Having a clear and consensual understanding as to the current situation is a critical starting point for any change programme. Using a common methodology and language for analysis of the present is a strong basis for any common understanding between people. Whether this is achieved quickly under extreme business conditions or as an evolving dialogue, working towards commonality is critical.
Competitive discontinuity is a term we think of with regards to our strategy development work. You can either cause it to happen or it happens to you. What we try to do is help with the intelligent strategic thinking to best prepare you for the eventualities that might occur. The ingredients for successful work in this area are anticipation of change and understanding of organisational success levers. We work with you to bring them together into a coherent strategy that takes you where you want to go and probably need to go.
Thinking global and acting localis a fairly overused business expression but still a competitive necessity. We really need to understand our local markets but can’t lose sight of the fact that leveraging scale and working collaboratively is incredibly important in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace. That is what our work is about in this area – achieving that extra 10% to 15% horsepower to make your organisation the best it can be.
Effective implementation is the culmination of collaborative development and without doubt the most rewarding part of any change programme. Throughout the implementation process, the creative conversations must continue so that the new direction can be maintained or changed if needed. Monitoring of both action and benefit are crucial during this phase as they are the products of an organisational shift taking place. Should actions and benefits remain static, it can be assumed that nothing much is happening. Both need to be in motion.
Whether the programme aim is to increase delivery of products and services or reducing the operating cost, effective measurement is vital. Today, in our globally linked environment, establishing what defines a benefit is critical, be they financial, social or environmental. There is likely to be a complex mix of benefits which means that any measurement instrument must reflect that.
This is important in both our private and public sector work. Much of the work is around collaborative thinking, meaning how best to combine the leadership and insight of senior and middle management with the expertise, customer experience and insight of other employees. Interestingly those in the private sector are empowered but are often constrained by power and control issues while the public sector is very participatory but sometimes held back by the will to act decisively. We use techniques like World Cafe to help realise an organisation’s potential.
Playing with Concepts and Ideas sounds too frivolous for serious organisations to use as an innovation technique, yet all of the psychological research points to this as an effective creative activity. Just as we all messed around with a Rubik’s cube to find the solution to the puzzle, so toying with concepts in conversation is effective in collaborative problem solving.
Much of what we do here involves taking an organisation to the next level, often an exit for a private company. Looking at now focuses on that first 12-18 months following an event – when the long-term strategy is (re)set and costs are aligned. When we are working with looking at the future, we are likely either helping prepare for acquisition of another entity, sale or flotation. Or we are helping you build top-line growth, something that usually takes longer than bottom-line improvement.