The speed of business has never been greater – Eno’s Transportation Center

July 07, 2022 | Deborah Rosenberg, Vice President, People & Culture, Transurban North America

Companies learned during the pandemic that they can change and adapt quickly to rapidly changing business environments. As more companies adopt these quick turnaround strategies into their daily practices, flexibility becomes more important than ever.

Thanks to globalization, digitization and automation, the speed at which critical decisions must be made is accelerating and shows no signs of slowing down. At the same time, new remote and hybrid work models spawned by the pandemic have thrown the traditional corporate environment out the window. Succeeding in this new, more complex and often ambiguous world requires embracing agility at scale.

The challenge is particularly acute for companies looking to expand their business and grow – and to achieve this requires empowering people at every level to make the best possible decisions. It’s a change we’ve gone through at Transurban North America as we’ve grown from a nimble, small market supported by a global transportation company to one capable of meeting growth expectations across North America.

By understanding what matters to our stakeholders, we create road transport solutions that make us the partner of choice. This success has quadrupled our footprint in North America over the past decade as we continually execute new projects in the public-private partnership billing sector. What was a team of dozens is now a team of hundreds, and with that came a deliberate shift to a method of working that efficiently uses our time and talent in the best places, while retaining that vital flexibility and market independence.

Scaling for agile decision making

We have made a series of strategic choices to prioritize our most important asset: our people.

The current environment has been described by McKinsey as both the best and the worst of times for decision-makers: an abundance of data, advanced analytics and a better understanding of how to make optimal corporate decisions, but growing frustration among managers with slower decision making processes.

We have addressed this by consolidating leadership, increasing the scope of responsibilities and aligning similar capabilities and functions to create scale, drive efficiencies and reduce redundancies. A 2021 Gartner study found that 65 percent of decisions are more complex than they were just two years ago, highlighting the need to rethink the decision-making process. By giving our leaders broader responsibilities, they understand the impact a decision will have and know the broader context in which that decision is made.

We then made organizational realignments that enabled accountability for decision-making at every management level. In a more agile business world, success relies on teams or individuals having a degree of autonomy and the ability to make decisions on their own. Lack of autonomy is often an innovation killer: In many organizations, only 21 percent of people believe their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.

The need for speed in our business has never been greater as we operate across three international markets to finance, build and operate billions in multi-jurisdictional, high-tech avenues.

Corporate access and accountability

Transurban also prioritizes talent training and development to have a corporate perspective. My own experience at Transurban reflects this investment. I started here just over six years ago as HR Director and very quickly became involved in all parts of the business. My role shifted from pure HR to serve as a hybrid HR director and support/advisor to the company president, with a focus on how to grow the business, assuming the title of VP of People and Culture in 2018.

Throughout my time at Transurban, I have had the opportunity to dive deep into the business, beyond a traditional HR or people and culture role, to serve as an advisor. At one point I assumed responsibility for our US customer service function and continued over the years to build my knowledge of our business beyond the usual HR remit. Transurban has benefited from my broader experience and corporate perspective, putting it to work in an expanded capacity to include people, culture and public affairs, including environmental, social and governance responsibilities.

The development of my responsibilities and areas of expertise at Transurban reflects the direction the company is moving in, putting the right people in the right place to do their best work. Taking action to consolidate, empower and strengthen enterprise access to our business functions has placed us in a better position to realize Transurban’s upcoming growth opportunities in North America.

Deborah Rosenberg has over 20 years of experience in HR strategy, organizational development and change management. At Transurban, Debbie leads the People and Culture team in North America, where she is responsible for advancing the business in the areas of organizational development and change; talent management and succession planning; diversity, equity and inclusion; and operational human resource management. In 2020, Debbie served as Interim Vice President – Customer Experience, where she was responsible for customer and billing operations, digital product development and execution, and the successful launch of a new program aimed at reducing customer disruption across Transurban’s US assets .

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