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Ben Haigh

Important, non-urgent

Interesting observation from a number of people who are working remotely for the first time: Because there are less distractions, they are more focussed and are finally getting to some of the “important, non-urgent” items that they really should have done a long time ago. Remote working certainly impacts productivity – but not necessarily in a negative way.

Remote Working Series: Excelling at remote communications

There’s no over-stating it, excellent communication is vital to the performance of teams, and this is even more important when working remotely.   Even for the most administrative of roles, daily communication is essential. When staff (including us managers) are accustomed to face-to-face communication, working remotely can cause significant disruption to the ‘normal’ flow of information.   There are 2… Read More »Remote Working Series: Excelling at remote communications

Maintaining productivity in uncertain times

The current Coronavirus pandemic is cause for concern for many businesses. Pandemic response plans are being established and staff are being prepared for changes to the workplace that may (or may not) be implemented. What will happen to your team’s productivity if health agencies implement biosecurity measures and force your staff to stay at home? The availability of remote IT… Read More »Maintaining productivity in uncertain times

Business inefficiencies

Business inefficiencies may seem to creep in over time, but they are actually ‘designed by default’. That is, inefficiencies are created (but are not always apparent) by not designing work systems properly at the right points in time. Inefficiencies wouldn’t creep in if the right design was in place (and being followed – which is a result of having a… Read More »Business inefficiencies

An Action Plan is more important than planning tasks

A well-developed Action Plan is primarily a communications tool (and only secondarily a project management tool). It sets expectations. Once improvements are identified, everyone wants to do them all straight away, but this is unrealistic. Given the rigors of daily workload and the fact that robust change takes time, the action plan shows a realistic pathway to delivering improvements –… Read More »An Action Plan is more important than planning tasks

Key Management Controls

Recently we launched a new approach we are calling Key Management Controls. We’re really excited about how this can help all managers to be free to focus on the big picture – safe in the knowledge that the critically important day-to-day activities are being done. Key Management Controls provides managers with a tool, and an operational discipline, to regularly check… Read More »Key Management Controls

CI Programs – the Burning Platform

Part 3: Creating the burning platform This is a classic case of implementing one change by focussing on another – create a successful Continuous Improvement culture by focussing on developing Operational Management disciplines. The hard thing is that this needs the commitment, discipline and effort from Senior Managers and Executive. Everyone, especially upper management, will complain that they’re too busy… Read More »CI Programs – the Burning Platform

CI Programs – Switch the Story

Part 2: Switch the Story. Setting Continuous Improvement targets is misguided. The concept of CI targets implies that these are different and distinct from real business outcomes, and therefore it pits these 2 areas against each other. People mistakenly believe that if they focus on their CI target, then the business outcomes will suffer, and vice versa. Business outcomes are… Read More »CI Programs – Switch the Story

Continuous Improvement Programs are doomed to fail…

… if there is no burning platform   Part 1: Continuous Improvement programs can come in all shapes and sizes. But there are commonalities between the successful ones that anyone responsible for CI cannot afford to ignore. Too often, the CI Program is seen as someone’s job. But continuous improvement can’t be delivered by one person, or even a group… Read More »Continuous Improvement Programs are doomed to fail…

Strategic Planning Gaps

Most strategic plans make my head hurt. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Common (aka frustrating) gaps include: No balance between the critical dimensions of financial, customer, staff and quality/risk Lots of fluff without substance – i.e. no tangible (objective, normally numeric) targets Not considering BAU as a critical part of the strategy   It’s this last one that… Read More »Strategic Planning Gaps

The Wicked Productivity Problem

Spending time on non-value tasks results in reduced productivity.  But given this seems self-evident, why are non-value tasks so prevalent in our workplaces? A not-so-recent article preview here indicates that certain knowledge worker roles can realise a 40% improvement by eliminating non-value tasks from their working day.  And while the sample size wasn’t large for this particular article, the observations… Read More »The Wicked Productivity Problem

Old MacDonald nearly had it right

E-I, E-I-O! goes the familiar refrain from the nursery rhyme. It’s very close to the mantra we use for process improvement…. EIAO: Eliminate, Improve, Automate, Outsource Delivering Efficiency and Effectiveness gains in a business process generally uses one of these approaches Eliminate: Critically look at a process (and then each process step) to see what value it is creating. Ask… Read More »Old MacDonald nearly had it right

Are you getting benefit from your organisational knowledge investment?

If with great knowledge comes great power and opportunity, how do you avoid wasting your investment?

In the first 2 parts of this series, we covered the reasons why you really should be creating a better way of documenting your organisational knowledge. But how do you do it without making it too complex, unwieldy and over-engineered? How can you avoid implementing something which is ultimately doomed to be unsuccessful? When designing your approach, consider the guiding principles:Read More »Are you getting benefit from your organisational knowledge investment?

Are you ignoring your organisational knowledge opportunity?

If with great knowledge comes great power and opportunity, why is harnessing this knowledge so often ignored?

Harvard Business Review (Staats, Upton, 2011) concluded that “we’ve found that lean principles can be applied in some form to almost all kinds of knowledge work and can generate significant benefits: faster response time, higher quality and creativity, lower costs, reduced drudgery and frustration, and greater job satisfaction.”

Outcomes like that are music to the ears of most CEOs and Boards. Yet a knowledge management strategy is often ignored because it’s mistakenly seen as too difficult, too time consuming or it doesn’t add enough value. Quite simply, decision makers don’t understand the Return on Investment or the benefits from running an efficient and effective business.Read More »Are you ignoring your organisational knowledge opportunity?

Systems Thinking for Business

Systems Thinking describes a way of understanding the world around us, of thinking about how things work and ‘seeing’ things in a particular way. People who use Systems Thinking often use diagrams to model their understanding, not only of the elements that make up a whole, but also of the interactions between these elements. “The essence of systems thinking and… Read More »Systems Thinking for Business

Requisite Organisation conference New York

We’re excited to have presented our models of Value Coherence and Process Coherence to the Requisite Organisation community at the Global RO conference (Designing the Smarter Organisation) in New York yesterday. It’s been fantastic to meet this inspirational group of organisational design experts who provide real hope for transforming the way organisations are structured and, most importantly, how organisations of… Read More »Requisite Organisation conference New York

What is Organisational Coherence?

Organisational coherence is a system of ‘views’ and ‘activities and practices’ that align the organisation to its purpose throughout the organisation. It focuses the organisation of what the customer values, removing wasted effort and has mechanisms for resolving the inevitable conflicts regarding competing priorities for resources. It is formed of three levels: Value coherence – the value outcomes you want… Read More »What is Organisational Coherence?

Beware the subjective metric

I recently read an article that proposed a pretty dodgy way to measure Cost Per Transaction (CPT).  It proposed an simple alternative to activity-based-costing through some simple extimates and sought to break down the CPT between different transaction types in a Service environment using the following method: Team Managers estimated the % of time their people spend on the varying… Read More »Beware the subjective metric