What did SAY solve, what did it deliver?

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Joop Brakenhoff and Casper de Nooijer
Heineken Global Audit

Over the past few years Heineken has invested heavily in ‘leadership’ of the so called corporate functions, among which Internal Audit. The internal audit function is relatively new at Heineken, it was implemented only about twelve years ago. The combination of growth, globalization, regulation as well as the demands of governance have spurred Heineken on, under the leadership of the newly named Director of Global Audit, to implement a program of change. The goal was the realization of a more integrated, and accepted, global audit function of high quality and impact.

What did SAY solve, what did it deliver?
By adding SAY to this program the ‘soft side’ got put on the agenda. A number of senior managers in different regions/countries have put the SAY results to work. It put us in focus and showed us what specifically we needed to work on during the various phases of the program. SAY offered many concrete handholds. The program of change was aided by this.
Was SAY a worthwhile investment and why?
Yes, it gave us many new insights which helped us.

Was the SAY approach logical?
Yes. For the stakeholders it was very easy to fill out the questions. For those tasked with analysis and feedback the one-day training was sufficient to be able to analyze results on their own. Though it was very useful to hash out results of the various analyses with the SAY team.

What could be done differently or better?
Toward the end our own follow up could have been managed a bit tighter so that followthrough was even better and more systematic. There was the risk that important insights fade from some, which meant those insights weren’t always used to the fullest.

Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, these ideas should be an integral part of project management. You need to know what goes on. Every professional organization should be willing to open themselves up to criticism. The fact that different (sub)cultures exist and that people are different, think and feel differently, and perceive things in different ways is known, however, mapping that and truly grasping it and then using that information constructively is often overlooked. Using SAY in change timelines is highly recommended. SAY would also be of great interest in an environment with set processes, such as Shared Service Centers, Finance, and Audit.