Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

human behaviour

The project based organisation

Following on from my blog last week, I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues around the ‘projectisation’ of corporations, a ugly but appropriate phrase which Thomas Martin uses to explain the next stage in corporate development. If you remember, what I tried to address was the perfect storm convergence of a disengaged and therefore unproductive workforce, a increasing pace of change and a significant uplift in complexity. So, how to deal with […]

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Implementing a ‘bottom up’ strategy – part 3

Apologies for the delayed posting…I was at our place in Scotland on holiday and bizarrely, the golf course had more attraction than sitting behind a laptop, trying to find something meaningful to say around this particular challenge! So, for those of you who did not pick up on my previous posts, in the first one of this series, I discussed the typical approach of strategy implementation from a ‘top down’ […]

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Top down or bottom up? Developing a strategy which actually gets implemented!

Now there’s a question! Let me say upfront that as someone who comes from a programme and project management background (and therefore implementation focus), I have an inbuilt bias to this problem but will try to put a rational and as usual, highly cynical case to this problem. By the way, I don’t mean challenge, issue, risk or distraction, but serious, business / career destroying, crisis inducing, health impacting problem. […]

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Post merger integration – in every way, an oximoron!

There’s an magnificent irony to the expression ‘post merger integration’ which, as the M&A rollercoaster starts to speed up again at an alarming pace, I wanted to share with you. In fact every part of that phrase can be challenged… Post – the reality as any practitioner will tell you, is that the work starts a long time before completion and potentially announcement. Many studies have shown that if you start […]

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Right-sizing the culture…to dimensions that make sense!

Whenever we talk about culture, it’s almost always in macro economic terms…regions, nations, industries, functional areas all seem to be easily (if often wrongly!) defined by specific and identifiable cultural traits. These traits enable us to ascribe labels to groups of people which may be relevant in terms of description but in terms of achieving any kind of change add to the confusion rather reduce it. In my opinion, the […]

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Re-employment, not retention – that’s the name of the game these days

It is extraordinary how age creeps up on you. In thinking about and discussing this blog with a colleague recently, I was suddenly aware of how over the course of 20+ years of work, the nature of my relationship with my employer has changed and more specifically how different it is from the new generation joining the workforce. So, like many of my peers, I’m left with a dilemma. Do […]

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Do We Become Smarter? – Entity vs Incremental Intelligence

Originally posted on People-triggers:
Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford University I’d like to introduce what is probably the most important concept I’ve every learned. In a way, I’m frustrated that I didn’t latch onto this insight until I was 35 years old, but by the same token, I’m relieved that I learned this in time to make better parenting decisions when the appropriate time comes. Does Intelligence Remain Fixed? Dr. Carol…

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Do you take enough risk?

Do you take enough risk?. Good article on the nature of leading groups through a real learning experience by Michael. All of us have that experience of throwing out the plan and doing something fresh. It’s interesting for me that often this involves someone else in the decision making process…the support of someone who running the session with you in making the decision / taking the risk is often important. Which […]

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Agile – A change in methodology or something much deeper and altogether more challenging?

I’ve just spoken at an excellent conference on project management in KL. There were some truly interesting seminars on project recovery, risk, the danger of optimism in projects, and of course Agile. It is extraordinary what sort of reaction this topic generates amongst proven, seasoned project management professionals and the range was certainly on display at the conference. I saw everything there from fear and loathing, to contemptuous dismissal, to […]

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How Circumspect Should Quantitative Forecasters Be?

Originally posted on Dart-Throwing Chimp:
Yesterday, I participated in a panel discussion on the use of technology to prevent and document mass atrocities as part of an event at American University’s Washington College of Law to commemorate the Rwandan genocide.* In my prepared remarks, I talked about the atrocities early-warning system I’m helping build for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide. The chief outputs of…

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Are we always going to spend countless hours on planes to get to sit in meeting rooms with colleagues?

This morning, as I sit on yet another flight, this time from Singapore to Hong Kong, it’s ever more apparent to me that far from video conferencing and other forms of communication taking the place of international travel, planes are fuller than ever with business travellers flying short distances for a schedule of meetings, which from my own straw poll over the past 18 months, are mostly internal to their […]

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People in project management – the ultimate elastic band in terms of productivity!

With thanks to Toby Tester for this topic, I wanted to explore a subject which has been close to my heart for more years than I can say. How did we get to a situation where the presumption is that human capital productivity stays constant in periods of intense change? I know this blog is supposed to be a series of incisive commentaries based on personal consulting experience but the […]

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Bringing project management into the mainstream

With thanks for an excellent seminar last night by Thomas Martin of Forward Intelligence Group and previously Microsoft, and also a reflection from a number of other clients and colleagues, I’ve been observing an interesting series of phenomena in the last few months. A redrawing of some of the traditional boundaries between transformation and business as usual activities, specifically when it comes to allocation of CAPEX. It seems that there […]

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What value the functional qualification in project and programme management?

Now before you all bombard my blog site with death threats, this is not going to be a diatribe against the qualifications which are prevalent in the arena of programme and project management. I fully accept that these have a place and a value, and for someone starting out in the world of complex programme / project management, having the confidence of this type of certificate is clearly important and […]

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Working from home….management’s last bastion of control

The nature of the office workplace has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 30 years. The pace of change in terms of activity, responsibility, speed of communication, access to information and people, and complexity of the ‘transaction’ whatever the company might be engaged in, are all vastly different. Gone are vast numbers of manual tasks and with them activities and roles in the workplace. What is required these days […]

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Compensation structures – still stuck in the dark ages

As I get older and the needs of my family change, the inherent inefficiency of traditional reward structures becomes more and more obvious. What I mean simply is that the requirements I had of both salary and benefits when I was 20 or 30 are no longer relevant to me, indeed more importantly than their practical purpose is the reduced perceived value that they offer. Much has been written and […]

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