If you want to read the whole article you can download this PDF below.
"In this age of turbulence, uncertainty and complexity, organisations, in whichever sector, have to act strategically and position themselves to anticipate and drive home change. Whether you lead or manage a commercial, not for profit a third sector organization, you must take the strategic management of change seriously, or you can join the line of businesses and organizations which no longer exist. In this article, the authors focus specifically on the voluntary or third sector and maintain that too many of these organisations prevaricate and delay making decisions about how to structure themselves for change and improvement. They maintain that there are some trusted commercial remedies for resolving severe organisational threat that can be easily replicated, and if accepted, rather than resisted, can develop a much stronger and more resilient organisation."
If you want to read the whole article you can download this PDF below.
Soft Due Diligence is about finding out what makes the engine of the business tick, and how we can best leverage our skills to make the two or more businesses who are close to forming a partnership, acquisition or joint venture get the most from the alliance.
Forget any ideas of merging cultures. Merging or integrating cultures ends up in confusion and ambiguity. The resulting averaging process would create a cocktail of cultures, which would confuse all parties.
As it is required to consider strongly the dominant aspects of each corporate culture, it is worthy to note that most cultures have evolved more by accident than design. We do find that many organisations have been shaped by times of intense control in creating a specific culture to deal with a crisis or an opportunity, and periods of more of less slack or non-existent influence when the organisation has drifted.
Every CEO and senior person influences the culture, and not always in a good way. What you can be sure of when you look at a culture and assess its relative strengths and limitations, is that you need a rigorous and robust approach
Robust & Rigorous Model
A variety of tools including interviewing, focus groups, and questionnaires to assess the relative health of merging the businesses are applied. These should be designed around a unique approach and a robust model for change.
The design of the initial diagnosis is important. Consider working in a cross border deal. As well as studying ownership, control and organisational culture, the context of the cross-border partnership and the transactions and markets, that will be focused upon are critical in supporting a correct diagnosis.
Cross Border Deals
Consider an example of working in Europe with a German and a Swedish business. The National cultures have similarities and major differences – of which these consequences have to be analysed, especially when the key markets for growth because of the acquisition (for illustration) will be in Southern and Eastern Europe. You will note, there is no more complexity here than in most businesses. Is this an impossible merger? No, it just will require analysis that is more detailed and rigorous integration plans.
UK IT Solutions
Another comparison is a British IT solutions provider with strong ambitions to form joint ventures in Germany and Austria to fill a strong market demand will have to assess their relative chances of success. Because they undertook Soft Due Diligence of several businesses they now understand that they have to create a strong permanent presence in Germany before they can form any alliances. Being aware of the Germanic culture, that company will site an office in the heart of the major city that services their key market – in this case Stuttgart.
Political & Economic Context
Consider several businesses in an African state of such as Nigeria. One would have to take account of the National culture, its religious and political heritage. It would also be wise to consider political conflicts that have arisen between the three key tribal groups and contemplate also how this will affect your business if you are going to trade in specific geographies. For instance, in some regions the dominant tribal grouping may exert more influence in some territories than others, and this could impact on human resource, supply and logistics issues.
We can see how one model may be suited for Sweden but would clearly be inappropriate for work in Africa. It is important to work extensively to understand the political and economic context in which the deal is has to be finalised in order to avoid the potential of business failure.
Partnering with Dealmakers
It is clear that one approach does not fit all, and the approach to cross border work is unique and tailored with precision. This is because those undertaking the research to work very closely with the partners of the businesses and to confront potential problems early on. Only by doing this, can we develop strategies to resolve key issues for immediate action.
What is important is that there should be no surprises along the tortuous route of business expansion due to merger or just organic growth.
In some cases, nationality can have a profound effect on post acquisition integration because it may favour one particular style of management akin to the relative culture of a country or a region, but it is also important to consider corporate culture in different functions, territories and specific facilities.
Nobody has time to run around businesses handing out questionnaires, then assessing, and ranking these by site and function. Soft Due Diligence is not a corporate climate survey to assess the relative state of teamwork, communication and the role of training – rather it is strategic, not tactical, and focuses on how to resolve issues that will arise when the businesses come together to form the new larger business entity.
Speed & Confidence in the Approach
Speed is of the essence, and rapid improvement and implementation must be the key strength. When one understands the process of change in this context, one can anticipate problems and address them before they become a major barrier to integration.
Of course, one has to realise the considerations of the strong Investor groups and institutions as well as the behaviour, both actual and predicted, of the existing and the new management team.
“Sensitive” and “incisive” are two words, which come to mind in this study. The study is a quick and reliable series of storyboards and scenarios that capture the spirit, the opportunities, and the scope for growth are identified and presented.
Ultimately, the data generated from Soft Due diligence, and the decisions that flow from these studies are the direct input for post acquisition strategies for speedy integration.
Embracing Change vs. Being the Casualty of an Inability to Adapt
The huge challenge facing organizations is mastering the ability to continually renew themselves to cope with the increasing complex and turbulent business environment. Most organizations have not mastered that process. Many change initiatives do not achieve the purpose for which they were designed nor bestow the benefits originally espoused by their architects.
Whatever the source of the threat or challenge, whether it be a hostile takeover, unexpected merger, forced downsizing, increased competition from new market entrants, intense scrutiny by regulators, negative and adverse feedback from users, clients or customers, OD can provide a variety of strategies to react positively to that challenge. The effective practise of OD will ensure that the organization is mastering the change process, rather than being subjugated by it.
Change is about Mindset not Systems
For any organization to survive it has to develop the mindset, the wherewithal and the infrastructure and the internal OD capability to manage that change. The alternative is a route which many organizations have taken, which is relying on outsiders who have little knowledge of the organization or emotional investment in its longer term survival. Although this option of going ‘external’ is very attractive, it’s also lazy. Only a quick fix, it can create a severe lack of confidence in ‘current internal staff change capability’ - choosing instead to rely solely on outsider consultants.
Develop your own Change Agents
Using outsiders has plenty of advantages, but unless you change the fundamental ability to permanently manage change within the ‘current culture’, you will leave yourselves exposed to having to rely on others to deal successfully with change in the future.
To read the whole article click the PDF below
Running a lot of programmes on business transformation requires us to form, shape and develop team problem solving to resolve companywide problems using RIEs’ or Rapid Improvement Events. This necessitates bringing people together from different functions and locations to work on finally resolving long running issues that put the business at risk and hold it back from achieving its potential with its clients and customers.
Poor Meetings Culture
Building and developing a positive team problem solving culture is what I am tasked to do, and we do it well. We have a great track record. But, what holds us back is the existing slow moving, bureaucratic and indecisive meeting culture currently resident in the business.
You would not believe how poor this can be. In many cases it’s evident that very few people have ever been trained in utilising their key behaviours to reach effective decisions and making the most out of the humble meeting.
Mastering Potential of Meetings
Meeting should be vibrant and energised forums which are valued, and which generate outstanding ideas and decisions. The focus should be on implementation and ‘doing and acting’, more rather than just ‘talking and thinking’. They need to be active, not passive, vibrant not stolid.
What worries me most is that the ‘default’ settings for most meetings is one of low expectations of those attending. It’s taken for granted and accepted that this is the way that things are when they could be so much more exciting, fulfilling and purposeful.
Did you know that the average manager probably spends 50-70% of their time each day in some form of meetings? This of course depends on the nature of the role, the number of staff reporting to them or the amount of interaction with customers, users or clients. You have to ask yourself, how much of this time is wasted and if you compound all the time of those attending those meetings, you get some very scary idea of how any performance is managed and achieved.
I expect I am not the only to note that most organizations have a very poor meetings culture characterised by:
Self-assess your own Business
The list of problems relating to ineffective meetings could fill a flip chart and it is my intention here to state what we can do about it. Before I do that, I wanted to share the thoughts of some very profound thinkers and doers and business leaders who have strong views on meetings.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ view which he shared with his top team and their direct reports was "You have a meeting to make a decision, not to decide on the question."
Elon Musk, the co-founder of Pay Pal, CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX is a critic of ineffective business meetings and once sent an email to staff in which he made some "strong recommendations" about streamlining operations "Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value."
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, radically streamlined meetings at the social media giant by asking managers the point of a meeting - to "make a decision” not have a discussion with little action arising from it.
Tailored and shaped for the Organization
So, where are we going with this? As part of our Facilitator training in Rapid Improvement Events, we run a robust, dynamic and interactive series of workshops to equip newly created teams to create the results that radically improve business performance. In many cases, this directly confronts the poor meetings culture that dominates many organizations.
What has surprised us is that these workshops, which were designed for Business Transformation and RIE projects, have morphed into a completely new set of mature meeting sessions branded as ‘superior decision making’ in a variety of client organizations – simply because they work.
And they must be tailored precisely to ensure that the old meeting culture does not inhibit the new dynamic approach. So this starts with a simple diagnostic and data gathering phase that morphs into a series of workshops and on-line support for attendees.
So, this is what we offer – two-day sessions that focus on:
So, I’d be interested if this sparks any thought. Please continue the discussion and if you’d like to talk about how we can help you, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
We are currently producing a whole series of training Video programs which can be accessed on-line. I love the whole process from working on the key ideas to developing story boards, detailed scripts, graphics and shooting and editing video footage.
Learning is a Core Competence
The competitive differentiator for any ‘high flyer’ rising through the organization is based on the ability to adapt, learn and be flexible by adopting solutions based focus. We support that assertion and deliver the means to achieve those skills.
100,000 Learners for 2020
Our purpose is to examine, analyse, finally distil and communicate our experience, acquired skills and knowledge via a huge data bank, and equip people in all sectors and walks of life, and increase our student base to over 100,000 by the end of 2020.
Managing Disruptive Change
The challenge that faces today’s businesses and organisations is huge in comparison to what has gone before. In order to maintain current performance, you have to be sure that your people are well equipped to not just deal with the demands of today but also to be prepared to take on the challenges of tomorrow.
As well as providing structured learning in formal settings we also believe we can support people in solving complex issues with our on-line contribution, including the use of our on-line Learning Management System equipping people to be certified in Business Transformation inclusive of certification in Lean Six Sigma at Yellow, Green and Black Belt levels.
We recognise that most people nowadays are time poor, and often the only way they can improve their core skills base and knowledge is to allocate time to access on-line content such as videos, audio, case studies, published articles and best practise handouts, exercises and instant quizzes that capture best practise and useful tips that way.
Global Learning in Change Skills
It seems to be working for us. We have only just started in this process and already we have over 4,000 students online in over 70 countries using our video training. Over 180 have completed certification and a further 340 are working towards certification in Business Transformation and Lean Six Sigma.
Our Learning Message – 100,000 Learners by 2020
Not an immodest target – we plan to organise and distil best practise in learning and change management and inform, debate and discuss communicate experience, core competencies, skills and knowledge via massive shared database to equip people in all sectors and walks of life and increase our student base to over 100,000 in 2 years.
Join and support us on that Journey
We are currently signing-up organizations and key people who want to be part of this learning journey. We already have the software and delivery. We are keen to access leading organizations and their OD Change practitioners and HRD teams for their participation.
Basically, we are inviting organizations to volunteer key staff to undertake research and explore the learning with their teams. We are looking for opportunities to develop further materials to deal with the age of Disruptions (this article may interest you - below text).
If you want to join us and learn more – contact me now Philip@philipatkinson.com
Some years ago we committed to a new vibrant project by working with Jeff Whitecross from Quadrille. I have worked with Jeff for over 25 years when we started out with VHS training videos on Quality Management and Culture Change.
Most of the videos were of me talking at conferences and running workshops sessions in corporate settings and marketed them as accelerated learning packages in those days. We worked on everything from Leadership Culture Change, TQM to Personal Effectiveness, Group Problem Solving and Team Empowerment.
Issues: Turning uncontrolled ‘Disruption’ into a Transformation Agenda
Our current preoccupation is dealing with the taming the torrent of ‘organizational disruption’ to create a disciplined flow of learning and change based methodologies and on-line and formal learning opportunities and solutions. Again, if you want to join us and learn more contact me now Philip@philipatkinson.com
The phrase “The culture has to change” – is almost a daily occurrence in the media the but is anybody listening? In recent history you have to ask are the cultures that exist in many of today’s organisations actually fit for purpose. We have heard it in the context of the uncontrolled demise of Carillion, BHS, RBS, and Worldwide Banking with austerity effects that’s ongoing. In the UK, the British MP expenses scandal is still simmering and not fixed.
In the auto industry the disclosure of Volkswagen worldwide emission irregularities is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of unacceptable behaviour in the sector. Sport is also a casualty. The Sky cycling team are under investigation for the use of the apparently non-regulated and documented of use of TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exceptions of certain drugs) in the Giro de Italia and the Tour de France in 2017.
The culture of organisations such as Football is still in the lime-light as is International Athletics. FIFA’s culture is under a cloud and investigation for corrupt practises around vote rigging associated with the hosting of the upcoming World Cup. Pressure on the IAAF for ‘inconsistency’ and failing to maintain ‘standards on drug use’ resulting in the disclosure on widespread doping by Russian Athletes has led to withdrawals in the Olympics, Paralympics and 2018 Winter Olympics. Investigation into the ‘bullying culture’ of Police and failing NHS Trusts and Local Authorities is almost a monthly occurrence, as well as poor performance in our wider educational system. It seems that the cultures that operate in many of our institutions and business organizations are just not fit for purpose.
To read the complete article you can download it below........
Is Coaching just a lazy way to outsource the thinking that your key managers should be committing to personally. It’s an interesting idea, and not one that makes me popular amongst my Coaching buddies – but true in many circumstances. I mean, ask yourself…..
If Output does not exceed Input, why do it?
Much of what I do falls within my unorthodox way to facilitate tangible, measured organisational and personal learning that generates results. – that is, supporting managers and their teams to take 100% ownership and commit to practising and perfecting new behaviours by ‘doing’ things (rather than just knowing more) that cause significant improvement?
What is important is that improvement should be a ‘continuous’ and measured journey of 'practising' and 'doing' things which pitch organisational performance beyond the competition and provide value for money to stakeholders and shareholders alike.
The Knowing – Doing Gap
My belief is that the average organisation does not activate, energise and motivate their people to start ‘doing’ more and raising their profile and performance. My experience is that far too much ‘run of the mill’ traditional L&D Coaching resides in people ‘knowing more’ – but not actually actively experimenting and performing at the higher level.
I take a strong point from change guru and acclaimed author Robert Quinn, that much deeper learning comes from ‘doing’ and ‘actively experimenting and being held to account’ than the common orthodoxy from passive reflection and group discussion.
Stretch beyond Your Comfort Zone
From personal interventions, I am also led to believe that people learn much more by stretching beyond their current comfort zones and actively and fearlessly ‘going for it’. If I had a large company I would want my staff to stretch and challenge more than offered by the orthodox route of attending routine, non-challenging training seminars and lacklustre and safe 1:1 or group coaching.
ROI on traditional Coaching and L&D
This next few bullet points may interest people who actually care and are responsible for performance…….
And know that Nothing Changes until behaviour Changes. This simple truth has always guided my business advisory work. Stop doing what does not work and start doing what does. It’s as simple as that. And I am a great believer that we do learn more from failure than from great success.
I would be interested in your views and hope this short piece enlivens the debate over what works in organisational change work as opposed to that which consumes resource and time, but contributes little.
Email Philip Atkinson
Tangible ROI in Performance Improvement
We live in an uncertain economy, where organizations and management teams have to second-guess the unrelenting pressures that impact and change the conditions under which their organizations operate. As the need for adapting to change speeds up, in reality, the ability to process information and make informed decisions to implement change slows down. There appears to be an inverse relationship between the ‘need to change’ and the willingness and to ‘agility to achieve that change’.
The rate of change is dizzying! We live in a time where there is a clash of generational values in driving change. This manifests itself in conflict of generational values between manager and managed. The older generation ‘Baby Boomers,’ many holding senior positions in organizations, are perplexed in managing their generation X, Y and Z counterparts, whose values and beliefs are as radically different to baby boomers as chalk and cheese.
Lean adapting to Uncertainty and Delivering high ROI
The marketplace and consumers are not standing still either. Add to this changing values in the eyes and the voice of the consumer and customer. Managing change in organizations is becoming increasingly a perilous and poorly practised art form. The younger generation ‘X’ and ‘Y’ values demand ‘empowerment and engagement’ whereas the boomers tend to value ‘command and control’. There requires an alignment in how to achieve ends and means and work as one team.
Dealing with the resultant stress, tension and uncertainty is not just the sole province of the profit sector. It is tough in the public and third sector where Government demand austerity measures and the budget deficit, trending with ‘achieving more with less’. There has to be a major culture change in order to see change as natural and a journey, seeing things through. Increasingly organizations are revisiting Lean methodologies to bring about that sustained change.
Read the full article below - and email Philip@philipatkinson.com
“This article highlights the thinking on change management by replacing the old business models that typify many industries and sectors in the economy, with Disruptive Thinking. It outlines the thinking and challenges of ‘disruption’ and how far it will influence organisational change by outlining OD (organisation development) strategies to bring that change rapidly into reality. Leaders bringing about this radical change have to reject the practise of the past as a wimpy, lacklustre, incremental process, and replace it with a disruptive radical approach. Think of outcomes at a higher level of thinking to implement, innovate, implement and innovate, implement and innovate time and time again to produce the culture of controlled, measured, disruptive and rapid improvement.”
Disruption should be the norm
Stop delivering the same old services to bored customers who have to wait too long and often get lousy service. It’s true in all sectors and in too many organisations. To deliver effectively to customers, end user and consumers, we have to develop performance levels based on the ‘new disruptive thinking’ rather than the lethargic old model of how organisations operate pre disruptive thinking and the new economy. Wake up. The command and control culture is dead. To operate and meet the demands of the new economy we have to develop standards at a stratospheric level of thinking, to have to move beyond the standard lumbering business view of the ‘customer gets what we can deliver to actually ‘delighting the customer’.
To continue reading the article click the PDF below. If you would like to discuss any issues please email me direct email@example.com
Did you know there was a Gallup Poll in 2014 which identified that over two thirds of staff in organizations were dis-engaged from the raison d’etre of their business. Further, the survey of people in 141 nations suggested that only 13% of people were fully engaged in their career and in their job.
Quite shocking statistics especially as we are drawing close to the end of 2017 – what will the New Year have in store for you?
We are coming to that time of year when people start thinking about how they are going to change personally in the year ahead.
Shaping the Future
The year ahead is what you make it. You can finally crack all those difficult goals, or you can complain that you don’t have the luck or fortune to be the best you can be.
I have an article for you to support you in planning to shape the year ahead, and also a special offer for those of you who would like a blue print for shaping the New Year the way you want it.
The 4,000 word article was published a few years ago by the Chartered Institute of Operations Management but the content is still applicable and was a major driver in filling my open training workshops – ‘Master Your Potential’ for many months. It addresses the whole issue of Unlocking your Mind and mastering your potential.
The article is free to you – and you might like to take advantage of a promotion I have at the moment.
Video Training: Create Your Best Year Yet
You will have life time access to my Video Training Programme which highlights the key issues you need to address to shape your future for the better. It is entitled ‘Create Your Best Year Yet’ – it is normally $170.00 but we have reduced the price to $47.00 till 1st January 2018 when it will go back up to the current price. Here’s the coupon code https://www.udemy.com/master-your-potential-create-your-best-year-yet/?couponCode=XMAS-2017
It is a fundamental look at strategic planning for you as ‘brand you’ and explores the secrets behind successful personal development strategies and covers the following areas:
Good luck on the Journey.
Philip Atkinson is a strategic OD advisor, trainer, coach and author of books and articles on organizational change and leadership