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Looking back on 2014 and forward to 2015. RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, November – December 2014

RiverRhee Consulting, 11th December 2014

Introduction

December is traditionally a time when many of us reflect on our achievements, what we have learned and what we can look forward to in the coming year.

2014 has been our most active and varied year so far, in the just over five years of RiverRhee’s existence. We thought we would share a little about our achievements and our learning, and several things that might be of interest to you in 2015 under the headings:

  • Developing management and interpersonal skills
  • Managing and dealing with change
  • Continuous improvement
  • Knowledge management
  • Strategy facilitation
  • Upcoming courses

Developing management and interpersonal skills is an important area for growing SMEs as well as larger organisations

Interest in Elisabeth Goodman’s and Janet Burton’s off-site courses and customised in-house training and coaching for new managers and supervisors has really taken off in 2014. Our client base for management related skills is continuing to expand with bookings for January through to March 2015.

Delegates at our Introduction to Management course, September 2014

Delegates at our Introduction to Management course, September 2014

We have learnt that some SMEs can spare the time for people to attend our off-site 3-day Introduction to Management course and really appreciate the opportunity to network with and learn from colleagues from other companies.

Equally important though, is our ability to customise our Supervisor Training course so that the content and duration match what other clients would prefer to have delivered in-house. Elisabeth and Janet ran one such course for Red Balloon, Cambridge and subsequently shared the experience in the blog “There will never be enough time

Sometimes our support takes the form of short coaching sessions with individual managers – we did some of this in 2014, and are due to do more in 2015.

How to enhance team effectiveness is one of the topics included in supervisor and management training, and Elisabeth recently published “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”, now available through Amazon as well as through the RiverRhee publishing page.

We’ve also found that SMEs appreciate the help we can give them in reviewing and rolling out improved performance review and appraisal processes . And we have used Elisabeth’s and Lorraine Warne’s skills in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming) to help individuals understand their strengths and enhance their interpersonal skills.

Managing and dealing with change is a big topic of interest

We have run workshops and delivered seminars on the subject of change for Library and Information organisations (CILIP, UKeIG, Health Libraries Group), and at Project Management (APM) events in 2014 (see for example “Common factors for managing successful change“).

Changing the way we change - APM event at GSK June 2014

Changing the way we change – APM event at GSK June 2014

This subject continues to be something that people would like more help with, so that they can make change happen in a more positive and effective way.

We have introduced a new off-site course on Managing Change for Life Science organisations in 2015 and look forward to finding out how popular this will be.

Elisabeth Goodman became the ‘pillar lead’ for Capabilities and Methods in the APM Enabling Change SIG, and this is already giving her access to new knowledge to bring into our work with clients. We also recently heard that Elisabeth’s jointly authored article with Lucy Loh’s “Organizational Change: A Critical Challenge for Team Effectiveness” is to be included in a collection of such articles in an academic work entitled “Change Leadership” edited by Colette Dumas and Richard H. Beinecke which will be published by SAGE Publications in May 2015.

There continues to be an appetite for continuous improvement

We have continued to run in-house courses on Lean and Six Sigma, and are now offering this also as an off-site course in 2015. In fact, this is one of three courses (the other two being Introduction to Management, and Managing Change) that we are now accredited to deliver through Cogent as another source of potential subsidised funding for SMEs. (Elisabeth also continues to be a registered coach and trainer with the GrowthAccelerator programme and organised a fairly well attended free event with them at Babraham Science Park in the summer.)

We delivered a half-day version of the Lean and Six Sigma course as one of two seminars with Janet Burton for the Herts Chamber of Commerce, and there are prospects of delivering more of these in 2015.

We facilitated some in-house continuous improvement with an academic organisation during 2014, and a few of the delegates who visited our stand at One Nucleus’ recent Genesis event also expressed interest to Sue Parkins and John Riddell in potential support from us in this area in 2015.

(By the way, Sue joined our team of associates during 2014, along with Paul Hadland, Rose Bolton and Margie Gardiner.  We shared a little more about the team under the theme of “What motivates us in our work“.)

Look out for Elisabeth’s next book on the topic of continuous improvement in 2015: “The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook”.

Our work in knowledge management has picked up some new momentum

The big news was the publication of Elisabeth and John’s book with Gower “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry” at the end of August. An immediate outcome was that we were invited to give an “inspiring” talk to help a Pharmaceutical company develop its knowledge management strategy.

Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry, by Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell

Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry, by Elisabeth Goodman and John Riddell

Elisabeth also delivered a session on Knowledge Management to IMPI earlier in the year on behalf of TFPL, and worked with the Open University Library Services to carry out an audit and facilitate a stakeholder workshop for their metadata project.

Our strategy facilitation skills have been in demand

We returned to the EU organisation that Elisabeth and Lorraine Warne had worked with in 2013 to help them shape their forward strategy.

We called in another independent consultant, Janette Thomas, at the start of the year to help us with a strategic workshop with a health research organisation.

And Elisabeth has been working with a government organisation to facilitate a workshop and a focus group to help shape one of their strategies.

Upcoming courses

Details of our upcoming courses and events are kept up-to-date on our website. Here is what the list is looking like at the moment:

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 and teams in 2015.  See the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail the author at elisabeth@riverrhee.com.

Meanwhile, we wish you a healthy and happy end of year and start to 2015…

 

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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.

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What motivates us in our work? RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter, March-April 2014

What motivates us in our work?

In our Introduction to Management, and Supervisor Training courses with One Nucleus, we help delegates explore what motivates them and members of their teams in their work.  This is also a theme which Elisabeth Goodman is exploring as she writes the second of her RiverRhee Publishing workbooks – “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”.  (The first, “The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook” was published in November 2013.) There are many models depicting what motivates us in our work, and yet Abraham Maslow’s (1908-1970) hierarchy of needs is still one of the most popular.  His hierarchy ranges from the basic physiological needs, through social belonging, and on to self-actualisation. We have also been expanding the pool of RiverRhee Consulting Associates, and so we thought it would be fun to find out what motivates us in our work as a way of  introducing all of us to you.  We would be interested to hear if and how what motivates us reflects or resonates with you.  Do you feel the same, or differently?

Bringing ideas and new knowledge into our work and that of others

Knowledge Management is a key area of expertise for John Riddell, so it is fitting that one of the things that motivates him is: “when people learn something that enables them to do their job better, whether this is by using existing knowledge or creating new knowledge”.

John Riddell is a certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and is highly experienced in knowledge management.

John Riddell is a certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and is highly experienced in knowledge management.

Other things that motivate John: “I get a buzz when I’ve helped people to help each other. I also love it when a plan comes together!” Elisabeth Goodman also enjoys “Translating ideas into something tangible that will help people think about their work differently”, she uses this creativity to shape the range of training, coaching, consultancy services, and publications from RiverRhee Consulting.

Elisabeth Goodman is an experienced and certified practitioner in change management, Lean Six Sigma, MBTI, and an expert in knowledge management

Elisabeth Goodman is an experienced and certified practitioner in change management, Lean Six Sigma, MBTI, and an expert in knowledge management

She particularly likes “Introducing structures and tools to teams and managers to take away any pain or anxiety that have been preventing them from enjoying or feeling fulfilled in their work.”

Helping people generally

Being able to help others is a big motivator for all RiverRhee Associates.  Here is an example from Sue Parkins: “Helping people develop and achieve their full potential.”  Sue has a proven track record in using these skills to deliver business benefits both in the Pharmaceutical Industry and Healthcare.

Sue Parkins Sue is an experienced and certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and change management

Sue Parkins Sue is an experienced and certified practitioner in Lean Six Sigma and change management

Sue is also motivated by “Adding real value and enhancing a process or business”

“Working with folk who care about people and quality” is also a key motivator for Paul Hadland, a great attribute for someone who has honed his IT-related skills by working as an information scientist, systems developer, and director of strategic consulting.

Paul Hadland has worked as a management consultant on change projects in pharmaceutical, animal health, consumer goods and consumer electronics companies

Paul Hadland has worked as a management consultant on change projects in pharmaceutical, animal health, consumer goods and consumer electronics companies

Paul is also motivated by “Making a perceptible difference.”

Making a difference to how people work

One of the main ways in which we make a difference to businesses and teams is by helping them to enhance their processes.  As Rose Bolton puts it, it’s about “Working with people to find ways of doing things that make work simpler, easier, more efficient and effective.”

Rose Bolton has a proven track record in managing service improvement initiatives, including the development and implementation of IT projects

Rose Bolton is a Human Resource professional with a proven track record in managing service improvement initiatives, including the development and implementation of IT projects

We also make a difference by helping people to increase their personal effectiveness for their work within formal and informal teams.  This is reflected by Lorraine Warne’s motivation “I get a great deal of work satisfaction by passing on the knowledge of mind tools to delegates, (teaching delegates to dip into their super computer, the unconscious) to increase work excellence.”

Lorraine Warne has a passion for working with individuals and organisations so that they can increase their personal effectiveness.

Lorraine Warne has a passion for working with individuals and organisations so that they can increase their personal effectiveness.

Many of us are running our own businesses as well as working as RiverRhee Associates.  This also enables us to bring a diversity of experience to the RiverRhee team.  So Lorraine also has this motivation “Making a difference to the human race through running NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner courses and 1 to 1 coaching.” (Incidentally, Elisabeth attended one of Lorraine’s courses during March, so that she is now an accredited NLP Practitioner.)

Getting that positive feedback

One of the ways in which we build continuous improvement and quality into our work is by asking for feedback from our clients during and on completion of each of our engagements.  We take suggestions for improvement seriously, but also enjoy receiving that positive feedback. Here’s how Margie Gardiner puts it “A big motivator for me is when a client ‘gets’ it and can see how the tools and methods can be applied to their business problem and bring improvement – it’s the ‘aha’ moment from the client that brings the training to life in a practical, beneficial way.”

Margie Gardiner has an extensive background in business redesign and change management, Lean Six Sigma, programme management, clinical research, and training

Margie Gardiner has an extensive background in business redesign and change management, Lean Six Sigma, programme management, clinical research, and training

Sometimes that feedback may come a while after the event, as stated by Janet Burton, who incidentally neatly sums up many of the motivators of our team “I really am pleased when weeks or months after a training session, people come up to me and tell me just how much they enjoyed the training, how much they use their new knowledge in their work and how much difference it has made to their output and efficiency.”

Janet Burton uses her experience of training and management to help people develop their skills, enhance their confidence and change for the better

Janet Burton uses her experience of training and management to help people develop their skills, enhance their confidence and change for the better

Other news

In March we delivered a tailored version of our One Nucleus one-day course Smart Working for Business Growth and Innovation for an NHS-related organisation.  Many thanks to Janette Thomas of Accentbio Ltd who stepped in to help us with this course. Also in March, Elisabeth presented and facilitated a discussion at an IMPI (Information Managers in the Pharmaceutical Industry) meeting on “How Information Management roles are evolving”.  Thank you to TFPL for putting this engagement our way. We are also continuing to periodically deliver a tailored one-day version of Smart Working for Business Growth and Innovation to an existing client – with two more sessions running in April. A new contract also kicked off in April for some Operational Excellence consultancy with an academic library. We are starting to review the proofs for our publication with Gower “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry” – which is now scheduled for release in September. Last but not least, we are looking forward to our forthcoming courses with UKeIG  “Getting Better at Everything you do” (May 14th in London), and with Shaida Dorabjee “Marketing and Internal Change” (4th June, also in London).

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.

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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.

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Key Themes for Change Management – RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter – April 2012

There are many approaches to Change Management…

RiverRhee Consulting Associates have been busy writing publications and running courses in Change Management recently, so we thought it was time we shared some of our key themes for this topic with readers of this newsletter.  Before we do so, here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been doing and are planning to do around Change Management.

Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman released the 5th and last in our series of blogs on Change Management, based on our article with Business Information Review1. Our most popular blog has been “Recognising reactions to change and responding to them” with its focus on the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross change curve.  And our last blog tying in Dilts Logical Levels of Change and Lean and Six Sigma is also proving popular.

Elisabeth ran a course with Shaida Dorabjee of SD Information Services for UKeIG exploring common themes in marketing and change management and helping delegates apply the associated principles and tools to their own case studies.  These common themes are the basis for this bi-monthly newsletter.

(Elisabeth also has a further course planned with Aslib in London on the 28th June – Change Management for Success.)

Key theme for Change Management number 1: Clarify the strategic context

Being clear about the strategic context for change will give weight to individual (hopefully related) initiatives and help those involved in driving the change have a better understanding of the climate in which they are working.

Identify the ‘burning platform’

The changes we are introducing may not always have the stark alternative choices faced by the Piper Alpha worker on a burning platform high above the North Sea, but thinking in these terms can be a useful prompt for Change Agents and Sponsors to seriously consider what really is the impetus for change.  It usually comes down to quality (for customers), cost (for the organisation), time or productivity (for those involved), safety or legal imperatives. A change couched in these terms will carry a much more powerful message than one that just sounds like ‘a good idea’.

Key theme for Change Management number 2: Analyse your stakeholders

Identifying your different stakeholder groups and carrying out a gap analysis on their current mindsets, how you want them to think, feel and behave differently, and how you might get them there is tricky but very effective.  Delegates on our courses often realize that they have some work to do in the form of 2-way dialogues with their stakeholders to gain this level of understanding.  There’s lots more to understanding and influencing stakeholders and Elisabeth’s summary of ‘Influencer’ and Lucy’s insights on Dilt’s Logical Levels of Change give more pointers on this.

Change is a personal journey

This is where studying the change curve, and realizing that each person will be at a different point, at a different time can prove so helpful.  Added to this is the realization that resistance is a ‘good thing’: it’s an indication that people are aware of the change and are engaging with it.  Again, the more we can initiate 2-way conversations with those affected by the change to hear and respond to their resistance in a positive way, the better.

Key theme for Change Management number 3: Implementation comes last!

People often begin with what communication approach to use, when starting by clarifying strategic drivers, and analyzing stakeholders are better guarantees of successful implementation.  Once the first two steps have been addressed, implementation requires a well-defined and carefully executed tactical plan.

Integrate your planning with the strategic context and the stakeholder analysis

Having done all the earlier analysis, a good implementation plan will relate any communication, training or support approaches used for the change, to individual stakeholder groups and the appropriate key messages to be delivered.  A good plan will also have measures for monitoring its effectiveness, and enabling corrective or new supportive actions as the plan progresses.

There’s obviously a lot more to Change Management, but hopefully this short-list will be a useful introduction or refresher, and it may prompt you to read more on Elisabeth Goodman’s blog site.

[Note – if you liked this summary you may also be interested in purchasing a copy of The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook – available from RiverRhee Publishing at £10.00 plus packaging and posting.]

We’ve also been busy in some of our other areas of expertise: Knowledge Management and Lean and Six Sigma…

Definite highlights have been the two taster sessions John Riddell and Elisabeth Goodman ran in Cambridge in March.

The first “An introduction to Lean and Six Sigma” with Cambridge Network’s Learning Collaboration (LC) has led to plans for delivering an in-house workshop for one of the delegates’ organisations, and an agreement to run an off-site introductory course through LC in Cambridge on 26th June.

Our second taster, “Smart Working or Engineered Serendipity?  Knowledge Management in practice”, was delivered at Granta Park through One Nucleus, as a closing event for Cambridge Awards Week. Footage from the workshop forms the basis of our new business video about RiverRhee Consulting!

John and Elisabeth also wrote up a Web Briefing on Lessons Learned for the APM (Association for Project Management).  We are now preparing for our Knowledge Management in Business Process Excellence workshop with IQPC on 25th April in London.

We are also beginning to work on our new book with Gower “Knowledge Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Enhancing Research, Development and Manufacturing Performance”.  We’ll be getting in touch with people we know who might like to share case studies, perspectives and insights on this theme in return for a mention in the list of contributors.  If you would like to contribute, do let us know.

[1Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh. Organizational change: A critical challenge for team effectiveness. Business Information Review, 28(4) 242-250, December 2011.]

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” see the RiverRhee Consulting website or e-mail us at info@riverrhee.com.

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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

 

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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

Notes

  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.

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