The chaos that we all found ourselves thrown into during the global pandemic has meant a lot of introspection from both a personal and corporate perspective for all of us. Yet as we move forwards into the new realities of a post-Covid-19 world...
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The chaos that we all found ourselves thrown into during the global pandemic has meant a lot of introspection from both a personal and corporate perspective for all of us. Yet as we move forwards into the new realities of a post-Covid-19 world Nick Frank outlines where we can find the resilience to not only rebuild, but improve...
Organisational Resilience: "The ability to survive a crisis and thrive in a world of uncertainty. Resilience is a strategic capability. It isn't just about getting through crises. A truly resilient organisation has two other important capabilities - the foresight and situation awareness to prevent potential crises emerging, and an ability to turn crises into a source of strategic opportunity."
If there is one thing that we will learn from the current Coronavirus chaos, is that it is resilient people and organisations who survive and thrive! Technology, infrastructure and education can help. But it is the determination of people to do the right thing and not be afraid of adversity that sees families, companies and nations through tough times.
After the fire fighting will come the rebuilding, where Service Leaders will have to decide the future shape of their organisations in a challenging world. Not only will they have to contend with meeting pent-up demand with depleted resources, the challenges of digital disruption and climate change will not have gone away. Companies' survival will depend on how well they can adapt and evolve in a world even more economically constrained. I believe developing personal and organisational resilience will be the key to developing processes, technologies and ways of working that will enable us to overcome the significant obstacles in our path. As I sit in ‘home isolation’ with my family, I can feel a mix of emotions. On one hand fear and confusion. On the other determination and love. These are amplified by the news, social media and radio reports where we see memes on toilet role or rants on social distancing, as well as the odd grand patriotic political speech.
Service Management's GREATEST Challenge
I find myself asking, what do I need to do to move through this? It is certainly not to give in to fear, which is there in some shape or form in all of us. It is more to focus on the what we can do, what we can control, what we can influence. The good news is that these are all aspects of our personality and the mindset we nurture for ourselves. Indeed, this ‘growth’ mindset comes way before we think about technology, processes or even organisation.
Maybe test this assertion for yourself by thinking back to a challenging time you have faced. What got you through it and most importantly what did you learn? For myself this was the birth of our second child. My wife had a very complicated pregnancy with early contractions, which resulted in us going to A&E on multiple occasions, driving to hospital, not knowing whether our baby was alive or dead.
"I would suggest that now is the perfect time to build resilience in ourselves and our organisations..."
My biggest learnings were to be able to live in the moment, acknowledge the fear then move forward, take one step at a time, to focus on what we could control, and not all the other stuff. We were lucky that it was a happy ending, that on reflection helped us to become more resilient and able to handle adversity.
Back to the present days question, “Where do we go from here?”
I would suggest that now is the perfect time to build resilience in ourselves and our organisations, as we move into what hopefully will be more fruitful times. It starts with leaders who recognise that their people are key to current and future profitability. Those who have let fear enter their hearts and pre-maturely downsized their teams to fit the perceived economic reality, will lose the trust of their employees. Their road to resilience will probably be longer and harder than those that retain the goodwill. Indeed, research shows that organisations that survive and flourish after hardship are those that have a committed and motivated staff.
"Build resilience in your people, and the resilience of your technology, processes and organisation will evolve as well..."
The benefits are not just people and organisations who are faster to adapt to changing circumstances, there is a solid economic rational as well. Studies such as this one from PWC in 2014 show “initiatives and programs that fostered a resilient and mentally healthy workplace returned $2.30 for every dollar spent — with the return coming in the form of lower health care costs, higher productivity, lower absenteeism and decreased turnover”. So, resilience does pay!
As we live through the COVID crisis and start to come out the other end, we have a great opportunity to build resilience into ourselves and our organisations. There are many models for individual & organisational resilience, but from a Service Leaders perspective, there are three key messages I would recommend to focus on:
- Focusing on solutions
- Always Learning
If you or your organisation do not have a strong sense of purpose, then whatever models or philosophies you choose to follow are unlikely to succeed. At a leadership level this means being able to truly role model the values that most modern organisations espouse such as respect, integrity and accountability. Teams respond to how they see their leaders communicate and demonstrate these values and behaviours. But good values are only part of the story.
People need to understand that the organisation has a clear direction so that they can readily identify with its “Purpose” and “Culture”. If all these messages are coherent, then self-belief will grow and flourish. Perhaps one of the simplest actions you can take is to practice the art of delegation. The more people can influence the what and how of their jobs, the more they are engaged, own and believe in what they can do.
Focusing on Solutions
People and companies who can focus on solutions are constantly moving forward. These are people who can recognise and articulate problems, but do not dwell on who to blame for a situation, but rather how to move forward and solve the challenges. Build this into all your communications.
"The huge customer problems that your teams have faced means that they must have focused on finding new ways to operate and deliver to customers..."
Emphasising this step by step approach towards the goal, encourage appropriate risk taking and reward teams for finding solutions. Encourage collective responsibility but hold individuals to account. You will know your organisation is moving in the right direction when you hear your people using the phrase “Yes, And….” rather than, “Yes, But”.
The organisations most likely to adopt new ways of doing things or those where learning and change is embedded into the way of life. These are the organisations where people seem to have new roles every 3-4 years. Although too much change can be disruptive, it is a very good indicator of how good an organisation is at taking on and running with new ideas. We have heard many service managers talking about how they have had crash courses in remote diagnostics or augmented reality technologies.
What an opportunity to learn! To build on these experiences, make sure you re-iterate the importance of always reviewing lessons learned? Indeed, the recurring themes from companies that demonstrate resilience are: Communicate, Communicate, Talk, Listen, Take Action and Communicate again!
These three behaviours allow us to face reality in the present, pulling on past experiences and others to find the best solutions. Whether they are applied in personal situations such as a difficult pregnancy, or in our professional lives, there is always an opportunity to grow. In the current crisis, all business people I have spoken to have had these three fundamental beliefs well a truly shaken. Just surviving should show the importance of self-belief in overcoming adversity.
The huge customer problems that your teams have faced means that they must have focused on finding new ways to operate and deliver to customers. I would be very surprised if your people have not got some learnings and ideas out of these experiences. If you can now build on these three behaviours, then the challenges of digital disruption and global warming may be transformed from threat to opportunity!
If you would like to know more about how to take your team on this journey, then contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Read more about resilient organisations @ www.resorgs.org.nz/about-resorgs/what-is-organisational-resilience/
- Read more about building personal resilience in the workplace @ hbr.org/2016/06/627-building-resilience-ic-5-ways-to-build-your-personal-resilience-at-work
- Read more about the The Ken Ginsberg's 7 Cs @ - www.portlandpediatric.com/console//page-images/files/building-resilience/All%20Ages/Seven%20Cs.pdf
- Read more about the impact of Covid-19 on the field service sector @ www.fieldservicenews.com/covid-19
- Read more of Nick's articles for Field Service News @ www.fieldservicenews.com/blog/author/nick-frank
- Read more about Nick's work with Si2 Partners @ si2partners.com
- Follow Nick's work on Twitter @ twitter.com/si2partners
- Connect with Nick on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/nick-frank-2756a51
Whilst there has been a lot of hyperbole around the impact Artificial Intelligence will have on field service operations, Nick Frank points out that it is not the answer to life, the universe and everything and we should understand our own...
Whilst there has been a lot of hyperbole around the impact Artificial Intelligence will have on field service operations, Nick Frank points out that it is not the answer to life, the universe and everything and we should understand our own potential use cases before rushing to implement such solutions...
Problem-solving is an essential skill set for all Trusted Advisors, yet many of us take it for granted. We assume our Technicians and Engineers must be great problem solvers because that is what they do. Most have developed ways to solve problems through on the job training and mentoring from experienced colleagues, but very few have been educated in this key professional competence – logical problem solving!
This lack of competence can cost companies considerable money and customer loyalty. You will have all experienced problems that don’t seem to go away, where teams of people seem to solve, resolve and resolve again the same issue. These are the type of problems that are complex, multifaceted and can costs companies thousands and sometimes millions of pounds.
They require a disciplined process and in truth most companies do not sufficiently support their staff in developing this critical skill set. As data analytics becomes increasingly influential in field service processes, so logical problem solving skills will become more important!
Increasingly the solutioning of known problem sets will be done through self-service, lower skilled technicians or even automated through remote services. Companies will want their skilled technicians to focus on the more complex technical issues as well as fixing the customer relationship.
How can you up the game of your technical teams, save your organisation costs and increase customer loyalty?
Best in class companies with a Trusted Advisor mindset where the goal is to continually create more value for their customers, embed in their culture a logical problem-solving wheel, which starts and finishes with the customer. This gives companies a common language and process to solve problems, which is critical to improving the skill levels of all their employees. When problems are complex, it develops a good discipline, especially around problem definition and data collection.
As the ability of service organisations to leverage advanced analytics to analyse unstructured data found in service reports becomes more widespread, so a common language becomes even more important in identifying and predicting fault patterns. There are also many tools for both analysis and solutioning that help break open the problemsolving process. Some examples from the problem analysis phase are the 5 W’s (Who, What, Why, Where, When) for situational fact finding, the 5 Why Method for root cause analysis and Fishbone diagrams, sometimes known as Ishikawa or FaultFinding Trees.
The importance of statistical skills in the future should not be underestimated, as data becomes an essential resource in the service resolution processes. Many of you will know these tools from your professional experiences and probably take them for granted as part of your work life. However, you will be surprised at how few of your colleagues really understand how to solve problems. Many will often jump to the first solution that fits the symptom’s they are seeing.
They will switch components in & out to see if the symptom goes away without really understanding the root cause. This leads to significantly higher costs in managing spare parts and many more “No fault Found” from returns reports from component suppliers.
Research by Cranfield University ‘A framework to estimate the cost of No-Fault-Found events’ published in 2016 showed examples from the Aerospace industry where NFF cost companies between one to 300 million dollars and in some cases account for up to 80% of failures. Indeed, not solving the root cause of problems has led to industries developing their own problem solving methods.
If you have worked in the automotive industry, no doubt you will have experienced the 8D problem solving process and will probably be familiar with 6 sigma methods. Those of you with the experience of large field organisations will know that service leaders such as Xerox or Vaillant make logical problem solving a core skill in which they train their whole organisations, not just their service technicians. For these organisations, just solving the technical problems is not enough.
They recognise that the art of creating customer loyalty comes from an ability for the organisation to fix the customer. Hence a critical element of any work in logical problem solving is to recognise the role of the problem solver in the process. For example, if a service technician perceives their role as ‘fixing equipment’, this is what they will focus on.
They will miss the fact that the root cause might be a lack of customer training or an external factor such as raw material quality or the operating environment. This wider view of the problem, and an understanding of the problem solvers role in the effectiveness of the process, can save companies huge amounts of cost, and deliver more value to customers.
We often refer to this mindset as being the Trusted Advisor, and it is the reason why excellence in Problem Solving is such a vital and often overlooked capability that needs to be developed. We are all aware that the ability of any organisation to effectively solve problems is critical to its success in terms of costs and customer loyalty. Leading global organisations recognise this and train their teams in logical problem solving, yet for many organisations it is a capability that is taken for granted. And in the context of forming deeper lasting relationships with customers, we also should recognise that problem solving is an essential skill set of being perceived as a Trusted Advisor.
If you would like to know more about developing Trusted Advisor programmes in your business, then you can contact Nick at email@example.com.
Over the last three years there has been a huge emphasis on the need to invest in technology to stay ahead and be the disruptor.
As many leaders struggle to move towards the enticing digital visions being painted, we have seen a more nuanced approach emerge. We perceive that leaders are switching their emphasis back to creating a solution focused culture where people have the imagination and customer focus to create and deliver new value offered by digital technologies.
In the coming years we believe we will see companies focusing on three areas in the growth journey:
1. Digital Servitization: the notion of digitising the back-office processes and enabling data capture in the product infrastructure to enable new value through services
2. Data Analytics capabilities: Turning the data into insights through being able to turn Business Problems and opportunities into Data Solutions that leverage their company unique knowledge.
3. Trusted Advisor Mindset: Having the trust of customers and the communication skills to turn intangible data into valuable actions that drive growth.
Now more than at any other time, businesses are focused on how to use shifts in technology to reduce costs and find new value propositions. But understanding how it all fits has proven more elusive to business leaders. Those that are making most progress have broken the Digital Transformation process into more meaningful chunks. They typically have two areas of focus:
1. Installed-Base Digitalisation:
Designing the products and supporting operational infrastructures that generate data, so that it can be collected, analysed and then monetized through service-based business models. Generally, investments have been made in:
- Technology that enhances the product and company infrastructure to enable Digital Support, such as remote data collection, diagnostics or predictive maintenance.
- Capabilities and technologies in the organisation that enables Data Analytics, such machine learning, visual analytics and business intelligence technologies.
2. Back-Office Digitalisation:
The tools we use to manage our business back office which sustain and improve margins /profits. Examples might be Service Management solutions, CRM and ERP. Generally, there are two aspects to consider in terms of system and process development:
- Technology that enhances the product and company infrastructure to enable Digital Support, such as remote data collection, diagnostics or predictive maintenance.
- Capabilities and technologies in the organisation that enables Data Analytics, such machine learning, visual analytics and business intelligence technologies.
Only when companies have reached a level of maturity in both Back-Office Digitalisation and Installed-Base Digitalisation, are they ready to, explore new business models such outcome based or subscription based services.
Data Analytics Capability - Business problem before Data Solution
The use of sophisticated Data Analytics technologies to gain insights into processes and product performance is slowly becoming part of management thinking. But again, progress is slow as many leaders are intimidated by the jargon and lack of understanding of the business case. We have found successful companies have followed these three steps:
1. Articulate the business problem to solve and why (Value)
Before investing in digital technologies, the most successful companies have a clear idea of the business problem to solve and the value it can potentially bring. Often there is some experimentation/prototyping that may occur to build knowledge of the business problem and confirm value. They look wider than their own business processes or customers processes, the hand-offs between the different stakeholders in their value chain. Often, they will use ecosystem analysis, the value iceberg principal or points-of-selling approaches to identify value opportunities.
2. Define the Data Problem
The next challenge is how to turn the business problem into a business data hypothesis. This would describe an expected or speculated relationship that we hope to determine through the analysis of data. For example, the hypothesis for a predictive maintenance solution might be: ‘We can identify the failure patterns for hydraulic system as well as general machine performance using pressure, oil contamination, temperature and humidity data from the PLC, such that we can predict failures and recommend corrective actions.
Why is this important? Data Scientists cannot tell you patterns that interest you without knowing the area of interest! Hence converting the business problem into a hypothesis is a key part of the process and applying the scientific method which is question led and iterative. But the hypothesis does not have to be correct.
It is very likely that it will change as more knowledge is gained about the data being analysed or definition of the business problem evolves. One must expect a certain amount of iteration from business problem to data problem as our knowledge expands, and this in turn helps deliver optimal business value. It is critical to be very clear about the business problem and the data required to understand it.
3. Pilot before Scale Up
Now that the data problem is defined, managers can understand where they may have organisational and infrastructure gaps for their project, and from this be able to identify the first steps of their roadmap to a data solution. It is important that these early steps include a pilot of the solution. The goal is to quickly understand if our solution is likely to be successful, and the actions to be taken to scale up across the organization.
"Over the last three years there has been a huge emphasis on the need to invest in technology to stay ahead..."
Often in business we take it for granted that we have all the capabilities in house. However, in today’s world, where the use of technology is rapidly evolving, it is very easy to become ‘out of date’ from both a business mindset as well as technology capability.
To help leaders understand the strengths and weaknesses, Si2 have worked with The Data Analysis Bureau to develop a short 10 minute maturity self-assessment which will you help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as you move from Business Problem to Data Solution.
There are just 10 questions and you will get personalised feedback as to your situation and what you can do. Use this link to access the assessment.
Trusted Advisor Mindset
The biggest enabler of the ‘digital’ ideas we have discussed is not so much the technology but the mindset of your people. The Trusted Advisor mindset is more than just being able to talk to the customer, solve problems and sell ideas. It is a whole attitude where we focus on solutions, continuously moving customers towards their goals whether they be internal or external.
This is the type of mindset that has leapt onto the potential offered by digitisation, long before it entered the language of today’s business. Trusted Advisors have clarity on their role and an understanding of how to talk to customers so that they achieve a WIN, WIN, WIN:
• A Win for the customer so that every conversation they have moves them closer to their goal
• A Win for the company to develop customer loyalty and profitability
• A Win for themselves so they feel great about their job
What makes a Trusted Advisor different? At the very minimum they are good customer problem solvers. What starts to differentiate them from others is their ability to have meaningful conversations with customers that always seem to move towards solutions. They are able to provide options together with the benefits for various decision the customer might make.
They normally have a high level of personal maturity in that they do not try to tell customers what to THINK. Instead they influence them by what they SAY and DO, and because they consistently deliver, customers trust their advice. As the notion of a Trusted Advisor is widely used across sales & service, the job context is extremely important.
For example, in field service and technical support the Trusted Advisor role is more about providing options than closing deals. Whereas in sales it is more about how we build rapport and credibility within a consultative selling process.
Clearly understanding the context in which the Trusted Advisor mindset is being developed is vitally important to successful adoption. Service leaders who want to improve how their teams communicate with customers, might consider having the following conversations with their own people:
• Clarify what you mean by a Trusted Advisor and the role they play in your organisation. In particular the customer needs and what makes them successful, as well as your companies business goals. This is where distinguishing the difference between selling and advising will be absolutely critical to your success;
• Develop a Mindset where every conversation we have with customers moves them a step closer to their goal. It may not be the complete solution, but it is a step in the right direction no matter how bad and uncomfortable the situation is. This very basic philosophy is key to training your people to deal with conflict, as well encourage them to have dynamic and collaborative relationships through solution orientated language;
• Provide Tools and methods that allow us to actively listen, to talk more effectively, to manage conflict and resolve difficult customer situations. These tools are critical to helping us to prepare ourselves to be a Trusted Advisor in what can be challenging and stressful situations;
• Practice in real-life scenarios with your team to see how they react under stress. We are constantly amazed at how confident many service people are about talking to customers in a training environment, yet it all falls apart in a customer situation.
• Refresh: Developing how your team interacts with customers is not a one-off event and needs to be constantly mentored and coached.
Digital People Increasingly we anticipate that Service organisations will take a more balanced approach to Digital. Yes, they will invest in the technology, but they will do so with a clearer idea of the value they are trying to capture. They will understand that the key to new business models will be to have automated their back-office processes as well as how to capture and action data from the product infrastructure. They will increasingly focus on developing a solution orientated innovative culture which is the key to leveraging the opportunities offered by new technologies and paradigms of thinking.
Nick Frank is Managing Partner at Si2 Partners. If you would like to talk more about any of the topics discussed in this article you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just because we tell our people we want them to be Trusted Advisors, does not mean they will succeed. We can give them mobile systems to escalate leads to sales, implement compensation systems and KPI’s to encourage behaviour, and provide training on service offers, but without embedding a Trusted Advisor mindset into our service teams, these efforts will be wasted.
The good news is that many of the traits of Trusted Advisors are already in the DNA of good service people. What they need is clarity on their role and an understanding of how to talk to customers so that they achieve a WIN, WIN, WIN:
• A Win for the customer so that every conversation they have moves them closer to their goal;
• A Win for the company to develop customer loyalty and profitability;
• A Win for themselves so they feel great about their job.
What makes a Trusted Advisor different? At the very minimum they are good customer problem solvers. What starts to differentiate them from others is their ability to have meaningful conversations with customers that always seem to move towards solutions. They are able to provide options together with the benefits for various decision the customer might make. They normally have a high level of personal maturity in that they do not try to tell customers what to THINK. Instead they influence them by what they SAY and DO, and because they consistently deliver, customers trust their advice.
As the notion of a Trusted Advisor is widely used across sales & service, the job context is extremely important. For example, in field service and technical support the Trusted Advisor role is more about providing options than closing deals. Whereas in sales it is more about how we build rapport and credibility within a consultative selling process. Clearly understanding the context in which the Trusted Advisor mindset is being developed is vitally important to successful adoption.
In all cases, importance of having a great conversation cannot be underestimated. Technical people can have a tendency to focus more on the narrow problem than the wider customer relationship. This can lead them to missing important data in the problem-solving process and so failing to find the route cause.
Or just as important, the company misses out on opportunities to add value to the customers business whether that be through helpful advice or the identification of commercial activities. Another challenge many technical people have is that without realising it, they can talk in a way which makes customers defensive or aggressive. For example the next time you are having a conversation, listen for the “…yes, but…”. You may notice that it is a way of saying NO, which probably pulls up really negative feelings for you the listener. The trick is to learn the language that turns these negative situations into positive outcomes.
"Technical people can focus more on the narrow problem than the wider customer relationship..."
Sales people also need good conversations, and in particular understanding the art of closing the deal without losing their rapport with the customer. This is a very different version of Trusted Advisor and it is important not to get the sales version mixed up with technical service.
Service leaders who want to improve how their teams communicate with customers, might consider having the following conversations with their own people:
Clarify what you mean by a Trusted Advisor and the role they play in your organisation. In particular the customer needs and what makes them successful, as well as your companies business goals. This is where distinguishing the difference between selling and advising will be absolutely critical to your success
Develop a Mindset where every conversation we have with customers moves them a step closer to their goal. It may not be the complete solution, but it is a step in the right direction no matter how bad and uncomfortable the situation is. This very basic philosophy is key to training your people to deal with conflict, as well encourage them to have dynamic and collaborative relationships through solution orientated language.
Provide Tools and methods that allow us to actively listen, to talk more effectively, to manage conflict and resolve difficult customer situations. These tools are critical to helping us to prepare ourselves to be a Trusted Advisor in what can be challenging and stressful situations.
Practice in real-life scenarios with your team to see how they react under stress. We are constantly amazed at how confident many service people are about talking to customers in a training environment, yet it all falls apart in a customer situation.
Refresh: Developing how your team interacts with customers is not a one-off event and needs to be constantly mentored and coached.
If you want to develop the Trusted Advisor in your teams, then in addition to processes and propositions, you will need to start to have conversations about their role in the business, the listening skills they must develop and the language to use in order to create dynamic solution orientated relationships.
If you would like to know more about developing Trusted Advisor programmes in your business, then you can contact nick at email@example.com or visit the si2 website here.
Nick Frank & Dag Gronevik of Si2 Partners explore the importance of face to face contact in management and ask if more business leaders should consider moving away from traditional training methodologies towards more free-flowing, dialogue based...
Nick Frank & Dag Gronevik of Si2 Partners explore the importance of face to face contact in management and ask if more business leaders should consider moving away from traditional training methodologies towards more free-flowing, dialogue based means of communication within their teams...
Winston Churchill stated ‘Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war’ This great leader understood that people can be influenced in two ways: either their minds have been opened or their heart broken. Opening minds requires talk, exchange of views and reflection. The ‘fear’ alternative of forcing conformity through hierarchies is in the long term destructive.
As a leader, what’s your style? Jaw Jaw or War War?
In today’s world this is a serious issue, as business leaders struggle to keep up with the technology whirlwind that is engulfing every aspect of our lives.
Leaders need to figure out how they adapt to the changing environment around them and in particular how their organisations and people can evolve.
Traditionalists tell their people they must change, offering incentives, assuming that people know exactly what is expected of them. Most people recognise that in world of the millennial and the internet, this approach is becoming less effective. Human beings are a contrary lot and cannot be told how to THINK. But how they THINK can be influenced by what we SAY and what we DO.
As Churchill knew, the way to change is to talk without fear of conflict.
In our own experience as business leaders, we have always placed a strong focus on communication, and in particular on meeting our people eye-ball to eye-ball. In hindsight the easy part is to meet, but how to turn this into true engagement?
In management speak, leaders turn to techniques such as ‘Off-Site’ meetings, ‘work shops’ or 1 on 1’s.
It is clear that to be successful, leaders must transfer control and responsibility to the team to find the solution for themselves.
Bluntly put, it means stop using PowerPoint material and similar to control direction (& remember details) and instead, start to think on your feet to develop free flowing yet structured debates. This is an approach many business leaders do not feel comfortable with, but it is critical if you want to engage people to change.
We call this slightly chaotic yet structured approach to group problem solving the ‘Boot Camp’. It is where a cross section of different individuals come together as a team to solve complex problems where the solution is not clear to all. It’s not meant to be a comfortable cosy environment, but one where everyone is challenged to find solutions under time pressure.
But how to achieve this outcome? There are at least five key areas to focus on:
- Problem Definition and Outcomes: It may sound an obvious starting point, but clearly defining the problem, the business context and the expected outcome, is key to bringing smart people together to solve problems. In our experience don’t be afraid to take your time in this process, as it is the start of aligning your teams thinking and language behind a common challenge. Be very grounded in your approach so people find it relevant to their roles. A good way to think about the context is to define what is working in the business, and then what is not working. Break the problem into 4-5 related discussions about real tangible issues your team faces. In our experiences, the more tangible you make the discussion through use cases and everyday examples, the more you will channel the energy of your team towards the outcome you desire.
- Generate Energy and Curiosity: This is where preparation really pays off. From the way you prime and prepare the participants, to the environment in which you work, all will help you engage interest and action. Most important is to remember that energy comes from people who talk and are active in the debate. Avoid lengthy detailed power points, in fact try to do without. Not using supporting material requires far more detailed preparation, but the result is an environment where the conversation, discussion and decision making, seem to effortlessly move towards your objectives.
Debate and Create: It’s when people are talking that they can create solutions together. Plan out the types of discussions and debate, which will move the participants towards your goal. Create opportunities where people can engage with each other. Bring in external perspectives to challenge thinking and the current paradigm. Invite input from customers or suppliers to build focus and urgency. Above all do not be afraid to alter the agenda as you move through the process.
As long as you have a very clear view on the outcomes you expect, you can flex the conversation to suit the circumstances and the energy of the participants.
Create Allies: It’s important to remember that building relationships will magnify the leaders impact on the business. Avoid the ‘yes, but’ syndrome and emphasise the positive. It is the alliances and relationships that are built that are critical to your success. No one person can change an organisation. Getting to the key influencers through creating a critical mass of thinking is vital.
Articulate Results: Great conversation will come to little, unless it is captured and channelled into actions. It is extremely powerful when the participants articulate the outcomes and present to senior management team. This brings focus to the collaboration, as well as a bit of edge to your event.[/ordered_list]
If you would like to know more about the Boot Camp process that helps you create engagement and commitment to tough business problems, please contact Nick Frank or Dag Gronevik through info@Si2partners.com