Every client is unique and deserves a customized process. The best way to understand a project is by asking lot of questions. Then listening to the answers.
We use the following steps in order to tailor solutions to the clients’ business, not the other way around. These differences are most evident at a detailed level, so it is critical that the assessment, analysis, development and implementation of change be specifically tailored to each business. We let the nature of the clients’ organization and problems and the urgency of the situation dictate the path.
A good consultant should quickly develop an understanding of your business and immediate issues. As the underlying issues facing your business are not always obvious, our consulting engagements frequently start with an assessment. This is a brief, but thorough analysis of your business, and provides a number of very important results. The business owner and key decision makers receive an objective, honest, and straightforward view of the issues facing the business. This specific deliverable should be useful, even if you decide not to engage us for a longer term. You have a chance to work with us over a period of at least a few weeks and can get a much better sense of your ability to work with us, and also evaluate our competence. Finally, we get an intensive overview of the issues, and will be able to get started more quickly.
Granted, it is difficult to develop detailed nuances in a brief assessment, but an outside perspective by an experienced consultant frequently brings clarity and focus to current problems.
Details matter. Once the key issues are identified, we develop a deeper analysis to more fully understand the issues and develop appropriate alternatives. These analyses range from cash flow forecasts to detailed schedules for an important project. In-depth analyses provide the basis for solutions tailored to the specific issues at hand, not some standard cookie cutter approach that doesn’t comprehend the true problems. The end result of the analysis should be clear, concrete and measurable goals and objectives.
Someone once said “no plan ever survives its first exposure to the light of day.” Nonetheless, the planning process is critical. The development of a plan to realize the concrete, measurable goals and objectives is an important step. We expect to make changes along the way and with a solid, even if imperfect plan, those changes can be made cleanly and efficiently. We involve a broad cross section of people in the planning process to improve the quality of the plan and speed up changes when necessary.
Since many of our client situations involve a real sense of urgency, plans must be developed and implemented quickly and broad understanding will improve the process.
Without change, problems persist. In order to change, things need to be done differently tomorrow than today. Solutions must be implemented quickly in order to accomplish the goals and objectives set forth. We work with your people to make sure goals and objectives are understood, accepted and that all appropriate people are involved in the change.
Some issues exhibit a sense of urgency that must be addressed immediately. In those situations, the group of people involved is limited. We work to make sure changes made in these circumstances are made with as much sensitivity and compassion as possible without sacrificing speed or results.
The best way to sustain changes and continue improvements is to implement a timely, relevant and actionable set of measurements that reflect directly the goals and objectives set for the organization. Identifying the appropriate measures is frequently an iterative process. Once identified, the data needs to be collected and analyzed, and the results presented and discussed.
Timely, Relevant and Actionable Measures:
- Timely measures provide feedback as quickly as possible after the event is measured, sometimes before the process is finished. In that way, corrective actions can be taken earlier, and negative results avoided or minimized.
- Relevant measures are clear and easily understood by the people responsible for corrective action. Many organizations measure performance in terms of costs or margins, typically the output of a cost-accounting system. Unfortunately, these measures are often meaningless to the operators themselves, especially if overhead costs have been applied, or worse, if expressed in terms of variances. On the other hand, measures that directly reflect the amount of time an operation took, or physical throughput, are more relevant and easily understood.
- A measure is actionable if the corrective action is easily understood from the measure itself. Delivery performance, for example, is a common measure, and useful for a scorecard, but not detailed enough so that poor performance can be analyzed and improved. A more detailed approach of examining schedule performance within each step of the entire process would provide the information needed to identify areas for improvement.