Strategy – script or scripture?

“Speak English! said the Eaglet. I don’t know the meaning of half of those long words, and what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!” – Lewis Carroll

This month, I move into my 20th year of mentoring, advising and helping to develop small & medium sized organisations

It still strikes me that language can serve to confuse the fundamental business of management which is to make decisions and to take action.

“The end products of managers’ work are decisions and actions” – Peter Drucker

Of course, at a certain level those decisions and actions become more far-reaching.

As a consultant, I can provide the agenda, ideas on possible frameworks, ideas on the content, but I still remain convinced that the script needs to be written and owned by management.

The script defines the journey, provides for education & reflection and cannot afford to be misunderstood.

“The first act, it’s who are the people and what is the situation of this whole story.

The second act is the progression of that situation to a high point of conflict and great problems.

The third act is how the conflicts and problems are resolved.” – Ernest Lehman

My sense is that structure is an effective template for rewriting and strengthening the impact of the organisation’s story.

But we shouldn’t get imprisoned by it. We need to work with the characters in the senior team and with their story that ignites our passion.

You can then apply structural principles to ensure that your script will powerfully touch the widest possible audience.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

alexgallon5@gmail.com

 

Strategy – script or scripture?

“Speak English! said the Eaglet. I don’t know the meaning of half of those long words, and what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!” – Lewis Carroll

This month, I move into my 20th year of mentoring, advising and helping to develop small & medium sized organisations

It still strikes me that language can serve to confuse the fundamental business of management which is to make decisions and to take action.

“The end products of managers’ work are decisions and actions” – Peter Drucker

Of course, at a certain level those decisions and actions become more far-reaching.

As a consultant, I can provide the agenda, ideas on possible frameworks, ideas on the content, but I still remain convinced that the script needs to be written and owned by management.

The script defines the journey, provides for education & reflection and cannot afford to be misunderstood.

“The first act, it’s who are the people and what is the situation of this whole story.

The second act is the progression of that situation to a high point of conflict and great problems.

The third act is how the conflicts and problems are resolved.” – Ernest Lehman

My sense is that structure is an effective template for rewriting and strengthening the impact of the organisation’s story.

But we shouldn’t get imprisoned by it. We need to work with the characters in the senior team and with their story that ignites our passion.

You can then apply structural principles to ensure that your script will powerfully touch the widest possible audience.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

alexgallon5@gmail.com

 

The OD Consultant – what does good look like?

ChangeNews

The National Occupational Standards for Management and Business Consultancy have been developed by researching international best practice in consultancy.

The Standards are divided into 4 sections:

  1. Develop and manage relationships
  2. Work with the client to identify their needs and agree solutions
  3. Support the client in achieving sustainable solutions
  4. Maintain professional standing.

These are not necessarily intended to form a chronological sequence, however what is clear is that “effective consultants transfer knowledge and skills and build their clients’ capacity and competence at the same time as providing support to implement solutions”.

I’m reminded of the “Practitioner values” (J. Stewart 1991) needed in managing change in order “to achieve external adaptation and internal integration” …………………

– NEUTRALITY

– PROBLEM-ORIENTED

– NON-PRESCRIPTIVE

For me these are “core” characteristics, or indeed competencies?

These are no better exampled than in an extract from the “Barefoot Guide” (www.barefootguide.org)

“I spent a winter with them, watching how they talked, the way the director would turn when asked a question; the subtle order of tea and coffee.

They asked: ‘When will we start changing?’ They said: ‘Nice work if you can get it. What is it you actually do?’

I smiled and shared their jokes; I asked them what they thought they were, animal, plant, mineral, machine.

At first, they were hesitant and recited the company line and spoke eloquently of vision, mission, goals. No heart.

But one day over lunch a quiet secretary whispered that they were an orchestra only some of the instruments had been neglected and most were out of tune.

I went along to a rehearsal and sure enough there were broken strings, a battered flute, a drum whose skin was torn. And still I listened.

A board member waylaid me in the stalls. ‘We are a ship,’ he said, ‘more or less sound, but battered by the storm.’ I looked out of the window and truly the horizon was askew.

The woman who headed HR reminded me of the calibre of the crew But the woman who made the tea said ‘ No-one speaks to me.’

I was the loom on which they wove the cloth of their past, their present and at last their future. I was the canvas on which they drew the cartoon strip of their progress.

I’d brought a bag of tools but, to be frank I never opened it. They had their own, unusual, but well-adapted for use by musicians on a stormy sea.

While they patched holes and mended strings, I was their temporary harbour.

For a while I was popular and enjoyed a certain notoriety but slowly they became absorbed in their own music, plotted their own course. They were so busy listening to each other, they forgot me.

I left them sailing up the Amazon playing a Strauss waltz conducted by the woman who made the tea”.

For a copy of the Management Consultancy Competence overview used in my Masters Diploma accreditation, e-mail alexgallon5@gmail.com

Attending Fred’s “engagement” party

 TNA

Did organisations miss the opportunity of attending Fed Herzberg’s party in the 1970s & 1980s?

Last week we highlighted a key hygiene need where Herzberg offered us “the quality of the technical & personal support offered to the employee by their supervisor.”

Here is a group of people who have the greatest opportunity to really practice engagement first hand.

– a group of people we often find are asked to lead by example, communicate and act/work with the organisation’s drivers of engagement.

– a group we frequently find blissfully unaware of what the organisation’s reward systems actually are.

What perils lie ahead if……………………………….

– Our reward systems are not defined and understood, particularly at front line management level.

– Our reward systems are a significant HR driver, but front line managers don’t have clear definitions of the forces that drive human behaviour (Herzberg – “I can get you to move, but its not motivation”).

– Our reward systems don’t motivate the desired behaviours and results.

What was on the menu at that party?

Well perhaps the beginnings of an understanding of those forces that drive human behaviour including:

– FOCUS ………………………………………………I know what to do

– FEEDBACK ………………………………………..I know how well I’m doing

– COMPETENCIES & CAPABILITIES ………I know how to do it

– REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES ……. I have a reason for doing it

On reflection, the party isn’t over quite yet, there are those organisations that are re-energising their performance management process to provide a “fitting opportunity” to focus on

– competencies & accountability

– line manager & employee joint training

– rewarding brand-enhancing behaviour

– rewarding self-development

– teaching cross-functional & collaborative skills

The invitation to attend is still open, make the link between performance, results and rewards clear to first line management.

Contact us for further information.

“Re-engaging with Fred”

It’s strange how we perceive things to have changed and moved on, frequently we become anxious that we are somehow lagging behind current thinking.

I was reminded of this during the delivery of some courses for a client this month.

I was promoting what for me are the “gurus” of motivation, McGregor, Maslow, Herzberg & Seligman. This was to give the delegates some context to begin to develop their own thinking as to ways of making it “live” for their own teams.

Reflecting on Frederick Herzberg’s “quality of work life” or the quality of life at work, I was drawn again into thinking about his list of “hygiene needs”. Specifically that one about “the quality of the technical & personal support offered to the employee by their supervisor”.

Herzberg implies that motivation is essentially about movement and that both ability and opportunity are key components in securing that movement. There is still a conscious decision to be made about whether “I want to or not.”

In reality that decision is about:

  1. Do I want to do it for you? (my supervisor)
  2. Do I want to do it for you? (my team)
  3. Do I want to do it for you? (my organisation)

1 & 2 above clearly lie within a supervisor’s remit and maybe this is where a platform for engagement needs to start.

This set me thinking that when it comes to employee engagement, should the focus move away from some form of organisational engagement survey to that group of people who have the greatest opportunity to really practice engagement?

Next week, attending Fred’s “engagement” party.

 

Does your training matter? (Week 5)

 Training Matters1

In Week 1 we set out to define the criteria for what matters to the organisation. This is how we are able to determine whether our training really matters. The four key criteria we identified were:

1. The efficiency of the training function

2. Key performance indicators for the organisation

3. Return on training investment

4. The organisation’s psychological capital

In Weeks 2 & 3, we looked at the actual efficiency of the training function and we offered the key measurement criteria/data from the efficiency of the training function and its potential impact on the organisation’s KPIs.

In Week 4, we looked at the key measures for return on investment for the organisation.

This final week, we look at “Psychological Capital” – the sum of the positive opinion held by people OUTSIDE the organisation. How the organisation is perceived in terms of psychological capital is divided into 3 types:

1 –  as a producer of goods and services (Image? Usefulness of product? Social acceptability of product? etc.)

2 – as an employer (Great place to work?)

3 – as a corporate citizen (Ecological stance? Contributions to Charity? Assistance to region/area/town?)

What are psychological capital measures as a producer of goods & services? Research suggests:

– Quality Awards

– Business Awards

– ISO type Awards

– Brand recognition research & studies

etc.

What are psychological capital measures as an employer? Research suggests:

– Fortune’s “Best companies to work for Index”

– EU Commission’s “Best 100 Employers”

– Investors in People – “Raising the Standard”

– Sunday Times “Top 100 Companies”

etc.

What are psychological capital measures as a corporate citizen? Research suggests:

– Dow Jones

– FTSE Index of socially responsible companies

– Cristian Aid – report on corporate responsibility

etc.

E-mail us or give us a call, make plans to make your training matter.

 

 

 

OD Intervention – is there ever a right time?

The choice of strategies and responses adopted by the decision makers to meet the challenges of change are their own.

As we previously mentioned, the role of the OD practitioner (internal or external) is to provide professional services to aid implementation. Neutrality is the first practitioner value, problem analysis the second and being non-prescriptive the third.

Six good reasons why you cannot afford not to start:

My own OD practice has its roots in the Investors in People framework and that has a number of contributions to make to the management of change :

  1. It becomes part of that change, in that it ensures that the “people” issues and implications of change are raised and understood by organisational decision makers.
  2. Its second contribution lies in helping individuals, especially managers, develop their ability to cope with change itself. Personal and team development programmes can be designed to build the coping skills required to live easily with the ambiguity and uncertainty which invariably accompany change.
  3. Its third contribution is in management development to enable managers to fulfil their responsibilities for engaging with and developing their people.
  4. Its fourth contribution can also form part of the management development, but has a wider application. It is simply to provide knowledge and skills in utilising change processes i.e. to overcome the 3 barriers to change, knowing, believing and agreeing.
  5. Its fifth contribution leads out of the fourth, in that specific change will require new knowledge and skills in order for individuals to continue to perform effectively.
  6. The sixth and equally important contribution, is the proper and effective use of the training function to encourage and enable individuals, teams and the organisation to regularly review their current performance.

Whatever strategies and responses are adopted by the decision makers to meet the challenges of change are the decision makers own.

Start the conversations in your organisation, call or e-mail us.