Thursday, 30 November 2017

Operating Model Building Blocks

Building Block #1: Autonomous and cross-functional teams anchored in customer journeys, products, and services

Successful companies constantly rethink how to bring together the right combination of skills to build products and serve customers. That means reconfiguring organizational boundaries and revisiting the nature of teams themselves, such as creating more fluid structures in which day-to-day work is organized into smaller teams that often cut across business lines and market segments.

Building Block #2: Flexible and modular architecture, infrastructure, and software delivery

Technology is a core element of any next-generation operating model, and it needs to support a much faster and more flexible deployment of products and services. However, companies often have trouble understanding how to implement these new technologies alongside legacy systems or are hampered by outdated systems that move far too slowly.
To address these issues, leaders are building modular architecture that supports flexible and reusable technologies. Business-process management (BPM) tools and externally facing channels, for example, can be shared across many if not all customer journeys. Leading technology teams collaborate with business leaders to assess which systems need to move faster. This understanding helps institutions decide how to architect their technology—for example, by identifying which systems should be migrated to the cloud to speed up builds and reduce maintenance.

Building Block #3: A management system that cascades clear strategies and goals through the organization, with tight feedback loops

The best management systems for next-generation operating models are based on principles, tools, and associated behaviors that drive a culture of continuous improvement focused on customer needs. Leading companies embed performance management into the DNA of an organization from top to bottom, and translate top-line goals and priorities into specific metrics and KPIs for employees at all levels. They make visible the skills and processes needed for employees to be successful, put clear criteria in place, and promote the sharing of best practices.

Building Block #4: Agile, customer-centric culture demonstrated at all levels and role modeled from the top

Successful companies prioritize speed and execution over perfection. That requires agility in delivering products to customers and quickly learning from them, as well as willingness to take appropriate risks. The best organizations have already made agility a cornerstone of how they work beyond IT. One credit-card company brought together law and compliance personnel to sit in with marketing teams to intervene early in processes and have daily conversations to identify and resolve issues. Law and compliance functions have also begun to adopt agile methodologies to change their own work. As functions and teams collaborate, they are on track to reduce effective time to market by 90 percent for some core processes while also reducing operational risk.

Lean Management

  • Lean Management in service industries. We apply Lean Management across service operations with the aim of transforming the client’s organization. We don't just focus on process redesign, but rather on refining a company's systems and changing employees' mindsets and behaviors to ensure that  the new way of working sticks over the long-term. The benefits from Lean Management come from more effectively meeting customers’ needs, and also from the long-term results of being more competitive. We have a proven methodology and a ready-to-use set of tools and techniques to scale the lean management system across an organization quickly. Each solution is tailored to the client’s specific needs to ensure lasting impact.

  • Frontline and sales transformation. The Lean Management approach is also applied to the customer-facing frontline operations and sales organization to maximize growth and productivity. We have expertise in frontline and sales transformations across a variety of sectors including retail, heathcare, hospitality, financial services, telecom and high tech.
  • Field service. We build and improve after-sales service businesses, covering the installation, maintenance, and repair of services and delivery of parts through the entire lifecycle of a product or service. Areas addressed include the key service delivery model, distributed service network operations, and field operations. Our proprietary assets and capabilities allow us to rapidly diagnose, test and rapidly scale across an organization.
  • Customer care. We design strategies to transform the customer-facing parts of operations from sales to service. Our rapid, outside-in benchmark-based diagnostics prioritize issues, resulting in a comprehensive view of performance based on KPIs and work practices. We further design and test alternative end-state solutions with our Advanced Analytics and IT-enablement capabilities, help scale the approach as part of the broader implementation, and support clients in building capabilities quickly.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Making it happen effectively

If your organization struggles with effectively implementing change, you might want to ask yourself the following three questions:
  1. Do you have a common framework, language, and set of tools for managing significant change? There are plenty to choose from, and many of them have the same set of ingredients, just explained and parsed differently. The key is to have a common set of definitions, approaches, and simple checklists that everyone is familiar with.
  2. To what extent are your plans for change integrated into your overall project plans, and not put together separately or in parallel? The challenge is to make change management part and parcel of the business plan, and not an add-on that is managed independently.
  3. Finally, who is accountable for effective change management in your organization: Managers or “experts” (whether from staff groups or outside the company)? Unless your managers are accountable for making sure that change happens systematically and rigorously — and certain behaviors are rewarded or punished accordingly — they won’t develop their skills.
Everyone agrees that change management is important. Making it happen effectively, however, needs to be a core competence of managers and not something that they can pass off to others.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Using RACI

I’m a big believer in accountability. I also believe that, in teams, responsibility and authority go hand in hand. If you’re responsible for a task or project, then you should have the authority to make things happen. You are going to be held accountable for the results. 

RACI stands for who is Responsible, who is Accountable, who should Consult and who should Inform. According to Wikipedia, here’s how the individual roles are defined: 

Responsible represents the people who are doing the work. Now I understand not everyone working on a project is hands on, so I’m assuming this is focused on the hands on, in the trenches work to be done. I’d also like to think that being responsible doesn’t absolve you from being held accountable for completing the work. 

Accountability in this context means the person who ultimately will be labeled a success or failure based upon the outcome of the project. It might be the project manager or the person who championed the project in the first place. They also may or may not be doing some of the hands on work. 

Consult (or Counsel) are the subject matter expertswhose expertise is needed to complete the project. Depending upon the project scope, they might have a regular role within the project team or maybe they are consulted if a specific problem occurs. I could also see this role not being confined to internal resources. Maybe the SME is an external consultant or contractor.

Inform includes the person(s) who are sponsoring the project. Every project has a sponsor that helps the team obtain resources and buy-in. The sponsors must be kept in the loop about the project status. Often this can be done with written reports and occasional one-on-one meetings, but it’s a critical piece of the project. 

RACI intrigued me because I wonder how many teams actually spend time discussing roles as part of a project plan. I don’t recall ever being on a team where we had a deliberate conversation about this. And I wonder if teams spent more time on this aspect, if it would help the group reach their goals faster and with fewer setbacks. Each person knows their role, can operate effectively, and conflict is reduced. 

Business professionals can benefit from project management tools in their daily interactions. Acronyms like RACI can add a level of clarity to the project…and to the outcome. Maybe it’s time for business pros to start reading project management blogs and keeping a PM book on the bookshelf. It could come in handy. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017


So what some of the key points to an effective Gemba walk?

Show Respect  

  • Ask good questions, not demeaning one's, - the people at the process are the experts
  • Build a mutual trust relationship (get to know your people)
  • Sincere communication (listening skills)
  • Leadership accountability for developing people
What are some (not all inclusive list) questions you should ask before, during, and after a Gemba Walk?


  • What is the purpose for this walk?
  • Location?
  • Who is attending the walk?
  • Are there preconceived notions driving our thoughts?
  • PPE requirements
  • Safety Standards


  • Let the process owners or team know why you are there
  • Are there standards (quality etc)?
  • What is the process flow?- can you see it from start to finish?
  • Do we see a push versus a pull?
  • What is takt/cycle for the process?
  • Differentiation between assumptions/opinions versus facts
  • Is the process meeting internal/external customer expectations?
  • Identifying 8 forms of waste?
  • Are you seeing through the process (people are behaving differently because you are there).
  • Go-See, Ask Why, Show Respect
  • Be noticed - noticing, but not judging 


  • Document findings
  • Discuss improvement areas for the Gemba Walk process
  • Develop plan
  • Confirm plan with process owners
  • Support


  • How "value-add" was the Gemba walk to the company? (KPI relationship)
  • Did we develop people?
  • Did we engage with people?
  • Did we provide resources for problem solving?
  • What is the strategy for the next one?

Things to avoid

  • Harsh criticism
  • Selling, telling or convincing
  • Creating a hostile environment
  • Giving answers without questions first
  • Intimidating presence
  • Blaming the person first, instead of looking at the process
  • Root blame versus Root cause (defensive questions)
So to summarize, Gemba Walks are a essential part of a culture that focuses on developing people.   It is the responsibility of all leadership to be the servant leader and remove barriers and provide resources for true problem solving to take place.    Problems that are framed correctly are half solved, so finding the truth is crucial in completing the PDCA kanri cycle.   If you take the time you will often find that where you think discrepancy lives, there is a vacancy instead when you discover the power of the Gemba.  Utilize the extraordinary power of your people, they are one of the most important assets of your organization. 
Until next time, 



Decision Tree

Why make a decision tree?

Decisions, decisions—we all have to make them. When a business makes the wrong decision it can be a costly mistake resulting in financial loss, poor use of resources, and negative impact on a company’s image. Thankfully, a decision tree diagram can help. While it’s not a crystal ball, it can provide some valuable insight that can steer you in the right direction. One of the biggest benefits of a decision tree is that it can take emotions out of the equation.

Decision tree diagrams are often used by businesses to plan a strategy, analyze research, and come to conclusions. Lenders and banks use decision trees to calculate the riskiness of loans and investment opportunities. They are also a popular choice for infographics, often appearing in magazines or shared on social media. The point is that decision trees can be used to evaluate just about any question or concern and visualize possible outcomes.

Anatomy of a decision tree

One of the nice things about a Decision Tree Diagram is that there aren’t a lot of elements. The key elements are called nodes, and appear as a square or circle with branches (lines) connecting them until a result is reached. Squares represent decisions, while circles are for uncertain outcomes.

Nodes have a minimum of two branches extending from them. On each line write a possible solution and connect it to the next node. Continue to do this until you reach the end of possibilities and then draw a triangle, signifying the outcome.

Once you’ve got the basic layout of a decision tree complete, you can add values to each line to garner more intelligence. Here’s how to do it:

1. Look at each line and add an amount to each.

2. To analyze your options numerically, add an estimate for the probability of each outcome. Note: When adding percentages all the lines from a single node need to equal 100, if you’re using fractions they need to add up to 1.

3. Assign a possible amount to each triangle at the end of the branches.

4. Calculate the results by multiplying the result by the percentage probability for each end branch in that outcome and subtract the cost of that course of action. You’ll end up with an estimate of what that particular outcome could yield.

Here’s an example:

decision tree example

Note: If you have a large tree with many branches, calculate the numbers for each square or circle and record the results to get the value of that decision. Start on the right side of the tree and work towards the left

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