Saturday, 20 February 2021

REORG: HOW TO GET IT RIGHT

From the Book: Reorg: How to Get It Right by Stephen Heidari-Robinson and  Suzanne Heywood 

THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGING COURSE 

I recall reading somewhere that the TI-class supertanker ships must travel more than 30 miles in order to reverse direction. Their engines are off before traveling the last 15 miles to dock. I thought about these and other issues as I began to read this book. They give us at least some sense of how difficult it must be for the world’s largest organizations to complete a reorganization.

THE STATISTICS DONT LOOK FAVOURABLE
  • 70% of reorgs deliver some value, but only 16% deliver the results they were supposed to in the time they were supposed to. The main reasons are: employees resisting or leaving, insufficient resources, distraction from day-to-day work, leaders resisting, or the org chart changes but the way people work stays the same.
  • In most reorgs, only 20-30% of the organisation changes. The knack is identifying which bit – usually to be found where what leaders think is broken intersects with what really matters in the business.
  • Communication of reorgs usually fails due to ivory-tower idealism (over enthusiastic leader thinking all will be well) or wait and see (keeping everything secret).
  • If the reorg team cost and likely business disruption exceeds the anticipated cost reduction or revenue increase, the reorg should not go ahead.
  • The timeline should be reverse engineered from the implementation date, and include two or three immovable deadlines.

STEPS FOR SUCCESS

  1. Construct the Reorg's Profit and Loss. Work out what is to be achieved and how to measure successful completion. Is a reorg necessary to meet these targets. If so, accelerate the process in order to minimize upset and deliver the business results needed as soon as possible.
  2. Understand the business's current weaknesses and strengths. Don't do things just for the sake of it and communicate often, both in order to share information and to listen.
  3.  Develop a new structure that is tailored to the company's needs, taking advantage of the wisdom within the organization and engaging key stakeholders. Many reorganizers jump straight to this step, say the authors. Doing so is "a fatal error".
  4. Design and plan implementation. This should involve setting immovable deadlines and assessing leadership in order to ensure the right people are in the right roles
  5. Launch, learn and course-correct. Ensure that the reorg is delivering the expected results. When things return to "normal" are targets being met?

Tim HJ Rogers MBA 
MBA (Management Consultancy) & Change Practitioner 
ICF Trained Coach IoD Business Mentor
Mob 447797762051 
Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com

References 

https://reorgbook.com/the-five-steps/
https://www.ft.com/content/0ae9ab4c-afe0-11e6-9c37-5787335499a0
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogertrapp/2016/11/23/when-restructuring-leaders-cannot-afford-to-ignore-the-human-side/?sh=32a31b497749
https://bobmorris.biz/reorg-a-book-review-by-bob-morris

Thursday, 4 February 2021

WHY PROJECTS FAIL, DIAGNOSIS & HOW TO SUCCEED

 

WHY PROJECTS FAIL

 

#1 – Scope Creep
Scope is everything that you are going to do and conversely, not going to do. So once you’ve figured out exactly what the project work is, usually via a Work Breakdown Structure, you need to freeze it and zealously guard against unplanned changes to it. So planned changes via a change control board are ok, since then the PM can issue a new schedule, risk and budget plan as needed. Otherwise, you will surely miss your target and make both the management and customer unhappy.

#2 – Overallocated Resources
Often there are too few resources working on too many projects at the same time. In conjunction with that, managers don’t seem to have a grip on what their resources are doing all the time. Team members are left to figure out for themselves what projects they should be working on and when. Better is for managers to meet weekly to discuss resource usage perhaps using a spreadsheet to track.

#3 – Poor Communications
Many people on a project will know the project manager only through his or her communications. And they will know them by how their voice comes across over the phone or especially by how well-written their emails are. If the project manager is not a clear unambiguous communicator, chaos and confusion will ensue.

#4 –Bad Stakeholder Management
Stakeholders have a vested interest in the project for the good or sometimes to the detriment of the project. It is the project manager’s job not only to identify all stakeholders, but know how to manage and communicate with them in a timely fashion. A communication management plan helps here.

#5 – Unreliable Estimates
Estimates are very often just guesstimates by team members who are trying to calculate duration of tasks based on how long it took them last time. This may turn out to be totally accurate or may be completely wrong. And if wrong, leads to a flawed schedule and increased risk. Historical records kept between projects helps solve this.

#6 – No Risk Management
Every project is unique and hence, has uncertainty. When we try to qualify and quantify that uncertainty, we call it risk. It is incumbent upon the project manager to proactively anticipate things that might go wrong. Once he has identified risks, then he and the team can decide on how to respond to (e.g., mitigate, avoid) those specific risks should they occur.

#7 – Unsupported Project Culture
I was once asked to consult for a company and discovered that a complex project was being handled by an untrained secretary using 20 Excel spreadsheets. In this case, management clearly did not fully understand what it took to manage a project either in tools or using trained personnel. This is not easily solvable because it requires education of management and a cultural shift.

#8 – The Accidental Project Manager
This is similar to but not exactly the same as the unsupported project culture. In this instance, what typically happens is that a technical person (software developer, chemist, etc.) succeeds at the job. Based on that, gets promoted to project manager and is asked to manage the types of projects they just came from. The problem is they often don’t get training in project management and may well lack the social skills the job calls for. And so they flounder and often fail despite previous successes.

#9 – Lack of Team Planning Sessions
There is no more effective way to kick off a meeting than to have the entire team come together for a planning session. This enables everyone to not only work together on project artifacts (schedule, WBS) but also to bond as a team and buy into the project.

#10 – Monitoring and Controlling
Many project managers will create a schedule and never (or rarely) update it. Or if they do, they’ll just fill in percent done, which is an arbitrary number often picked out of the air by the team member. Better if they record actuals such as date started, work accomplished and estimate of remaining work.

DIAGNOSIS: SEVEN PROJECT PERFORMANCE FACTORS 

 

Does the focus on business value, or technical detail?
This involves establishing a clear link between the project and the organizations key strategic practices. The project plan needs to cover the planned delivery, the business change required and the means of benefits realization.

Case Study: I have seen projects fail were time is spent myopically on the detail of an issue, often a supplier contract issue, and not the overall purpose eg to produce an ROI of 8% in 3 years. In some cases we would be wise to pivot, take a new approach, rather than get bogged down. The effect of not doing so is to delay delivery of a function or feature with a disproportional consequential impact on the people and overall programme. Projects seldom operate in isolation and problems in one inevitably impact upon others and/or business as usual.

Is there clear accountability for measured results?
There must be clear view of the inter-dependencies between the projects, the benefits, and the criteria against which success will be judged. It is necessary to establish a reasonably stable requirement baseline before any other work goes forward. Requirements may still continue to creep. In virtually all projects there will be some degree of “learning what the requirements really are” while building the project product.

Case Study: I have experienced situations where incentives, rewards, and punishments tear people apart by pulling in different directions. Typically the tug between projects and business as usual means compromises for both, or outright failure of one because of another. There needs to be a relentless review of: What is it we are trying to achieve here? And a clear focus on output or outcome measures on the agreed dials: Does this move the needle in the right direction?. If we simply congratulate ourselves on effort and not outcome we risk the trials of Sisyphus and burnout [Sisyphus -was punished by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time.]

Is there a consistent processes for managing unambiguous checkpoints?
Successful large projects typically have software measurement programs for capturing productivity and quality historical data that can be sued to compare it against similar projects in order to judge the validity of schedules, costs, quality, and other project related factors. The lack of effective quality centered mechanisms can be a major contributor to both cost and schedule overruns.

Case Study: I have seen suppliers argue that there is no problem with being 20 days late with Phase A because Workstream B is 20 days ahead of schedule. This is misdirection. Generally of a project is late it will only get later! If your track record is 20% late then the probability of recovering that time is low unless there is a clear understanding of cause and an intervention of consequence. My own experience is that projects seldom improve productivity and instead cut scope or quality to recover lateness. In one example comprehensive testing was compromised to random sample testing in order to gain pace, but inevitably the hope-value (that everything will be ok) did not pay-off. These compromises generally creates further problems later with consequential impact on cost.

Is there a consistent methodology for planning and executing projects?
There should be a detailed plan developed before any release date of a project is announced. Inadequate planning is one of the major reasons why projects spin out of control.

Case Study: I am a fan of both waterfall and agile projects and both PRINCE2 and scrum have their benefits. For well understood projects, processes or services which are repeated with precision the waterfall approach is appropriate and time spent on designing the ginger-bread cutter [process and plans] is worthwhile when churning out products and services that conform exactly to a well prepared plan. However many are low volume, unique or ambiguous and in these contexts agile / scrum may be better, evolving, innovating, developing and improving as things progress. There is real merit in both but I have seen success and failure in mixing the two into Waterfall: Thinking and planning before doing is good. Scrum: Leaning, developing and innovating is good. waterfall + scrum = scrummerfall. Some scrummerfall approaches are like a series of small waterfall projects linked together, ostensibly as phases or stages of a later mission. However problems occur when you are managing plans, budget, delivery to a waterfall (PRINCE2) standard [like a bus on a route], but the activity is agile (scrum) [like an explorer on a bike].

Do you include customer at the beginning of the project and continually involve the customer as things change ?
It has been observed that successful projects occur when end users (customers) and the project members work as teams in the same cubicle, although this is not always possible. Projects are less likely to fail if there are informed customers giving meaningful input during every phase of requirements elicitation, product description and implementation. The customer needs to be asking, “how are the project result used over time and what do I get out of the results?

Case Study: I have seen projects lead by the IT department either because the customer has abrogated their responsibility or because the IT department feels that they have a better understanding of the customer needs, wants and expectations than the customer. A doctor will consult a patient before, during and after prescription. They may be expert, but neither the physician or patient will think it wise to proceed without some mutual understanding and consensus. Inevitably the communication gap brings frustration and can lead to "failure", whether real or perceived, the problem being that each may have a different criteria for success or failure.

Do you motivate people so that project efforts will experience a zone of optimal performance throughout its life?
This involves managing and retaining the most highly skilled and productive people. Knowledge is money. A project team made up of higher paid people with the right specialized skills is worth more per dollar than a group of lower cost people who need weeks or months of training before they can start to be productive.

Case Study: I have always believed that projects should be delivered on-time, on-budget, to-specification, but also develop the participants to be competent, capable, with drive and desire. So creating, nurturing and supporting the team is often as important (and frequently more important) than one project. Because a competent, capable, team with drive and desire can do so much more than one project! There can be problems however if the team is regarded as a component, like paint rather than an artist. When people are dropped in or pulled out they become ingredients and their collective skills, expertise and experience is wasted. I have seen projects that simply swap people in or out based on availability rather than their value to the team.

Do you provide the project team members the tools and techniques the need to produce consistently successful projects?
The project team must be skilled and experienced with clear defined roles and responsibilities. If not, there must be access to expertise which can benefit those fulfilling the requisite roles.

Case Study: I have seen organisations spend millions on supplier agreements and then scrimp on the training and development of the teams who will deliver a project. That's like buying a Formula 1 car and than expecting a bunch of people to manage, maintain and drive that car without the training and development that is necessary. They then wonder why their Formula 1 investment is not achieving Grand Prix performance.

ELBEIK AND THOMAS’S SUCCESSFUL PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

 

By speaking to experienced project managers  Sam Elbeik and Mark Thomas attempted to identify the critical factors that must be addressed if a project is to be completed successfully. They developed a six stage process for managing projects namely: define, plan, build the team, lead and motivate, control communications, review.

Key success factors in rank order

  1. Clearly defined objectives
  2. Good planning and control methods
  3. Good quality of project managers
  4. Good management support
  5. Enough time and resources
  6. Commitment by all
  7. High user involvement
  8. Good communication
  9. Good project organisation and structure
  10. Being able to stop a project
Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP 
PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES and CHANGE /  CONSULTANT MENTOR COACH
Adapt Consulting Company 
Consult CoCreate Deliver
Mob +447797762051 Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com

Tim Rogers is an experienced Project and Change Leader. He is founder of ciChange.org and curator for TEDxStHelier.Com . Roles have included Programme Manager for the incorporation of Ports and Jersey, and Jersey Post, as well as Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI/NatWest. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower. He has a passion for learning and has been a Tutor/Mentor for the Chartered Management Institute. He is a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, has an MBA (Management Consultancy) and is both a PRINCE2 and Change Management Practitioner. 

FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM

FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM    

While the Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an interesting story, the popularity of the book is due to the simple and accessible model of teamwork that it introduces.

#1 Absence of Trust
Bottom of the pyramid is the absence of trust, when team members are unable to show their weakness, resulting in being reluctant to be vulnerable and being open with one another. Team members will be afraid of admitting their mistakes and will be unwilling to ask for help.

#2 Fear of Conflict
Lack of trust results in fear of conflict which in turn results in team members incapable of engaging in debates or openly voicing their opinions. The team completely avoids conflicts which results in inferior results.

#3 Lack of Commitment
Fear of conflict results in lack of commitment. As team members have not bought into the decisions, they don’t feel committed to the same which resulting in an environment where ambiguity prevails.

#4 Avoidance of Accountability
Lack of commitment results in team members not making each other accountable. If one has not bought into the decision, they won’t make their peers too accountable.

#5 Inattention to Results
If the team members don’t feel accountable, they put their own needs [ego, recognition, career development etc.] ahead of the team goals. This results in team loosing sight and the company suffers.

If you want to explore your thoughts, ideas and direction perhaps think about receiving coaching or mentoring. I would be happy to chat about Coaching or explain the IoD Mentor Programme and what might work best for you (or your organisation) - no charge.

Tim HJ Rogers MBA
CONSULTANT MENTOR COACH
MBA (Management Consultancy) & Change Practitioner
ICF Trained Coach IoD Business Mentor
Mob 447797762051
Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com

References
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Dysfunctions_of_a_Team
https://internalchange.com/5-dysfunctions-of-a-team-summary/
https://medium.com/@leenasn/book-summary-the-five-dysfunctions-of-a-team-f3299a1f1a3c

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

USEFUL TOOLS TO STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS, YOUR LIFE OR YOUR THINKING



USEFUL TOOLS TO STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS, YOUR LIFE OR YOUR THINKING

As a consultant, coach and mentor I support people or organisations achieve their goals. These may be business strategy, projects or objectives or more personal and individual pursuits at home, at work or in life. I have often found that some tools, if used loosely and flexibly can be valuable as a trigger for conversation, reflection and action. I say loosely because life should not be formulaic, but should be explored. Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men [Harry Day, the Royal Flying Corps First World War fighter ace]. In a modern context we might rephrase: Models should not restrict thinking but reveal possibilities, and it is the exploration of these that can bring opportunity and growth. In this article I will journey from business mission and vision to personal fulfilment travelling through the some useful models that may help us understand the components and formulate strategies to improve the process and outcome for either, and ideally both.

LEAN CANVAS

Lean Canvas is a great tool when working with customers to help them summarise their business mission, vision, dream or ambition. The real value for a Consultant, Coach or Mentor is that this offers a framework for discussion and some rigour in terms of coverage, yet at the same time is not too prescriptive. Below are two worked examples.
Here is a quick explainer of each Lean Canvas block (and in the order to go through them): 1. Problem Each customer segment (CS) you are thinking to work with will have a set of problems that they need solving. In this box try listing the one to three high priority problems that you CS has. Without a problem to solve, you don’t have a product/service to offer. 2. Customer Segments The problem and Customer Segments can be viewed as intrinsically connected — without a CS in mind you can’t think of their problems, and visa-versa. 3. Unique Value Proposition In the middle of the canvas is the UVP. A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you. A way to get your head around this is to think why are you different and why should your CS buy/invest time in you — further reading: Useful Value Proposition Examples (and How to Create a Good One) 4. Solution Finding a solution to the problem is the golden egg! You’re not going to get this right off the first bat — it’s OK, as that’s what Lean is all about. What you need to do is Get Out The Building — a phrase coined by the godfather of Lean Startup, Steve Blanks. And what Blank’s here is that the solution is not in your office, it’s out there in the streets. So go interview your customer segment, ask them questions, and take those learnings. Remember the Lean Startup is validated learning through a continual Build — Measure — Learn cycle. 5. Channels Channels are ways for you to reach your CS. And remember that in the initial stages it’s important not to think about scale but to focus on learning. With that in mind try to think which channels will give you enough access to your CS at the same time give you enough learning. Channels can be email, social, CPC ads, blogs, articles, trade shows, radio & TV, webinars etc. and BTW you don’t have to be on all of them, just where your CS are. 6. Revenue Streams How you price your business will depend on the type of model it is, however, it’s quite common for startups to lower their cost, even offer it for free to gain traction, however, this can pose a few problems. The key being it actually delays/avoids validation. Getting people to sign up for something for free is a lot different than asking them to pay. There is also the idea of perceived value. Further reading: Simple pricing strategies for your products or services, the lean way! 7. Cost Structure Here you should list all the operational costs for taking this business to market. How much will it cost to build / landing page? What is your burn rate — your total monthly running costs? How much will it cost to interview your customer segment? How much do market research papers cost? etc. You can then use these costs and potential revenue streams to calculate a rough break-even point. 8. Key Metrics Every business, no matter what industry or size, will have some key metrics that are used to monitor performance. The best way to help with this is to visualize a funnel top down that flows from the large open top, through multiple stages to the narrow end. A good model to help with this is Dave McClure’s ARRRR (aka Pirate Metrics) — further reading: Startup Metrics for Pirates 9. Unfair Advantage This is the most difficult to block to answer. However, do try to think about this as having an unfair advantage can help when it comes seeking partners & investors. Here is a great definition of unfair advantage: “The only real competitive advantage is that which cannot be copied and cannot be bought.” — Jason Cohen. Unfair advantage can be insider information, a dream team, getting expert endorsements, existing customers etc. So rather than think about adding something like “commitment and passion” as an unfair advantage (because it is not), think about what you have that no one else can buy.

BUSINESS PROPOSITION

Problem we are solving Solution

Key Metrics

Unique value Unfair Advantage

Channels

Customer Segments
Cost Revenue

7 S MODEL

The 7s model can be used when organizational design and effectiveness are at question. It can help all stakeholders to work towards agreement when there are differing opinions about how the seven elements should be aligned. It can be used as a good diagnostic took when looking at the mechanics of an organisation and asking systematically: What do we need to do here? At a push you could use a tool like this to structure your life. If you think of yourself as the captain of your ship or the leader of your household you might start to think about the people, property and process of your life like they were a business to be managed. Whilst this may seem incongruous or possibly manipulative to think of family, friends and fundamentals as something to be managed the counter-argument is that these things are too important to be left to chance and good stewardship is essential in life as it is in business.
  • Structure - Structure is the way in which a company is organized – chain of command and accountability relationships that form its organizational chart.
  • Strategy - Strategy refers to a well-curated business plan that allows the company to formulate a plan of action to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, reinforced by the company’s mission and values.
  • Systems - Systems entail the business and technical infrastructure of the company that establishes workflows and the chain of decision-making.
  • Skills - Skills form the capabilities and competencies of a company that enables its employees to achieve its objectives.
  • Style - The attitude of senior employees in a company establishes a code of conduct through their ways of interactions and symbolic decision-making, which forms the management style of its leaders.
  • Staff - Staff involves talent management and all human resources related to company decisions, such as training, recruiting, and rewards systems
  • Shared Values - The mission, objectives, and values form the foundation of every organization and play an important role in aligning all key elements to maintain an effective organizational design.

The focus of the McKinsey 7s Model lies in the interconnectedness of the elements that are categorized by “Soft Ss” and “Hard Ss” – implying that a domino effect exists when changing one element in order to maintain an effective balance. Placing “Shared Values” as the “center” reflects the crucial nature of the impact of changes in founder values on all other elements.

The interdependency of this strategy development framework means that if one element changes, you will have to address the other six elements to analyze how the change affects them and to determine how each may need to change to keep organizational goals aligned.

Business uses of the McKinsey framework include:
  • Determining how your business will achieve targets and goals
  • Boosting productivity and performance
  • Putting a proposed strategy into effect
  • Facilitating the complexities of aligning departments and processes during mergers or acquisitions
  • Examining the effects of organizational changes within the company
  • Implementing policies to improve employee skills and competency

CULTURAL WEB

The Cultural Web is a tool used to map the culture of an organisation and is a way of seeing and understating the different influences that affect organisational. culture. It can be used to map existing culture and it can also used to map future. This, just like the 7S model above, could be applied to you personal life. Again it may seem incongruous or possibly manipulative to think of family, friends and fundamentals as something to be managed but it is all about relationships and behaviour whether that is in the business or home context.
  • Stories and Myths
    • What form of company reputation is communicated between customers and stakeholders?
    • What stories do people tell new employees about the company?
    • What do people know about the history of the organisation?
    • What do these stories say about the culture of the business?
  • Rituals and Routines
    • What do employees expect when they arrive each day?
    • What experience do customers expect from the organisation?
    • What would be obvious if it were removed from routines?
    • What do these rituals and routines say about organisational beliefs?
  • Symbols
    • What kind of image is associated with the company from the outside?
    • How do employees and managers view the organisation?
    • Are there any company-specific designs or jargon used?
    • How does the organisation advertise itself?
  • Control Systems
    • Which processes are strongly and weakly controlled?
    • In general, is the company loosely or tightly controlled?
    • Are employees rewarded or punished for performance?
    • What reports and processes are used to keep control of finance, etc?
  • Organisation Structures
    • How hierarchical is the organisation?
    • Is responsibility and influence distributed in a formal or informal way?
    • Where are the official lines of authority?
    • Are there any unofficial lines of authority?
  • Power Structures
    • Who holds the power within the organisation?
    • Who makes decisions on behalf of the company?
    • What are the beliefs and culture of those as the top of the business?
    • How is power used within the organisation?

LIFE WHEEL

In some aspects the Life Wheel combines much of what was in the 7S model and the Cultural Web and so it is logical to conclude our journey with this model. We have travelled from business mission and vision to personal fulfilment travelling through the some useful models that may help us understand the components and formulate strategies to improve the process and outcome for either, and ideally both.
This tool was created by The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in San Rafael, CA. I have found it to be a very useful tool for assessing where coaching may be of benefit to you. To complete the assessment, print this page and follow the directions. Rate each area of your life on the wheel from a 1 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (completely satisfied/could not be improved on) by drawing a line across the corresponding number in that section of the pie and then shading below it. When you are done, you will be left with a jagged wheel that should effectively illustrate areas for growth. This is where coaching starts. What happens next is up to you. Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES and CHANGE / CONSULTANT MENTOR COACH Adapt Consulting Company Consult CoCreate Deliver Mob +447797762051 Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com Tim Rogers is an experienced Project and Change Leader. He is founder of ciChange.org and curator for TEDxStHelier.Com . Roles have included Programme Manager for the incorporation of Ports and Jersey, and Jersey Post, as well as Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI/NatWest. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower. He has a passion for learning and has been a Tutor/Mentor for the Chartered Management Institute. He is a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, has an MBA (Management Consultancy) and is both a PRINCE2 and Change Management Practitioner. USEFUL LINKS An Introduction to Lean Canvas https://medium.com/@steve_mullen/an-introduction-to-lean-canvas-5c17c469d3e0 Change Models http://www.timhjrogers.com/blog/compendium%20change%20management%20models.html#A8 The Wheel of Life: a great personal assessment tool https://strategic-solutions-coaching.com/wheel-of-life/

Sunday, 24 January 2021

SOMETIMES YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOU THINK UNTIL YOU WRITE IT DOWN

 

As a Coach and Mentor I often work with people to resolve whatever is holding them back. In one recent session the client described their life as entering a new chapter. The use of metaphors can be revealing and useful. We explored how the past, present and future chapters fitted together.  

We then talked about the issues that were making it difficult to more from the past to the future, and played with the chapter metaphor a little. We started by narrowing down what might be on a page and expanding out what might be the whole book. 

We agreed this approach was useful in putting the scale and pace of change into context. Is this a new chapter? Is it a whole new book? Or is it simply turning a page? 

We agreed it would be a great exercise to take three pages and briefly write notes on the past, present and future. The process translates thoughts and feelings into words which can more easily and objectively assessed, and also prepares the ground for future discussions. Conversations can be rehearsed in the script.

By chronicling the past and scripting the future my client was able to gain control over thoughts and feelings, and choose the direction of her story, becoming author for her life.

BRAIN WASHING AND NEW THINKING

Apparently a form of brain washing of american soldiers was to get them to copy out texts that denounced americanism and capitalism. Whereas simply reciting words had no effect on the prisoners, apparently the process of copying text caused then to think about what they were writing. Their internal dialogue [what they said to themselves when they were writing] managed to convince themselves of things that their captors could not.

Writing, which inevitably involves self-talk, is a powerful way of surfacing and examining deeper thoughts in a process which explores meaning and truth before committing it to paper. This process is so powerful in self examination and reflection that story telling or narrative coaching is often used when coaching or mentoring clients about assumptions, ambitions and motives. 

NEITHER MEMORIES OR STORIES ARE FIXED

Memories are not fixed or frozen. Every time we recall something from the past we examine it in a new context, and indeed may edit or update the memory with new meaning or purpose based on reflection or new data.  Memory therefore can be unreliable since each memory is a store of thoughts and feelings at one particular time, which might be potentially changed each time they are recalled.

For example, If you recite the story of that special day when you did that remarkable thing (remember that, that was huge!). Well the story will change over time. Maybe you add details or don't mention bits if telling your parents or partner or the people at work. Maybe that thing which was huge when you were 5, actually seems quite small now that you are a 5'10" adult. Or maybe that really nice thing looks very different with hindsight, now that you now know about that other thing, which you didn't know then.

It is a good thing to re-examine the past, but best done at a time and a place that does not distort the recollection and update with negative thoughts and feelings. The formula below hints at the problem of inaccurate memory.

Formula: Event + Data + Truth +  Experience = Reality

Problems: 
1) Event is vague: It may be what is, isn't or might or didn't happen (but you wanted it to)?
2) Data is uncertain: Did we get all the sights, sounds and signals?
3) Truth is variable: [1] what is, [2] what is perceived [3] what we noticed
4) Experience is subjective: thought & emotion can change because of circumstance and context

A good coach will help you identify, surface, recognise and navigate these elements.

GOALS ARE SHORT STORIES IN THE BOOK OF YOUR LIFE

Having a goal gives people something to strive for, a purpose. Typically this might be family, but not necessarily mother and father type family. It could be colleagues, club, community or country. But it could be artistic, scientifice, literary purpose. Whatever you can conceive you can believe, and if you truly believe that may be your purpose.

This purpose, if it has personal value, will motivate and engage our exploratory and pursuit systems and support that effort with dopamine and analgesia to help us with the pursuit. It is a high, a drive, a passion of positive emotion. We often see this with high performance athletes who push beyond normality and pain. 

We link memories together to form stories of our past. We may do a bit of editorial to make them coherent and flow: we do not like to think of life as random events so we use narrative to create logical consequence, because of this.. then that. We also like to think there is some fate to life: whether the locus of control is external [the world, God, work, politics sets my fate] or the locus of control is internal [I am the captain of my ship].

The result is that these short stories become your lifes work. As director or editor you get to chose the plot simply by deciding which scenes to keep and which to dump on the cutting room floor. If you create a story with purpose, a mission, or goal that transends the every-day (food, drink, sleep, consumption) then you can create and live with positive emotion, by taking responsibility as the screenwriter, director or editor for your life.


Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP 
PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES and CHANGE /  CONSULTANT MENTOR COACH
Adapt Consulting Company 
Consult CoCreate Deliver
Mob +447797762051 Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com

Tim Rogers is an experienced Project and Change Leader and an ICF Trained Coach as well as mentor for the IoD. He is a past curator for TEDx. Roles have included Programme Manager for the incorporation of Ports and Jersey, and Jersey Post, as well as Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI/NatWest. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower. He has a passion for learning and has been a Tutor/Mentor for the Chartered Management Institute. He is a former Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, has an MBA (Management Consultancy) and is both a PRINCE2 and Change Management Practitioner.  


USEFUL LINKS

The True Story of Brainwashing and How It Shaped America
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-brainwashing-and-how-it-shaped-america-180963400/

Self Authoring Suite | Reviewing Jordan PetersonĂ¢€™s Self Authoring Program
https://andreian.com/self-authoring/



Saturday, 23 January 2021

THE IMPORTANCE OF THINKING BEFORE FOLLOWING

I have been told the following and invited to comment. 

Tony Robbins was saying that he was shocked that the world would allow businesses, relationships, freedoms, opportunity to be lost by simply complying. He said that the COVID crisis has shown just how powerful fear and fear from Gov can gain compliance 

First I should set out that I am responding to the proposition above, without having heard first hand what Tony Robbins actually said or the context in which it was said. The points below are therefore a response to the proposition, not a reply to Tony Robbins.

THE PROBLEM OF OBEDIENCE

I think most of use would agree that blind or misplaced obedience is a bad thing. I highly recommend the book Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril  by Margaret Heffernan

 In the case of the US Government versus Enron, the presiding judge chose to employ the legal concept of willful blindness: you are responsible if you could have known, and should have known, something which instead you strove not to see. The guilty verdict sent shivers down the spine of the corporate world. In this book, Margaret Heffernan draws on psychological studies, social statistics, interviews with relevant protagonists, and her own experience to throw light on willful blindness and why whistleblowers and Cassandras are so rare. Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to the family, this engaging and anecdotal book will explain why willful blindness is so dangerous in a globalized, interconnected world, before suggesting ways in which institutions and individuals can start to combat it. Margaret Heffernan's thought-provoking book will force us to open our eyes.
 
I am not knocking loyalty, commitment or pursuit of a cause in which you believe. But you should do this with your eyes open, your head engaged and your conscious clear. Anything else is tantamount to being a zombie easily influenced by propaganda and peer pressure to follow like lemmings. 
 
WE HAVE TOO MANY LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS AND NOT ENOUGH THINKERS

The problem perhaps is that we seem too willing to throw up leaders who personify our dreams of celebrity, wealth, beauty and success and then follow these people unthinkingly. I wonder how many people who 'Like' a meme, tweet, blog or article actually pause to think carefully about the complexity of the argument beyond the emotional 'me too' endorsement. Perhaps we find safety in the herd or align with the leaders or virtues in the hope that we might share some of the reflected glory or acceptance.

THE PROBLEM WITH THINKING

Thinking is actually quite hard and in a world where we are so busy and pre-packaged ideas are as readily available (and unhealthy) as packet food we risk loosing our thinking faculty. I highly recommend the following books.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin

In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow Kahneman defines two systems of the mind.

System 1: operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort, and no sense of voluntary control. Examples: Detect that one object is farther than another; detect sadness in a voice; read words on billboards; understand simple sentences; drive a car on an empty road.

System 2: allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. Often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice and concentration. Examples: Focus attention on a particular person in a crowd; exercise faster than is normal for you; monitor your behavior in a social situation; park in a narrow space; multiply 17 x 24.

I suspect we spend too much time using System 1, and simply do not engage System 2, because it is by comparison hard work.

In the book The Organized Mind Levitin demonstrates how the Information Age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data, and uses the latest brain science to explain how the brain can organize this flood of information. 

Levitin then demonstrates methods that readers can use to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time. It answers three fundamental questions: Why does the brain pay attention to some things and not others? Why do we remember some things and not others? And how can we use that knowledge to better organize our home and workplaces, our time, social world, and decision making?

THE PROBLEM WITH EQUALITY 

Another problem that we have is that we treat people and too many ideas as being equal. 

Too often we think that the counter-balance to a brain surgeon should be an idiot with a belief in homeopathy and we then give them equal billing on television and social media. We somehow make the mistake of thinking that treating people equally means we should also treat all ideas equally. 

Famously Michael Gove said: I think the people in this country have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.

It is true that science sometimes gets things wrong and learns from them. But the learning process that leads from Nicolaus Copernicus, via Albert Einstein to Stephen Hawking and beyond is still more reliable than "Brian from Dudley" And yet Brian, someone with no training, qualification or experience in the matter at hand is often invited to express an opinion which is broadcast in a manner that suggests that his guess, or indeed ours, is as good as any.

We support Brian in some misplaced hope that his opinion, like ours, is valuable. Brian might be a great guy, but I would not want him as my brain surgeon. I'd like an expert. However i am entirely happy for Brian to have a go with Michael Gove on a surgeons table. What could possibly go wrong?

WORKING TOGETHER VERSUS COMPLIANCE 

Words are powerful. If we say someone is compliant we might suggest they are weak willed, probably stupid, and possibly malleable . However if we say a bunch of people cooperate, collaborate and communicate to achieve consensus towards a goal, we think that is excellent. I believe thinking (and judgement) is the principle difference between the two.

WHO DO YOU BELEIVE

I think Tony Robbins is a clever guy. He knows a lot about NLP. He is a great speaker and he knows how to whip up a crowd. It would be an unfair comparison, but I could say Joseph Goebbels had many similar stills although his intend was very different. 

I do not believe Tony Robbins is virologist or immunologist. So I would be cautious of his advice on that subject. 

I recommend the book Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which make an interesting point: Be cautious of people who offer advice but no skin in the game. If someone says I recommend you buy xxxxx or you do zzzzz then my response would be have you? What was your experience of xxxxx or zzzzz. I am more likely to believe experience than advice. 

Would Tony Robbins put his money or indeed his life where his mouth is? Perhaps he might!

Something useful would be to think critically: Why might Tony Robbins say this? Some might argue that Tony Robbins stands to make more money through big crowds attending his stadium events like his than he does if they stayed safe at home. 

So on the basis that Tony Robbins is not a virologist or immunologist and what benefits him (more money from stadium events) is a disbenefit to me (a covid crowd super spreader-event) I'm not sure I will be persuaded by this proposition. 

If however Tony Robbins was to talk about NLP and how to pack a stadium then I will pay attention, because this is something in which he can demonstrate expertise and experience, and it is something I can measure and validate.


Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP 
PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES and CHANGE /  CONSULTANT MENTOR COACH
Adapt Consulting Company 
Consult CoCreate Deliver
Mob +447797762051 Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com

Tim Rogers is an experienced Project and Change Leader. He is founder of ciChange.org and curator for TEDxStHelier.Com . Roles have included Programme Manager for the incorporation of Ports and Jersey, and Jersey Post, as well as Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI/NatWest. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower. He has a passion for learning and has been a Tutor/Mentor for the Chartered Management Institute. He is a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, has an MBA (Management Consultancy) and is both a PRINCE2 and Change Management Practitioner. 


USEFUL LINKS

1-Page Book Summary of Thinking, Fast and Slow 

https://www.shortform.com/summary/thinking-fast-and-slow-summary-daniel-kahneman?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAiAr6-ABhAfEiwADO4sfTbnjD9hBc5zf8tdRUPbGhNEJhZ0pmfAc15EPzpPKGIOn8o4siLyRhoCmvYQAvD_BwE



Friday, 18 December 2020

A Guide to business integrations

This is a Guide to business integrations. Every business integration is different, whether that is bringing together the Harbours and the Airport into a single company: Ports of Jersey, or if the integrations are part of an acquisition programme building presence and capability in Luxembourg, Canada, Jersey and Guernsey.

This therefore is a rough guide of things to consider rather than an exact plan or a precise order, which will inevitably be different according to circumstances. It is however based on real-life experience and successes in public sector, technology, retail and medical businesses.

If you are interested in projects, change or business integrations please contact me Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com or phone +44(0)7797762051

Step 1 - Assemble the Project Team

This is itself is the subject of another step-by-step guide and I won't elaborate here expect to say that it is important to have a team with the competence, capacity, drive and desire to deliver the project. It is also important to have in mind the process of integrating with, and have-over to, business-as-usual team(s) so that there is a clear delineation between the project which should come to an end having achieved its goals, and business-as-usual of running the now expanded business.

Step 2 - Understand the Strategy

Any business integration is part of a strategy and this need to be understood. If the aim is to expand the number of people, products, customers then the integration process may be very different from an aim which is to standardise, centralise, economise. With the former each acquisition may seek to increase the range of products and services [Company A 10 products + Company B 10 products = Company AB 20 products] whereas the latter the intention will be to rationalise and reduce [Company A 10 products + Company B 10 products = Company AB 10 products]

Moreover the business integration may be a long-term "hold" in which case there will probably be significant investment in people, process and technology and a drive for closer integration possibly under a common brand. Or the integration may be a short-term "positon" in which case the businesses are loosely joined possibly with separate products and practices for their "local" sector or market.

The level of integration and the length of ownership are important considerations for investors some of whom may be looking for a steady yield over a long period. Or they may look to flip very quickly to gain the upside of a bigger business (more customers and revenue) without the cost of integration and rationalisation (and associated investment and change).

Some businesses will join but still have 2 accounting systems, 2 sales and marketing teams, 2 compliance teams whereas others would invest to integrate and in the long term rationalise. The most extreme case I have come across is one firm that have 140 different accounting systems, such was the speed of their acquisitions and slowness of their integration.

Step 3 - Review the Products and Services

The above elements set the scene for the Review the Products and Services. Do the business continue all Products and Services or seek to standardise and streamline? A common approach is to consolidate the most profitable and depreciate the least profitable, giving due notice to customers and offering an upgrade or migration path which may also include a review of contracts, terms and conditions, service changes etc. This then later feeds into the Service and Support and Migrate the Customers workstreams discussed later.

Step 4 - Review the Support, Partners and Suppliers

Whether to have 2 accounting systems, 2 sales and marketing teams, 2 compliance teams will depend on a number of factors. It may be that the tax, language and regulations are sufficiently different to merit this. Or it may make common sense to bring everything together under one team and one system.

The same may apply to Partners and Suppliers. If you have an intangible product/service you may be able to service everyone globally from one place or with one supplier, but if there are tangible elements, or the need for face to face, or physical interaction (eg engineer or mechanic) then the choices will be different. For many businesses there is a combination of both strategies at play: centralise some elements and decentralise others.

Step 5 - Review the Organisation Structure

The above elements set the circumstances to Review the Organisation Structure. The roles and responsibilities may change according to what is to centralise or decentralise and what is to expand (more people, products, services) and what is to contract (rationalise services). This may be a once only change as two businesses become one, or more complex if part of an acquisition strategy of many integrations. There may be many functions to consider, some of which may be departments, teams, individuals or external-partnerships. All businesses are different but these themes will apply in some measure to most.
  • Finance And Accounts
  • Sales And Marketing
  • Compliance And Legal
  • Service And Support
  • Training And Development
  • Company Secretarial And Admin
  • Human Resources
  • Information Governance
  • Information Security
  • Properties and Facilities
  • Culture and Communications
Each of the above departments, teams or individuals will have a plan for business-as-usual, keeping existing customers happy and maintaining current Products and Services, whilst also preparing for the future changes. Managing and coordinating the resources between "run the business" and "change the business" is critical.

For the bringing together the Harbours and the Airport into a single company: Ports of Jersey we had the additional legislative and political aspects to consider. It was necessary to write laws to set-up the Port Authority on a legal basis, transfer the assets and vest the responsibilities and all this was subject to political oversight and also political scrutiny, with necessary liaison with UK for Privy Council and Queens Assent. Furthermore it was necessary to reach accord on the balance of responsibilities to the Treasury (expecting a shareholder return) and to Government (expecting public service)

Step 6 - Review the Company Structure

This Review the Organisation Structure may have an impact on company structure, tax status, jurisdiction etc., for example whether there is one business or a conglomerate. Whether there is a holding top-co and where the assets of the entities are held and the income booked and the contracts held. This does require careful thought because internal and inter-company movement of assets, income and resources will have a material affect on the balance sheet and profit and loss of the company(ies) their approach to investment and the rules applying to staff (employment laws are different in some countries) and services (regulations are different in some countries).

Step 7 - Prepare the Service Teams

At the onset we talked about the project which should come to an end having achieved its goals, and transfer to the business-as-usual team who will run the now expanded business. All the thinking above now needs to be translated into preparation so that the new people, policies, processes, products are prepared and ahead of any client migration.

This may be a significant amount of work if it requires the transfer or consolidation of data into new systems or adapt and adoption of new ways of working. This is a project within itself.

Step 8 - Communications

Communications should be happening all the time. I have placed it at Step 9 not because it is the 9th thing to do, but to highlight all the things that need to be considered as part of a communications plan that starts before Step 1. The communications plan should start before integration, perhaps as a statement of strategy or intention. What gets said to whom, when, how and why is a project within itself. There may be issues of commercial confidentiality, insider-trading, staff and union participation. There is much to consider and many to include from shareholders to stakeholders, suppliers to staff.

Step 9 - Culture and Process Change

Culture and Process Change should be happening incrementally all the time, in parallel with planned communications to ensure what you say and what you do remain in step and people are engaged as well as informed. This "theme" may include a number of elements including human resources, training and development, process change and coaching.

Whereas the steps above will provide a map, a map is not a journey. Success is dependant upon execution and successful delivery will be dependant upon the competence, capacity, drive and desire of everyone, and possibly a reliance upon a change team to compliment the project team in helping the people aspects of change.

There may also be the need to consider "local" issues and customs where global approach does not exactly fit and an element of translation, interpretation or customisation is needed.

A Review the Products and Services (discussed above) is ostensibly about picking the winners and losers, those that will carry forward and those for which there will be a managed end-of-life. However at a more granular level there may be a need to review how these are delivered faster, cheaper, better possibly taking account of new capabilities emerging from the integration.

Step 10 - Review and Migrate the Customers, Products and Services

As noted in Communications, there is a need to talk to customers all the time, before, during and after the changes that effect them. The steps above will shape the conversation. In some cases there may be a emphasis to remove unprofitable or high maintenance clients and target resources towards more profitable homogenous clients.

Often small businesses offer a la carte bespoke services when they get started which are difficult and costly to maintain when the scale-up resulting in a switch to drop parochial services in favour of consolidated global services and reduce the variety and complexity of Products and Services to a few staple products.

If your strategy is to target different customers with different Products and Services you may have a challenging tasks of managing the transition, particularly if there are existing contracts and committments which will take a time to unwind, review and renew.

The review element should be a part of the hand-over to business-as-usual and the regular relationship management annual reviews. This is critical part of kaisan: continuous improvement beyond the integration project.

Conclusion

This has been a look at integration rather than the pre-integration task of acquisition. It is not a definitive guide, but hopefully useful to indicate themes and share experience.

If you are interested in projects, change or business integrations or would like checklists, templates, tools or training in any of the above elements or perhaps just a coaching conversation about how to customise and apply these ideas in your organisation please contact me Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com or phone +44(0)7797762051



Tim HJ Rogers MBA
CONSULTANT PROJECTS PROGRAMMES AND CHANGE
Mob 447797762051
Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com

ABOUT TIM: Tim's background includes BUSINESSS responsible for the incorporation of the Post Office and Ports of Jersey and Operations Change and Sales Support Manager for NatWest and RBS International his COMMUNITY INTERESTS include Jersey Policy Forum, hosting TEDx events and he is a Former Chair of Pharmaceutical Benefits Committee and member Public Accounts Committee, and SPORT INTERESTS Triathlon (Commonwealth Games 2006) & Ironman (2006-2016) and Rowing (World Champs 2009, 2010, 2016)