Group Partners — In Outline

Our Typical Approach To Assignments

21ST CENTURY CARTOGRAPHY

Making A Difference

We use a line by David Rose quite often.

It’s very profound but also a very quick way of explaining what we do. He says that “Any business designed to work in the 20th Century is doomed to failure in the 21st.” Not only does the business urgently need that new map — it needs new tools to get it there — a whole new compass.

And while his premise spoke to the disruption caused by technological advancement — we think it’s true for everything about the business.

We Work On Multiple Challenges

The trick is to define the challenge, or opportunity for what it is.

We like to say that we want to avoid solving the wrong problems really well. And we say that because, as clients ourselves, we used to do just that. We hadn’t spent anywhere near enough time defining the exam question.

Everyone involved had entirely different perspectives. How on planet Earth were we likely to get to the right business outcome?

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Operating At Speed

It’s important to get to the point quickly.

We don’t believe in long drawn out programs. We aim to get to an accurate and appropriate picture fast — whatever that point is. Uncertainty and lack of clarity can be fatal — it can shroud vital actions with confusing instructions — rapid and coherent thinking is paramount.

CRITICAL THINKING TO ACHIEVE MEANINGFUL BUSINESS OUTCOMES

Critical Conversation

It may seem obvious but the key to the right outcome is conversation — it’s the way in which we find things out and in the process build trust and relationships.

It’s also about actual thinking — something that many business people seem remarkably reluctant to do. Conversation helps the leaders to avoid making snap decisions (and judgments) on apparent realities.

We need to foster the correct conversations and be sure we identify the root causes of challenges and plan the right routes to value.

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COLLABORATIVE WORKING TO BUILD THE NEW MAP

The First Step

Making Sure There’s Even A Role

We want to be sure we can help. This is as much about being on the right wavelength with the ‘team’ as it is about whether our tools and techniques can add value.

We usually make the broad assumption that there would be a small team of people we can work with to shape the initial thinking and gather the context, agree the plan and stay engaged.

Understanding The Task

Through similar experiences over the years we can look at an opportunity or challenge and quickly get to a working design. One that we can share with you and the team.

Because we work visually we can show you what we mean and get agreement about how it will work.

Fast.

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Shaping The Program

Once we’ve done that (and you/the team are comfortable) we can take all the exploration, learning and conversations that we’ve gathered so far and build out the agreed program.

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Bringing A Point Of View

We’ve worked with countless senior teams. All over the world. We’ve learned a lot. But there’s a big difference between witnessing a situation in one context and applying it as a law in a different case.

As and when the need arises we will guide and interject — always in the pursuit of better outcomes.

Preparing To Work As A Team

A clear understanding over all our roles and contributions is essential. We believe that most people are more inspired and able to contribute when they aren’t pigeon holed by a job function or a practice area.

With the right expectation and clarity over what we are seeking to achieve we can become a great team and do far better work.

We will always set the right expectations.

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Engagement Through Visualisation

We’ve been applying ourselves to the science of structure and the power of visualisation for many years.

Whether it’s explaining a complex system or communicating the output of a specific stage of the program we will make it visual. These visual ‘waypoints’ are important communication tools.

It just makes more sense.

MAKING COMPLEX ISSUES, LIKE STRATEGIES AND NEW BUSINESS MODELS SIMPLER — BUT NOT TOO SIMPLISTIC

Comparing Perspectives & Concepts.

Because we work visually with structures — frameworks — everyone can see the gaps, the opportunities and the choices we have. In this world there’s often many valid versions of what will work best.

By working together this way we can fine tune what ‘best’ means to us. However complex or simple the challenge.

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Engaging Hearts & Minds. Hands & Feet.

No strategy or plan is any use to anyone if it cannot be executed. Execution demands commitment and ownership. Execution means it’s being implemented.

Our entire approach is about execution and sustained outcomes. It’s also one of transparency and engagement however that needs to be enabled.

USING TECHNOLOGIES TO SHARE AND DEPLOY THE IMORTANT STORIES OF WHERE WE ARE HEADED

Creating The Best Outcome.

We know how hard it is to make complex deeply thought through ideas realised in the wider enterprise. Unless we can bring these ideas to life and understandable to others they are likely to stay as just that — ideas. This is another reason why collaboration and cocreation works.

We have to get everyone fluent with the plan and confident and encouraged to defend it.

USING LIVE STRUCTURED VISUAL TECHNIQUES TO ENSURE TEAMWORK AND UNDERSTANDING

Sustaining The Result.

As things inevitably evolve and change the need for new thinking and fresh plans to evolve alongside is crucial. Persistent collaboration over time should be the new behaviour.

A major component of our whole approach is transferring the capability of all this to the team. It ensures that the conclusions of our work is sustainable — that’s about inspiring the team to continue thinking and working this way.

We will mentor, counsel and coach as required to keep everyone on track.

DEVELOPING COLLABORATION TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES TO SUSTAIN THE UTCOME

Commercial Considerations

Without a detailed plan budgets are notoriously hard and in truth impossible to predict.

Our preferred approach isn’t to try and cost long term programs. And we don’t aim to tie our clients p for lengthy programs anyway. Nor do we want to create unnecessary work so our first step is always to design that more detailed plan.

It’s usually preferable to start simply and bite programs off in parts.

CAPTURING THE NARRATIVES AND TELLING THE STORIES AT EVERY STEP

Structured Visual Thinking™

Common Sense

We have very powerful tools us humans — our senses. We use them to do spectacularly fundamental things. With our hands we can touch things, with our eyes we can see and with our ears we can hear.

The best plans are those we can see.

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Secret Weapons

These three senses are secret weapons in how to manage our businesses. If we can see, feel and question the business that tangibly them we can grasp the challenge.

Without seeing the picture it’s very easy for things to get complicated quickly.

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Human understanding — through theses senses makes things meaningful and far simpler — knowing what’s going on and what’s the plan — this should never be a secret.

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Get To Grips

With all the distraction and number of moving parts in an increasingly dynamic world we have to do everything we can to remove any misunderstanding.

It’s vital to explore all the directions — and then, through critical thinking and conversation — end up aligning on one.

A Compass & A Map

In our experience, over the last 20 years, we’ve seen that the organisation has to be able to see and touch the plan — the strategy — the mechanisms. To physically hold a clear map of its future in its own hands.

We have to create a plan — a map — that’s owned and believed in and we know that we have to listen and work with our colleagues to make it in the first place.

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