Risk – are you embracing the opportunities?

Mar01

There are three negative scenarios that we repeatedly encounter when performing a health check on a customers risk strategy.

Amazingly the most fundamental is that individual project managers simply are not tasked with incorporating a realistic risk assessment in the project plan.

However, even if they are tasked to do so, many are not given even the basic training or guidance to accomplish the assessment correctly.

In more than fifty per cent of the instances where they are both tasked and trained appropriately, then the view of risk is one sided; risk is only viewed as a threat.

Overlay on to the above that the results of an experimental study show that subjects who are led to believe that they are very competent at decision making see more opportunities in a risky choice, and that the reverse is true; those who are led to believe that they are not very competent see more threats and take fewer risks.

It’s not surprising then that during a period of recession; very few companies are exploiting the opportunities that could be found in a balanced risk assessment.

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Recession Are you going to downsize? Or develop your workforce?

Mar01

Unfortunately, in a recession many companies face an unpleasant choice: downsize, or die…

For a few the situation is untenable – they have fixed costs of large numbers of staff on the payroll when there are no orders on the books and therefore no work for them to do.

But in other instances there are orders coming through and there are opportunities to improve customer service levels and drive more business at the cost of the competition. The unpalatable truth is that often the soft option is to reduce staffing levels rather than change an ineffective culture.

Changing the internal culture of a business is a tough proposition.

In reality, for a lot of companies the recession presents an opportunity for them to engage their staff more fully through innovation and develop a long term loyalty through trust.

Innovation and trust are the two key ingredients for developing your human capital.

Maximising human capital drives competitive advantage.

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If modern communications are so much better these days… Then why isn’t the message getting through?

Mar01

The sad truth is that some of us have become complacent. Today’s businesses have access to a host of technologies which are designed to aid us with planning, decision making, business process management and a myriad of other real world ‘solutions’. But are these technology solutions enough on their own?

Why do we still see people sending an e-mail to the person right next to them and “absolving” themselves of the responsibility to resolve an issue?

This, amongst many other common failings, may go some way to explaining why there are so many misunderstandings between team members and colleagues.

When did your company last prepare, document and publish your own communications strategy?

Map out all the stakeholders; including customer and suppliers; define the reporting lines and the methods and tools for how they would work together and what they could expect from each other, either as a team or in a collaborative environment?

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Communications

Feb02

If modern communications are so much better these days…
Then why isn’t the message getting through?

The sad truth is that some of us have become complacent. Today’s businesses have access to a host of technologies which are designed to aid us with planning, decision making, business process management and a myriad of other real world ‘solutions’. But are these technology solutions enough on their own?

Why do we still see people sending an e-mail to the person right next to them and “absolving” themselves of the responsibility to resolve an issue?

This, amongst many other common failings, may go some way to explaining why there are so many misunderstandings between team members and colleagues.

When did your company last prepare, document and publish your own communications strategy?

Map out all the stakeholders; including customer and suppliers; define the reporting lines and the methods and tools for how they would work together and what they could expect from each other, either as a team or in a collaborative environment?

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Lean in the service environment

Feb02

Implementing manufacturing based ‘lean’ principles in a Service environment

Most of us understand ‘Lean’ as traditionally applied in a manufacturing environment. The principles of cutting waste from business processes in that industry are considered fundamental.

But if the benefits are that good, then should we not apply these principles to all our business processes, regardless of industry? Irrespective of front or back office?

Many people would like to, but surprisingly they believe that ‘lean’ is a collection of ‘black arts’, and like any unknown territory, they keep well clear.

However just as surprising is how closely most of us adhere to the principles of 5S in our everyday lives, purely through common sense.

By way of example, at home we have storage for our possessions. Organised people place these possessions in the correct storage place to keep things tidy. They then visually inspect the area to ensure they haven’t missed anything. They only store those items that are supposed to be there. They have items close to where they’re needed. They keep the area clean and tidy. Other people who share their home with them also know where things belong and all of them work together to maintain the status quo on an on-going basis

Unless of course they can come up with a way to improve it; then they just naturally do so.

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Management development

Feb02

Is a structured management development programme just plain common sense?

The answer will undoubtedly be yes, but let’s have a look at the check list in a highly effective company…
The board sets the vision and publishes the corporate values.

A culture of leadership, as well as good management practices supports world-class competitiveness, which sets them apart.

Employee innovation is encouraged and rewarded, in an open, blameless environment, which means that everyone, at all levels, is fully engaged.

Team goals are aligned with the corporate strategy, as is the people-culture, throughout all levels of the enterprise.
Both supplier and customer partnerships are fully developed and continuously being monitored and improved.

Visual management techniques are in place throughout the business and the process of continuous improvement is being driven at all levels through innovation.

Would a health check on “where are we now?” either confirm that everything is on track or provide a roadmap for improvement going forward?

If you’d like to find out more then click the link at the top right of this page…

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Culture vs Strategy

Feb02

Do you really have to choose?

An innovation and design company CEO recently stated, “Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR.”

Some of you may agree, but there is a strong argument to say that the importance of an engaged employee culture is vastly underrated. It is also true that an engaged culture does have a huge impact on competitive advantage.

In essence, an engaged employee culture, aligned with strategic goals, results in greater competitive advantage.

In today’s business atmosphere, this could make the difference for survival.

Therefore, a methodology to assess, plan and improve employee culture is vital. What methods do you use to achieve this?

So, is culture more important than strategy? The answer is no, both should under-pin your business.

Strategy points the way to success and an engaged employee culture gets it there.

If you’d like to find out more, then click the link at the top right of this page…

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Lean through-out the business

Feb02

So you’ve implemented ‘lean’ on the shop floor
Now what about the rest of the company?

Things have changed dramatically over the last ten years.

Back in 2002, most of the manufacturing companies we dealt with had either implemented ‘lean’ techniques on the shop floor, or were intending to in the near future. Very few however were planning to roll this ‘lean’ implementation out into other areas of their business.

Now, in 2012, we find that many have taken that step and are reaping the benefits of a ‘lean’ culture, top to bottom, throughout the enterprise.

For those that haven’t taken that step yet, it’s a straight-forward check list to follow:-

  • Communicate the organisation’s Vision and Strategy
  • Commit to a ‘Continuous and Sustainable improvement Plan’
  • Implement a communications strategy for full employee engagement
  • Prioritise areas of improvement
  • Define processes that contribute to problems
  • Measure the capability of each process
  • Analyse the data
  • Control process variability
  • Standardise methods
  • Integrate methods into design/process cycles

If you’d like to find out more implementing ‘lean’ through-out the business, then click the link at the top right of this page…

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Assess Improve Measure

Feb02

Assess
“It doesn’t matter how good you are at navigating your way through, if you don’t know where you are now, it’s impossible to know which direction to take.”

Which is why we recommend the first thing we do together is a health check on the current state of ‘where you are now’? The results of this assessment can lead to many opportunities to improve and form the basis for planning an accurate direction, supported by the facts, from which we can progress.

Improve
Our programmes are generic in that they can be applied to any organisation regardless of size, complexity, location or market sector. This is possible because the programmes are principle based. Principles are characterised as:-

Universal – in that they apply to every organisation

Self-validating – in that they have been proven in practice over many years

Empowering – because they give management and staff at all levels added confidence and ability to influence, shape and innovate their own workflow environment in line with corporate goals and strategy, across the enterprise.

Measure
For a programme to become more than just a compliance led activity within your organisation, the values of the principles of the programme, measured by return on investment, must be determined, monitored, improved and communicated.

The programme’s degree of success is assessed directly as a result of the amount of measurable value achieved.

 

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