When I know there are simple solutions to common business problems it is so frustrating how often these solutions are unknown, ignored or sabotaged for temporary gain.
Something must be done.
When I moved on from permanent management roles and started working as a management consultant, I thought the challenge would be figuring out each businesses’ specific problems and finding the right solution.
My deep technical background told me that the hard stuff was in the solution space. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s not that there’s no challenge there but rather that success or failure is dictated by four other challenges: Attitude, Ownership, Education and Feedback. If you don’t get these right, change will fail.
Having the right attitude to change is essential. Attitude matters.
There’s no point pretending to implement change or going through the motions. You need to be serious about it. You need to be up for the challenge, ready to take action and committed to better outcomes. You also need to learn how to inspire that attitude in others.
I most enjoy working with ambitious senior managers and executives who are passionate about improvement. People who are close enough to the coalface to understand the work, its challenges and constraints.
People who are up for real change, willing to take tough decisions and who follow-through by taking action. That’s what’s needed for success.
Lasting change isn’t something that can be “done to you” by external consultants. It doesn’t come in a “one-size-fits-all” box.
For change to truly work it must be relevant and owned by the business. That means understanding your challenges properly, learning how to apply simple key principles to create your own improvements and then spreading this knowledge top to bottom throughout your organisation.
It’s another kind of follow-through that is just as important.
Most of all this means taking ownership for the change yourself, which is another sign of your commitment.
External parties are there to guide, support and deliver on specific commitments but they cannot own the change for you.
Learning is essential. Without learning there’s no change.
Learning is never done. Turning your organisational culture into a learning culture is the key to providing agility, flexibility and an ability to respond to shifting external pressures.
Learning needs to involve everyone from top to bottom. Part of this involves making it ok to try things out and make mistakes: it is whether people learn from them that matters.
With learning I’m not talking just about theory in the classroom – but rather practical on-the-job development and support. That’s the best kind.
It’s education for all staff that’s also the key to making change palatable, breaking down internal barriers, sustainability and building capability to keep changing.
There’s no change unless something changes – only actions count.
People take too much comfort in the ‘theory’ of reports, analyses, plans and presentations. These simply serve to delay real change. You need to know what is right for your business.
The only way to find out if a proposed change works in your business is to try it out in a safe and controlled way.
Change must be action-led, through a series of practical inventions. That gives you the feedback you need to tailor the change and optimise.
Change must be led and shaped by experts in your business so that learning that follows becomes firmly embedded in your business. Consultants can be an expert guide but will never know your business as well as the people on the ground.
I created the Ambitious Manager to overcome these four challenges. With the right attitude you can take ownership of change in your organisation, learn about what works and what doesn’t and understand how to craft a simple solution that is right for you.
You can learn simple effective principles and teach them to others. You’ll find tools you can apply to best fit your needs. You’ll learn how to apply these tools in a feedback-driven way that is the fastest path to reliable success with minimum risks. All of this knowledge will be a huge advantage throughout your career. Remember: change is measured by the difference you make on the ground, not your impact in the boardroom.
I love helping people learn and apply these ways of working. There’s nothing like seeing the massive positive difference this makes every day in their working lives. If you’d like me to help you with a specific challenge, please just give me a call.
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