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SAQs: SHOULD ASK questions

We are used to seeing FAQs, Frequently Asked Questions, on websites. Last week I heard about an interesting variation: SAQs, SHOULD ASK questions.

FAQs are the questions asked over and over again by customers. But are these the questions customers SHOULD be asking?  Typically, FAQs deal with the basic, practical information customers might need, but what they DON’T do is trigger a higher level dialogue with you about the added value your product or service provides them.

So, unlike an FAQ, an SAQ is a question you WANTyour potential customer to be asking, but they might not know they need to be asking.

In the area of business change, one of these Should Ask questions might be:

  • Is my project too complex for our people to cope with the changes?

Another might be:

  • Is there sufficient commitment to making the change on the part of the people involved?

Both key to the success of your project, I’m sure you’ll agree. But the reason you haven’t asked them, is that you probably didn’t know that there are useful answers available.

We can offer an approach which provides quantified, practical answers to these questions – questions you should be asking before investing in a project.

  • Is my project too complex for our people to cope with the changes? This means measuring the complexity of the project and the capability of your organization to handle the changes. Once these are known, a gap analysis will answer the question.
  • Is there sufficient commitment to making the change on the part of the people affected by the project? This requires three measured inputs:

a)    the amount and effectiveness of preparatory consultation and engagement

b)    a measure of the level of trust between people in your organisation

c)    the degree to which local managers are accountable for the improvement expected as a result of the project.

Combined, these will tell you whether your project will be pulled through or hindered by your people.

To arrive at objective and useful answers to all these questions, we use our Change Readiness Assessment tool. Based on Peter Duschinsky’s Change Equation methodology, published in 2009, this tool is used to measure the complexity of a project, and identify and quantify the cultural and process barriers to change in your organization.

It only takes a couple of days to carry out this assessment.

Can you really afford to invest in change without knowing the answers to these Should Ask Questions?

Contact us!

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November 10, 2012 Posted by | business change management, change capability, complexity, mergers and acquisitions, Project Readiness Healthcheck | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you could improve your change project’s ROI by 10%, what would that be worth to you?

In my seminar in February, I showed how the Change Equation methodology provides a way to quickly identify and quantify the barriers to a successful change project.

Due to the high demand for places at this free event, I have arranged to run another seminar on 25th March at the City Business Library at the Guildhall in London.

DATE:  2pm-4.30pm on Friday 25th March.

WHERE: City Business Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH

TO BOOK: email cbl@cityoflondon.gov.uk

This seminar is free but you have to book your place in advance. Don’t leave it too late to book your place!

More information about the seminar at: http://www.imaginist.co.uk

Why attend the seminar?

Change projects have a tendency to fail – in fact only 70% ever deliver their full benefits.

Peter Duschinsky, Managing Director, The Imaginist Company, says that this is because most project managers and their bosses underestimate the complexity of their projects and overestimate the capability of the organisation to cope with change. That’s because project risk and complexity is not linear, but EXPONENTIAL.

Peter goes on to claim that conventional change management interventions designed to control the outcomes of a project will FAIL completely if it’s a truly complex project.

So how do you know if your project is complex? And how do you assess the capability of your organisation to cope with change? Come along and find out!

If you could improve your change programme’s ROI by 10%, what would that be worth to you?

Here’s what people said about the 2010 seminar series:

“Many thanks, Peter, for the seminar during the week, which I found very useful”

“Thanks Peter, I came away with plenty of food for thought after your seminar.”

“Just a short email to thank-you for this afternoons session. I found the content and your style very smooth making the knowledge easy to take in.”

“Thank you very much for the ‘How to manage complex change’ seminar, the ‘Management Culture’ model was excellent as well as the ‘Exponential Complexity.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | business change management, mergers and acquisitions, project and programme management, Project Readiness Healthcheck | Leave a comment

Free Seminar: How to manage complex change projects – and succeed!

Change projects have a tendency to fail – in fact only 70% ever deliver their full benefits!

That’s because most project managers and their bosses underestimate the complexity of their projects and overestimate the capability of the organisation to cope with change.

And that’s because project risk and complexity is not linear, but EXPONENTIAL!

I would also claim that conventional change management interventions designed to control the outcomes of a project will cause it to FAIL completely if it’s a truly complex project.

So how do you know if your project is complex? And how do you assess the capability of your organisation to cope with change?

Come along to the City of London Business Library at 10am on 17th February and find out!

This is one of a series of free workshops and seminars being held in 2011 to support the marketing of my book: ‘The Change Equation’ and our Project Readiness Healthcheck – a simple-to-use process to ensure your projects succeed.

After the seminar there will be time to discuss specific projects if you need advice and think the Change Equation might provide some insights you could take back and use.

Here’s what people said about the 2010 seminar series:
“Many thanks, Peter, for the seminar during the week, which I found very useful”
“Thanks Peter, I came away with plenty of food for thought after your seminar.”
“Just a short email to thank-you for this afternoons session. I found the content and your style very smooth making the knowledge easy to take in.”
“Thank you very much for the ‘How to manage complex change’ seminar. The ‘Management Culture’ model was excellent as well as the ‘Exponential Complexity Tool’.”

The seminar is free but you have to book your place in advance.
Email: goretti.considine@cityoflondon.gov.uk

January 21, 2011 Posted by | business change management, project and programme management, Project Readiness Healthcheck | Leave a comment

How do the “soft” elements (people, culture, innovation, etc.) impact the success of M&As?

I recently came across this question in a LinkedIn discussion and thought it worthy of a blog. Because we all agree that the ‘soft’ elements (people, culture, innovation etc.) represent the critical factor in the success or failure of a merger, don’t we?

The problem, as many of the contributions to the discussion pointed out, is how to convince senior management that the ‘just do it’ approach has a significant chance of failing. The secret, I have found, is to develop a quantified analysis and business case for time and resources to tackle these issues and to communicate this in a language that the Board understands – impact on the ROI of the project.

But how to turn ‘soft’ issues into hard financials?

I came up against this challenge when trying to argue the case for taking a more people-focused approach to change projects. It became clear to me in working with public sector organisations that most projects failed to deliver the planned benefits because the complexity of what they were trying to achieve was not within the capability of the organisation to cope with yet another change initiative. But senior management were not interested.

So I came up with a Change Readiness Healthcheck methodology to:

1. Map the predominant culture (or cultures – depending on the size of the organisation, there’s probably more than one) of the two organisations. For example, the level of knowledge sharing, silo working, alignment…

2. Assess the maturity of their capability to manage process – weakness here can spell disaster when it comes to bringing in new systems

3. Measure the level of distrust and lack of respect in relationships between people – the higher the high level of distrust, the harder it will be to achieve integration and the more time and effort you will need to overcome the barriers.

4. Establish where the project lies on an Exponential Complexity scale, from ‘Simple’ to ‘Too Complex’, where the components include the scope, number of stakeholders and timescales.

The resulting findings provide a ‘dashboard’ of indicators which accurately predict the potential for success and can be expressed in terms of quantified impact on the project business plan’s projected ROI.

With a merger, the first three factors are the critical ones. Map the organisational cultures of the two organisations, assess their process management capability and establish the relative levels of distrust. If these are very different between the organisations, or if they show significant weaknesses in both organisations, you are in for a bumpy ride and, at the very least, need to allocate a skilled and experienced manager to handling the transition and integration. Worst case, you have the ammunition to oppose the merger.

The most important stage in the merger is before you start. With the right insights, you stand a chance of investing wisely. Going in blind makes no sense. Companies understand this when it comes to balance sheets and financials, but don’t seem to have grasped the need for a parallel due diligence analysis of ‘capability’.

I advocate the use of the Change Readiness Healthcheck as a due diligence tool when planning a merger or acquisition, to supplement whatever other methods are used. There are no other methodologies around that I have found as useful, to help you to assess and benchmark these ‘soft’ aspects, quickly and objectively.

We can offer a rapid assessment for a specific M&A or help you build this into your standard due diligence process.

Peter Duschinsky

Tel: 07801802571

email: peterd@imaginist.co.uk

September 10, 2010 Posted by | business, business change management, M&A, mergers and acquisitions, project and programme management, Project Readiness Healthcheck | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to de-risk your project – for free!

If you are planning to introduce big changes into the way your organisation works, then you will not be happy to learn that 70% of such projects fall short of realising their objectives – indeed 24% are written off completely!

If it is critical that your project delivers, wouldn’t it be good if you could  find out whether your project is going to succeed or fail? Well, you can.

We have developed a methodology to predict whether your project will succeed or fail. And we are offering a FREE Project Readiness Healthcheck so that you can see for yourself how it works.

The Imaginist Company is an independent Change Management Consultancy, established in 2002 
to help clients realise the benefits from modernisation and transformation projects. In 2006 we began development of a project readiness assessment methodology and we now work with a small group of expert, hands-on consultants to help clients achieve the full planned benefits from their projects. Between us, our group has helped over 100 satisfied clients in the UK and around the world.

Our Change Equation assessment methodology helps clients deliver successful projects by identifying organisational culture and process capability barriers that could block change and quantifying the potential impact of these barriers on the project’s ROI.

If you are interested in obtaining your FREE healthcheck, all you have to do is send us a copy of some project documentation – for example an ITT – which sets out the scope and objectives of the project. We will obviously treat this in complete commercial confidence. Within 24 hours you will receive an Executive Summary report on your project and a link to a full web-based report, available only to you.

The report will be based on the data contained in your documentation, combined with our knowledge of industry standards and norms. It is possible that you have already recognised and planned to address the risks we identify. However it is our experience that the issues that our approach focuses on are often not fully covered by standard risk analysis methods.

For more information or to take up our FREE offer, email: peterd@imaginist.co.uk or visit our website: http://www.imaginist.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you!

July 23, 2010 Posted by | business change management, Project Readiness Healthcheck | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your route-map for fast and successful change

Most change programmes fail – that’s official.

Here is an approach which taps into some powerful models and tools to ensure that yours isn’t one of them. We call it the Change Equation.

The key is to generate an understanding amongst Board Directors of the complexity of the project, relative to the capability of the organisation to handle change. In other words: is this feasible, within the planned timescales and resources?

In order to achieve this, you need to establish:

  • The organisation’s culture
  • It’s capability to manage standardised processes
  • The degree of trust and respect between people – or the lack of it
  • The level of complexity of your project – is it too ambitious in the context of the first 3 factors?

Each of these must be measured and a ‘gap analysis’ carried out, to provide a top-level complexity/capability assessment. We call this the Project Readiness Healthcheck.

A full Healthcheck requires 5-10 days on-site, depending on the size of the organisation. The data generated is conveyed into a series of dashboard indicators:

These are then discussed with senior management at a half-day workshop, in order to get them to ‘own’ the issues and develop strategies to deal with them.

The strategies are written up as a Route-map for change, together with an Action Plan which would often include preparative work with managers and staff across the organisation to shift perceptions and enable culture and process transformation.

There’s more about the Change Equation and the assessment methodology at www.imaginist.co.uk

And we have just announced a FREE 24-hr Project Readiness Healthcheck, based on project documentation, as a ‘taster’ for prospective clients.

You can contact me at peterd@imaginist.co.uk

June 16, 2008 Posted by | business change management, Project Readiness Healthcheck | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment