Posted in Strategy support

Program reviews


Better practices today become the best practices of tomorrow

We help teams identify what they can do better. The focus is 100% practical: things to keep, things to lose, what to try, what can be improved.

We focus on ideas that can happen in 3 days, 30 days, and 3 months. The result is an action plan everyone can get behin and measure. We nudge for new and encourage learning by experimentation.

Sessions typically are 1/2 day or 1 day. Some objectives may involve multiple sessions or multiple groups.

Think of the times people say, ”someday, when we have a moment…”? These sessions create that moment. Afterward, things move faster.

OUR DELIVERABLES

  • Design and prepare session(s)
  • Facilitate the group
  • Prepare and provide a written report of outcomes. The report can be used afterwards by the group as an ongoing reference and checklist for implementation.
  • Review report with commissioning manager(s)
Posted in Strategy support

Needs assessment


The experts in an organization walk in the door every day

Observations and ideas from staff are highly relevant because come from everyday practice. Listening for what can be done better identifies course corrections that can make a difference right away. It also surfaces high-value practices that are important to preserve in the midst of change.

Our work is to identify solutions, of any size, in a series of conversations, either one-on-one or in groups. We help people detach from their next-hour needs so they can think of the bigger picture. All comments are unattributed.

Often small things can make a big difference. Big ideas emerge, too. Either way, the results add from-the-floor validity to a plan that’s in development or speed-up an implementation that’s underway.

OUR DELIVERABLES

  • Conduct interviews with staff members, and if desired, external stakeholders
  • Facilitate one or more group sessions (if required)
  • Provide written findings with recommendations 
  • Present report to commissioning manager(s)
Posted in Applied ethics

Working with codes of ethics & codes of practice


Codes increase certainty no matter the volatility or unknowns ahead

Codes provide a fixed point of reference when facing new situations, a ‘North Star’ for navigating in uncertainty and ‘bright lines’ not to be crossed. For example, organizations working with artificial intelligence are using codes to create guardrails for research, development, and deployment.

It’s a way an organization says here’s what we stand for and here’s how we go about it. There may be an extra piece: here’s what you can do if you think we’ve fallen short, a means to raise concerns if it seems promises haven’t been met. A best practice is showing resolved complaints and how the process worked.

The net effect reduces uncertainty and increases trust. With it comes greater loyalty to the organization and its aims.

  • Codes of practice typically lay out specific do’s and don’ts. There may be codes for the whole company, for senior teams, or even participants in standing meetings. Sometimes, they’re for specialized units, for example, newsrooms within a larger media company.

  • Codes of ethics express values and aspirations. Instead of specifics of what to do, a code of ethics describes how to approach what to do.

  • Some places have one or the other, others have both. For example, a code of practice may begin with underlying ethical principles.

Codes are dynamic. Expectations and standards may change, perhaps from recent events, or findings in law, or emerging possibilities. Another best practice is re-visiting existing provisions to see if they need to be refreshed. A measure of corporate governance may be periodic checks that codes are being followed and reflect the current operating environment.

OUR DELIVERABLES

  • Developing new codes of practice or codes of ethics
  • Refreshing legacy codes to reflect new practices or circumstances
  • Auditing existing codes to provide governance assurance
  • Delivering workshops for staff about new/updated code provisions and how they can be applied
  • Briefing senior management or boards about matters arising from codes
Posted in Change projects

Goal-directed change


Getting from one process to the next takes constant navigation

Similarities to a journey are apt. There can be slowdowns, obstacles, detours, and people wanting to know, ‘are we there yet’? There even can be ‘weather’, events elsewhere in the organization or the environment that influence how much progress can be made at any given time.

A fixed plan of where you want to go is still valuable but requires deviations and course corrections. Forcing a change to stay on track simply because it was planned that way, or ‘that’s where we need to be by now,’ is counterproductive.

We’ve implemented many changes projects, large and small, and have seen them through to a successful conclusion.

CORE DELIVERABLES

  • Project design
  • Facilitation of sessions at key stages
  • Training programs, as required
  • Either direct project leadership or guidance to in-house leadership
  • Progress reporting at regular intervals
  • Additional components determined by situation

Posted in Strategy support

Facilitating senior teams


We help senior teams figure out next moves

Our role is to be an objective third party, unconnected to previous positions and free of any assumptions. A neutral discussion leader is especially helpful when:

  • Setting new directions, priorities, and targets
  • Building alignment on an initiative or theme
  • Determining and framing changes/reductions
  • Working through sensitive issues

We’ve been part of senior teams and know the dynamics. We prod for clarity, consensus, and measurability. We work toward tangible outcomes the team can get behind.

OUR DELIVERABLES

  • Session design and preparation (including venue details)
  • Facilitation of session
  • Debrief with commissioning manger(s)
  • Written report/summary, as needed
Posted in Strategy support

Facilitating groups


Groupthink works against breakthroughs

Too often a good idea dies too soon from ‘been there done that’ comments, or fails to thrive because everyone is seeing the same horizon from the same vantage point. Effective brainstorming is about seeing things in different ways. In an organization, it can be achieved by putting together people from different specialties or departments, of various ages, from assorted cultures, individuals who have different stakes in the future.

We construct ‘diagonal groups’, a format we’ve developed to generate fresh thinking in a short period of time. It’s like having a number of focus groups running simultaneously to:

  • Identify issues and ideas at the start of a project 
  • Validate plans shortly before implementation 
  • Build engagement and ease implementation

OUR DELIVERABLES

  • Session design and preparation
  • Facilitation of session(s)
  • Written report of findings
  • Review findings with commissioning manager(s)