Group Partners — Explained
What Do We Do? Making A Real Difference
We take a challenge — whether a ‘business’ issue or opportunity* — and find the best path to respond and create value. Whether the question is about change, transformation, exploration or simply improving a business situation — we will be able to tackle it.
* We use the word ‘business’ to describe any organisation, institution or enterprise. It’s always one that’s tackling the challenges of being successful and staying valid and meaningful to its audiences in the 21st Century
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Getting To What Matters.
Once we’ve got to the clear requirement or challenge* it’s our mission to help our clients solve it by making the highest quality decisions. We create the best conditions and the right frameworks to do just that. We bring our experience and our tools and techniques to choose the correct path.
Deciding on the best path in today’s world always requires the business to consider a wide range of possibly valid alternatives — for us it’s about the widest possible context.
* We use the term ‘Exam Question’ to describe each challenge — whether it’s an opportunity or an issue the question defines everything for us — from the frameworks for thinking that we design to the expectations of the people who need to be involved — this question anchors everything.
When Do We Engage?
The types of challenges we get involved with vary a lot — they cover all the familiar demands of a modern business. Almost inevitably, no matter what the challenge, it’s likely to involve:
- The creation of a clear vision, purpose and meaningful outcome
- The development of a ‘strategy’* to make sure we get there
- Building the operational model (design and structure) to make it understandable to everyone involved
- Ensuring the right leadership and culture exists to be sure that whatever the plan — it’s executable AND sustainable.
We will also be asked to engage when a complex challenge has become difficult to address by traditional means — for example when sensitive stakeholder conversations need to take place or when it’s crucial to rigorously explain a concept, make a real difference, have real impact and accelerate rapid progress.
*Strategy is a word that’s open to considerable interpretation — to us it means to design the right path to the best outcome. It can be at a the whole enterprise level or a component of it.
Our Approach To Assignments
Doing What Works
How we work is based on our learning on real cases with large and small clients all over the world. It has evolved over the last 20 years by learning through evidence — across many hundreds of cases in every industry — and built on well proven principles.
We call it Structured Visual Thinking™
- We are both systems and creative thinkers. These terms are easy to dismiss as jargon but we defend them to the death. We will happily explain what they mean but not here. (See Links Below)
- We work as an objective partner on a team, not a consultant with an agenda or with solutions seeking problems.
- We work collaboratively at every step of the way. Some call it CoCreation — we don’t mind what language is used we just know the value of working together — allowing value to emerge from anyone within a team.
- We seek to transfer the capability to understand and sustain the results of our work to our clients and not to build a dependency on us.
- We are impartial and neutral when it comes to the right result — we are only interested in the best decisions and ‘plan’ we can make together.
- We use visual techniques in order to rapidly accelerate value, impact and understanding. Visual outcomes stimulate higher quality conversations and are far easier to share.
What Does It Feel Like?
A typical assignment goes something like this:
At the very outset we will test for our clients commitment to the outcome required. We will create confidence in and definition of the challenge. We will seek to understand and design for the best conditions for the assignment — the characteristics that set us up for a sustainable result and match that to the capacity and capability required to accompany it.
We are avid gatherers of insight within the mountains of information that typically already exist in the organisation. We will soon find out what doesn’t exist. We want to know as much as we can to ensure we design the right program and bring in the best tools for the challenge.
Throughout our programs we are developing a clearer picture of what matters and what doesn’t—together with the team. We are able to make this happen in multiple modes —directly as a team and remotely using social tools and techniques — for us it’s all about the correct conversations and bringing about the best equipment for thinking.
Whether directly or indirectly there will be regular opportunity for alignment and validation. Almost always included in this work will be the need for full stakeholder sessions — a space and place where the whole system of things will come together for agreement, engagement and ownership.
The development of a ‘strategy’ or plan for the future never stops — because the world never stops. A major element of our programs is equipping the team that will deliver with the confidence, fluency and tools to carry on. We always aim for our clients to be as best prepared as possible for the inevitable changes and turbulence to come.
A valuable byproduct of working this way is a set of tools and physical deliverables that have widespread and multiple applications in execution*. The world we live in is full of competing requests for our time and attention so communication is a crucial component of successful strategy.
* By building high quality visual tools — frameworks, story boards, video and other applications — we’ve proven we can overcome many of the pitfalls of more traditional methods of strategic thinking and planning.
What Do We Call What We Do?
Structured Visual Thinking™
The three words have significant meaning:
STRUCTURED to make sure we frame every challenge properly and make sure we use logic and rationale to get to the correct outcome — VISUAL because that’s the fastest and most compelling way to create and share understanding for everyone involved — and THINKING because that’s what’s required to get to the best result — creating the right mentality and the best platform to execute and sustain value.
We’ve settled on a few phrases to explain what we do. Everyone sees something different in our tools and techniques so it’s more important to us that our clients can describe and value what we do rather than us just giving it a simple label.
Like anything in the complex problem solving arena this isn’t simple because it has many dimensions — here are the few statements we use:
We help our clients to avoid solving the wrong problems really well. We’re helping our clients change the way they think and work. By using tools and techniques designed for this new world we help our clients figure out WHAT MATTERS and why — in doing so we can make a difference.
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