Beware the difference between want and need!


As a young project manager starting-out I noticed that the supplier for the project had recently tendered unsuccessfully for a large government project in the UK. The tender bid cost £1m. I said to the supplier: “You must be making a lot of money on the contracts you win, to be able to offset the costs of those you don’t”
The reply caught me by surprise and shaped the next 20 years as a project and change manager.
The response was: “The bid reflects exactly what your client asked for and is reasonably priced. The truth is that we know that what the client asked for is not what they need, and we will make all our profit by charging them for changes.”
I was sceptical: “But what if a client knew exactly what they wanted, and had a project manager that ensured you delivered exactly that?”
The response was simple. “Neither of those circumstances are likely ever to happen, but if they did we’d make a loss. But there is no such thing as a client who knows exactly what they need, or a project manager that is precise with the contract or its management”
Sadly after the elapse of 20 years I have found that to be consistently true.
Even when a project manager is willing to hold a supplier to account the client’s requirements are seldom sufficiently well-defined to provide solid ground. Instead there is debate, discussion, flexibility and compromise.
What do you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an experienced Management Consultant, Project and Change Leader. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower and a Tutor/Mentor on the Chartered Management Institute.

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

Having a solution with no problem? Selling to an unwilling customer?


One of the difficult aspects of managing change is when someone can see a problem and a solution, but makes the mistake of going directly from A to B and hitting a brick wall.
Often the reason isn’t that the person you are trying to convince doesn’t like the solution, but more simply they don’t see that there is a problem. It it’s not broke don’t fix it.
There are a dozen reasons I don’t like the phrase “It it’s not broke don’t fix it”. If we all took that approach we wouldn’t have left the cave, nor invented cars to replace carriages or any of the other industrial or technological achievements of the last 100 years.
So what’s the best approach?
Henry Ford once said “If I asked the customer what they want they’d asked for faster horses”.
Another visionary was Steve jobs. At a 1982 planning retreat, someone on the Mac team, “thought they should do some market research to see what customers wanted. ‘No,’ [Jobs] replied, ‘because customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.’”
What these approaches have in common is SPIN
SITUATION
What is the current situation?
PROBLEM
Why is this sub-optimal or unacceptable?
PROGNOSIS
What is the likely outcome if change doesn’t happen?
IMPLICATIONS
What are the implications for the person organisation?
NEED
What do they need to address all the points above?
By taking a step-by-step approach you will have checked a deeper understanding of issues, challenges, perceptions, concerns at each step culminating in an agreed need. Only when you get to this stage have you got a customer who may be interested in your solution.
What do you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an experienced Management Consultant, Project and Change Leader. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower and a Tutor/Mentor on the Chartered Management Institute.

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

How much communication is needed for projects?



Never underestimate the ability for any professional to make something appear more complicated than it is.  This is rarely more true than it is with Project Management.
I would like to suggest that managing a project from concept to completion is about answering the following questions at critical points in the journey. If you can answer and have agreement from all your stakeholders to all these questions then not only are you likely to have a successful project, but you will also have strong support and adoption.
CONCEPT
Is this worth doing?
PLANNING
How should be organise ourselves to do it?
What are the key steps and outcomes?
DESIGN
Will this deliver what we need?
TEST
How will we test and ensure it does what is expected?
DEPLOYMENT
How do we engage, support and train people to adapt and adopt the new product or approach?
HAND-OVER
Is everything OK and complete?
CLOSE AND REVIEW
Did we achieve the intended outcomes, and what have we learned?
What do you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an experienced Management Consultant, Project and Change Leader. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower and a Tutor/Mentor on the Chartered Management Institute.

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

Who or what is a customer?



Many businesses talk a lot about customer focus. I’d like to suggest that identifying exactly who the customers is may be a good start to delivering customer satisfaction. The problem is that the customer could be one or many people.
The client to buys the product
The consumer who uses the product
The user who identified the need
The advisor who made the recommendation
The approver or authoriser who agreed the choice
It makes communication and engagement more interesting when you realise you need to satisfy all these people, each of whom may have different needs, expectations and priorities.
This is why stakeholder and message management is such a vital part of delivering change.
What do you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an experienced Management Consultant, Project and Change Leader. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower and a Tutor/Mentor on the Chartered Management Institute.

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

Don’t think talking about change will deliver change



I was invited to lunch yesterday to what was presented as a discussion forum about change, leadership, politics, philosophy with a combination of good food and great company. 
I enjoyed it. But to be honest it was more a whinge session about office politics without any commitment to do anything about it. It is what a psychologist would describe as bonding by “…ain’t it awful…” stories.
I attempted to provoke some passion and ownership by asking “what do you really care about” and positive action by asking “what change would you make”. Both received mute response.
I followed-up with a challenge: would you rather be liked or right? They were evasive.
These were very interesting and capable people, but when I thanked my host I asked “do you actually want to do something or whether the intention is only debate”. The reply was a little disappointing “Debate only! Those days are gone!”
The irony is that these people are capable of effecting the change they would like to see and based on what they said change would benefit everyone in their organisation. Is the missing ingredient leadership or courage?
Or perhaps the group dynamic would change if they resolved the problems that brought them together.
What do you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an experienced Management Consultant, Project and Change Leader. He is also Commonwealth Triathlete and World Championships Rower and a Tutor/Mentor on the Chartered Management Institute.

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

Give me a grade “C” idea with grade “A” implementation


I met an old friend the other day who has recently moved to the UK and now acts as an investor angel for business and tech start-ups. I was curious as to how the mix of old, wise, experience works with young, naïve passion.
I asked if his role was to fire their enthusiasm to seem them through the difficulties or perhaps take a more conservative approach to warm them of all the pitfalls and keep them practical and grounded.
I was pleased the despite being older than his entrepreneurs my friend was no less passionate.
He reflected on a business trip to Israel and the meeting tech entrepreneurs. A Minister present asked what is more important, the idea or the implementation. The leader of the business incubator didn’t hesitate in their reply. It is implementation.
There are 1000 Facebooks. There are 1000 Googles. There are 1000 Amazons. What makes those businesses a success was not that they were truly unique in their concept but that they had strong foundations in their implementation.
Like Lord Sugar I can be cynical about MBAs. My experience is that an MBA can tell you 1000 reasons why a business might fail, but not guarantee any success. It seems the most successful people like Sugar and Branson are unburdened by lots of theory but they are good at implementation.
Sugar didn’t invent the PC. Branson didn’t invent the plane, train or bank.
Their success is in implementation.
However this is not the implementation of on-time, on-budget or to-specification.  Achieving this is hard enough but products and services can achieve this but still fail to succeed.
In this case implementation is about engagement, it goes beyond the transition from theory to reality and instead has at its heart adoption.  In a post-fact society perhaps adoption is less about functionality and more about trust.
Trust is less about ideas (what you say) and more about action (what you do).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is a Qualified Change Practitioner and PRINCE2 Project Manager, with an MBA in Management Consultancy. Past projects have included the incorporation of Ports of Jersey and Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI and NatWest. He is a tutor/lecturer for the Chartered Management Institute. 


Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

LEADERSHIP AND LOYALTY


LEADERSHIP AND LOYALTY
The difference between personal loyalty, professional loyalty and organisational loyalty and implications for leadership
A  while ago I wrote that I have a couple of ideas for blogs which may be interesting/useful for the Leadership Forum  (list below)  and asked which would people be interested in. The above title got the vote, so here goes…

I always find it interesting to ask “Who do you work for?” and then listen carefully to the response.

The answer may be I work in IT, or I work for the XYZ Organization, or I work for ABC Department. These are all legitimate answers, but in their difference they betray how we identify ourselves and our affiliations. Which tribe(s) we are a member of, and which tribes we regard as “family”.
Similarly “What do you do?” might elicit something about their profession (I’m an accountant), something about their product (I work in a widget factory) or something about their customers (I export widgets for making wodgets faster)
This becomes interesting in organizational dynamics because how we identify ourselves and our contribution will affect our loyalty to our profession, our organization, our product, our customers or our values.
For example, someone who works in Health and Social Care might be expected to have values about patients and caring that outplay other considerations of cost and value. If they are an accountant they might be expected to focus principally on the numbers, value for money etc., over other factors.
However this is too simplistic and stereo-typical. What if they are an accountant in Health and Social Care? Clearly they will feel the need achieve a balance of servicing two masters: their professional obligations (follow the ‘accounting rules’) and their role obligations ensuring the smooth operation of the organization. Usually these things can co-exist happily, but periods of change can bring challenges.
If someone has worked in XYZ Organization, or indeed for ABC Department for 20 years they are likely to have built loyalty to the people, processes and circumstances that surround that dynamic. It therefore seems counter-initiative that they might align themselves to a new leader whose tenure is short and whose tenancy is temporary. Similarly someone fresh to the organization in the absence of well-established roots might gravitate to the new and novel.
The challenge for leaders is to create an environment or narrative that allows people to maintain some stability, to save face, to preserve integrity but potentially to but their efforts in a wholly different direction, potentially with new people, processes and systems and possibly toward a different end.

Leaders like loyalty, but good leaders don’t like “Yes people”. Loyalty is highly valued. But misplaced loyalty is dangerous. Someone who sticks by the rules may be irksome, or have integrity. Someone who bends the rules may be flexible, or untrustworthy. The same circumstances can be seen very differently by others with a different perspective. Is a whistleblower a hero or a villain?
As far as change management goes I have noticed that the organizations who are loyal to the long-established friendships and patterns of behavior are the most difficult to change. Those whose loyalty is independent of the organization (eg happy to be an accountant in any organization)  change most quickly.
The challenge for leadership is to leverage people’s loyalty  (to values, beliefs, relationships) to serve their own ends.  We would recognize that great leaders like Winston Churchill managed to galvanize a nation at a time of war, but failed when it came to peace.
In today’s current geo-political environment we are seeing populations challenge themselves and their leaders about what they believe in, about their purpose and about the ends and means. As we enter a post-Brexit and President Trump era it will be interesting to see the effect of loyalty (to whom and for what) will play a part in what we change and how we change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an AMPG Qualified Change Practitioner, a PRINCE2 Project Manager, with an MBA in Management Consultancy. Past projects have included the incorporation of Ports of Jersey and Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI and NatWest. He is a tutor/lecturer for the Chartered Management Institute and  a past curator for TEDx (TEDTalks)
Web: http://www. AdaptConsultingCompany.com
Twitter: @AdaptCCompany

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

IS LEADERSHIP REALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN MANAGEMENT?


IS LEADERSHIP REALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN MANAGEMENT?
Here is a thought, for the purpose of debate.
I was once asked about my school days. “If you had a problem, did you ask the person next to you, or did you ask the teacher?”
This is an interesting question because whilst the teacher is undoubtedly the “functional leader” people are more often influenced by the peer group and other followers. In truth if I had a problem at school I’d probably ask a friend, and if I have a challenge at work I’d seek the support of a colleague.
Leaders cannot be the central resource for vision, mission, tasks, guidance etc., any more than a head teacher or CEO can be available to everyone all the time. 
I don’t doubt the value of great leaders, but we should not under-value good managers.  Indeed I would go so far as to suggest that the sole role of a leader is to provide an environment where the managers and staff can get on with the job.
This rather suggests that leadership is a supporting role, much as I might suggest that teaching is.
Our fixation with leadership leads us to seek heroes and egotists, rather than the steady hand of a less assuming but trustworthy colleague. Be honest, if you were really stuck or needed help would you call Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Donald Trump, or Nigel Farage? They all qualify as leaders, but my inclination would be to follow someone else.
I have been in businesses where a good leader CAN make a difference, but whether or not they DO make a difference depends upon the people around them and below them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an AMPG Qualified Change Practitioner, a PRINCE2 Project Manager, with an MBA in Management Consultancy. Past projects have included the incorporation of Ports of Jersey and Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI and NatWest. He is a tutor/lecturer for the Chartered Management Institute and  a past curator for TEDx (TEDTalks)
Web: http://www. AdaptConsultingCompany.com
Twitter: @AdaptCCompany

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

OPERATIONALIZING STRATEGY TO CREATE ALIGNMENT


OPERATIONALIZING STRATEGY TO CREATE ALIGNMENT
Operationalizing Strategy is about creating alignment: Vision + Skills + Incentives + Resources + Action Plan = Change
Operationalizing Strategy is more than vision and values. It is about making things happen through people, process and technology. Too often a strategy is a dusty document in the draw of senior management which is reviewed annually rather than lived daily.
In these circumstances an organization can drift either to fall behind the expectations and needs of its customers, employees and stakeholders or become hostage to enterprising and entrepreneurial managers with pet projects and personal agendas.
Often an organization can survive or even thrive such circumstance but inevitably there will come a time when either the deviation needs to be remedied by crisis driven transformation or accepted as the new direction with the vestiges of the old finally jettisoned in an acceptance of the new  emergent strategy.
For some emergent strategy is about being agile and responsible but for others it is chaotic and exhausting. Good Management and Leadership would be better to guide the organization in the right direction than offer remedy and counselling for each error, false-start, or dead-end.
Operationalizing Strategy is therefore about creating alignment: Vision + Skills + Incentives + Resources + Action Plan = Change
NO-VISION + Skills + Incentives + Resources + Action Plan = Confusion
Vision + NO-SKILLS + Incentives + Resources + Action Plan = Anxiety
Vision + Skills + NO INCENTIVES + Resources + Action Plan = Slow-Progress
Vision + Skills + Incentives + NO-RESOUCES + Action Plan = Frustration
Vision + Skills + Incentives + Resources + NO-PLAN = False-Starts
Operationalizing Strategy is about leadership and management; the former setting the direction with the latter ensuring we stay on course.
Using sailing as a metaphor; leadership is about plotting the course, and might include taking the helm but management is about watching the compass and trimming the sails. There is an overlap of responsibility toward the direction and motivation of the crew which must be a shared responsibility with a common voice and a collective purpose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an AMPG Qualified Change Practitioner, a PRINCE2 Project Manager, with an MBA in Management Consultancy. Past projects have included the incorporation of Ports of Jersey and Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI and NatWest. He is a tutor/lecturer for the Chartered Management Institute and  a past curator for TEDx (TEDTalks)
Web: http://www. AdaptConsultingCompany.com
Twitter: @AdaptCCompany

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog

OPERATIONALIZING STRATEGY DEMANDS GREAT LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT


OPERATIONALIZING STRATEGY DEMANDS GREAT LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
The incorporation of the Ports of Jersey [from being a government department to a limited company] was a large-scale transformational change of people, process and technology with an emphasis on business-as-usual for airlines, shipping, boat owners and travelling public.  It was a complex change which was as much about stability and continuity as it was about opportunity, growth and agility.
Communicating change is often as much about what isn’t going to change as it is about what will change, because all change needs solid foundations to build upon. Without this sense of foundation there is consternation and chaos.
These foundations are often about the fundamentals of the people, product and customers and answer the question “Why are we here?”. If consensus can be achieved on values, service and purpose then the necessary changes have meaning and resolution.
Kotter’s 8 steps provide a useful guide to operationalize strategy
1.       Establishing a Sense of Urgency
2.       Creating the Guiding Coalition
3.       Developing a Vision and Strategy
4.       Communicating the Change Vision
5.       Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action
6.       Generating Short-Term Wins
7.       Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
8.       Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture
Below are some practical examples of operationalizing strategy and, perhaps more useful, some examples of how to progress through Kotter’s 8 steps.
KEY ELEMENTS OF GREAT LEADERSHIP
Here are five simple ideas which can help Operationalizing Strategy
Be clear on what must change
A leader must understand and articulate the Factors Critical to Success (what must we do) and Key Performance Indicators (how will be measure and manage progress). This must be done in a way that everyone understand what this means for them.
Communicate and Engage
Build trust by being clear and consistent on key messages about things that are important to the audience. For Ports Incorporation the CEO repeated clear, consistent assurances  (about job-security, pay and opportunity) throughout the 36 month programme.
Listen and Act
Engage all stakeholders  to contribute to the change and shape what that change means for them. For Ports of Jersey staff were invited to contribute their ideas, as well as being empowered through HITs (High Impact Teams) to deliver quick-wins in support of the necessary changes. The Ports also undertook an annual staff survey and took the results seriously with clear action plans for any adverse feedback.
Educate and Empower
Provide the tools, techniques and training to allow people to improve themselves, the environment around them, and the products and services that result. Lane 4 said “We create the environment where success is inevitable”. For Ports of Jersey key staff were invited  a “leadership group” (a series of workshops and forums which might best be described as a mini-MBA programme) and broader “Acceleration Programme” has been rolled out for all staff to learn LEAN and use that knowledge to make effective change.
Restructure
Changes to organizational structure whether real (by recruitment or dismissals) or perceived (by changes in title and invitation to meetings) can send a clear signal of who’s hot and who’s not. What behaviors and opinions are valued and which are mute when it comes to making decisions. For Ports Incorporation there were two modest restructures: one before the project started with the merger of harbour and airport; and the second one year after Incorporation as the business gears-up to realize more of its commercial opportunities.  What was more significant but less turbulent was who got invited to SMT meetings or the “Leadership Group” discussions.
KEY ELEMENTS OF GREAT MANAGEMENT
The ideas above are not the exclusive domain of leaders. Manages perhaps have greater day-to-day influence and impact by virtue of how they behave and what tasks they prioritize. The reality is that culture is nothing to do with written vision and values and everything to do with “the way things are done around here”.
Here are two powerful ideas by which managers can help Operationalize Strategy
Identify your customer and detail your service
Start thinking entrepreneurially about  the input, process and output of your team or department.  Work with your team to better understand your customer/consumer/user (which may be an internal-customer or external-customer) and the match (or mis-match) between what they want, need and value and what your provide. Many Ports of Jersey managers spent a lot of time reflecting on this, which was useful to becoming more efficient and effective and also helped embrace the broader objective of the organization becoming more commercially focused on delivering value to the customer.
Understand that as a manager your staff are your customers
There is an adage that “People join good businesses and leave bad bosses”. This makes clear that people have an expectation of their bosses and bosses who fail to recognize their obligations to staff will lose their support.  The aforementioned annual staff survey identified the need for change and the leadership made clear that action was expected to address  adverse feedback. In many cases this encouraged a dialogue, sometimes through meetings and workshops to negotiate change where previously issues or concerns were not addressed.
These are perhaps the most significant actions which will help Operationalize Strategy
If you aren’t sure where to start check yourself with these 6 questions. If your team cannot answer these positivity, then you have a task to do.

1.       I know what is expected of me at work
2.       I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right
3.       I have the opportunity to do what I do best every-day
4.       In the last 7 days I have had recognition for doing good work
5.       Someone at work encourages my development
6.       At work, my opinions count

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Rogers is an AMPG Qualified Change Practitioner, a PRINCE2 Project Manager, with an MBA in Management Consultancy. Past projects have included the incorporation of Ports of Jersey and Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI and NatWest. He is a tutor/lecturer for the Chartered Management Institute and  a past curator for TEDx (TEDTalks)
Web: http://www. AdaptConsultingCompany.com
Twitter: @AdaptCCompany

Source: Adapt Consulting Blog