Participation

NateSmith

A short while ago, I posted about how we can engage others in making decisions through the creation of an appropriate framework. Today, I noticed something else similar.

I saw a video of the drummer Nate Smith engaging an audience in counting. Now if you’ve got even a basic level of musical talent, you’ve probably winced at some point in a concert where the band get the audience to clap. You’re wincing, not because of the tackiness of the action, but in the knowledge that the activity is a balance between enough people being involved and entropy. That entropy is introduced over time as the audience lose the beat compared to the band or each other. Add to that, there’s always a section of the audience that appear to have no sense of timing.

Now what’s special about the Nate Smith video is the time signature. Back to basics, almost all pop music is 4/4. You hear four beats to the bar. Go back to Motown classics that keep people dancing and you’ll hear four-on-the-floor, i.e. that kick drum plays on every beat; 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 and so on. Even with something so simple, you can confuse an audience.

Yet in the Nate Smith video, it’s 7/4. That’s obscure. It falls into the category of music that a DJ should never play, and I mean never. People trip over themselves. You can get similar effects with Living in the Past by Jethro Tull (that’s 5/4) and Golden Brown by the Stranglers (13/4 and 12/4).  I can only think of one popular song of any genre in 7/4. That’s Money by Pink Floyd. Even that changes time signature part-way through. But think how difficult that song is to dance to or even to tap your foot to. That’s why 7/4 is obscure. In fact the only other song in 7/4 I can think of off the top of my head is Kam Ideme by the Slovak band Korben Dallas. The beauty of Kam Ideme is that it doesn’t feel 7/4, it’s not far off a a typical 4/4 and even has a feel of a waltz to it (3/4, but that’s probably because 3/4 + 4/4 can equal 7/4, depending on what’s accentuated).

From the video, we’re missing the full context. It starts mid-way. You can see that the audience have started to clap, but they’ve lost time. So Nate stands up, engages them and encourages them to do it properly. There’s no mention of the odd time signature. Just a drum pattern and a signal for the audience to clap. Even varying the pattern, the audience still knew when to clap. Until he’d varied it beyond the point of recognition or when he’d chosen a pattern that would create an accent that was close to the main beat but late enough to cause a problem. The audience could tell and didn’t know whether to go with Nate or with the time that they’d been shown to follow.

Nate Smith teaching the audience how to count to 7  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njy7pMVKJ8Q

Contingency as a Behaviour

plumbing
After a late evening fixing a plumbing emergency at home, I’m reminded of the concept of contingency and how it can’t be practically be used as a buffer for all non-planned events.
 
So with my current main client, I start out early in the morning, long before must people (or birds) have risen. My wife told me about an hour before I was due to go to bed early in order to wake early that we had an issue.
 
Applying typical contingency management as found in most projects wouldn’t help. That’s the type where a task is estimated to take 2 days, so you add in some contingency for that task. What would have happened in that case? All the tasks had finished, we were effectively waiting for a deploy (ok, it was a deploy of one person to a train, so I’m stretching the analogy a bit)
 
Applying a buffer contingency may have helped somewhat, but again, the tasks had all completed, there was no buffer to call upon before the deploy.
 
House alarms/Burglar alarms encourage similar behaviours. You only discover that the alarm isn’t working when you come to set it on departing your house. Again, no typical contingency would resolve the issues.
 
In the above examples, we’d usually have to add more time for the journey in the morning (possibly even travelling the day before). But the more we do that, the more ridiculous the timescales become and the demands on those involved become more exorbitant to accommodate for any issues. Even with buffer management, at some point we’ve passed the point where the buffer can be applied.
 
The only alternative that I’m aware of for this type of issue is one of preparation. It becomes more about damage limitation. So in my example, have I prepared for what I would do if I have to remain at home, if the train is delayed or cancelled, if the my taxi doesn’t arrive on time, if my car doesn’t start? Those are more the failure modes, as can be explored using an FMEA matrix for example.
 
From that perspective, contingency isn’t just a buffer (whether applied to a single task or applied to the project), it’s a behaviour and it’s planning about what if. It’s about ensuring that you know what to do, have the resources to do it and can execute in the time required, at whatever time it happens.

Using Archimate for Business Motivation Model and MSP – Part 6: Capabilities and Org Units

Capability Vision 0_04

Taking the model defined so far and introducing the concept of capability changes and the effect on the organisation units.

Recap

In the first article, I introduced the standards and the tools that are in scope of this series of articles. To recap, the chosen tools/standards/methods are:

  • Archimate – The open source enterprise architecture modelling standard
  • Archi – a tool for working with Archimate
  • Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)
  • Business Motivation Model (BMM)

In the second article, I introduced how I’m handling benefits and goals.

In the third article, I introduced the corporate element of the BMM.

In the fourth article, I introduced the Blueprint element of MSP.

In the fifth article, I introduced the whole diagram so far and the achieving different perspectives on that model

In this article, I’m going to introduce a related model that includes how to model the effects on capabilities and organisation units.

What we’ll cover:

  • Current and future states regarding one of the changes
  • Reorganisation
  • Plateaus

What we won’t cover

  • The original model
  • All of the changes implied in the original model

Warning

Do not consider this article to contain the definitive method for documenting the combination of MSP, Business Motivation with Archimate.

It’s a work-in-progress and is developing in line as I understand more of the complexity of interaction between the different models, standards and tools.

Start with the Current Model

Current Organisation Model

I’ve taken the design principle of Deliver local where possible from the main model as the root of this view. It’s off the page in this crop but we will see it later when we discuss the future model as well. The basic concept here is that the current model has 3 offices; one provides marketing, one provides sales and one provides product support. Each office houses staff aligned to those capabilities. The plateau is used to describe the current state (and relates back to the main model which has been updated with plateaus).

So working up from the plateau of the Current State at the bottom, we see that it comprises the business org units of Marketing Associate, Sales Associate and Product Support Associate. I’m using the Plateau to capture all the artifacts related to the state of the organisation at that time. Later we’ll see a second Plateau for the future of the organisation. For this particular plateau:

  • The Marketing Associate fulfils the role of Marketing in the NorthWest office. The Marketing role realises the Marketing capability.
  • The Sales Associate fulfils the role of Sales in the East office. The Sales role realises the Sales capability.
  • The Product Support Associate fulfils the role of Product Support in the South office. The Product Support role realises the Product Support capability.

This is necessarily simplified compared to the majority of companies in existence. It’s rare to see such simplicity in coterminosity but suffices for our purposes.

The Future Model

Future Org Vision 0_04
Model of Future Organisation

This is the top half of the diagram. What I’ve shown here starts at the top right, with the design principle. A fuller description of the principle is that we’ll provide the service as close to the customer as reasonable. It could be combined with another principle that allows for tailoring of products according to the demographic needs within specific geographies.

I’ve then used a Plateau for the the Future State, which realises the design principle of Deliver Local Where Possible.

In the current organisation, with three offices in the area, a customer is only served if they require the services of the office that is currently near to them. So Sales from one office and Product Support from another. If customer is in the North and they require Product Support, then they’d have to travel (assuming face-to-face is required) to the South office.

I would envisage an assessment detailing options. For instance, we could achieve the same design principle through acquiring other premises, through partnering with other organisations to achieve a more local spread, through rationalisation of current premises or through a combination of these options. I’ve chosen to progress with the option of rationalisation here, highlighting what the organisation could look like if it were to have all 3 capabilities available in every office.

One way of achieving this would be to distribute the people in each office and share them across the 3 offices so each office had one even share of 1/3 marketing, 1/3 sales and 1/3 product support. Or we can implement a cross-skilled role where every person can cover marketing, sales and product support. I’ve gone with the cross-skilled role option. I’m not saying here that organisations should do this, I’m using it as an exercise to model current and future states.

The Design Principle of Deliver Local Where Possible is realised by Cross-Skilled Roles Course of Action which in turn is realised by a new organisational unit of Product Line Associate. That’s the key to making this change. The Product Line Associate realises the Combined Team Capability and we find ourselves having to make some documentation descisions at this point. Part of the issue is that we’re crossing themes, discussing elements from Motivation, Business and Strategy in the same model.

So I’ve included the word Capability in the title of Combined Team Capability, only so that we can quickly identify and differentiate it in this article. I wouldn’t normally include the artifact name in the title; it’s clumsy.

Combined Team Capability is realised by the org units of NW Team, East Team and South Team. At the top-left, we see that Combined Team Capability is composed of the Combined Team Capabilities of Marketing, Sales Management and Product Support.

The same offices as in the current model have been used. Rather the association relationships crossing current and future, I’ve chosen to include a copy of the office artifacts in the future part of the model. There are benefits and disadvantages to both ways of modelling. Using an artifact only once, such as an office, allows you to see the nexus of change and more importantly, in this case, what’s not changing. Copying the artifact allows for a neater diagram but requires more interpretation.

The other main difference between current and future is that:

  • in the current state, the Offices serve the Business Role
  • in the future state, the Offices serve the Business Actor (or the organisational unit)

Neither is wrong, but consistency would be preferred. In the current state, there is significantly more clarity regarding which roles and actors are using which offices, due to a single capability per office. In the future state, with the mixed capabilities per office, there would be numerous business roles.

The complete view of Capability Change

Capability Vision 0_04
Capability Vision 0_04

Next Steps

  1. I’m going to discuss the partner model to this model. It highlights the organisational units, capabilities etc.
  2. I’m going to add in the relationships between the corporate goals and the programme goals. The aim is to see a clear line from top to bottom when using the Motivation viewpoint. That’s a starting position.
  3. I’m going to replace the future organisation units in this model with a plateau
  4. Update with consistent view of Business Roles and Offices

At the moment, it would be wise to view the diagrams and model included in these articles as a draft. They are open to discussion and subject to change.

Comment

Any comments, get in touch @alanward

Where Do I Learn? – Part 2 – Books

Books

If I’m driving, I’m listening to podcasts. If I’m travelling by train, then I’m reading.

I typically read books that don’t directly relate to my profession, but those that I hope will change my approach to how I work with clients.

For every client I go to, I end up mentoring business analysts, business architects, programme manager, project managers and other change programme staff. So I’ve kept a list of references (not just books) on Evernote and I tailor it to the person I’m mentoring at that time.

Here’s the list of books that I recommend:

1. Lean

Production Line
Production Line

1.1. Womack and Jones: Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

This is the book I recommend to anyone trying to understand lean for changing services and organisations. However, once you understand, you’ll start applying it to other areas of your life. There’s a lot of argument in the field about whether this is really Lean, TPS or some other methodology. At this stage, if it’s your first introduction to field, this is a great book to start with. You won’t be an expert by the end of it, but at least you’ll understand more and be able to understand some of the differences in the arguments.

1.2. Womack and Jones: Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together

The 3rd book in the series by Womack and Jones. Most useful for service industries and how to value the time of the customer more. Sometimes this is the book that makes the reader sit up and go “I get it now”, especially if they’re working in health or social care.

1.3. Womack, Jones and Roos: The Machine That Changed the World

The first book in the series. It’s the book that introduced the term Lean to the world (although the term had been in minor use before that). It’s useful if you’re interested in the history and how automobile manufacture has changed. If reading, get a later edition due the updates. The world has moved on since it was written, so usually I’d say it’s only worth reading if you’re interested in the subject and want to read about the case studies. But there’s an element of learning about some of the issues faced by companies as they implement lean for the first time.

2. Lean – More Advanced

Production
Production

2.1. David Mann: Creating a Lean Culture: Tools to Sustain Lean Conversion

This book is useful since it covers a lot of ground that is missing from the Womack and Jones books; mainly that there has to be a culture to make it happen and foster the long-term improvement. So David focusses on the role of the manager and what they need to do.

2.2. The Lean Toolbox for Service Systems

Probably the driest book in this list, it’s worth persevering with. There are some gems of ideas in there. I tend to offer it more as a reference to analysts to pick and choose from, rather than read the whole book. Note that I don’t pay that much attention to the process part of the book; but the principles are still sound in that we should choose different methods and tools at different levels of granularity and purpose.

2.3 Michael L. George: The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook

Nicely summed up by it’s streamline: “A Quick Reference Guide to 70 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed”. It’s a small book with each tool described, how to use and when to use it. Useful to have at arms-length when checking which calculations should be used, especially if you’re not conducting them every day.

2.4. Toyota Kata – Mike Rother

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toyota-Kata-Managing-Improvement-Adaptiveness/dp/0071635238/

One of my favourite books in this list. This includes tales and case studies highlighting the real root of TPS, in terms of how mentoring and problem solving are achieved and how they are intertwined. This is a necessary complement if you’ve started out with Womack and Jones.

2.5. Lean Enterprise – Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky & Barry O’Reilly

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lean-Enterprise-Performance-Organizations-Innovate/dp/1449368425

An interesting book that takes learning from Toyota Kata + Cost of Delay + agile and continual improvement on an enterprise scale. It provides a way for structuring your business from a prioritisation, problem solving and personal development perspective. I’d suggest starting with Toyota Kata first and then reading this one.

3. Influence and Sales

3.1 Robert Cialdini: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Out of all the books I recommend to anyone I’m mentoring, this is usually at the top of the list. Partly so that we can talk about the same concepts and understand how we’re being influenced (and how we can influence others). It doesn’t matter if you don’t use it at work, you’ll find a use for it when buying your next car, watching how supermarket designers manipulate your thinking, etc. Even in the RNLI station/shop in Blackpool, I noticed 3 of the principles being used on one display stand.

3.2. Robert Jolles – Customer Centered Selling

This is easily the best book on selling that I’ve ever read. He describes a process, and while we’re all human and don’t follow always follow processes, it’s really useful to know what’s expected at what stage and what’s missing if you’ve jumped straight in.
There are a few editions of this; all out of print, but some are more available than others. And check eBay and Amazon used.

3.3. Chris Voss – Never Split the Difference

Chris’ book is close to the top of my list for books to recommend to business architects and business analysts. There’s little point doing a great job from your professional domain if you can’t influence others to accept your way of thinking. That’s not to say that you should manipulate others, instead it’s to give your work a fair chance of being heard and an opportunity to be adopted.

3.4. Roger Fisher: Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in

Based on the Harvard model of negotiation, including Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement. It concentrates on creating the framework first before discussing points. So agree how you’re going to agree before you start talking the specifics of the deals.

3.5. Dan Roam: Back of the Napkin: Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures

Can’t draw, have difficulty communicating ideas? Then have a look at this book for understanding the simplest type of diagram to draw for any situation. It’s here on this list because many of the pivotal moments when you’re describing your ideas can be accelerated by use of the appropriate diagram. Pay particular attention to the SQVID.

3.5. Joe Navarro – What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

The best book I’ve read on non-verbal communication and body language. There’s a simple theme running throughout the book; you can’t tell what someone is thinking, but you can tell if there’s a disconnect between their non-verbal communication and their communication.

4. Education

4.1. Josh Kaufman: The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume

I’m often mentoring change professionals who, while they may be great at their chosen profession, don’t understand accounting practices or how decisions are made. So I direct them to these two books. This is the shorter one; quicker to read and digest.

4.2. Steven Silbiger: The 10-day MBA: A step-by-step guide to mastering the skills taught in top business schools

The second of the two general business books I recommend. This has more detail than the Personal MBA but also may require guidance due to the complexity.

5. Entrepreneurship/Innovation

innovation
innovation

5.1. Eric Ries: The Lean Startup: How constant innovation creates radically successful business

I find that this book can change the reader’s approach to large-scale programmes. It makes them think more about incremental change based experiments. I also find that I still have to remind mentees about the purpose of experiments, i.e. to validate learning. But if they’ve read the book, it’s absorbed easier with that gentle nudge.

5.2. The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company – Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

Kindle is usually significantly cheaper than the paperback/hardback.
The Startup Owner’s Manual deserves more fame than it has. It’s unfortunate that it’s been somewhat eclipsed by the Lean Startup, since it has significantly more usable material in it. That hightlights the differences; the Lean Startup is a book that promotes the culture and activities, whereas the Startup Owner’s Manual is a guide to the activities that you have to follow. Admittedly, it can be a bit daunting to read at first, since it comes across more as a reference guide that you can dip in and out of. This is the book to read to understand the concept of Customer Development.

5.3. The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets

If I know you’re an entrepreneur or a startup founder, then I recommend this book above all else. It takes the learnings from a lot of other sources and puts them into one practical book. So expect to see references to the Lean Startup, Customer Development and Business Model Canvas as well as tables that you use to record and plan your own progress.
Pay attention to the reverse planning process; it’s important to know where you want to get to and then work back from there.

5.4. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

Alex Osterwalder has started a movement and initiated a number of more domain-specific spinoffs. If you have a problem you can probably find a canvas for it now. This is the book that brought canvases to us, taking a simplistic view of business architecture and making it accessible to all.

5.5. The Mom Test – Rob Fitzpatrick

A short book, but it doesn’t miss anything out. If you’re conducting user/customer interviews, you should read this book first. Ideal for users researchers in service design/design thinking and for startup founders. Don’t be fooled into believing what your customers say; they have other motives, so it takes a different approach to obtain the information you require.

6. Business Strategy

Chess
Chess

6.1. Richard Rumelt – Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters

This includes so many case studies regarding how to set strategy. It’s a fascinating read. Main point to take away is that a good strategy includes 3 parts:
  1. An analysis of the current situation
  2. A vision of the future
  3. A plan to achieve that vision

6.2. Michael E. Gerber: E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

At the other end of the scale from Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, Michael discusses small business strategy by using a small bakery as a example throughout the book. It does focus on franchising as a solution in the second half. It’s a useful book for small business owners, helping them think about the processes and systems they need to have in place.

7. Change

Butterfly
Butterfly

7.1. Richard Wiseman – 59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot

Change yourself in less than a minute. That’s the main concept behind the book. Richard takes us through a journey, referencing many studies across the last few decades and how we can learn from them to influence our own lives.

7.2. Richard Wiseman – Rip It Up: Forget positive thinking, it’s time for positive action

The follow-up to 59 seconds. It’s actually the more practical book out of the two, but it makes sense to read 59 seconds first.

8. Facilitation

Session
Session

8.1.Understanding Facilitation – Christine Hogan

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-Facilitation-Theory-Principles-Principle/dp/0749438266

Christine covers a lot of ground in this book. She educates about the history of facilitation, different forms of it and how it has progressed. This is a must-read for facilitators.

8.2. Practical Facilitation – Christine Hogan

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Practical-Facilitation-Techniques-Christine-HOGAN/dp/0749438274

In the second book I recommend from Christine Hogan, she introduces tools and techniques for facilitating. This is a good read and worth keeping to hand as a reference guide when you’re starting out in your facilitation experience.

8.3. Sue Knight : NLP At Work

I wondered whether to include this since I don’t actually believe in NLP. There just wasn’t enough scientific evidence at the time I looked into it to prove it worked. However there have been times with facilitators who have had difficulties with some of their customers that I’ve recommended certain parts of this book. Critically, the concept of reframing has helped numerous analysts continue working with customers rather than going home stressed at the end of the day. It’s helped them realise where the problem could lie and, more importantly, that it doesn’t lie with any of the people.

Where Do I Learn? – Part 1 – Podcasts

microphone
microphone
microphone

I regularly listen to podcasts. If I’m travelling between clients, I’ll usually be listening to a stream of podcasts. Even when taking a shower or eating breakfast, I can have a podcast playing in the background.

I used to listen to a lot of podcasts as I drove between client sites. The podcast format was ideal for the time behind the wheel and expand my thinking for the few hours that I was on the road. So I had a variety of subjects and presenters. Over time, I’ve narrowed the list down to :

1. Podcasts with a focus on sales

I’m not from a sales background, although I have worked on bid teams, and pre and post sales teams. Yet I fully believe that a significant part of a consultant’s job, especially those such involved in innovation, business architecture, business analysis and change management, is to sell the ideas to stakeholders. I don’t think of this as used-car dealer selling, but more ethical selling. More akin to Rob Jolles’ concept that selling is helping a potential client to arrive a decision quicker than they would have without your involvement, even if they decide not to purchase from you. I’ve seen numerous good ideas fail because the consultant didn’t spend enough effort on selling to the stakeholders. So I include 3 sales podcasts in my list.

1.1 The Salesman Podcast

Will Barron’s daily interview podcast, largely focussed on B2B sales. Although the guests are international, there’s often a UK perspective which isn’t present in many other podcasts. You do hear a number of guests that are doing the podcast circuit, but you definitely get a B2B sales focus and usually a different angle to what you may hear on other podcasts.

Link: The Salesman Podcast

 

1.2 The Sales Podcast

The Sales Podcast with Wes Schaeffer. These are shorter episodes but with a slower, more considered approach. I find the content in this more cerebral than in the Salesman Podcast. More importantly, this has a wider focus, not restricted to B2B sales.

Link: The Sales Podcast

1.3 The Sale Evangelist

These are usually short sessions with a few common themes across the podcasts. The Podcast series is hosted by Donald C Kelly, with short 5 minutes episodes, mixed with more in-depth interview episodes. The mix is refreshing and motivational. The only problem I have is keeping up with them so invariably I miss a few.

Link: the Sales Evangelist

2. Innovation

2.1 The Innovation Ecosystem

This is the only pure innovation podcast that’s remained in my list. I introduced it to my list as I found that the rest of the podcasts had a skewed bias and I still wanted to keep up-to-date with innovation within larger corporations. I like that the interviews are with the people who are introducing innovation within larger organisations, rather than just the standard series of podcast guests appearing on other podcasts.

Link: the Innovation Ecosystem

2.2 The Twenty Minute VC

Not purely about innovation, but about investment, specifically venture capital. This ties together the themes for me of innovation and startups. It’s short (designed to be short enough for a commute) and full of information with a high calibre of guests. In listening to it, I gain further insight into the world of less-mature organisations and advice given to them.

Link: The Twenty Minute VC

3. General

3.1 The Jocko Podcast

This was the first podcast I listened to, well actually I’d heard about Jocko Willink and listened to his interview of Steve Austin’s podcast (so that was the first one), but Jocko is the first host that made me click ‘subscribe’.

Jocko Willink is an ex-Navy Seal commander, now martial arts gym owner, public speaker, author, business consultant and seller of tea. His episodes typically include him reading excerpts from military books (usually military history and first-hand writing where possible), commenting on them and then a question and answer slot at the end. More commonly the Q&A is appearing in a following episode. These are long episodes, easily over an hour.

I continue to listen to these because I agree with 80-90% of his business perspective and I find that he has a clear insight into how to resolve problems. Often that takes the form of reframing the problem from the original question. It’s a similar approach to what I take and it’s good to hear someone from a massively different background doing similar.

Link: The Jocko Podcast

3.2 Ted Talks

They’re short (designed at less than 18 minutes) across a number of themes. Easy to digest and easy to listen to at an increased speed.

Link: Ted Talk Audio

Business Architect for Free*

Idea Post-its

I’ve got some time in between clients where I’d like to contribute back or pay-it-forward. I’d like to donate my time for free and raise a bit for charity while I’m doing it.

Idea Post-its
Idea Post-its

What’s the offer?

You get a Business Architect for free*

*What does free mean? You don’t pay for my time. Instead, you pay expenses (we can agree up front and they could end up being zero) + you make a donation to a registered charity (I’ll leave the amount up to you).

You’ll get me for up to a day, plus time beforehand over email/messenger to discuss how to use that time.

Alternatively, if you just want a chat in person/over Skype, I’m happy to get involved.

This is open until Fri 25th August 2017 to one more company or organisation initially. I have one already booked in, so there’s one more space.

Next steps

Get in touch via @alanward.

What could we do?

Business Architecture is an odd profession. The common route in is through strategic application of many different business analysis methods, but it is possible to come in through other routes. Which means that no two Business Architects have the same skills, experience or expertise.

I specialise in three areas:

  1. Innovation: specifically bringing activities more commonly related to startups into larger organisations, kick-starting innovation if you’re just starting, have stalled or hit a brick-wall
  2. Customer  Focus + Lean: evaluation of your current operations, plus how to transform them into something more efficient and relevant to what your customers require
  3. Motivation: specifically Business Motivation rather than individual motivation, although the two are closely related.

The trick would be finding something that we could achieve in one day. I’m up for that challenge. Are you?

The future

If this works out well, then there’s a good chance that I’ll do this on a regular basis. So please, get in touch. Even if we don’t meet this next time, I’ll remember you for the next round.

Is this a bad time to talk?

Shhh!

There are times to make people feel comfortable, to help them feel that the change is achievable. There are also times when we need to remove that comfort and destabilise temporarily, so that they can work towards a solution. We commonly reintroduce comfort, or better still guide the audience towards discovering the own new level of comfort.

On a smaller level, that element of something not being on script can be incredibly useful.

Context

Think of those situations when someone has spoken out of character for the event. They’ve gone off-script and either talked about something not relevant or worse completely inappropriate for the situation. To borrow an example from the television series Frasier, I remember Martin Crane, the retired police officer, opening up a conversation at a dinner party talking about human entrails when asked about the buffet “Isn’t this the worst thing you’ve ever seen?”. The point was that it was the wrong thing to say, it made the rest of the party guests uncomfortable. He didn’t respond on-script as was expected.

Another example we’ve all experienced would be opening by discussing “How are you?” If the person responds with negative comments about their day or health, there’s usually a moment of awkwardness where you’re waiting to see if they come back on script. This is usually regardless of how much you care. Even if you care a lot about the person, it’s still awkward if you had only said “Hi, how are you?” as a typical greeting. If they continue the off-script information, again we get that deeply uncomfortable feeling, much like Martin Crane’s audience. If they return back to on-script, then all is well and you can address any concerns that they had raised.

But we can harness some of that off-script without alienating our audience, without making them uncomfortable.

An Approach from a Former FBI Lead International Kidnapping Negotiator

I came across Chris Voss through his book on negotiation. It’s an amazing book and easily one of the top 10 books I’d recommend to anyone starting out in business change, business analysis, etc. Most of those jobs are about people, not the technical aspects, so if you can interact better with people, then you’ve got a head start on your other analytical/change colleagues. If you haven’t yet read his book on negotiation, then do so. It’s full of useable advice, ranging from small of this type of scale to larger pieces that may change how you regard the practice of negotiation.

When I mentor, I ask how the mentee prefers to learn. Some want the quiet time of a book, others want to listen to podcasts. Increasingly common is the option of learning through videos. The most common overlay on all of them is the wish to learn by doing, shortly after learning the theory.

So I set off to see what videos I could find of Chris Voss online. And there is some formidable content available, ranging from Google presentations, to his interview with Lewis Howes and a significant number of other videos, all of them valuable.

I came across one nugget in the videos that I hadn’t read in the book and it’s it’s amazingly simple.

In his interview, he mentioned that instead of asking “Is this a good time to talk?”, we should ask “Is this a bad time to talk?”. He followed this up with stating that it’s because the person has to think about how they answer and that they’re in the position of agreeing, it’s a bad time and then having to suggest a better time. Whereas if you ask if it’s a good time, they can respond with no and the option to re-engage is with you.

Try it

I’ve tried it and it was a very informative experience. I noticed that my partner in the conversation started to respond (probably to the question that I hadn’t asked “is this a good time to talk?”), then checked himself, paused, thought, then had to rephrase his responds to fit the question. It worked, I’d convinced someone with a full diary to spend 10 minutes unscheduled time with me on the phone at 9am on a Monday morning.

I intend to keep using it in the hope that it doesn’t become the new norm where it loses it’s power of being different.

Bonus

A couple of relevant videos for you, referred to above and embedded here

 

Efficiency Through Motivation

Efficiency Through Motivation

I started an Instagram channel a while ago. I wanted to start generating an audience for my forthcoming course on Efficiency Through Motivation. I didn’t want to just post inspirational quotes; there are plenty of those channels already. What I wanted to do was to help people explore business architecture and strategy through asking questions of where they are at the moment. I’m using the images as the initial thought-provoker then writing related commentary, often in the form of prompting questions. Go have a look at EfficiencyThroughMotivation, does it work for you?

Actually, better than tell, how about you let me know what you think of the idea? Or even what stage of business you’re at at the moment, what are your struggles and how do you think you’ll be resolving them? You can reach me at Contact Us.

How many objectives do you set yourself each day and how many objectives do you set for your organisation? Are those objectives related?

A photo posted by EfficiencyThroughMotivation (@efficiencythroughmotivation) on

Mentoring and Training

Bottle Stack
Bottle Stack

All of the changes facing every organisation require skilled personnel, either increasing a team’s knowledge in the tools and techniques used for change or by mentoring analysts, providing guidance and supervision.

Training

Training packages can be developed in the following:

Each training package is bespoke, specifically tailored to the client’s needs.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a longer engagement than training, designed to offer support to your staff in their profession. For those involved in the change profession (change analysts, business analysts, business process analysts), we can provide a mentoring service; either with regular drop-ins or remote via email or onto your organisation’s existing discussion forums. This service should be considered as supplementary to the standard employee mentoring and welfare within your own organisation.

It is ideal for SME (Small-to-Medium Sized Enterprises) with one or two business analysts, but who do not have sufficient need or resources to accommodate a wider analysis function. This service provides mentoring by a senior analyst, reducing what could otherwise be an costly commitment for a small organisation and providing experience from a number of industry sectors.

This mentoring service will open up the opportunity for your own staff to think more strategically and, eventually, develop your organisation’s target operating models.

Want to know more, then contact us.