If you are looking for help to improve your business results, you’ve come to the right place.
We offer consulting services related to:
- Business Process Improvement,
- Organizational Reviews (Structure and Design, Culture),
- Project Management, and
- Developing Support Networks for Women at Work,
and we have experience in the private, public, and broader public sectors, including:
- Provincial, Municipal, and Federal government organizations,
- Post Secondary Education,
- Construction, and
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).
Examples Of Previous Work*
A Cash-Strapped College Was Tired Of Complaints Related To Financial Processes
Problem: As Director of a large post secondary educational institution, Ellen had already dealt with reduced budgets and headcount, and now she was facing criticism from peers who thought her team was “passing the buck” and avoiding work.
Her team was in charge of financial processing, and was as small as it could possibly be, using old technology, and supporting new and growing services across the organization. Ellen was sure that the answer was to get a completely new system that integrated with other departments and automated some work, but she just didn’t have the money to do it.
Action: The first thing we did was talk to the people involved in the processes – this included stakeholders, customers, managers, and, most importantly, the people doing the work. We looked at background documentation, sought to understand the history of what had happened, and asked a lot of questions.
Once we had that basic understanding we invited both customers and the people doing the work to an interactive workshop, where we actually documented what was happening. This is probably our favourite part of any process engagement because when people see the reality of the situation (vs. what they think is happening), the light bulbs go off and they become much more engaged in potential solutions. This increased understanding also helps build and repair relationships.
Result: In this case, the solutions varied in complexity – we recommended maximizing their existing technology by taking advantages of some tools they weren’t using, we suggested adding an accountability framework to their training so that their customers understood (and complied with) rules and processes, we encouraged a risk mitigation framework that allowed workers to spend their time on the most value added work, and, finally, we streamlined the processes, eliminating literally dozens of non-value added steps and saving time and money.
It’s almost never “just about the process,” and in this case there were a lot of solutions that Ellen and her team took on that helped them meet their deadlines AND make their customers happy.
An Ontario Government Team Struggled With Organizational Culture And Structure
Problem: Sandeep was the head of a large division within a ministry that had been reorganized several times in recent years. His team was passionate about the work and met their objectives, but lately Sandeep had realized that something was not quite right in the team. He had heard from a few trusted peers that incivility was becoming an issue, and that people just didn’t like “dealing with” his team. In addition, he was hearing that stakeholders AND people in his own organization were confused about roles and responsibilities, and that the result was rising tempers, duplicated work, and, perhaps most impactful, sub standard work.
Action: Sandeep brought us in to consult on the overall culture in the organization and help him understand what could and should be done to improve not only his team’s engagement, but also how other stakeholders perceived them.
We conducted a number of interviews with leaders inside and external to the organization, and to that we added focus groups with managers, work flow workshops, and a large scale survey for both managers and individual contributors.
Result: Surprisingly, our research showed that the structure of Sandeep’s team was not the main problem. We suggested some minor tweaks, but most of our recommendations focused on the clarification of roles both for individuals and teams, the addition of some missing functions such as project management, governance, and continuous improvement, and the creation of a Code of Conduct. In addition, we recommended a revised approach to leadership coaching, training, and role modelling in order to support accountability.
At last check, Sandeep and his team had implemented nearly all the changes and were hearing great things about the results! It also set them up for future reorganizations, which, let’s face it, are all bound to happen in the public sector.
A Global Digital Publishing Company Was Challenged By The Steps Required For A Massive Procurement Project
Problem: Isobel was the head of HR in a multi-national publishing company that had grown past the capabilities of its financial, HR, and CRM technology system. It was a patchwork of sub systems that was held together with twine and duct tape, and it was about to crash.
The leadership team knew they needed something new, and they asked Isobel to lead the charge. She knew that in order to procure the help of a technology solution company, she would need to be able to describe to them what she wanted the system to do.
And that was the problem.
They had no idea what their business processes were, how they fit together, and how to document them to use in procuring the new system.
Action: As with all our work, we spent time getting to know the company, the workers, the reliance on the systems, and the risks they were dealing with. We set up a project structure with clear roles, milestones, dependencies, and risks, held process mapping workshops to understand the current state, and then to design the desired future state. We were able to translate this visual representation of the ideal future state into business requirements, create the BRD, review it with the team, and pass it off to the next stage of the project.
Result: Our formal “hand off” included not only this amazing and clear document of what was required of the successful new system, but also what had to happen for the project team to be successful in meeting their deadlines. We highlighted the methodology of milestones, status updates, and reports and provided the necessary training to ensure they could continue to manage after we left the organization.
Project Management doesn’t have to be massive and complicated and run by a certified PMP (Project Management Professional). It just has to have all the basic tasks, deadlines, and roles in one place, and the skills of a project management to hold people accountable.
*Names have been changed.