Our approach to consulting
Working with human beings and our “systems”
Your organisation, like any system consists of many parts, some of which can become separate and develop a life of their own. We look at harmony and integration between all parts of your people network and processes, first by bearing in mind the fundamental goals of each:
- the systems for generating service, productivity, profit and growth
- the human dimension for satisfaction, creativity and resourcefulness.
With you, we look at how your people work with your systems to produce an enterprise that continues to create value – seeing what works and where it is inefficient or fragmented, using our 7 Elements Essential Kit.
We are passionate about ordinariness – that decent, grounded integrity – like good, natural, honest service. It is that experience of the unpretentious, willing and generous heart that inspires us – and we celebrate it as extraordinary.
We cherish our search with others to create that alchemy in organisations – building the extraordinary from the ordinary.
We are robust in our approach – completely respectful of your organisation, the good the bad and the ugly! We bring not a critical, but an appreciative eye through non judgemental observation. We first ask questions and listen a lot. We invite cards on the table; “What’s it really like here?”
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Effectiveness and change
We prefer to focus on organisation effectiveness more than just change. This requires an approach that includes hard measures to show the organisation is achieving what it set out to do, efficiently, resourcefully and creatively.
Engage people in business change and they find the energy to act
Successful organisation effectiveness programmes use current issues and engage people from the start when introducing changes. A purely top-down approach which shields people from difficult external realities, or attempts to minimise their ‘anxiety’ is counter-productive.
Inclusion and participation
Participation is responsibility in action. Whilst senior managers need to retain their responsibility, we encourage individuals to say what needs to be said, to take initiatives, to solve problems. By participating fully, people satisfy both their own and the organisation’s interest.
Seeing the whole
Change in one part of an organisation has an impact in other parts. Organisations are systems and the law of unforeseen consequences can create surprises. The whole system includes the external environment in which it survives or thrives.
External challenge is important
People become immersed in their own reality, supported by unconscious assumptions and taken-for-granted routines – not seeing the wood from the trees. External challenge or input helps new ways of thinking and behaviour to emerge.
Stability in organisations
Whereas there is a lot of emphasis on change, the idea of change has no meaning without the context of what is continuous, what is staying the same? Organisations need stable structures and systems to perform in the short term, and they also need some ‘order’ within which people can cope with the turbulence of change.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT EFFECTIVE ORGANISATIONS
Appreciate the good bits
We are big believers in finding out what is good about a business, what works and why. Where is the value in the business? The strength of our work is that we build on what exists rather than ignore or re-invent the current or previous effort. We have found expertise, good ideas, wisdom and valuable experience when we’ve gone looking in our clients’ organisations – all available to be used.
Lasting success depends on developing an organisation’s (people’s) inherent capacity and appetite for learning and all that means and change. “If we do what we always did, we’ll get what we always got”!
It’s not about structure
Organisations are not like machines; they are also a community of assorted people. Alterations to structures and procedures are only a small part of a change process. The real work lies in engaging with the informal processes – all your people going about their daily business with their beliefs, preferences, personal agendas and behaviours.
It takes time and leadership
The senior managers’ behaviour is 100 times louder than anything they say. Their time and commitment is essential; they are either deliberately and consciously at the forefront of what’s new, or unconsciously its hindrance and an anchor to old (unhelpful) ways.
Resistance is not always what it seems
People throughout the organisation give their energy and commitment to change when they have been involved in developing the strategy and can see their own contribution woven into the overall framework. People do not resist transitions itself. They resist being changed and any losses implied by the new.
You need a strategy to handle the unexpected
An overall effectiveness strategy provides a sense of purpose and direction and a framework for action. The consequences of action are rarely entirely predictable, hence the implementation of anything that is emerging or interactive.