to challenges. It replaces a reflective and reactive approach to performance measurement, responding to reports of events in the past. It also brings transparency to the process and focuses everyone on the same metrics and fosters alignment and interdependencies across the organization to improve accountability and confidence at all levels. The insight gathered by the dashboard is regularly updated based on progress and new direction.

Unlocking Potential - High Performance Teams
To ensure personal commitment and reinforce alignment of the new strategy, McKinney Rogers conducted workshops for 2.5 days with the top 40 executives followed by one-day workshops for the top 100 members of the team to recognise and embed the team behaviours needed to deliver success. Workshops were based on the McKinney Rogers High Performance Team (HPT) approach which fundamentally changed behaviours through an experiential process that galvanized the members and equipped them with a road map for working together as a HPT.

Where are we now?
In anticipation of the coming year, Paul Dale and McKinney Rogers have conducted 2 day sessions with the top 14 executives to review progress, uncover opportunities for improvement and present the mission for next year. During these sessions everyone has a chance to challenge the plan to gain a deeper understanding of their role in supporting the delivery of the mission. This in turn, is cascaded down to their teams by each of the 14 participants with the assistance of McKinney Rogers.
As a result of the strategy development and alignment accomplished by Paul, together with his McKinney Rogers team, ITV’s renamed Technology, Platforms and Business Delivery Division has emerged from a ‘back-office’ supporting role, and now sits at the core of ITV’s future strategy. It is beginning to provide the agile and extensible infrastructure and support required to deliver high quality digital content to a global audience across multiple media platforms.

“What has impressed me most about McKinney Rogers is their ability to align an entire organization in support of a long-term vision. They empower execution by giving every employee clarity about the company aims and the process of achieving these, whilst instilling confidence in their leadership and the achievability of the mission,” Paul Dale explained. “At the end of the day you have a team of people who understand their role and are excited about what they are going to accomplish” he concluded.