Tag Archives: stakeholder management

Engage with your stakeholders more effectively – stop talking about communication!


Guest blog by Fran Bodley-Scott, 25th August 2016

Editorial note: I came across Fran in my work for the APM Enabling Change SIG. She has developed an ‘ABCDE’ model for communication, which she offered to coach me on in support of a publication that we are preparing.

ABCDE logo for shaping communications, from Fran Bodley-Scott

ABCDE model for shaping communications, from Fran Bodley-Scott

I was very impressed by the effectiveness of this model at taking us through a structured process for thinking about our stakeholders and how we would engage with them. It’s a model that I think would help any line or project manager plan their communication activities. I asked Fran to write something about her approach. This is what she wrote…

Communication plays a big part in the ability of managers and teams to influence others.

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Managers and their teams don’t operate in an isolated world. They operate in and are influenced by their environment, and the ability of the team to deliver services and benefits depends on their ability to influence other people (their stakeholders). Partners, suppliers, sponsors, clients, experts and operators need to be engaged, persuaded, informed and supported. So, communication plays a big part in enabling a team to perform effectively. Unfortunately, poor communication can throw all sorts of spanners in the works:

  • Information can be misunderstood or interpreted in different ways depending on an individual’s expectations, assumptions, bias, prior experience or what’s going on around them. Making assumptions or not asking what people understand can result in confusion and mistakes.
  • Too much, too little or complex information can create a barrier to productivity: people become disinterested in working with you leading to delays, duplication of effort or poor quality.
  • A report can go unread, or a business case be rejected simply due to the way information is presented. The subsequent rework, delay and loss of confidence add cost and risk to the project.

Poor communication continues to be an issue

Poor communication costs money and impacts the team’s ability to be effective. This is not new: people have been saying it for years and yet it continues to be an issue: why? I believe there are three fundamental reasons:

‘SOS’ – sending out stuff: We’ve become accustomed to thinking of ‘communication’ in terms of output not outcome. Communication is defined as a two-way process of reaching a mutual understanding, yet discussions about communication frequently centre on what’s going to be produced: a website, a brochure, an email, a newsletter. People leap straight into writing content before considering who it is they need to reach and why.

Complexity: Communication is actually quite complicated. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account even for something as seemingly simple as getting a yes/no answer from the client. Without enough information about who you’re trying to engage with, it can be easy to overlook key issues that may help or hinder.

Difficulty: Communication also involves a number of different skills. An individual’s ability or confidence can affect whether they perceive ‘communication’ as an opportunity or a problem. The challenge of using social media, creating a video or emailing a senior executive can be a barrier if they feel they don’t have the skills, lack the time to work it out, or don’t want the risk of making a faux pas. If it’s not a priority for them, communication will just not happen.

Focus on attitudes and behaviours rather than communication.

So, if you want to improve the effectiveness of your team, my recommendation is that you stop talking about ‘communication’! It puts people in the wrong frame of mind and introduces all sorts of problems. Be confident about this: the raison d’être of your team is not to do communication. Focus instead on what attitudes and behaviours you need people to have and exhibit in order for your team to be successful.

Here are three simple steps to get you started:

  1. Measure outcome not output: Output is a measure of the team’s activity, what ‘stuff’ has been sent out. Outcome considers how effective the activity has been, whether the intended objective has been achieved. Choose criteria that help you understand how your activity has performed. For example, instead of a tick-box that checks whether a brochure has been received, evaluate how well the information provided has been understood, the level of confidence about using a new process, or motivation to change behaviour.
  2. Create solutions not challenges: Make it easy for the right messages to reach the right people at the right time. For example, provide team members with ready-to-use messages and guidelines for different platforms; format data to integrate automatically with another team’s process so that cascaded information is accurate and consistent; facilitate client feedback by being visible, accessible and flexible.
  3. Be audience-led not technology-driven: Instead of simply doing what’s convenient (eg. sending an email) or what everyone else does (eg. social media), take time to consider who it is that you need to reach and the most effective way to impact their behaviour or attitude. For example, seeing the finished product can influence confidence and commitment much more effectively than receiving a picture via email.
    “If the best way of reaching and influencing your audience is to stand on a box with a loud hailer, do that.” Stephen Hale, Head of Digital at the Department of Health

About the Author:

Fran Bodley-Scott is passionate about helping individuals and teams use communications effectively to achieve business goals. As a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Marketer Fran’s approach is both customer-focused and systematic, applying core marketing principles and the ABCDE communications process in order to drive business performance.

Her company, Marketing In Control Ltd, provides training and coaching in communications effectiveness and stakeholder engagement, as well as consultancy and marketing services. If you are interested in talking with Fran about your project, email scottf@marketingincontrol.com.

ABOUT THE EDITOR

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We use training, facilitation, coaching, mentoring and consulting in our work with our clients.)

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  

RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus, a quality assured training provider with Cogent Skills and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals).

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner.  

She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) where she leads on Membership, Communications and Events for the Enabling Change SIG committee.

The Kano model for team building – an alternative application for this Lean Sigma tool


By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th November 2015

The Kano model  is traditionally used as a ‘Voice of the Customer’ Lean Sigma tool

I had the pleasure of co-presenting a seminar with Carl Halford  recently, for the APM (Association for Project Management) Thames Valley Branch, on behalf of the Enabling Change SIG.

The full set of slides and the notes from our event: Process Improvement and Change Management are available on the APM website.

The Kano model is traditionally used in Lean and Six Sigma as a ‘Voice of the Customer’ tool, to understand customer requirements, and to distinguish between the ‘critical’ versus ‘nice to haves’.

Carl used the model for a lively interactive exercise with the delegates, using a dry cleaning business as the basis for the discussion.

The Kano model - illustration by Carl Halford for a Drycleaning model

The Kano model – illustration by Carl Halford for an APM event

Carl’s demonstration was a helpful reminder of how effective the Kano model can be as a tool for stakeholder analysis.

As he said, there can be no debate about the ‘must-haves’, or critical requirements.  If these are not satisfied, then those customers will never come back, and word-of-mouth could be your ruin.

The ‘more is better’ line (which I had learnt about as the ‘it depends’ requirements), are those that may make a difference to customers depending on their circumstances or what else is going on in the store on any particular day.

The ‘delighters’ are the ones that will win your customers’ loyalty, and cause them to recommend you to others.  Of course these ‘delighters’ are also a risk to managing your long-term resources as they may in time become expected ‘must-haves’.

Using the Kano model for team building

What especially peaked my interest was Carl’s suggestion that the Kano model could also be used for team building.

A team might have traditionally used the Kano model as part of a team meeting: to help extract what everyone already knows about their stakeholders, and to agree what other research or conversations might be needed to enhance that understanding.

Using the Kano model for team building works on the premise that each team member is a stakeholder in the team’s success.  Carl mentioned that he tends to use the model for project teams, but it could also be used for an operational team.

Each person is likely to have uniques ‘must haves’, ‘more is better’, and ‘delighter’ expectations.  There will also be some overlaps between what different people want.

I can imagine preparing a wall poster of the Kano model, and issuing each team member with post-it notes to provide the basis for a rich discussion and enhanced understanding of the various perspectives within the team.  If managed well, this might help the team through its ‘storming’ phase of development and pave the way for greater trust and support.

I’m looking forward to giving this alternative application of the Kano model a try, and of course will be curious to hear about anyone else’s experience of this approach.

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams and their managers to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. (We use coaching, training, facilitation, mentoring and consulting in our work with our clients.)

Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting just under 6 years ago, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis. 

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner.  

She is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals) and of APM (Association for Project Management).

The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook – now available!


by Elisabeth Goodman

I’m delighted to say that the first in my new series of  “The Effective Team’s ” workbooks is now available.

The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook

Elisabeth Goodman (author), Nathaniel Spain (illustrator), November 2013 – ISBN 978-0-9926323-5-9

54777 RR cover design_Page_1 medium

This first book in the series focuses on Change Management.  This is the description on the back of the book:

“A well-managed change initiative is something special to behold!  The author’s experience with business support groups such as Library and Information services, and with organisations in the Life Sciences and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) have been instrumental in shaping her approach to leading teams and to teaching and coaching individuals about Change Management.  This workbook has been designed to reflect her approach.  It encompasses personal journeys, reactions and resistance to change (the ‘people’ aspect of change) and the processes to use when planning and implementing various types of change.  The plentiful principles and methodologies are explained through scenarios and are accompanied by exercises for team or individual practice.  There are also notes on further reading.  The book is targeted at operational teams, but project teams will also benefit from its rich insights and depth.”

THE detailed content of the book

The book begins by taking the reader through variations of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s change curve – where change is perceived as negative or positive.  It then explores how resistance can be useful, using Richard McKnight’s victim, survivor and navigator representations.

The reader is then guided on how to go about articulating the strategic context for change in a way that will help team members be aligned on the key messages to use with their stakeholders, and some influencing techniques that they might use to achieve lasting behavioural change.

The next chapter explores how to go about understanding stakeholders’ perspectives, before getting into communication, training and support techniques for effectively implementing and embedding change.

The final chapter explores how to measure benefits, impact and effectiveness of the change.

Supplemental content includes full page versions of charts and tables for use in the individual and team activities, a detailed coverage of the case studies used to illustrate the book, and some notes on further reading.

Cost and availability

Copies are priced at £10.00 each, plus packaging and posting, and can be ordered via the RiverRhee Publishing web page (http://www.riverrhee.com/publications/books/)

Future books for enhancing team effectiveness

Future books in “The Effective Team’s” workbook series will address other themes relating to RiverRhee Consulting’s work for enhancing team effectiveness.  Topics will include high performance teams, operational excellence, knowledge management, and facilitation.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale (using training, coaching and consulting).

Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a Time of Change – an introduction


By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

Lucy Loh and Elisabeth Goodman have been preparing a few publications and seminars that deal with enhancing team effectiveness, strategies for personal and organisational change, and team development in the context of project management.  We thought it would therefore be timely to write a series of blogs picking up on some of our thinking in these areas.

All organisations, whether in the public, third or private sector, are continuing to experience organisational change on a large scale.  Whether this involves reshaping, redefinition of roles or just addressing internal efficiencies, all of these bring huge challenges.

At the same time, teams within these organisations must continue to deliver today as well as achieve changes to their own roles and services for delivery tomorrow.

Challenges facing today’s teams

As we write, in the second half of 2011, many global economies, including the UK’s, are undergoing unprecedented change.  These macroeconomic changes are triggering change at all levels in the public, private and third sectors.  The public sector faces the challenge of having to do ‘more with less’.  The private sector is seeking increased efficiencies and effectiveness, and is looking at innovation of products, services and the ways in which it does business.  The third sector has the opportunity, and challenge, to take on activities previously performed by the public sector.

Although today’s wave of change has been primarily created by economic conditions, change is now a constant, so this series of blogs is relevant whatever the trigger for change.

Impact on organisations

The economic conditions have created a scale and rate of change to challenge organisations, and the teams within them, as never before.  Within organisations, some teams are being downsized, with difficult choices to make about which people to retain and which to let go.  Often, a team is in the position of waiting and watching as the change ripples down the organisational layers towards them.  Some teams are being reorganised, revising their priorities, or making a case for their survival.  Teams are being asked to be more effective than ever, at a time when they are under more pressure than ever.

Impact on individuals and teams

It is important to recognise that all change involves people: what they do, and / or how they do it.  Many people in today’s organisations have spent their working lives in a period of relative stability.  Their expectations about the emotional ‘contract’ with the organisation (their future, their working style, and terms and conditions) may now be challenged, leading to a sense of uncertainty and instability.  Their job content (what a job comprises, how it is to be done, and how performance is assessed) may have been stable for years.

For many individuals, change is demanding, personally and emotionally, as things that were important in the past are put aside, and new ways of working take their place.  But change also offers an opportunity for renewal: to look again at what each team does, and to reposition the team to meet the voice of its customers.

To sustain team effectiveness during change, engagement of the team throughout the process is crucial.  As Peter Senge said, “People don’t resist change.  They resist being changed”. We believe that it is the uncertainty associated with change that can be so difficult and painful to cope with, and that everyone needs to feel that they have some sort of control over their situation.  Team leaders should value expressions of resistance as an opening up of dialogue on what people are thinking and feeling, paving the way for constructive discussion on how best to go forward.

External and internal drivers of change

Some organisational change is driven by factors outside the organisation, to which it then has to react.  In other cases, an organisation can proactively choose to change, interpreting the changes in customers, services and demand likely in the future and reshaping itself accordingly.  In each case, a particular team may discover that its customers have changed, or the needs and wants of their existing customers have changed.  This means that the value which the team delivers to its customers must also change, which in turn alters the nature of the team itself, its roles, and what ‘good quality’ looks and feels like.

In addition, the team members will have a wider set of established stakeholders with whom they have a good relationship, and whose needs and styles of working they understand well.  As the organisation changes, the stakeholders for the team may change, bringing the need to build relationships with a new set of people.

The UK local government election in May 2011 offers a vivid example of change in organisational values.  A number of councils changed from leadership by one political party to leadership by another, with a substantial turnover in the Councillors themselves.  The incoming Councillors held different political views and values (political and other), and had different manifesto commitments to the outgoing Councillors.  Almost overnight, the local government officers needed to stop working with previous Councillors, and begin adapting to a new programme of work described in the manifesto.  This is change at its most radical: a new direction, new values, new stakeholders, a new programme of work, and new ways of working.  This is the ultimate requirement: sustain delivery to the team’s customers in parallel with evolving the team and its effectiveness.

Concluding comments

Jay Galbraith, a world leader on organisation and team development, tells us : “Every organisation is perfectly designed to get the results it’s currently achieving”.  We believe that it is critical for teams to design themselves for effectiveness, to manage the status quo and to increase their resilience for change.

In this series of blogs, we provide insights into the challenges for the effectiveness of teams when their organisations are changing, and practical tips and suggestions on how to lead and maintain a thriving team.

Our intention is to provide ideas and techniques that both leaders and members can use to improve the effectiveness of their team, whatever its sector or current level of performance.  We describe core principles and general approaches to team development (often initiated from inside the team) and show how to use these to address change from outside the team.  We share ideas on how to ‘diagnose’ the current state of the team, whether it is performing well and is strongly aligned with its customers, or less so.

Our next blog in this series will address: “Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them”.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale.  Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.