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How to measure the impact of distrust on your project

Trust is the ‘oil’ that helps people to accept change in an organisation. It empowers them to remove the barriers that block change, with a minimum of friction. (That’s why having a highly visible senior manager at change project meetings is so important – they don’t even have to say anything!)

An absence of trust between managers and staff and between parts of an organisation will slow down and even stop a project. The higher the levels of distrust, the more time and effort the project will require and the higher the cost. So if you could measure trust in the group that is to be affected by a change project, you could develop a useful predictor of the additional time and cost involved in implementing that change project.

I looked for in vain for an approach that would allow me to measure trust. Stephen Covey Jr wrote a useful book about “The Speed of Trust – The One Thing that Changes Everything” but one thing he failed to do in that book was to suggest ways to measure trust – and other authorities on the subject shed no more light.

So I dreamt up my own approach. How does one measure trust? By asking a few key questions…

There are essentially 3 key relationships anyone has in an organisation:

1. Relationship with my manager

2. Relationship with my staff

3. Relationship with my peers

That gives a 3-dimensional model. For each dimension, I used a four-point scale to score the relationship, where 0 is the lowest and 3 is the highest:

3 =  excellent relationship – high levels of trust and respect

2 =  quite good relationship, reasonable levels of trust and respect

1 =  poor relationship, low levels of trust and respect

0 = non-existent relationship, no trust or respect.

Then using a simple questionnaire, I solicited the responses from a sample of the people involved in the change project. Adding up the scores gives me a figure with a maximum score of 9. I turned this into a percentage and inverted it  (deduct from 100%) to obtain the % of distrust – because it is the shortfall in trust that acts as an drag on the time and cost of change. And I found that applying the distrust % directly yo the planned time and cost of a project gave me a pretty good idea of the potential impact of distrust on the ROI of the project.

So, if the trust score is low, say 3, that gives me a trust % of 33%. Deducting that from 100 gives a measure of distrust factor of 67%. Applying this measure to a project with a planned roll-out of 1 year and an implementation cost of £40,000 would add 8 months and around £27,000 to the cost.

In my experience, this seems to correlate well with what happens in practice – the lower the level of trust, the longer it takes to implement the projects and gain the benefits.

Let me know if you find this useful.

A fuller account of this approach is contained in my book: The Change Equation.

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April 28, 2011 Posted by | business change management, project and programme management, trust | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Managing in Complexity – convergence of ideas

Do you believe in synergy and synchronicity?  I do.

Over the past few weeks I have been seeing a real convergence of ideas from companies, experts and people I meet, suggesting that there are some fundamental deep-seated differences between organisations that manage complexity and change successfully and those that don’t – and that we should be able to identify and measure these, for the benefit of our clients.

Those of you who follow my blogs will know that I have been saying for some time that complexity is not linear and managing complex projects successfully demands a move away from ‘command and control’ style project management to one that supports and nurtures emergent behaviour and new forms of organisation. (I took my original cue from the work of Eve Mitleton-Kelly who runs the Complexity Group at LSE).

It is encouraging that the recent IBM study (‘Capitalizing on Complexity’) takes a similar view of business complexity, suggesting that the ever-increasing scale of complexity in business places new demands on CEOs to be more creative. One CEO in the IBM study concludes that “The complexity our organization will have to master over the next five years is off the charts — a 100 on your scale from 1 to 5.”

And today’s Sunday Times actually has an article (Complexity may be inevitable but it must be managed) about the need for companies to simplify in the face of complexity. It also identifies the non-linearality of complexity and accepts that levels of complexity are rising.

So complexity is the ‘space’ within which I want to be able to offer help and support to clients, whether it’s project (narrow focus) or business (wider focus) complexity.

Convergence of ideas

In addition to the IBM study and the Sunday Times article, here are some of the other ideas that are converging:

1st and 2nd Order Project Management

Michael Cavanagh (http://mcavanagh.com/) has identified that managing complex programmes demands a different approach to that required to deliver simpler programmes – what he calls “2nd order PM”, focusing on some of the soft aspects of change, where 1st order PM focuses just on the project outputs.

Michael refers to “Bureaucracy – when you know what to expect” and “Adhocracy – when you don’t”. I have for some time used a similar distinction, first encountered when reading Thomas Docker’s white paper on project complexity (he is Chairman of CITI):

  • Complicated = not simple, but ultimately knowable (such as installing a new comms network)
  • Complex = not simple and never fully knowable (such as restructuring and merging two departments)

(Interestingly, a discussion about complexity on BBC Word Service Radio this morning with Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Forum: 12/03/2011), used exactly those terms…more synchronicity!)

Michael’s 2nd order PM includes the use of “adhocratic” leadership, system thinking, outcome management and experiential learning – “learning in the experience, not from the experience” – a great distinction which fits well with David Snowden’s “Probe > Sense > Respond” approach to complexity, in his Cynefin framework. i.e. act in the uncertainty.

Overload tipping point

In the capability assessment that forms part of the Project Readiness Healthcheck, we assess the capability of the organisation to cope with change by looking at its culture and process management capability. But clearly another factor must be the sheer number of change initiatives being loaded onto the shoulders of the poor managers. I suspect that there is a tipping point, beyond which nothing new gets through.

A recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, “Leaders of change – Companies prepare for a stronger future” says that change programmes are “consuming ever more corporate resources” but adds that on average only 56% of change initiatives are successful. The report suggests that the limit of how many initiatives a company can absorb is, on average, just 3.6 changes annually. That average doesn’t tell us very much, unfortunately. It would be useful to know on what variables it was based – and to be able to assess an organisation’s overload factor as an indication of how well it would cope with further change.

What is the tipping point? 100% overloaded? 200%?

The strategy is obviously to get managers to STOP doing stuff…which fits with the idea that one answer to complexity is to simplify the customer and employee experience, i.e. simplify your processes… but that needs a strong, well-supported argument, based on research. Some work on overload was done by Rebecca Henderson at Harvard way back in 1981, but the details of this are not available and I haven’t seen anything since.  Time we focused on it again!

Investing in an organisation’s capability is key to longer-term success

That’s so obvious, it shouldn’t need saying, but how often do you come across organisations where they only really pay lip service to their Investing in People values? So it’s great when one comes across something that confirms the importance of consistently paying attention to developing and maintaining a strong set of core values and supporting people to trust, share and become empowered to ‘invent their own route to the future’. Following up the Overload work by Rebecca Henderson at Harvard produced this gold nugget:

When the CEO’s priority is to hit the revenue targets, performance seems to go up. So that becomes the strategy whenever the company comes under pressure. However, work done by Nelson P. Repenning and Rebecca M. Henderson at Harvard suggests that this apparent causality may lead to a “vicious cycle of accelerating decline”. Their (very technical) paper: ‘Making the Numbers? “Short Termism” & The Puzzle of Only Occasional Disaster’, suggests that the more the focus on revenue targets diverts attention and resources away from developing capability (i.e. their people and processes), the more the company risks disaster longer term. Again, there seems to be a critical “tipping threshold”.

So it seems that developing a strong, sustained cultural and process management capability enables an organisation to be flexible and achieve performance targets when the pressure is on, without detriment to its long-term survival.

That fits right in with our Change Equation principle that the management of change is not a subset of project management and cannot be achieved within the lifecycle of a change project – it has to start earlier, continue throughout and go on after the completion of the project. In other words it requires a separate, continuous thread of capability development to reflect, transmit, embed and maintain the organisation’s core values.  That is the recipe for sustained growth and survival.

So what do organisations who are good at managing change have in common?

They

  • Have strong, congruent values, embodied and disseminated from the top
  • Follow a ‘grow-your-own’ and ‘pick-the-best’ approach to talent and skills
  • Take care with their people – ‘they are our real assets’ (and mean it)
  • Involve their people in ‘creating their own route to the future’
  • Set performance targets from the ‘outside in’, taking a systemist and holistic view of the organisation, where individuals are recognised to wear multiple hats
  • Recognise the dangers of overload, manage out unnecessary processes and invest in change management
  • Understand how to cope with complexity, are able to simplify and build in flexibility and adeptness for change.

That’s my list, off the top of my head…what’s yours?

And what tools have you got to measure all this?

March 13, 2011 Posted by | business, business change management, complexity | | Leave a comment

Capitalizing on Complexity – important new study

I have just come across an IBM study (‘Capitalizing on Complexity’) which reveals that the world’s private and public sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation of “complexity” is the biggest challenge confronting them. They expect it to continue — indeed, to accelerate — in the coming years.

They are equally clear that their enterprises today are not equipped to cope effectively with this complexity in the global environment. And they identify “creativity” as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.

As the chairman of IBM says: “events, threats and opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations.”

Those of you who have been following my blogs will know that I have been preaching the importance of understanding the exponential nature of complexity. Managers typically underestimate the complexity of their projects and overestimate the capability of their organisations to cope with it.

The IBM study includes the advice: “predict and act,” not just “sense and respond.”  I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised to read what is almost a direct quote from David Snowden’s description of how to deal with complexity, in his Cynefin Framework – after all, he did that work while he was still at IBM…

Over the past few weeks I have been seeing a real convergence of thinking from companies, experts and people I meet, that draws me to the conclusion that there are some fundamental qualities in organisations that manage complexity and change successfully, and that we should be able to identify and promote these for the benefit of our clients.

More on that anon.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | business change management | 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

The value of a really good bid-writer

I seem to be doing quite bit of bid writing for clients at the moment and that experience reminded me that the value of a really good bid-writer is not just in how he/she develops and presents the response document. It’s also about:

  • Getting under the skin of the tendering organisation – what is it that would make them sit up and take notice? After all, in these highly competitive times, your client’s bid will be lost amongst dozens of others unless you can deliver something special, in language the tendering organisation understands.
  • Asking difficult questions – probing the capability of the bidding organisation to delivery the contract is key. Unless you are satisfied that they have the skills, capacity, and have some benchmark of how good they are compared to their competitors, the bid won’t succeed and you are all wasting your time.
  • Project management – just getting people to contribute to the bid in time and with quality input can be like herding cats. The main culprits are usually the most senior managers!
  • Coaching the presentation team – making sure they are articulate and that they can go beyond the bid document in their slide presentation and verbal input.

Of course the final document has to be clear and well-written, conveying the key messages as effectively as possible. That’s a given.

But in the end, the reason for using a really good bid-writer is that you have a greater chance of winning the bid!

January 7, 2011 Posted by | business | Leave a comment

Deduction, induction and abduction – or how not to keep doing what you always did and getting what you always got

The saying ‘keep doing what you always did and you’ll get what you always got’ is a great way to make people stop and think. You learned one approach and it worked, so that’s what you always do. But was the outcome you got, the last few times, actually what you wanted? If not, wouldn’t it be good to do something else and get a different result? Depending on experience and what worked in the past may not be the best way to approach a problem.

I have been pondering this. Because it’s actually not even true that if you do what you always did, the results will be what you always got… The world is changing so fast that it’s probably truer to say that you won’t even get what you used to get – you’ll get something less satisfactory, less useful.

So what to do?

The problem is that just knowing that you need to change your approach doesn’t actually tell you what to do instead. So you are thrown back on your capability to work it out. And the first thing you’ll do, because you are a human being, with the same wiring in your brain and as everyone else, is to apply logic to the situation.

Let’s see… if A is happening, then I probably need to do B. Elementary, my dear Watson! It’s obvious! If your car runs out of petrol, it will stutter and stop. Every time! If you forget to turn off the tap, the bath will overflow. Count on it! If I see a problem I can usually see the cause – and that’s all I need to fix it!

That’s called Deductive reasoning.

Deduction

Using deduction is fine in a world where everything works logically and consistently, where causality is transparently clear and we can always understand what’s needed to be done. The trouble is, the world isn’t like that. Stuff happens and sometimes the obvious solutions don’t work. They can even make things worse.

And sometimes we think there is a causal connection, but it turns out, there isn’t. The sales figures are down again this month. It must be the sales director’s fault. So he is sacked and a new sales director comes in – and the figures continue to slide. Turns out it wasn’t the sales director’s fault – there’s a new competitor who is taking away your customers. You should have spent a bit more time finding out what was really going on, analysing the situation, digging around in the undergrowth to uncover the root causes and then working out how the pattern fits together.

And that’s called Inductive reasoning.

Induction

If my research suggests that B happened because of A, I can make the hypothesis that if you do A again, you’ll get B again. That’s called learning from experience and that’s how we function. We analyse the past, work out the ‘why’, try it out and repeat what worked. If B was an undesirable occurrence, like a train crash, the enquiry will identify the cause and recommend strategies to stop it happening again.

Which is fine if your research identified a true causal link and didn’t confuse the symptom with the underlying cause. And if the world around you doesn’t keep changing, so that what caused B last time won’t make it happen again this time.

We see this when social workers fail to stop a baby being abused and a government enquiry makes recommendations for more controls and improvements in the management procedures to prevent it happening again. But it does – again and again. The underlying causes of the failure will be complex and may not have been fully understood. They will be context-specific and, as circumstances changed, new contributory factors will influence the outcome. And the very act of increasing controls may actually make the social workers’ job more difficult, adding to the problem rather than reducing the risks.

We can use inductive reasoning to make sense of the world, provided we don’t forget that it’s reductionist in nature – we simplify in order to reduce the data to something we can understand and use. And provided we recognise that it’s only based on what happened in the past. Retrospective analysis will often uncover useful insights – patterns which look causal and suggest worthwhile conclusions, but these patterns won’t necessarily repeat themselves in future. In fact they are almost certain not to do so.

So if we can’t count on inductive reasoning, based on experience, logical enquiry and analysis, how are we to decide what to do differently to get an improved outcome?

There is always intuition, of course… leaps of faith… gut feeling…

The technical term for this is Abduction

Abduction

This is where we make a connection between two occurrences which are not causally connected. We are all very good at doing this. That’s how conspiracy theories arise. We put 2 and 2 together, and make 5. We see order where there is none. We assign meaning to coincidences.

Sometimes this is a good talent to have. It can help us gain a sense of purpose and create a feeling that we are in control, and not subject to random chance and the chaos of the world around us. It allows us to be creative, imaginative. But mostly it leads us into false assumptions and invalid conclusions.

The trouble is, the more uncertain the situation we face, the more we appear to depend on our abductive reasoning powers. The less we know, the more we convince ourselves that our view is right. This is the territory of prejudice, born out of ignorance and our overwhelming need to be able to come up with an answer that means we feel in control.

Unsurprisingly, until recently, scientists and disciples of management theory derided the abductive process and confined themselves to deductive and inductive methods of enquiry and decision-making. Occasionally discoveries and successes came from ‘accidents’ and ‘luck’ – but these were not capable of being repeated, so as a methodology, it was of little value.

But there are well-known problems with the scientific and empirical use of inductive and deductive reasoning, too.

Ask someone a question and, as any researcher worth his salt will tell you, you have immediately bounded the answer within your own frame of reference. So the answer will not be the ‘truth’ you sought, but just a version of the truth, biased by you in the very act of asking the question.

It gets worse: ask the question of someone and the answer you get will also reflect: how they feel about you at the time, how they think you want them to answer the question, their own mood and well-being at that moment… etc.

Of course, a well-managed research project will always work to reduce these influences, but they can never be eliminated. And by imposing confidence limits and statistical averaging on the data, you devalue the exercise – many potentially interesting opportunities to make useful connections are lost.

And remember, analysis of what has happened in the past can only tell us something about the past – often quite a long time past. By the time we have collected enough data, analysed it, drawn conclusions and decided what needs to change, the occurrences could be months or years old.

If we want to get the result we want or to prevent something happening in the future, we need a method of enquiry that doesn’t have this built-in time lag. Is that possible? Is there such a method?

Some work that is going on in the use of unstructured story-telling in research promises to overcome these fundamental problems and offers a new way to gain early and unbiased feedback and insights into what is happening around us in real time.

Sensemaker®

As we saw, traditional research and analysis methods tend to be limited by their dependence on the ‘expert’s role in framing the questions and interpreting the results. These issues are specifically addressed by SenseMaker®, which has been developed by Cognitive Edge (http://www.cognitive-edge.com), a firm founded by Wiltshire-based Dr David Snowden, the former Director of Knowledge Management at IBM.

SenseMaker® applies the principles of unstructured, fragmented data, disintermediation (avoiding expert bias) and network intelligence (the wisdom but not the stupidity of crowds). It offers an innovative means of gathering and analysing feedback, which is quite different from conventional methodologies, such as surveys, focus groups or interviews.

Expert bias is minimised through the use of stakeholder-derived ‘signifiers’, which enable the respondents themselves to add layers of meaning to their own narratives.  That enables the findings and conclusions to be defined, not through the interpretation of an intermediary expert, but directly by the users themselves.

A significant advantage of the use of SenseMaker® is its ability to identify “weak signals”. These occur when small clusters of narratives emerge, sharing particular patterns of response.  These weak signals may indicate emergent trends towards beneficial or adverse patterns of activity; their early identification enables you to take early, small‑scale action either to dampen down negative effects or to encourage the development of beneficial outcomes. No built-in time lag.

So SenseMaker® supports abductive reasoning – identifying relationships between factors that would not normally be considered linked, or where relationships are counter-intuitive. And it provides a method of enquiry that can respond quickly to current and ongoing situations.

In summary

Wouldn’t it be good to do something different and get a different result? Well, now you can. Rather than just depending on analysis of what worked in the past, you can gather information in the form of stories, which will point to new and sometimes surprising approaches to a problem.

Here’s a great story to sum up:

A drunk, scrabbling about on the pavement under a streetlight, is approached by a policeman. “What are you doing?” “I’m looking for my keys. I lost them somewhere over there in the dark”. “Well, why are you looking for them here, under the streetlight?” ”I can see better over here.”

We all tend to look where our experience and methods provide the best approach – but they won’t necessarily provide the solutions we need.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | analysis, business, business change management, problem-solving, storytelling | 1 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

Peter Duschinsky, Imaginist – he can help you ensure a successful change project outcome

I have been a management consultant focusing on best practice for more years than I care to think about, and for the past 8 of these, I have operated as the Imaginist – someone who can analyse, think logically and laterally, diagnose underlying causes of problems and facilitate change.

There are 3 stages to this:
1. Imagine it
2. Structure it
3. Make it happen.

The first stage is about understanding what is going on and uncovering the risks and barriers to change. Too often, change projects are planned and implemented with little real insight into the organisation’s underlying culture and process capability weaknesses. These will slow down or even stop a project delivering the desired benefits.

Consider:
– Does your organisation suffer from internal politics, silo working and distrust across departments?
– Do people like to ‘do their own thing’ and find work-arounds whenever they can?
– Are you overloaded with initiatives?

The more ambitious the project, the more people are affected, the more these weaknesses will block buy-in, undermine take-up and sabotage compliance to new ways of working.

It’s not sufficient that you recognise these barriers – you have to be able to convince the Board, project sponsors, budget-holders etc of the time and resources that need to be allocated to deal with them.

An Imaginist works by talking to stakeholders, developing an understanding of the underlying culture and process capability issues and putting this into a structured diagnostic framework which enables him to quantify their impact on the ROI of the project. Spreadsheets – that’s the language a senior manager understands!

So at the second stage, ‘Structure it’, the emphasis is on developing the route-map and action plan that the project team need to tackle the risks and barriers and to ensure the project goes smoothly and to plan.

Then, ‘Make it happen’ is a matter of supporting the in-house team with the skills and tools they need. Because the first two stages have identified exactly where the barriers to change lie,
it won’t cost a fortune to apply these precisely where they are needed to achieve a successful outcome.

The Imaginist can help you ensure a successful project outcome.

For more details, contact Peter Duschinsky on peterd@imaginist.co.uk
or visit his website: http://www.imaginist.co.uk

September 8, 2010 Posted by | business change management, project and programme management | , , , , , , , | 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