Lessons Learned

This site has described some tools, techniques and models of the world around you. As I said in the introduction, they will help but they’re not guaranteed. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned as I’ve tried them out in practice.

Don’t rely on rational processes like benefits mapping alone. People always get in the way of the best intentions. However, you just have to live with them. There will always be people involved so apply psychology as necessary.

Sponsorship is key in any business project. It is a recurring theme that you must have the right senior sponsor with the right commitment. It doesn’t matter how clever you are, if your boss doesn’t understand or care or loses interest then you will struggle to succeed.

Stakeholder analysis answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” Sometimes it isn’t obvious or openly admitted so look for the hidden agendas that people keep to themselves. Tele-conferencing saves businesses money and is eco-friendly. It also ties globe-trotting sales people to their desks and stops the Airmiles they used to go on holiday with.

Be realistic in the goals you set. Don’t try to do too much or too little. When people put measures on their objectives they tend to shrink them so the intention to become market leaders goes from, “Let’s have 10 – 20% growth in five years” to, “Let’s sell three more things by the end of the year”.

Will your corporate culture take the business change? Is it the sort of thing your people actually see themselves doing?

Are your people capable of delivering it? It’s no use having an e-learning package for induction and training of staff if their level of computer literacy isn’t up to using it.

Plan for stakeholder motivation / de-motivation. Is the right motivation employed? Do you actively encourage knowledge sharing but is your reward scheme set against it? Do you promote teamwork but give bonuses to individuals?

If the organisation as a whole is sound in these areas, what about the actual work groups themselves? People will always bond into groups, cliques and gangs. The culture in one business unit may be very different from another.

Remember that everyone has other things to do and allocate work accordingly. People are already busy doing their day-jobs. The time they give to planning and workshops has to be treated as an investment and agreed before you start. Then you have to stick to it when managers start asking to have their people back at their jobs.


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