Ladder of citizen participation

Where Organisations Go Wrong

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A lot happened in 1969. The moon landing, Led Zeppelin was released (the first LZ album), the maiden flight of the Boeing 747, and a paper by Sherry Arnstein. It’s difficult to say which is the most important of those above, but Arnstein’s paper is probably the least famous. Context I frequently speak with directors and project leaders who introduce their voice of the customer initiative as the way that they interact with customers. That’s the way the company understands what customers are saying, what customers want, etc. After some digging since it’s never completely easy to find the one team (often because they operate under a different name, but someone thought Voice of the Customer would be a good title for what they do), I find that the initiative is a survey with some analysis of the results. That’s […]

Shhh!

Is this a bad time to talk?

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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 […]

Applying Different Categories of Knowledge

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Introduction We should be careful when we judge the effectiveness of others and reflecting on this can in turn help influence us in how we approach change activities. I’ll use this chart (shown in more detail further down) to describe the differences. First Day Effectiveness On numerous occasions, I’ve seen people judge others by their effectiveness on the first day at work. In some cases that may be fairer than others, but let’s take the view of a clinician arriving on a hospital ward for the first time. That nurse may be one of the best nurses ever to have existed, complete with outstanding nursing skills and excellent nursing experience, but they may be judged overly harshly as being ineffective due to not knowing the location of certain items on that particular ward. It always takes some time to understand how a new environment works, whether […]

3 Reasons for Running Sales Campaigns

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Context A friend the other day suggested that he drop his prices for a few weeks and I questioned what the rationale was behind the intended price drop. I wanted to check that there was a valid reason and it wasn’t just a knee-jerk reaction that led to the idea of creating sales campaigns. I only know of 3 reasons for sales. I’ll define sales as campaigns based on a short-term price reduction, such as end of season sales, January sales, etc. To be clear, I’m avoiding discounting and similar activities to keep specific customers happy and/or make the sale which I see as a different set of activities. The 3 Reasons for Sales Campaigns 1: Due to Inaccurate Estimates The provider chain (including the parts supplier, manufacturer, distributor and/or retailer and any combination of the above) has inaccurately estimated the amount that customers will […]

Designing for Everyone

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Whatever system, process, technology we’re implementing, shouldn’t we be designing for everyone? Or at least everyone in the target customer segment? Background In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read a number of articles that have consolidated and made me reflect on my thinking about designing for disabilities and what counts as normal. Having spent a number of years working in the health and social care sector, I’m well-versed in the practicalities of working with people with disabilities. But I still hate the phrase “people with disabilities” and every other similar phrase I’ve ever seen. I don’t like the word inclusion, not that I don’t like the concept itself, but that I don’t like that the concept has to exist. Hence the title of this article as “Designing for Everyone”. What’s an average person? I read The Atlantic’s article on how we’ve ended […]

Stakeholder Analysis

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This is just a brief introduction to a classic method for performing stakeholder analysis. It’s a simple concept and I’m including it since it’s another good example of a 4-box model. To misquote Helmuth von Moltke the Elder: No project survives contact with the customer Background Every change activity has to deal with people. Whatever you’re planning, you’ll affect some people more than others and some of those people you affect will have a greater opportunity to influence your progress.

An Example of Bad Facilitation

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The story listed below is one that happened to me late last year. I still remember it with a smile, partly because it shows just how unaware the people were in the room and partly because it’s a great example of how a meeting can waste time. So for me, it’s a good example of why workshops should have a facilitator and that works out better than just calling a meeting.   I remember a meeting a few months ago. The rooms had frosted windows you couldn’t tell which meeting was which. I walked into three wrong meeting room. I saw 4 people sat down not talking to each other, nor were they looking at each other. I was fully in the room with the door closed behind me by the time I’d noticed. I left after a few seconds. No-one in […]

Rethink the Carrot and Stick

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I remember one of my clients being confused when I mentioned the carrot and stick as we discussed motivation for change. Since then I’ve found it an interesting test to see how people think motivation works in their immediate team. There are two versions of the carrot and stick story. Both versions include a donkey. The first version is that the carrot is attached to string at the end of the stick. With the donkey-rider holding the carrot in front of the donkey. The carrot is the motivation but can never be reached. The donkey never wakes up to the fact that it can’t get the reward. The second version is that the carrot is offered as motivation to the donkey for moving forwards. The stick is used to tap (or beat) the donkey for not moving forwards. In this […]

The Wrong Quick Wins

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A few thoughts from me on quick wins and why we go for the wrong type. Hands up if you’ve ever had a project sponsor say they needed quick wins? Usually, it’s about showing that you’re doing something to the company board so your project isn’t cancelled or it’s about showing you can make savings. Both of those indicate an immature organisation that’s ready to cancel change activities before they’re due to return results. Some changes take time, some can be done more quickly. The same change activity isn’t necessarily the right type of activity to achieve short and long-term changes. So if you’re on a long-term change project and you’re asked for quick wins, start to head off the question with looking at the original plan for when you’re due to complete your first phase. A better idea is to […]

The Change Stand-off in Innovation

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For a long time now, I’ve had the view that we only have so much time to change an organisation before the organisation changes us. I’ve seen it happen with dynamic people that become subdued over time as they encounter obstacle after obstacle, resistance, red-tape and other forms of organisational resistance to change. Maintaining innovation, or rather the ability to innovate and to generate innovation in a client, is key with external consultants. Background In reading this article today on Why Outsiders are the Most Innovative People  adapted from work by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, I was reminded why it’s important to introduce a fresh perspective. I’m independent in that I’m not tied to any company or organisation and I enjoy what that brings to both me and my corporate clients. Yes, I’m prepared to challenge what client staff have accepted as normal over […]