Our Approach To Engagement
Explaining How We Work
Aiming For Simplicity
A Short Overview — How We Engage
- Getting To Know The Situation — In almost all circumstances we would ask for any/all information on the current state of thinking. That would include existing strategy documents or material that explains what’s already in place or in the teams minds for the future.
- Clarifying The Challenge — Simultaneously we would agree the ‘exam question’ — that’s our term for the anchoring challenge or issue. It’s a well phrased question — it’s the problem statement written as an open question that doesn’t attempt to contrain or answer itself.
- Deepening The Understanding — We will then review and almost certainly ask supplementary questions from this point onwards. We are like a sponge for insight and information but we always avoid being a burden* on the teams time.
We don’t want to create work for it’s own sake. We will always avoid boiling the ocean or recreate what already exists.
- Designing The Assignment — Our next step is to design a structured ‘framework’. This is both the stimulus and the container for conversation. It’s a logical mechanism and series of structures that’s designed to answer the challenge as defined. (See image below as a typical arrangement)
- Creating The New Strategy Or Plan— Together with the team we then work through the ‘frameworks’ — and within each module as we have arranged them. We do this both remotely and when together at key phases within the assignment. Together we start to decide what works, what might be valuable and what would constitute the plan to achieve possible future strategies.
- Sustaining The Execution — The tools and techniques we use vary each time. They are highly dependent on the challenge and emerge as a result of the work we do together. We build deliverables and create equipment that will allow teams to sustain the assignment.
The Primary Focus
Our focus is always on identifying the critical insights that exist within the team as it relates to the context within which they operate. We do it visually within the frameworks we build. We do it through conversation. We add to this our own objective and constructive challenge based on global experience and real world examples.
We show, throughout these discussions, how effective outcomes and strategies can be considered — and then how they might be executed in this new world.
Our Work Focus & Client References
Click here to find out a little more on our testimonials and focus areas.
Time On The Ground
These conversations happen throughout our assignments. They take place remotely and directly. We use all types of means and techniques to tackle discussions — surveys, tailored questioning, calls and smaller meet ups. (See Unplugged) The face to face sessions are expressly designed to make sure everyone is properly engaged and can own their new plans.
These direct sessions tend to happen over the course of a few days in an appropriate space — typically with our own ‘rigging’ and preparation of the space — a full day ahead. Logistically we need quite a bit of room — we pay a lot of attention to the right space and place to make it happen. We need suitably flat painted wall surfaces — of an appropriate size and proportion.
Explaining The Type Of Rooms We Need For Sessions
See the images in this document as examples of what we would need.Click On The Image:
Outcomes & Aims Of Any Interventions
Our involvement achieves many things and at pace. It delivers a way of rapid decision making, it enables vital reflection on the current situation, it generates real alignment of the team, it brings clarity over the way forward, it ensuring a baseline for definition and meaning and it allows a healthy challenge to long held assumptions and principles.
Such things need constant review for any business to move forward. It will allows the team to connect the operational capability of the business to map to a single and inspiring direction for the future.
Making The Critical Connections
By using this approach we can far better connect the strategy and direction of our thinking with the operation that will deliver it. It breaks down the silo’s that exist within most operations. We ensure that better linkages exist between the critical parts of the business, how that works in a systems sense and makes sense to different stakeholders and departments.
Accountability and Ownership
One of the biggest challenges for enterprise clients is transferring the results of strategic work to sustained new behaviour. We therefore focus as much as we can on sustaining the impact of our involvement after the sessions.
We don’t want to become a long term dependency — as in yet more consultants hanging around. Ideally we will have the quality time and attention of a smaller team — over time. We want them to properly understand all the implications beyond the work we do in the sessions themselves and on into the new behaviours we need.
Changing habits and fostering greater attention is notoriously tough. In addition to the usual collaboration and social media systems the processes and priorities will need to change. It is important that the leadershio understand this and change the metrics of success. They need to do this alongside the adoption of new strategies and initiatives. Expectations muct be set that this all takes time and ongoing effort.
Creating A Budget
Budgets are built to cover the work before anything is committed to. As we embark on any assignment we agree what is involved. There are many variables involved in understanding and gathering the information/data we need. Each challenge means that we need to properly assess and engineer the frameworks we use for the intervention part.
Our only interest is how we will deliver the right outcome — be that simply the alignment and ownership of the strategy or way beyond that into the digital tools and techniques that will help communicate more widely or sustain the teams ongoing involvement and execution.
The above represents one of many ways in which we engage. In many ways what’s described above is a classic assignment for Group Partners. In other words our approach also can be broken down as follows:
Visual And Written Summary
Part One —We Must Create Strong Foundations
Information gathering and developing what each challenge means is an ongoing activity. It is about getting the right information, developing our knowledge, being properly informed and starting to design the whole assignment. This phase is critical for shaping the framework and structuring discussions — however these discussions* are conducted.
* This first tranche of work always precedes any face to face sessions.This intelligence gathering continues throughout the assignment.
Part Two —We Need Both Individual & Face To Face Collaboration
Individual data gathering and conversations are hugely powerful but for wholesale change or progress to happen we need wide scale buy-in and deep appreciation of the new plans.
We assume both individual conversation and team days* for us all to be together discussing an agreed exam question.
* We need to be in the same venue as the session one entire day before the sessions itself. This will be us on our own — finalising the framework and populating it with known/essential context and our interpretations designed to force better thinking.
Part Three — We Want To Sustain The Impact
We are not of the school of producing plans or strategy documents that sit around and have no sustainable value or utility. Our deliverables should work as hard as possible. They should be designed to engage and embrace not only the immediate team but eventually the rest of the workforce— explaining the results and how they affect future direction.
Ideally we would aim for the results of each intervention to be interactive and dynamic — these more digitally enabled tools allow for shifts in direction and inevitable changes and updates. The bigger prize here is engagement — generating far more immersive and large-scale impact. The results of the work would be sustainable — constantly referred to as the agenda for updates and how the teams make progress over time.
* This final phase is always a little more difficult to be 100% specific about.
TBD Based on the above.
Find Out More On How We Work ‘Unplugged’
A more unstructured and informal way to work with Group Partners — to create safe places and spaces for Leaders to think through the scenarios and possible futures of their business.