What’s your GQ?


No I am not referring to a subscription to Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Like an IQ or the softer EQ, the GQ is the Governance Quotient. Specifically how much complexity is an organization capable of governing before it falls over and becomes dysfunctional?

Let’s define the boundaries of governance, what it is and what is has:

  • Governance is the decision making processes of an organization
  • Governance is FAST and EFFECTIVE decision making in times of ambiguity
  • Governance is a mechanism to drive and shorten the time leading to accelerated benefits
  • Governance is ensuring adherence to policies, standards & alignment to roadmap
  • Governance has
    • Executive Sponsorship
    • Clear Authority
    • Clearly defined Scope
    • Accountability tied to metrics and governance objectives

Clients/Corporations with high GQ scores can take on a portfolio of large complex IT projects, keep them managed and on-track, make good decisions despite imperfect information and deliver benefits not just technology.

Clients/Corporations with mid-range GQ scores can take on a portfolio of small IT projects, keep some of them managed with only some on-track, make good decisions only if complete information is available and deliver some benefits.

Clients/Corporations with low GQ scores cannot take on a portfolio of projects, one enterprise project is more than enough to make them spin, they do not make good decisions and deliver  technology without the ability to follow through to benefit realization.

Many of us have had the opportunity to meet with the CEO around a mission-critical initiative. Sometimes they ask “what can I do?”. My answer for the lower GQ client’s CEO is the following: “Ask questions … all the time


  • Are our investments contributing to our strategic objectives, both individually and collectively, such that we are getting optimal benefits, at an affordable cost, at an acceptable level of risk?
  • Are our IT services, assets and other resources resulting from our investments focused on real business needs and priorities?
  • Are we doing these things the right way? (prove it to me…)
  • Are we leveraging synergies between our investments?
  • Are we getting these things done well?
  • Do we have effective and disciplined management, delivery and change management processes?
  • Do we have competent and available technical and business resources to deliver the required capabilities and the organizational changes required to leverage them?
  • Are services delivered reliably, available when and where required?
  • Are we getting the benefits?
  • Do we have a clear and shared understanding of the expected benefits from new investments, and resulting IT services, assets, and other resources?
  • Do we have clear and accepted accountability and relevant metrics for realizing the benefits?
  • Do we have an effective benefits realization process over the full economic life cycle of our investments to ensure that we are getting

If your executive sponsor is not asking questions, they are not providing any value to governance.

For clients with low GQ’s , what as a consultant do you do?

#1 – Keep it simple.

If your client cannot govern a complex initiative with lots of moving parts, don’t do it. They (and you) will fail.  Keep it simple, reduce the scope, increase the time and get them to work on improving their governance model. One of the first things to achieve in improving governance is getting your client to realize that there is a difference between having the form of governance versus actually having governance. Specifically the importance of not just having the formation of committees but actually having committees that can illustrate FAST and EFFECTIVE decision making in times of ambiguity. Then you are making progress on the GQ.

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