Tag Archives: effective project management

Organisational culture – why bother?

Organisations to date are still grappling with the complexities of defining a common organisational purpose. This becomes even more complicated during a business acquisition or merger, especially when there are major differences in organisational values and behaviours. This is also evident when large multi-national companies enter less mature markets and quickly discover that local
organisations have their own unique way of doing business in that particular business environment. Sometimes what is deemed ‘unacceptable’ in some markets is quite ‘acceptable’ somewhere else. This is a constant challenge facing all types of organisations globally. Culture will ultimately define a company’s belief system and expectations for the future, and will invariably influence success or failure in a highly competitive global marketplace.
As a result of greater focus on ‘cultural fit’ and all things related, Private Equity firms are now investing considerable time and resources to better understand a target company’s organisational dynamics before concluding any deal. This could be a major factor in realising value from the deal down the line. A company that has a defined philosophy for doing business will more likely have a
better strategic vision, which in turn makes it more appealing to investors, internal and external talent pools and customers alike. An organisation’s culture could either make it or break it over the long term. Thus, in attempting to create a high performance organisation, it becomes vital for senior leadership to define the culture required for success, or in the case of M&A’s, creating a vision for the future that will aim to bring the best of both organisational cultures together to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders. It is at this point that a company’s senior leadership team have an opportunity to etch themselves in corporate history and create the environment for making the company highly successful. Senior executives need to grasp this opportunity by ensuring they live
the values of the organisation and become effective role models for the rest of the organisation to follow. Doing this effectively at the top of the hierarchy instils confidence and trust in the layers below and has a mesmerising effect on motivating the wider workforce.
It is never an easy task to create or change cultural identity however with the added pressure of globalisation, the race for good talent and ever changing technological advancement, global organisations cannot afford not to invest in creating distinct cultural identities. Companies around the world are investing heavily on optimising business performance. Process and technology change alone will not make a difference unless there has been a carefully thought out people change strategy which is aligned to the strategic vision of the organisation. Many transformation efforts fail due to poor people change planning. On some large programmes it is often evident that ‘lip-service’ is paid to the impact of change on people and in many cases prevents the successful adoption of new ways of working. People need to be engaged early, to instil the values of trust and integrity. Many organisations leave it too late and lose immense credibility internally as well as externally as information starts to leak everywhere. A company serious about reputation and brand attractiveness will have as part of its organisational DNA, clear values around trust, transparency and commitment to treating people with due care and not just paying ‘lip-service’ to employee consultation. In conclusion, all aspects of transformational change require clear linkage to the corporate strategy of the organisation. This is often neglected and in many cases leads to the failure of the change
initiative, wasting valuable time, resources and energy. It is therefore vital for companies to establish the right type of culture, be it for the purposes of expanding into new emerging markets, M&A’s or a brand new start up looking to establish a foothold in the open market. A well-defined organisational culture provides the starting point for all stakeholders to feel part of something unique. This only encourages greater differentiation between competing organisations and its influence over products, services, quality and the ability to attract specific talent pools.

Vellendra Sannasy is an Organisational Change Professional with extensive experience in leading strategic and operational business change. Vellendra has worked with global organisations in the UK, US, Asia and South Africa, with a great appreciation for cultural
diversity and different ways of working. He is also the Founder of StratChange Consulting, which is a niche consultancy, providing strategic and operational guidance to C Suite Executives and Senior Management teams undergoing complex organisational change.

Why Private Equity needs good change management support?

Undoubtedly strategic change management has a major role in corporate transactions and restructurings. Many deals are either unsuccessful or do not deliver the full value expected when people and organisational change impacts are ignored or poorly planned for. This directly results in loss of revenue and delays in realising the value of the deal or restructuring initiative.

There is a big focus on ‘cultural fit’ and all things related and nowadays Private Equity firms are investing considerable time and resources to better understand a target company’s organisational dynamics before concluding any deal. This could be a major factor in realising value from the deal down the line. An organisation’s culture could either make it or break it over the long term. Thus it becomes vital for senior leadership to define the culture required for success, or in the case of M&A’s, creating a vision for the future that will aim to bring the best of both organisational cultures together to deliver maximum value for all stakeholders.
Collective behavioural patterns determine how work gets done in an organisation and that in turn relates directly to performance, motivation and the ability to cope with internal and external change. Ignoring these important factors is a major strategic risk for PE firms and can ultimately affect the realisation of value from any deal. Ignoring or poorly managing organisational change can easily result in:

  • Poor employee engagement, motivation and ultimately performance;
  • Serious resistance to change and low levels of morale across the organisation;
  • Ambiguity around the organisation’s value system and beliefs, which lead to disillusionment amongst stakeholders;
  • ‘Jumping ship’ and loss of key talent and senior leadership;
  • Poor business transformation and change planning resulting in the slow execution of the transaction or restructuring initiative.

Vital to countering these strategic risks is the effective visioning, planning and execution of business change. The process requires effective management of corporate messaging, people and cultural / behavioural change. It is most critical for the workforce to be aligned to the strategic objectives of the organisation and customer needs. Organisations that focus time and resources on doing this effectively have ultimately had higher levels of transaction success in the past.

In conclusion, the key areas that require the most attention during the transaction lifecycle (from a business change perspective), are:

  • Identifying the behaviour sets that will lead to a successful integration or restructuring exercise;
  • Determining the strategic drivers that will help to reinforce these behaviours in the future and implementing them successfully during the transition phase;
  • Understanding the organisational cultural differences and similarities and working with key parties to ensure these factors do not hinder the transaction process. Understanding this clearly will enable the creation of a shared / common vision for success;
  • Ensuring the change management strategy is being tracked and resulting issues being dealt with promptly via a well-defined change agent network.

Having structured change management plans in place will provide the levels of confidence in dealing with organisational change successfully and lead to a more successful transaction for investors in the medium to long term. It will provide the basis for realising deal value more quickly!

Vellendra Sannasy is an Organisational Change Professional with extensive experience in leading strategic and operational business change. Vellendra has worked with global organisations in the UK, US, Asia and South Africa, with a great appreciation for cultural diversity and different ways of working. He is also the Founder of StratChange Consulting, which is a niche consultancy, providing strategic and operational guidance to C Suite Executives and Senior Management teams undergoing complex organisational change.

Rainy days in projects – Project Manager CV Tips

Inspired by the never ending rain at the moment I have decided to share a really interesting piece of work a client has worked on and it ties nicely into PM CV tips, as it is a great example to talk about on the CV. I have spoken about how important it is to include project war stories in the CV as it adds another dimension to the document and really helps to demonstrate your management style. War stories are the bits about the projects which are often left out of the CV but they are important in demonstrating how you overcome major issues when delivering projects.

The story….

Sarah* is an Interim Project Manager who was tasked with implementing a data centre and quick reference application on all products for a large organisation. On arrival to the new assignment she found that the stakeholders were less than receptive to the change and being particularly difficult when it came to sharing information which they “held close to their hearts”.  It was these stakeholders who were the key to all the product information and as they had always held their own information in pocket books, they felt the information belonged to them and not the business. Sarah worked very closely with the stakeholders to gain buy-in through a number of means, such as one to one meetings and group workshops. She had to sell the change in a way which didn’t threaten the team but demonstrated just how useful it would be moving forward. Forming individual relationships and finding out personal “likes” etc Sarah managed to crack the core issue and was able to deliver a robust application which all the stakeholders finally agreed would be an asset and essential tool to cataloguing products.

You like coffee, yes

Now it would be easy to state in the CV that Sarah delivered on time and to budget blah blah blah, but knowing the issues she came up against and how she overcame them says a great deal to the reviewer of the CV. Therefore some subtle changes to the remit talking through difficult stakeholders and gaining buy-in, coupled with a strong, concise key achievement highlighted at the top of the CV, really brings so much more to the document.

As a former project manager, I know only too well that delivering projects isn’t always straight forward and it is the people skills and management style which can make the difference between a successful project and another statistic for a failure. When you are putting together your CV, always pause to think about the extra mile you go to achieve success.

 

*name changed for the purpose of the blog

10 Sharepoint Tips to Help Make Your Project Successful

SharePoint is an excellent tool for site creation, enterprise collaboration, project management, and portal publishing. It is probably one of the best framework for group activity applications out there. Microsoft has put a lot of thought and effort into making sure that businesses have all the tools they need to put projects together without restricting them to a narrow tool specific focus, allowing for infinite possibilities.
This is great for allowing teams to tailor project scope and design to their own specific needs, but it also creates a need for tighter control on the developer and user ends so that projects do not take on a life of its own due to the framework’s open ended nature. Using these ten tips for making your SharePoint project a success may save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.
sharepoint infographic

 

 

 

1. Engage Stubborn Customers
Understanding difficult clients and meeting their needs puts customer service above and beyond the norm. This will usually be noticed, and rewarded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Assign A Project Owner
Give the power to control the projects overall trajectory over to someone who is capable and authorized to make decisions at all levels of your project organization.
3. Provide Proactive Training
Let’s be honest, hardly anyone reads the manual anyway. Getting in there and letting people know how to use offered products and services is a must. The alternative is that they won’t.

 

 

4. Don’t Let IT Run SharePoint
If the SharePoint collaboration system is not being designed for developers, why turn over the creation of your project to the IT department?

 

 

5. I dub Thee … Sir SharePoint … Er Uh I Mean Framework Project
Give the project a name that befits it. Don’t use the word SharePoint.

 

 

6. No end in sight
Make sure that the project is future proof by allowing for an open ended time line. You should always be improving and building upon your success, or the project will soon slip behind or even become obsolete.

 

 

 

7. Go With The Flow
SharePoint projects are made for real users. Save all information they provide and measure everything. Making sure you have this ability from the beginning will allow teams to take the project in the ever changing direction it needs to.

 

 

8. Manage Expectations
Letting management get the idea that it will cost nothing and be ready tomorrow is not realistic and won’t work. They probably want this, but it is very important that projects gauge delivery and cost information so that realistic expectations are the norm, not the exception.

 

 

 

9. Project Steering Group
Project managers are a must to guide broad project progress, but they are not the end all in direction planning. Getting other users who are integral to project success can provide insights on several levels and lend ideas that one person can not.

 

 

 

10. Don’t overdose on rules
Simplicity is the glue that makes project collaboration hold together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rules are important, but an overabundance of restrictions kill creativity and progress.

Making sure that your SharePoint project brings the right information and participants together in a comfortable and productive environment can be a tough task. Hopefully these 10 tips from Evokeit.com may help make the process a lot easier.

Via – EvokeIT