Tag Archives: process improvement

Focus on Lean and Six Sigma. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, March-April 2016

By Elisabeth Goodman, 7th April 2016

We’ve had a bit of a focus on Lean and Six Sigma in recent months, so it seems appropriate to make this a feature of today’s newsletter, especially as the last time we covered this topic was back in 2011 in Ten Top Tips for Successful Lean and Six Sigma Implementation – RiverRhee Consulting – February 2011.

MBTI sensing

Focus on Lean and Six Sigma

The focus of our previous newsletter on Lean and Six Sigma was on how to ensure successful implementation – and so this had to do a lot with managing change.

The current newsletter will highlight aspects of the principles and methodology that are resonating most with delegates on our one-day Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma, and our modular ‘Green Belt’ course for more expert practitioners.  (There is more information on our Lean Sigma training on the RiverRhee website.) I will use the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) framework as the context for this.

Engage with your customers to define your goals and your approach

We are often so focused on HOW we are doing our work that we forget WHY we are doing it.  At the end of the day, our business, and our teams only exist because we are delivering something to our customers, be they colleagues in another department, or the ultimate buyers or users of our services.  We generally think we know what our customers want from us, from the result of marketing surveys, or from the occasional feedback that we get.  But do we really know?  Lean and Six Sigma has many useful tools to help us truly understand our customers’ requirements, and hence what our goals should be and how we might arrive at them.


We need to talk to our customers to truly understand their requirements

There is nothing like real measures to give you insights on what can be improved

Just as we think we know where the problems are in our work, perception will only take us so far and may be mis-guided.  Lean and Six Sigma teaches us how to follow the process: to monitor exactly what’s happening and gather data to give us baselines and targets for improvement.  These data are also invaluable in our communications with senior managers, colleagues, suppliers and customers when we need to influence them to support us in the changes that we want to make.

It’s surprising how powerful analysis and the resultant root causes can be for finding effective solutions to problems

I share a simple story about the Jefferson Memorial Building to help delegates understand the power of root cause analysis.

jefferson memorial coloured

Illustration of the Jefferson Memorial Building from “The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2015

We know that the most effective treatment of diseases will always be to tackle the causes rather than the symptoms.  It’s the same with the problems we encounter in our work.  Taking time to analyse our problems will enable us to find the most effective solutions.  In the long term this approach will help us to make time so that we can engage the talent and creativity of our staff in innovation rather than fire-fighting.

Click here for information on RiverRhee's training on Lean and Six Sigma

Click here for information on RiverRhee’s training on Lean and Six Sigma

Being open to new, and not necessarily obvious ideas for improvement can yield interesting results

All of our training courses are interactive and centred around the actual challenges and day-to-day work of our delegates.  When they are exploring ideas for addressing the root causes of their problems, I encourage them to have lots of fun with this.  Anything goes! It’s often something among the last few ideas, sometimes from people who are not even directly involved in their work, that turns out to be the ‘winning’ solution.

Follow-through on the impact of the solutions through the control phase is invaluable

The last phase of DMAIC is the control phase.  This is where delegates are encouraged to monitor the impact of their improvements and to what extent they have delivered the anticipated benefits.  Again, it is this kind of measurement that will provide the information on return on investment that may be important for senior managers.  Results also provide the compelling stories to share with others who might be considering whether or not to adopt this way of working.

Figure 5.1 Embedding change

Embedding new ways of working. Illustration taken from “The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2013

Click here for information on RiverRhee's training on Lean and Six Sigma

Click here for information on all of RiverRhee’s training for managers and teams

Forthcoming courses and other news

Our next one-day “Introduction to Lean and Six Sigma” will be on the 10th May.  Do get in touch to book a place or for more information on this or our tailored modular “Green Belt” course for more expert practitioners.  There is also more information available on our Lean Sigma training on the RiverRhee website

We also have upcoming courses on Managing Change, on Project Management and our popular 3-day Introduction to Management.

I am also delighted to announce that John Hicks has joined our RiverRhee Associate team, bringing invaluable coaching skills to support our work with new managers.

If you’d like to find out more

More information on the workbooks referenced in this newsletter and how to order your own copy can be found on the RiverRhee Publishing page.

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers and teams.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

A second look at project management. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, November – December 2015

By Elisabeth Goodman, 26th November 2015

Why a second look at project management?

We have been running an introductory course on project management for Library and Information Professionals for a while now, through TFPL. This has just been rebranded as Successful Project Management.

We also include a short module on “Managing Projects, Processes and Problems” in our Introduction to Management course and find just this summary slide very effective to tease out challenges and opportunities for managing projects more effectively.

Project Management summary slide

One slide overview of some of the key components of project management

And our one-day course on project management for those working in science based industries has just been quality assured and approved for addition to our offerings via Cogent Skills.

Many people are expected to lead projects without having received any or very little formal training.  Although there are a lot of in-depth courses available for project managers, we’ve found we can make a big difference with just our one-day overview of the basics.

This newsletter picks up on four aspects of project management that have been cropping up quite regularly in our courses.  It also builds on one of our previous newsletters: Notes for the occasional project manager.

Working in a matrix environment – project charters

Many of the people we work with are both line and project managers.  Or they are managing people who also report to someone else in a matrix environment.


Managers exploring aspects of their responsibilities during RiverRhee’s November 2015 Introduction to Management course

Either way, it can be quite challenging to ensure that project team members have the support from their line managers, and are themselves committed to providing the time and attention that the project leader needs.

Individual project charters are a relatively simple tool that can facilitate conversations between the project leader, individual team members, and relevant line managers to discuss and agree roles, responsibilities and time commitments.

We recognise that project priorities will change, and individuals may be involved in more than one project, but the project charter provides a starting point for facilitating further conversations and agreements.

What to do if the project is not initiated by the project leader; how to influence your business development team

Many of the managers that we work with ‘inherit’ their project from someone else.  Sometimes this is the business development team who liaises directly with the company’s customers.  Or it may be another member of the management team.

The consequence is that the project comes to the project manager with the timelines, budgets, resources already defined.  They are not necessarily realistic, and may not be open to renegotiation.

In the spirit of sharing knowledge and experience, continuous improvement, and learning in general, one approach might be to invite those who initiate projects, such as the business team, to project reviews. That way they can hear first hand what the impact of pre-defined timelines, budgets and resources have been on the project, what happened in practice, and what might be done differently next time.  There is more on learning reviews below.

Learning reviews

How to capture and make optimum use of learnings from projects is a perennial topic of conversation amongst both project and knowledge managers.  Project teams often do not make the time to reflect on how the project went, and to identify what successes they might build on in future projects, as well as what they might do differently.  Where they do capture such learnings, organisations seldom have a mechanism to act on these learnings in their future work.

We recently provided advice, organisation and facilitation for a retrospective learning review workshop for an organisation. The workshop participants identified 21 recommendations to act upon as a result of the learning review.  The organisation will also be adopting a simplified version of the learning review to support all future projects.

Risk management is not just for Health and Safety, nor just for Quality Assurance audits.

There is a lot of cross-over between the different disciplines that we support, as illustrated by a couple of seminars that I have recently co-led for the APM in my capacity as committee member for the Enabling Change Specific Interest Group (SIG).

We introduce our delegates to the FMEA (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) matrix used in Lean and Six Sigma.  It is a variation of risk management tools used in project management, in Health and Safety, and for Quality Assurance audits.

Risk analysis matrix or FMEA

Risk analysis or FMEA matrix

Project teams that take the time to go through this kind of analysis at the start of their projects, can do so with the insights that they and others have learned in previous projects.  Like all project management tools it is one to keep very much alive, constantly referred to and updated throughout the life of the project.

Other news

We also continue to be included in the ‘on demand’ course list for CILIP, and are in fact one of the first CILIP recognised CPD providers.  Our courses with CILIP include:

RiverRhee’s 2016 course and date list for Life Science companies is now available.  It includes the details for our one-day Introduction to Project Management course.

We are in the process of developing half-day versions of “Effective Influencing and Communication” and “Time and Meeting Management” to deliver to a local Life Science company and would be glad to discuss either of these with any one else who might be interested.  We are also able to provide training / coaching in Sales and Marketing.

We have also had expressions of interest for our new half-day “Management Development” workshop which uses the Myers Briggs (MBTI) tool to help participants gain more in-depth insights on their style as a manager and how to interact more effectively with others.  Do get in touch if you would like to join us for this.

Last but not least we could not resist sharing this wonderful testimonial from one of the delegates at our November Introduction to Management course: “I have been on numerous courses and this was by far the best.  Fantastic content, delivery and above all instructors.”

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers, enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.


Filed under Newsletter

A ‘Fist of Five’ management tips and tools. RiverRhee Consulting newsletter, May-June 2014

A 'Fist of five'

A ‘Fist of Five’

Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell recently attended a joint APM East of England branch and Enabling Change SIG meeting at GSK’s Pharmaceutical R&D’s Stevenage site in June, which was excellently co-presented and facilitated by Jacqui Alexander (Vice President, Accelerating Delivery Performance (ADP)) and Margaret Huggins (Senior ADP Consultant).

Delegates gained many great insights on GSK’s approach to ‘Changing the way we change’ and how to effectively engage people in change and action orientated learning. (Elisabeth has written a more detailed version of the case study which will be appearing in July’s issue of the APM’s Project magazine.)

The ‘fist of five’ was one of several interesting tips that we picked up afrom Jacqui and Margaret, and that we have since begun to use – it seemed a fitting inspiration for this bi-monthly newsletter!

One is for a unified team purpose, and the uniqueness of each individual

The first ‘W’ in the ‘5Ws and an H’ that we teach people in developing change management strategies is ‘Why’: how to clearly and compellingly express the reason for the change in a way that will engage people in it. Delegates at our joint UKeIG course with Shaida Dorabjee on Marketing and Internal Change yet again discovered how powerful that expression of that one unified purpose can be, whether when leading a change project, or when managing an operational team.

‘One’ is also for the uniqueness of each one of us within a team. There is a whole range of tools to help individuals and managers understand our unique strengths, preferences, and ways of thinking and behaving. We have a new book in development ‘The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook’ that will be exploring some of these thanks to some terrific input from the likes of Steve Hoare, Paul Sanderson, David Sales, Jenny Day and Paul Wilson.

Two is for building rapport and recognising different points of view

There is nothing that beats a good conversation between two people for building rapport within a team or indeed in any situation. Whilst most of the students at our seminar at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy* identified ‘confidence’ as one of their key individual strengths, the ability to listen and express empathy were also there, and we definitely need these to build rapport.

(*See ‘Finding the leader within ourselves for more about this’.)

How to ‘deal with difficult people’ is one of the most popular topics in Elisabeth’s and Janet Burton’s ‘Introduction to Management’* course. Often it’s not that the other person is being difficult, but that we have two different points of view, perspectives, or ways of thinking going on: taking the time to understand those differences could make all the difference.

(*We are running a version of the course for managers at the Red Balloon Learner Centre in June, and also determining interest for a potential course for One Nucleus members in September.)

Three is the power of triads for learning and ‘self’ change

One of our former associates, Lucy Loh, first introduced us to the use of triads for practising and learning coaching skills, and it’s a technique we continue to use in our ‘Introduction to management’ and also our ‘Supervisor training’ courses.

Threesomes also appear in other contexts, for example in the three mindsets to change described by Richard McKnight, and also in our ‘Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook’.As we learned from GSK’s approach to change, all change begins with ‘self’.  We can also choose how to change ourselves by recognising whether we are in a ‘victim’, ‘survivor’ or ‘navigator’ mindset with regard to a change, and then taking the necessary action.

Four is the 4-box matrix for evaluation and analysis

The 4-box matrix or ‘Boston Square’ is an invaluable tool for managers and consultants! We use it to help delegates in our courses identify the quick wins from Lean and Six Sigma continuous improvement exercises; prioritise their time in terms of what is urgent and important, whilst also making more time for what is not urgent but important for the strategic development of their work and teams (based on Stephen R Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’).

A 4-box matrix is also a very useful tool for segmenting stakeholders in terms of their level of engagement with a change, and the impact it will have on them.

Five is an optimum number for finding root causes and a useful performance rating scale!

We use the ‘5 Why’s’ in our Introduction to Lean Sigma training with Cambridge Network members and others to help delegates find the root causes of the issues that they are encountering. This is one of several techniques that we have been using in our current work with the Open University Library Services department.

Jacqui Alexander also used the ‘fist of five’ very effectively at the start of the APM seminar at GSK. It’s a technique she uses to ensure that any training session or meeting is meeting people’s expectations. They can show any number of fingers, with five being the highest, and also have the option of showing a fist if it’s not meeting their expectations at all. Needless to say, most people showed ‘5’ (there was only one ‘4’) at Jacqui’s event!

A 'five' rating

A ‘five’ rating


Other news

Kick start your business growth ambitions. We’re excited to have teamed up with GrowthAccelerator and St John’s Innovation Centre to offer a selection of interactive coaching sessions focusing on assisting potential high growth businesses to achieve their business goals. Find out more, and book to attend this event at Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, on 7th August.

Come and meet RiverRhee Consulting. We will be having a stand at One Nucleus’ Summer Social in Cambridge on 18th June. We’d love to meet and have a chat with you if you’re coming along. You might also like to try your hand in one of our quizzes with a chance to win copies of our workbooks. We’ll also have leaflets available for discounted copies of our forthcoming book ‘Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry’.

If you would like to find out more

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to create exceptional managers, enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Summer and the 3 Cs. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, July-August 2013

Collecting, connecting, creating

As Elisabeth Goodman mentioned in her recent blog – Umbrella 2013, a view from a CILIP trainer – there are some common themes in Information and Knowledge management in terms of collecting information and knowledge in a form that can be made accessible to others, and then connecting people to these assets, and to each other to really make that information and knowledge flow.

The ultimate goal of these activities is of course to enable us to create ideas and opportunities that will lead to incremental improvements in what we do, or to break-through innovations.

We thought this would be a great theme for our summer newsletter as summer holidays are traditionally a time to collect new experiences or to simply relax and pick up pebbles on the beach; to connect with friends and family or our own inner thoughts; and to create new energy and ideas for the coming months.



A lot of RiverRhee Consulting’s work also centres around these 3 Cs: we help teams to collect facts, perceptions and insights relating to what they do; to reflect and connect with these insights and with each other; and to then create and implement improvements to their work as a team.


Any effective initiative makes use of sound facts and data.  Information and Library professionals have a vital role to play in helping to make the wealth of in-house and external information more accessible to individuals within an organisation.

We are now all ‘knowledge workers’, and so tapping into what we already know should be a prerequisite for anything that we undertake.  It is something that the APM and Project Managers continue to be passionate about in advocating the collection and sharing of ‘lessons learned’ before, during and at the end of any project.

Operational teams can also benefit from collecting facts and data on their work, and this is something that we support through the use of team ‘temperature checks’ or diagnostics, and as part of the Lean Sigma ‘Measure’ phase as input for analysis and discussion in team workshops.




Elisabeth Goodman has been doing one-to-one consultations using the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) psychometric tool to help people gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and of how they can use these insights in both their personal development and in their interactions with others.  This makes MBTI a powerful tool for team building activities – and Elisabeth will also be using this in her work with a client in September.

One of the four dichotomies in MBTI describes where we prefer to focus and draw on our energy.  In a sense this is also about how we prefer to connect: outwardly in interaction with others, or inwardly through quiet reflection.  (Of course, as with the other dichotomies, many of us will like a mixture of both.)

Information and Knowledge Management resources and processes also provide the means for connecting with hardcopy or electronic resources, and for connecting with other people either individually or as part of a community.  Elisabeth’s latest article in her and John Riddell’s ‘Knowledge Management Surgery’ explores how understanding the MBTI personality profiles could help with many aspects of Knowledge Management.

NLP is also a powerful tool that we have been using to foster personal understanding and for team building.  Lorraine Warne and Elisabeth are running a workshop in Cambridge on the 24th July Increasing your Personal Effectiveness, which will give delegates an opportunity to explore both of these techniques alongside each other.




This brings us back to the last of our 3 Cs that we mentioned in our introduction.  If we have our facts and data, our experiences, our insights, and reflect on them individually or with others, we can start to identify new ways of doing things.  We can come up with new products, services, improvements to our processes, and ways to achieve a high performing team.  We can be in the flow, enjoy what we do and achieve great things!

Speaking of which, John and Elisabeth have completed the body of our book – Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry – and are now reviewing the content with contributors.  We anticipate getting the final product to our publisher, Gower, by then end of the year, 10+ months ahead of our delivery date…

If you’d like to find out more

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house workshops, and how we can help you to enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

1 Comment

Filed under Newsletter

Life as a small business. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, Mar-Apr 2013

Life as a small business

The start of the year has become something of a traditional time for networking and marketing for RiverRhee Consulting.  This year it’s also been a time for soul-searching with other small business owners who are either just starting up after a previous life in the corporate world, or are reflecting about what the new budget will bring in the UK.

So our March – April 2013 bi-monthly newsletter is dedicated to ‘life as a small business’, and some of the insights that we’ve gained about how to make this successful.  Not surprisingly, some of these insights will apply to medium and large organisations too.

Keep focusing on what your customers want

One of the most valuable tips we learnt when we started up RiverRhee was from Andrew Halfacre, of Lighthouse 365 in his ‘Start Your Own Business’ workshops, when he advised us to focus on what your customers ‘are hungry’ for.  (This is how Elisabeth Goodman came about giving one-to-one tutorials and occasional seminars on using LinkedIn and other Social Media for personal and business development.)

Focusing on what your customers want is also the starting point in our operational excellence / process improvement workshops, where we encourage teams to think about what their customers value: it’s the individual deliverables, and it’s also the quality criteria that the customers expect.

Understand your core expertise

For a small business, understanding your core expertise operates at two levels: the area of expertise that you are offering your customers (in our case, enhancing team effectiveness) and, from a business point of view, knowing the competencies that you need to supplement from other sources.

To run a small business requires competencies in marketing and general management, as well as the ‘technical’ capability or expertise that is core to your business (whereas in a large organisation individuals can just focus on what they are best at).  For a business owner to be aware of this is already a start, finding ways to supplement their competencies with those of others is the next step.

Be clear about your values

The importance and nature of our values was brought home to us in a recent practice run for a 1½ day team building workshop that Lorraine Warne and Elisabeth Goodman will be delivering in the spring.  Our values lead us towards the goals that we want to fulfil.

At the heart of RiverRhee’s values lies our passion for helping others: we see many teams struggling with too much to do and/or a lack of clarity about how to best go about their work.  Our greatest reward is seeing and hearing the ‘aha’ moments in our workshops when people realise they now have the capability to improve the way they work, and to do so on an on-going basis.

Build your support network

One of the most dramatic changes for a small business owner coming from the corporate world is the need to rebuild the support network that they might have previously taken for granted.

People that you knew in that previous life, and who have started a business ahead of you are often enthusiastic and extremely helpful mentors.  So finding, and keeping connected with them on LinkedIn can be invaluable.

There is also an abundance of local ‘geographic’ networking groups of other small business owners to learn from and that can act as sources of support (accounting, marketing, technology and more).

These groups can also be a good audience for you to practice your offerings (as Elisabeth did in a recent presentation on MBTI – Myers Briggs Type Indicator – to the Melbourn Business Association) or they may indeed be a source of associates to work with in the future.

Keep visible and active in your area of expertise

A lot of small businesses get their clients as a result of direct interaction with potential clients, past clients, or through current or previous associates.  So it’s important to keep visible and active in the fora where these people are likely to be.

That means for example going to related professional events, giving seminars, writing articles in related publications (John Riddell and Elisabeth have just sent in the 3rd article in our “Knowledge Management” surgery series for Aslib’s Managing Information).

Keeping visible and active in your area of expertise involves doing whatever is relevant for your client group and for your professional skills.

Be flexible

New client requirements, different ways in which you can use and develop your expertise, new support and associate opportunities will emerge on a continuous basis.  Amongst a small business’s greatest assets is its flexibility to adapt to this changing environment.  Being responsive in this way is both our challenge, and our opportunity!

If you’d like to find out more

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house courses, and how we can help you to enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Developing your team in 2013. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, Jan – Feb 2013

Developing your team in 2013

When RiverRhee Consulting started up in 2009 much of the Western world was already experiencing economic problems. There has been little let up since.

Companies have a choice at this time to tighten their belts and/or to invest in the development of their staff in anticipation of better years to come.  Some of our clients have chosen to do the latter, and it is thanks to them that we can continue to offer a rich portfolio of training for the coming year.

Our January – February 2013 bi-monthly newsletter therefore focuses on our range of training, and how it could help you to develop your team in 2013.

Customer relationship management and change management

It may on first sight seem strange to discuss customer relationship management and change management in the same breath, but both of these activities require listening to and understanding your stakeholders in the context of your business objectives, and then shaping and delivering your products and services, communication, training and / or support accordingly.

Our revised UKeIG course Marketing and internal change: a case study based approach… , that Elisabeth Goodman is delivering in conjunction with Shaida Dorabjee, explores this association in more detail.

Our off-site Change Management courses have been amongst our most popular over the years.  Other courses scheduled for 2013 include:

As with all of our courses, we can develop tailored versions for delivery within your organisation.  Our course with CILIP is an example of one such offering:

We can also deliver an updated version of our original course for the CILIP East of England branch:

Operational excellence, Process Improvement, Lean and Six Sigma

Many organisations are looking for ways to ensure that they deliver quality to their customers whilst managing growing demands on their time, with limited resources (‘doing more with what you’ve got’).

The Lean and Six Sigma principles and tool-set are variations on approaches that people have used to improve the way they work over countless years, and they are continuing to evolve.

Our interactive workshops have been very popular, and have enabled our clients to identify ways to improve their processes and address their challenges, as they learn.

Our scheduled course for 2013 is:

Other courses a-waiting scheduling, available on demand or that can be customised for your needs include:

Knowledge Management

Although this concept has also been around for many years, project and operational teams still grapple with how to make the most of the internal and external insights and expertise available to them.  We have a course available through CILIP, and can also help people make the most of social media tools such as LinkedIn to meet this need.

Project Management

Project management techniques can be applied to individuals’ everyday work, to broader team goals, or to an organisation’s more strategic programme of work.  The approaches involved are not rocket-science – but with careful planning and on-going management, individuals, teams, and organisations as a whole can ensure that they achieve their operational and strategic goals to the desired time, cost and quality in as painless a way as possible. These are examples of the training that we provide or can customise for your needs:

Enhancing team effectiveness

Being able to help your team to work more effectively is what we are most passionate about.  All of our courses are variations on this theme.  But we can also address the effectiveness of your team as a whole: personal awareness, relationship building, team development and more.  Here are examples of the courses that we can deliver for you, including our first one to explicitly include MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator):

If you’d like to find out more

Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, our range of off-site and in-house courses, and how we can help you to enhance team effectiveness and create an exceptional team.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Making the most of what you’ve got – RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter – October 2011

Our last newsletter celebrated the range of workshops, courses and seminars that RiverRhee Consulting had been able to line up for enhancing team effectiveness over the next few months.

Unfortunately, the reality has been that several of our courses have had to be cancelled or postponed as organisations have found their budgets cut, and the time of their people too restricted to attend external courses.  Conference organisers have been experiencing a similar situation for a while, as was brought home to us when a business transformation conference that John Riddell was due to speak at on Lean and Six Sigma was cancelled this month.

Continuous learning is important for making the most of what you’ve got, so what are the alternatives for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

CILIP (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) is reviewing the approach to CPD as part of the overall shake-up that they have been going through.   An approach that they are continuing to support is that of  ‘on-site’ training.  This allows client organisations to really tailor the content, format and price of the training to their requirements.  Elisabeth Goodman met with the CPD team recently to begin exploring how some of our training can be included in this mix.  We’ll share more information on this in due course.

Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman are part-way through a contract with a retail organisation, to help their managers enhance their coaching skills, and hence their sale staff’s interactions with customers.  This is a great example of on-the-job CPD: enhancing the manager’s skills in coaching, and using coaching to develop the skills of their people.

Some organisations are still choosing to use external consultants to develop the abilities of their staff in something akin to a mentoring role – and Elisabeth Goodman’s work has continued in this context with the Pharmaceutical CRO in France to introduce Lean and Six Sigma for continuous improvement as a way of working.

Continuous improvement is another way of making the most of what you’ve got.

John Riddell and Elisabeth Goodman are in discussion with a member of the One Nucleus network (for those working in the Life Sciences) on how RiverRhee Consulting could best help them to adopt Lean and Six Sigma for continuous improvement.

We are also still offering the off-site “Smart Working for Business Growth and Innovation” course through One Nucleus, to help organisations who are looking to make the most of what they’ve got by more effectively focusing on their customers and other stakeholders, and thereby boosting their team’s productivity, creativity and morale on an on-going basis.

Making the most of the knowledge within your organisation

One of RiverRhee Consulting’s offerings is to help organisations develop knowledge management strategies to make the most of their internal knowledge and expertise.  Elisabeth Goodman’s continued work as Programme Events Manager with NetIKX enabled her to arrange a recent seminar with Chris Collison, which included a useful break-out discussion on introducing Knowledge Management strategies. 

Making the most of your team – achieving high performing teams and managers

Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman have just finished an article for Business Information Review on team effectiveness during organisational change, and Elisabeth has also finished a chapter on team development for the Gower Handbook on People in Project Management.  We’ll share the details of these once published.  In the meantime, how to achieve high-performing teams is a recurring thread in Elisabeth’s work with her associates at Stronger Business Ltd where she has co-delivered on-site training for ‘first time’ managers, and will be presenting at a local seminar on ‘Stronger Business Management’.

Looking outwards – open innovation and collaboration as a way of supplementing what you’ve got

Elisabeth Goodman is continuing with her work as co-founder of OI Pharma Partners.  We’re looking forward to the upcoming workshop Open Innovation – a primer: An interactive workshop bringing insights from the life science and IT sectors, which will help participants to explore how they can introduce this way of working into their organisations.

Being flexible and resilient in experiencing and introducing change

Making the most of what we’ve got is also about being able to cope with all the change that we are experiencing, and being ‘savvy’ about how we introduce it to others.

Our upcoming one-day workshop on “Critical success factors for effective personal and organisational change”, being offered through CILIP East of England in November, is proving popular.  We are looking forward to helping participants discover a range of change management techniques to equip them with the necessary skills and techniques for effective and positive change.

We can help you make the most of what you’ve got

We are always happy to discuss options for enhancing team effectiveness, and making the most of what you’ve got. Please get in touch at info@riverrhee.com, or, to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting and what we have to offer see the RiverRhee Consulting website, the RiverRhee Consulting newsletter, or Elisabeth Goodman’s blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Autumn courses for Enhancing Team Effectiveness – RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter – August 2011

A range of courses relating to enhancing team effectiveness to suit different sectors and professions

Many of us are coming to the end of our summer holidays and turning our thoughts to the autumn with renewed energy and determination!

We are particularly pleased by the range of workshops, courses and seminars that RiverRhee Consulting has been able to line up for enhancing team effectiveness over the next few months.

As usual, we are offering these through other organisations, so that individuals and teams from various sectors and professional organisations can benefit from them.

Here then is the line-up for the autumn.

Project Management for Charity, Voluntary, Not-for-profit, and Community based Organisations.

Achieving Strategic and Operational Goals” is a 1-day workshop-based course that draws on established project management techniques to enable you and your team to develop a roadmap and the necessary components for achieving your current goals.  The course will also equip you with the essential skills and tools to tackle future operational and strategic projects.

We’re offering this course through Charity Funding Solution, on Friday 7th October, in Huntingdon, UK.

Change Management techniques for Library and Information Management professionals.

We are offering two workshop style courses on this topic.

Promoting Information Literacy for End Users” takes delegates through a step-by-step  ‘how to guide’ for promoting information literacy for their end users, tailored to their particular organisational environment. The ‘how to guide’ includes:

  • A reminder of the essential components for information literacy
  • Alternative approaches for educating end users and promoting information literacy
  • A set of tailored next steps along with supporting materials for the delegates to take away with them

This is about our 4th time of running the course, so that we have been able to continuously enhance it with reflections from previous delegates.  It is being offered through TFPL, on Thursday 13th October, in London, UK.

Our second one-day workshop on Change Management is being offered through CILIP East of England, on Wednesday 23rd November, in Bury St Edmunds, UK.

Information professionals are experiencing perhaps one of their most challenging times in terms of implementing organisational change and experiencing it at a personal level.

Critical success factors for effective personal and organisational change” will enable participants to consider the ‘journey’ of positive and negative change and to experiment with a range of change management techniques in a participative and practical way to equip them with the necessary skills and techniques for effective and positive change.

Process Improvement (Lean and Six Sigma) and Knowledge Management for Biotech, Pharma and other Life Science organisations.

Whether your business is already growing or you have plans in hand to make it grow, it is important that you have a foundation of sound business practices to ensure that you fully understand what your customers value, can deliver that value as efficiently as possible, and free up the talent within your organisation to continue to innovate and grow.  The process mapping and improvement techniques covered in “Smart Working for Business Growth and Innovation” provide a tool-kit for more effective focus on your customers and other stakeholders, and for boosting your team’s productivity, creativity and morale on an on-going basis.

This one-day highly interactive and practical course is being offered through One Nucleus, on Friday 21st October, in Cambridge, UK.

Other seminars and courses on the horizon

In addition to the above, we are developing a series of short seminars for local businesses, in Royston, UK on Communication, Management skills, and Business Development through Stronger Business Ltd; and three 1-day courses on topics relating to team effectiveness for Pharma students and practitioners in Turkey through Academy Anatolia.

Contact us to discuss tailored training and support to suit you and your team’s requirements

We hope one or more of the above will appeal to you.  If you are interested in how to enhance the effectiveness of your team, but are either unable to attend one of these events, or the description does not quite meet your needs, then do please get in touch at info@riverrhee.com.

We are always happy to discuss options for in-house courses or other forms of support for enhancing team effectiveness, or may be able to arrange an alternative off-site workshop.

To find out more about RiverRhee Consulting and what we have to offer please see the RiverRhee Consulting website, the RiverRhee Consulting newsletter, or Elisabeth Goodman’s blog.

1 Comment

Filed under Newsletter

Half a dozen reasons for considering the individuals within your team. RiverRhee Consulting – April 2011

We know of course that teams are made up of individuals, but do we properly consider the value that each can bring to the team, as well as the differences to respect in working with them?

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a tool that helps people understand and respond in a positive way to the differences between individuals.

RiverRhee Consulting already works with associates qualified and experienced in MBTI to complement its process improvement, knowledge management and change management approaches for enhancing team effectiveness.

Recently, RiverRhee Consulting Owner and Principal Consultant Elisabeth Goodman completed her own certification in the MBTI Step 1 instrument so that she could more fully appreciate and help her clients to make the most of the strengths of individuals within teams.

1. Individuals will engage in the formation of a new team at different rates and in different ways

Many of us are familiar with Tuckman’s model of team formation: forming, norming, storming, performing and a fifth stage: mourning (or re-forming as the old team comes to an end, or changes into something different).  We recognize that there is no set rate for these stages of formation, and that teams might sometimes ‘slip back’ into an earlier stage.

Different team members will not all be at the same stage at the same time and, being individuals, will have different needs and different responses with respect to the team leader and the other members!

Elisabeth Goodman will be delivering a course for “First Time Managers” in May with colleagues in Stronger Business Ltd that will be addressing this theme as part of developing individual, team and task based skills.

2. A team that collaborates successfully takes account of the needs and situation of its individual members

Some team members will value more opportunities to have full-team face-to-face interactions to build the team, whist others will prefer to receive information and ask questions on a 1:1 basis or through written communications.

Successful teams are either co-located enabling lots of whole team and 1:1 communication, or make skillful use of collaborative technology.  Agreed ways of working and some form of local facilitation complemented with occasional face-to-face meetings are critical success factors for effective collaboration between ‘far flung’ or dispersed teams.

One of RiverRhee Consulting’s case studies illustrates how we can help teams develop effective collaborative working.

3. Each individual will interpret and communicate information in different ways

Whilst some team members will value detailed descriptions of roles and responsibilities, objectives and plans, others will prefer to have more autonomy based on generally agreed goals.

Effective teams will therefore have a clear ‘charter’ and give team members an opportunity to contribute to and review this at the level of engagement that suits them best. The important thing is to ensure buy-in from all concerned and that they have sufficient commonly agreed information to be able to communicate it to others outside the team as needed.

Similarly, in the course of the team’s work, some will have a preference for examining problems at a greater level of detail, whilst others will prefer to take a more intuitive or ‘big picture’ approach.

We help team members to build a greater awareness and respect for these different individual needs and strengths through our workshops and 1:1 guidance, as in our recently recognized work with Porsolt, a CRO to the Pharmaceutical Industry based in France.

4. Individuals bring different strengths to problem resolution and decision making processes

Decision-making requires both logical thinking, and an appreciation of the impact of decisions on people and their values. Again, MBTI teaches us that whilst we’re all able to think logically and appreciate what people feel, one or the other of these ‘dichotomies’ will come most easily to us.

Elisabeth Goodman’s work with Pelican Coaching and Development has helped teams to graphically appreciate the strengths that individuals can bring to a team to ensure a good balance of both approaches to decision making.

5. Individuals will have the greatest insights and expertise on their (part of) the process

A key principle of Lean and Six Sigma implementation is to involve the individuals who do the work as they will have the best knowledge of the problems to be resolved and the possibilities for resolving them.  Involving them from the start will also be a strong guarantee of gaining their buy-in for change.

Tapping into, and developing this individual (tacit) knowledge can be a real asset for continuous improvement, as well a challenge.  John Riddell and Elisabeth Goodman ran a very positively received workshop on this topic at the recent Business Process Excellence for Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices, conference in London and will be sharing notes on this as part of a fuller conference write-up during April.

6. Each individual has the ability to act as an opinion leader for change

Elisabeth Goodman introduced the ‘change model’ in a recent workshop to help a University Library team centralize some of its workflows as a response to, and also a driver for organisational change.  The model is based on Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief, and is a vivid way to help professionals understand their own, their colleagues’ and their customers’ reactions to apparently less traumatic change, be it perceived as positive or negative.

How we respond to change individually, our own knowledge and credibility, and the networks that we each have with colleagues and customers will be strong factors in how each individual within a team influences change2.  These individual perspectives will be something that Elisabeth Goodman will also be including in the UKeIG course that she and Shaida Dorabjee will be running in May.

Notes and further reading

  1. RiverRhee Consulting enhances team effectiveness using process improvement, knowledge management and change management.  Follow the links to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting, and about Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell
  2. Influencer – The Power to Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson et al, McGraw Hill, 2008
  3. Effectively influencing Stakeholders: powerful techniques for marketing AND change management (UKeIG) 18th May, London http://ow.ly/4i7QA
  4. Introduction to Type and Teams, by Elizabeth Hirsh, Katherine W. Hirsh, Sandra Krebs Hirsh. CPP, Inc. Mountain View, Califormia, 2003, 2nd Edition.
  5. Personality Type and Project Management – with reference to MBTI http://wp.me/pAUbH-3S
  6. Intuition revisited: how it could be important to a business environment (Part 1 of 3 blogs) http://wp.me/pAUbH-39
  7. How people (individuals) are integral to business process improvement In: Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry: Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics, by Hedley Rees, Wiley, 2011 pp. 372-376


Leave a comment

Filed under Newsletter

Ten Top Tips for Successful Lean and Six Sigma Implementation – RiverRhee Consulting – February 2011

RiverRhee Consulting1 has several conference engagements and workshops on Lean and Six Sigma coming up in the next weeks/months, together with some recent and forthcoming publications on this theme, so we thought it would be timely to share with you some of the top tips for implementing Lean and Six Sigma that we will be discussing.

1. Effective Lean and Six Sigma implementation is about behaviour as much as the tools

Elisabeth Goodman, Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, is part way through reading ‘Influencer’2: VitalSmart’s insightful overview about how to successfully implement change.  Like VitalSmart, we believe that changing behaviour is central to effective implementation of change.  For Lean and Six Sigma, a key behavioural change is people’s willingness to relentlessly address problems as they arise, rather than simply work around them.  This is one of the core competencies that RiverRhee Consulting has been coaching one of its clients on through a series of improvement projects. Once people have committed to changing their behaviour in this way, then the tools come into their own. Without this change in behaviour, training in Lean and Six Sigma tools is simply academic.

2. Integrate Lean and Six Sigma into organisational strategy and core methodologies

As delegates attending Elisabeth Goodman’s presentation at IQPC’s ‘Business Process Excellence in Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Medical Devices’3 conference will learn in April, Lean and Six Sigma implementation will be at its most effective when integrated into the organisation’s strategy and goals.  Without that, it will just be another initiative with an associated short-term life.  What’s more, if an organisation has a core methodology which is integral to its way of working, then integrating Lean and Six Sigma into that will also increase it’s chances of success.  This is a theme that Elisabeth Goodman, and RiverRhee Consulting Associate John Riddell will be exploring in a workshop with the APM (Association for Project Management) that is being scheduled for the spring.

3. Make sure all leaders and managers are engaged with, supporting and reinforcing Lean and Six Sigma

Although it can be tempting to start applying Lean and Six Sigma in a bottom-up approach, our experience is that it is well-worth the effort to engage middle and senior managers. Not only will their engagement facilitate the implementation of ideas and improvements, but, by modeling and reinforcing associated behaviours, they will cause an exponential adoption of similar behaviours by others.  Without the engagement of middle and senior management, adoption of Lean and Six Sigma will flounder and die.

4. Start with some Lean and Six Sigma champions to lead the way and show how it will work

In any organisation, there will be some people who are more eager to explore new ideas and ways of working than others.  Rather than spend a lot of time and energy at this stage trying to convince the skeptics, we’ve found it best to start with a handful of people who will help to lead the way in exploring how Lean and Six Sigma can bring benefits to their work.  Others will become curious about what their peers have been doing, and the word can then start to spread through the champions’ internal networks.

5. Start with some high profile and quick win Lean and Six Sigma projects

This point builds on the earlier ones.  Pick early projects that support the organisation’s strategies, are endorsed by middle and senior management, are led by champions, address something that people care passionately about and will bring some early tangible results.  Our 1-day UKeIG ‘Getting Better at Everything You Do’4 workshop for Library and Information Professionals, helps people to identify just these kinds of improvement opportunities.

6. Recognise that people will have different styles and preferences in their adoption of Lean and Six Sigma

Elisabeth Goodman is part-way through her MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) accreditation and it has confirmed our experience so far that people will take to the Lean and Six Sigma tools and approaches in different ways.  For example, some will enjoy the clearly structured step-by-step DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) approach, others will want to make more use of their intuition or of their creativity. Elisabeth has summarized many of her earlier blogs on this topic in the recently published “How people (individuals) are integral to business process improvement”5 See also her most recent blog on intuition and Lean Six Sigma6.

7. Recognise that organisations will have cultural differences in their adoption of Lean and Six Sigma

Each organisation has its own distinct culture and our experience is that cultures will differ between countries (we have experience in the US, UK and France in particular) and between different kinds of organisations (e.g. international vs. local, corporate vs. small or medium, private vs. public or government).  So we’ve found it important to try to put aside assumptions about how Lean and Six Sigma will be adopted and certainly to avoid using the ‘jargon’ unless this is what an organisation wants, and look for ways again to integrate with the language that the organisation uses.

8. Encourage your organisation to keep records and measures of impact and benefits of Lean and Six Sigma projects, and to prioritise them accordingly

Once people start realizing the power of Lean and Six Sigma, there can be a rapid proliferation of improvement projects.  We’ve found it important to work with middle and senior managers to prioritise these projects and assessing the potential strategic benefits of the projects can help with this.  We encourage participants to define measures (both tangible and intangible) to monitor the actual impact of their improvements, and also to keep a central record that again will help with the wider communication to the organisation.

9. Ensure that there is ongoing communication to engage the wider organisational community in Lean and Six Sigma

Our experience is that there can never be enough communication, and that this needs to be in as many different forms as possible to ensure that people a) receive the communication (see it, hear it etc.) and b) absorb it in a way that will lead them to either reflect or act upon it.  Small group, face-to-face communication with opportunities for discussion always seem to be more effective for example than mass e-mail communications. Our clients have also used local displays with updates on work in progress and visual summaries of forward plans or targets to be achieved as a way to help with engagement.

10. Create Communities of Practice and other knowledge sharing approaches to help sustain Lean and Six Sigma in your organisation

This last theme is one that we will be exploring in our pre-conference workshop for IQPC in April3, and also one that Elisabeth Goodman will be speaking about at IQPC’s SmartLabs7 conference in Berlin.  Knowledge Management techniques have a lot to offer Lean and Six Sigma practitioners to learn from each other’s experience, continuously improve their skills in applying the principles and tools and generally sustain the application of Lean and Six Sigma in their organisations.

If you have any views on this newsletter, do let us know.  And if you enjoyed it, feel free to pass it on to others, and/or sign-up to make sure you don’t miss future issues on https://riverrheeconsulting.wordpress.com


  1. RiverRhee Consulting enhances team effectiveness using process improvement, knowledge management and change management.  Follow the links to find out more about RiverRhee Consulting (http://www.riverrhee.com), and about Elisabeth Goodman (http://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabethgoodman) and John Riddell (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/johnriddell)
  2. Influencer – The Power to Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson et al, McGraw Hill, 2008
  3. Business Process Excellence for Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices, 6th-8th April, London (running workshop and presenting) http://www.bpe-pharma.com/
  4. ‘Getting Better at Everything you Do’ UKeIG course, Tues 28th June 2011, Birmingham, UK
  5. How people (individuals) are integral to business process improvement In: Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry: Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics, by Hedley Rees, Wiley, 2011 pp. 372-376
  6. Intuition revisited – implications for process improvement and Lean Six Sigma (Part 2 of 3 blogs)
  7. SmartLabs Exchange, Berlin 28 Feb – 2 March 2011 Creating the right Knowledge Ecosystem to drive Operational Excellence http://ow.ly/3VNVE
  8. Readers may also be interested in: Lean and Six Sigma in R&D and Service Delivery – opportunities and challenges; Employee engagement – some interesting data and perspectives for Lean and Six Sigma practitioners; and High performing organisations: interweaving process improvement, knowledge management and change management.

Continue reading


Filed under Newsletter