Every organization, big or small, experiences problems which disrupt its drive to be the best that it can. Sometimes these problems center on people; sometimes on business processes; sometimes on tools (e.g. information technology, buildings, equipment).
In every case, getting to the root cause and developing the appropriate fix takes time and energy. Doing so often benefits from an outside point of view, especially if the outside person is widely experienced, and has the ability to focus on the problem for a short, intense period of time. That is what I do. I help organizations get rid of organizational turbulence that decreases performance.
We meet. You have the problem. I have the skill and experience to get to the root cause and to work with you to figure out how to fix things. Then you decide on how you want to implement the solution.
The steps are:
- We meet to talk about the situation. That usually takes an hour or two. It's best done in your office, unless you have a specific reason for wanting to meet outside of your premises.
- Based on this initial meeting, I write you a letter which proposes from 1 to 5 days of work on finding the root causes of the turbulence. You decide if you want to go ahead.
- I meet the folks that have to be met, read the documents that have to be read, walk through the environments that have to be visited.
- I formulate my conclusions about the root causes and prepare a first draft of an action plan to address them in the form of a short Power Point presentation. I send it to you.
- We meet to go through the Power Point. You decide if it makes sense to go ahead. You also decide on how to go ahead.
- You might implement the fix with your internal folks, or find appropriate outsiders or contractors, or engage me to help project manage what needs to be done.
I could also coach one of your people through the implementation. The point of this approach is to transfer some new skills to the individual, and put in place a risk management process that ensures that the individual's management of the implementation does not go off track
The best approach all depends on a number of things:
- the nature of the root causes,
- the benefits to be gained by implementing the fix,
- the skills and experience that you have available in house and through your current contractors and suppliers,
- the budget that you have for dealing with the problem.
The examples are described in more detail on a separate page. Click on the appropriate link below to go there.
Declining Productivity in a Technically Oriented Knowledge Service Company
Visible signs: morale in a technical department was low, as was productivity and creativity. Absentism was increasing. (Click here to see more.)
Decreasing Customer Satisfaction with the Quality of a Product
Visible signs: customers were complaining about the decreasing quality of a product that they had been purchasing for years. Repeat sales were dropping steadily. New sales were impacted by negative references ont the Internet and in customer's reference networks.
(Click here to see more.)
Declining Performance Reviews for a Senior Marketing Leader
Visible signs: decreasing sales volumes, increasing turnover in the sales force, including defections of two long standing top sales performers to a competitor.
(Click here to see more.)
My primary goal is to turn your turbulence problem into an business opportunity. That means that I intend to make you or to save your more money that its costs to engage me, by a significant multiple.
Our first meeting costs you nothing. It is simply a chance for you to talk through the issue and determine what it might make sense to do. Sometimes, this conversation is all that happens. You come to the conclusion that you can handle the fix without further involvement from me.
Sometimes, it is clear that I am not the best person to do the root cause analysis work. Issues that are outside the scope of my experience may need the involvement of someone else. I will say so if I think this is the case, and recommend others if the right people are in my network. This usually means that there are some technical issues that require quite specific knowledge and experience to address.
Once the initial meeting is over, I work at a daily consulting rate. At each step of our work together, I set a top limit to my consulting fee. You will not be charged more than that, and usually be charged less.
Four things ... ...
- Many years of experience as an organizational trouble shooter, developed over a long consulting and information technology management career and post-graduate training in workplace psychology.
- Analytical smarts, backed by a strong, experientially verified belief that you need to look carefully at the data to really understand what is going on, and get past your beliefs about root causes to the actual ones - to get to the counter intuitive dynamics that underlie many persistent organizational problems.
- Applied innovation - I consistently take innovative approaches to business processes and organizational problems, and have often implemented solutions that become common place several years later.
- Exceptional communication and team facilitation skills -I have the 80% of these skills that are needed for dealing with communication and team work under difficult, stressful conditions.
Most successful executives have the 20% of these skills that get them through 80% of normal business situations, the ones which are normal in everyday work.
Organizational problems with any or all of the following ... ...
- people components (which they always seem to have),
- information technology issues (given my own career background),
- business process issues, both in the back office and in the front of the house (since I have been involved in so much business process improvement over the course of my career),
- financial management issues - excluding the technical aspects of compliance reporting, tax and financing (where I always relied on experts),
- contract issues - excluding legal compliance details (where I have always worked with experienced lawyers),
- product development
components - since I have been involved with many new product developments as part of my IT career, although I have always worked with technical teams when new product development involved specific engineering or life sciences details,
- operational management issues - since I have always treated the operations component of an IT organization as an information processing factory which needs the same production management tools and approaches any manufacturing line.
I am not a marketing or sales expert, and rapidly recommend getting one involved in the issues that involve these components. Over the years though, I have found that organizational turbulence is almost never simply a sales or marketing issue, although the fix often involve sales and marketing tactics.