Thursday, 2 December 2010

Escalate or procrastinate, anyway... pass the potato

Picture this... you are in a corporate environment and you are concerned about how something is going or if a project is moving quick enough so you escalate.

What happens next.... well it goes up an organisation until eventually gets to someone who can do something about it.
What goes up must come down right ?
What happens next, you go up the management chain, then someone comes back down like a boomerang and asks the same questions you would have asked and now youre micro managing the people who need to get the thing done, they get bitter and twisted and slow down because they think you don't trust them, then they start drinking, put their tools down and go home.
The very thing you were trying to speed up just slowed down.
Who's fault ? for not managing upwardly ?
Ok, I'm exaggerating a little, but not much.
Is there a better way ?  Absolutely.
Look, I'm not saying if things arn't moving you should leave them, but the height of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
The three things to do to accelerate a project are:
1. Discover
Work out what the real problem is, get buy in from the people you are working with, they know whats going on, they're probably just a bit weiry and too close to the problem
2. Coach & Act
Once youve found out what's going on, brainstorm ways to get the best traction, you will be surprised by the result. The person with the problem knows the answer they are just looking for leadership and support.
3. Inform
This old fashioned method doesn't work and is in-effective.(Tell people your problem for support, then they beat you up with it!)
Definitely the professional way is keep people in the loop, give them feedback on whats going on and what you are doing about it, it makes you look good and stops them driving you mad. By the way, If they are driving you mad, that's your fault!
Interested to hear from your experience the best methods you have seen to mange effective escalations and more importantly getting critical stuff done with a sense or urgency.
Make it happen the right way, you deserve it!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

DIY SURGERY - Dont try this at home

When you are managing people remotely there's a temptation to leave people alone to get on with life, and after all people don't want to be micro-managed. But recently I was reminded of the importance of spending quality time with people in a supportive role, so they know you care and they have someone to lean on, with surprising results.
I was travelling to a european country and spending time with one of the leaders where he described his frustration with people who don't follow through.
He described the problem where some issue had been outstanding for 3 months, and not outstanding in the positive sense.
As that person happened to be in the office that day I suggested we got him to come into the room where we were working, we quickly discussed the problem together and came up with a joint solution which he went away and immediately resolved.

We repeated this with 3 other individuals throughout the day with similar success.

Wow, this got me thinking !

We are always so busy being busy that sometimes I missed the obvious.

If you manage people remotely, why not set up a "Surgery Day" where you can spend constructive time with the manager, but also play a supportive role with the larger team, and build a brilliant relationships at the same time, getting to know people better but visually showing your support.
Do it Your Self Surgery!, try it, you will get amazing results (don't try this at home)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

3 Reasons transformations fail and 3 ways to get success

Most transformations fail to get traction

Most transformations fail for three key reasons:

No/Low Sponsorship
The change required is understood intellectually but doesn’t really have senior level or stakeholder commitment, mainly because they don’t believe the outcome will meet the goal, and that the activity will de-focus people away from the core business
Failing to balance the short and long term
Organisations try to change too much at once, and not focus on the areas that will give the greatest return, and therefore spread the jam too thin, with little real traction in the right areas, and take too long to get a result. Transformation should be long and short term focused, with a strong focus on short/medium significant results
No/Low Focus
Because people are already busy, the wrong people are assigned normally on a part time basis. Generally having the wrong people doing the wrong things, too much analysis and presumptions about what needs addressed with a lack of experience about what really needs to be done, and the people who have the experience and need to be assigned are busy elsewhere or not put forward by their management, as Transformation sometimes gets seen as something that is done on the side.
So what are the three priority activities I should address ?

1. Maintain your Sweet spot

Your Company core business is key. This is your sweet spot, It makes sense to maintain the integrity of this area and build a wrap around it so you are improving the service but linking it to services which are incremental but complementary to the core. Look for areas of significant Improvement in the core but don’t divert the majority of the people.
2. Build a Parallel Stream

Create focused solutions that are a wrap to the core business. Develop incremental business streams that are the fastest to build and are key up sell services that complement the core and provide customers the opportunity to enhance what they already have. This will be the fastest and most successful way to addresses year 2 onwards of the 5 Year plan and get ahead of the curve in time.
Get a small team of people who are dedicated full-time, use mainly internal people so you can get commitment and bring people with you on the journey, add a few customer advocates and an external subject matter expert who knows the pitfalls, knows what good looks like and has a track record of doing this before.
3. Prove the value quickly
There are 90-120 days to get traction, during your focused work stream make sure you get Incremental and significant results quickly so people see that this is not another programme that doesn’t deliver, and your stakeholders gain confidence quickly. This will also ensure further sponsorship you will require to accelerate. You will need to have a really clear idea about where to focus for the best returns and move aggressively towards your goal. Shock and Awe!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Keep your head when others are losing theirs

It’s an interesting time at the moment, a number of people are recalling similar stories, the current market is bringing out the best and the worst behaviour in people. Pressure and uncertainty does interesting things to people. consequence is you may be working for someone right now that’s acting a little strange and putting you under pressure for non rational reasons. You may even be one of those people, no Gary, not me I hear you say, maybe you dont realise it. Anyway, they can be forgiven, tough market, uncertainty, a little bit nervous.

The truth is the reality is a little different, you get what you expect, and there are a number of people out there who are really moving forward at the moment.They are keeping their heads when others are losing theirs, and I don’t mean jobs. Its not what happens to you right now that matters its how you react to what happens. A close friend once told me, don’t worry about organisational change, keep your head, work hard, be professional, and wait 3 months it will all change anyway, and to be honest, if it doesn’t, you can.

We spend most of our day at work, we may as well make sure we’re having fun.

Here is a tip for changing someones mood, especially the grumpy ones;

You can make 9 out of 10 people like you immediately!

You can make 9 out of 10 people courteous, cooperative and friendly in 1 second (with the same magic)

How I hear you ask, well its very simple are you will probably think a little too simple, but it works.

Remember that the first few seconds of any relationship usually sets the tone and spirit of it. and then by utilising the 2nd basic law of human behaviour, people strongly tend to respond in kind to the behaviour of other people. In every human relations act a dealing between two people there is an atmosphere, a mood, a stage set, the skill is to set the atmosphere, either you set it or the other person will, set it and you own the advantage. Sounds simple but its really works!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Eureka Moment: How to get 15 Swedish Meatballs

Eureka Moment: How to get 15 Swedish Meatballs

How to get 15 Swedish Meatballs

I had an Interesting shopping experience the other day, went to IKEA, had to follow the yellow brick road around the store, not allowed off the path, to make sure you see everything in the store before you end up at the end of the conveyer belt in the restaurant.

This is the big moment, Swedish Meatballs! I was really looking forward to this culinary delight, but I was greeted by someone serving who clearly didn’t want to be there, if only she knew it takes more effort to frown than to smile, but by the look of her face, she hadn’t made this discovery.

I watched her counting the 10 meatballs per customer slopped onto the plate.

I noticed the badge, “Vera happy to help”, are you sure ?

I couldnt resist…… I called her by name, took an interest in her, made her laugh and ended up getting 15 Swedish Meatballs with extra potatoes and a large smile.

What’s the moral to the story.

Building relationships is the main key to success in anything you do. You will get better results by a magnitude.

It’s easy to moan and complain about the way people are, but it takes Balls! to do something positive and contructive about it.

…… and watch out because the impact will be tremendous.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Lone Ranger or the Invisible Man

Let's face it, most people think customer service sucks!

We've all been there. So few examples to draw on for good customer service. The moment that stands out, where you want to share this rare event with everyone.

Normally it's the stuff you gasp at, you would have found it difficult to plan to give service in this way, you feel you are on one of those management courses where they demonstrate how bad it can be.

No one wants to laugh too much, as they are not too sure what might be happening in their organisation.

The truth is, it doesnt take much to differentiate and stand out, as the majority of customer experience is underwhelming

So go the extra mile, treat every activity like the customer depends on it, get noticed, no one else is doing it..... your customers will love you for it!

Don't be Invisible....Stand out!

Friday, 26 February 2010

The Hottest Coal on the Fire!

There is a great deal of discussion in Organisations at the moment about how much politics people need to navigate, and the consequences are very Interesting. The follow on discussion is normally about how many Silos there are and how great it would be if there wasn't any Silo thinking or politics. The truth is, that's not the Issue. The real Issue is the lack of understanding about Inter-depandancy. If it was your company, I guess the priority would be to get everyone working together, so the Eureka moment is that if we get our heads around being Inside the tent looking out rather than on the outside looking in, we have a much better chance of success. There are too many people who are really great at what they do, they are really hot. In fact they are the hottest coal on the fire! But the people who are the most effective have the foresight and capability to bring people with them, getting buy in,influencing and understanding the Importance of Inter-Dependancy. After all, they may be the hottest coal on the fire, but sometimes the hottest coal, rolls off and smoulders out on its own rather than igniting the others. Are you Hot or Smouldering ?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

We Evolve while they Dissolve

People develop over time, like a muscle the more experience they have the better they become, as they add knowledge and learn what works and what doesn't work. I think you will agree that we are better and more capable at what we do now, than we were five years ago.
If you are with me so far, then you would also agree if you put a bunch of these people together, like minded people who have developed or evolved, that it would create a power to be reckoned with ?
The collective wisdom and experience of people in Organisations should lead to accelerated learning and progress.
Still with me ?
Now think of a Company that springs to mind that is harnessing this power that is moving in the same direction as the evolution of the sum of its people.
They are few and far between, and they do exist, but most organisations are either staying level or sometimes going backwards.
The key difference between Organisations Evolving or Dissolving is that they create the environment to understand that they hired smart people who collectively can make a difference and contribute to multiplying success, use this as a catalyst and are mainly externally focussed.
Are you harnessing what you have access to ?

Monday, 18 January 2010

I'm all Actioned Out!

Actions, tasks deadlines, that's all we hear about. Is there no rest. The world's gone mad, no time to breath.
I was thinking about this the other day, everything is full on, people talk a great deal about getting things done, but most people miss the fundamentals.
There is a big focus on writing things down, taking notes, putting plans together.
People go to a great deal of trouble to put large complex grand plans together, but miss the point.
Yeah we know, fail to plan, plan to fail, but, brace yourself....
Anything x 0 = Bugger All! ie: if you go to the trouble of putting a plan together but don't take Action, then Nothing Happens.
Obvious, I hear you say ?
Don't get me wrong, It's a good first step.
I've seen too many dusty plans.
Take Action, you'll get excited by the result.