Helping organisations to sharpen the saw
Organisations are under pressure, it is a must to stay lean and ensure any bottlenecks are removed to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
With all good intentions, new and incremental initiatives and programmes are created, often to drive sales volume. At some point, however, organisations realise that continuing to do what is currently being done is no longer sufficient. One is losing market share, customer satisfaction, margin erosion is eating into the profitability etc.
As a result, companies turn inward, away from the customer and often seem to spend more time on business re-engineering and restructuring than they do on their core business — the bottle neck is evident. A neutral and experienced input from the outside often adds value.
Most of my work with industries outside the automotive industry is related to the three areas below:
1. Validating and devloping the strategic direction, concepts and operational strategies
Have business objectives and strategy been sufficiently defined to serve as a lighthouse for the organisation?
- If not, what has to be adjusted, improved, removed or changed?
- Have realistic implementation plans been defined that are not only «action plans», but where necessary incorporate the all-important change management component and getting everyone onboard?
- Has consideration been given to the fact the solutions of yesterday are often the problems today? It is not sufficient to focus on the short term only, even if some customers have claimed that they don’t have the capacity to think mid and longer term – they must survive today, or prove to «above» that they will deliver this year’s results. Only quick wins that are aligned, and not contra productive, with the mid and long term will get the companies out of the hectic and «actionitis».
Sooner or later the above leads to different types of projects, which should take the company in the improved direction.
Having successfully planned and implemented several hundred projects of various scopes and complexity, from pan-EU to local company projects, I can draw on substantial experience in project management.
2. Planning and implementing projects of strategic importance
One of the key reasons why strategic projects fail, have a small impact, or short tenure is that organisations take shortcuts and do not pay sufficient attention to the complexity. Implementation of strategic projects is more complex than just defining an objective and then execute an action plan. The urgent drives out the important – a symptom of the pressures in daily business.
I have often seen «the same project package with a new ribbon» being implemented again, where the staff that were present during the first attempt say «it didn’t work the first time, why should it work now?».
- Have robust strategic and specific project objectives, a road map, pre-requisites and an implementation plan been defined?
There are no shortcuts!
- Is sustainability of the project getting special attention in the project plans?
- Has the management and staff structure, roles & responsibilities, capcities, processes and tools been aligned for a successful implementation?
- What has to be improved in the important areas of mindset, leadership, motivation and behaviour to achieve buy-in before the project starts?
- Are the leaders ready to «walk the talk» and lead from the front? Do they understand the required balance between leadership and management?
- Do leaders have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to successfully drive the process until the new way of working is sustainably implemented?
- Is the organisation ready and does it have the required resources to embark on the project it intends to implement?
- Has the required effort for a sustainable implementation been correctly assessed?
3. Coaching, mentoring and training
- Round table meetings and discussions
- Facilitation of workshops
- Face-to-face work with managers and staff
- Group training & development
As a mentor of mine said in the early 90s:
«One must give people the knowledge, skills, and attitude before the output is required, not after!»
How true that still is!
Some of the clients worked with outside the automotive industry
Most of the work with the commercial organisations has been related to competence development in the areas of Management Consulting, B2B Sales Management, Key Account Management, Sales Productivity, Customer Satisfaction, Selling Skills, Presentation Skills, B2C Call Center Skills etc.
The work with the institutional organisations was related to lecturing and project management.