Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

the day to day experiences of a consultant operating in weird and wonderful client situations

The subject matter expertise…of implementation

I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the creation of a new subject matter expertise…focused on the skills and requirements of  implementation or ‘getting things done’!

In every part of commercial and creative life, we are faced with a significant contradiction. There is almost universal acceptance that ‘implementation’ is where things go wrong. Yet most of the focus, attention, and resource (financial and other) in any complex transformation project seems to rest with the design and development.

Even the language reflects this truth.

  • In the business of building and construction, we can all think of a famous architect or two, but how many expert and recognised builders are etched in our collective memory?
  • In tertiary education, universities are seen as the place to learn strategy and design whereas technical colleges provide the implementation skills required…the implication is quite clear at least in the UK as to what type of institution has the greater value.
  • In the making of movies, the director occupies a position significantly ahead of producer, when it is the latter who enables the production to go ahead.

My mission is therefore to redress the balance…because without it, we will continue to fail in transformation.

So, who is invited to participate in the creation of this new subject matter expertise:

  • Those involved in planning, resourcing and tracking. Creating a plan of implementation which is realistic and defendable, reviewing resource requirements which recognise that productivity is a reflection of morale and motivation as well as capacity and tracking deliverables with honesty and clarity. These people are the true champions of implementation and need to be at the heart of this enterprise.
  • Behavioural change champions. All aspects of implementation have a change element to them..whether it’s in the management team, in specific functional areas, or across a broad population…and anyone brave enough to tackle this thankless task is absolutely critical to this new discipline.
  • Communicators of all shape and size. If the planners create the skeleton of the new business, the communicators are responsible for the blood circulation. Without your intervention, we are left with a lifeless corpse of transformation. You understand in the deepest recesses of your souls that everyone is a stakeholder in the process of change and that through creative use of channels, messages and feedback loops, you have a responsibility to bring as many with you as possible.
  • Coaches / mentors / influencers / counsellors..all are welcome. We recognise that every time you interact with someone who values your input, it’s your authenticity and selflessness which is called upon, no matter what state of mind you’re in at the time.

What’s our first task? To have a material impact on the development of scope, time and quality of a programme of work at conception. Easy enough…! I’d be fascinated in examples that you can send me where you’ve had success or partial success in this first challenge.

Categories: Agile, Change management, Complex transformation, Consulting, Disruptive Innovation, human behaviour, Language, Project Management, psychology, Transformation

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