Climetrics key in transforming from mass production to adaptable organization

I’ve said before that Climetrics is like a tailor-made bespoke suit. Many change programs come in a one-size-fits-all package. And I think we all know about how well that works out adaptable organization. 

Cuffs too long, neck too big and pants too long. As it is in fashion, so it is in an organization. One size never fits all!

Climetrics is a highly customized transformation that is responsive to the needs of each and every client.

It always starts with a site visit by Lloyd Parry International to examine current operational practices, capabilities and change-readiness status. Think if it like a custom weather report on operational effectiveness. 

A different kind of climate change

Consider the work we did with a global company operating in the enterprise software and hosting marketplace. The company embarked on a change that required new organisational design, working practices, behaviours and culture.

More specifically, their goal was to become more responsive to customer needs in a way that required a more proactive approach from all staff. The organisation was facing increasing customer complaints and high degree of customer churn.

We determined that the issue was that they were operating in a mass production model and needed to transform into a higher-performing, adaptive organisation centred on a blend of mass-specialisation and mass-adaptation principles.

The company could have simply gone through an improvement plan to make themselves a more effective industrial-climate. But they bravely moved toward a transformation to make themselves more adaptable.

It took 18 months but the difference was dramatic and, yes, truly transformative.

To learn how Lloyd Parry International can use Climetrics to transform your company in a more agile and adaptable organization, please get in touch.


Climetrics preps your organization for profitability

How often do you leave your home and head out without checking the weather? I’ll wager that it’s not too often.

The weather affects how you plan your day – from the clothes you choose to the mode of transport you take to get to your destination.

Imagine setting off to work on a gorgeous morning, but a little on the chilly side. You choose to walk. On a day like this you know it might take you a little over an hour at a pleasant pace. So you set off. About 20 minutes in the sky opens up with a torrential downpour as the wind picks up and pushes against you.

When you finally get to the office, you’re 25 minutes late, soaking wet and exhausted. All you want to do is sit down and rest.

If only you’d checked the weather.

Of course this rarely happens in real life. We check the weather, choose appropriate clothing and make certain we get to our destination, rested and ready to engage.

Yet it happens in the business world all the time. Companies set goals and jump in without a proper preparation based on what the their internal climate is. So instead of achieving the goal, they set out on an exhaustive and fruitless adventure.

Does your forecast call for failure?

We’ve developed an organizational diagnostic called Climetrics® that takes the temperature across a company and predicts where the storm-centres are most likely to pop-up. It’s a climate survey that explores how management activities, measurement systems, structures, and delivery capabilities combine to create an adaptive work-climate that results in high-performance and long-term profitability.

A Climetrics® survey is structured to surface the impact of management choices through a careful analysis of the perceptions, feelings and behaviours of staff and management.

In addition to assessing behaviours, the survey provides insight into the influence on the work-climate as a result of management choices in the following areas:

• How organisational design impacts collaboration
• Managing practices such as continuous-improvement and governance
• End-to-end service performance
• Service quality
• Innovation and change ability
• Customer centricity
• Leadership style

You wouldn’t leave home without being prepared for the day and you don’t want to move forward on your projects without making certain you’re going to be able to weather all the storms.

To learn more about Climetrics®, please get in touch with us at Lloyd Parry International.


The fallacy of managing by prior experience lean manufacturing

Many managers believe in using the basic principles of chemistry as the basis for running their organisations lean manufacturing .

Predictable outcomes based on repeatable processes

In chemistry, and baking for that matter, putting two or three separate ingredients together at a specific temperature in specific quantities always delivers the same result.

That’s science. But that same method does not work for managing successful organisations. And yet there is a large cohort within many organisations that consistently try to use mathematical models to manage people.

One of the strengths of those in senior management is their experience. When they see a situation happen on their watch, they immediately default to the same tools that worked in resolving a similar situation in the past.

It’s human nature.

This works great if all the elements in play are exactly the same as what happened prior. But of course, they rarely are. And having elements that are approximately the same is a deceptive illusion. When it comes to Chemistry, close doesn’t count, precisely because the outcome will not be the same.

A few years ago, I knew of a friend who had a cultural issue in the team he was managing. He came up with a happy outcome for the team. A few years later, he was managing a different team in another organization and saw a similar cultural clash. He used what he thought was the wisdom of his experience –  but of course it didn’t work.

Despite the appearances of a similar (ie- not identical) situation, his solution didn’t fit because his variables didn’t add up.

The takeaway from this is that the wisdom of past experience is of little use in a dynamic workplace. And today all workplaces are dynamic. Cookie-cutter solutions don’t work because they can’t.

What will work is an acceptance that all solutions are not the same.  And when sourcing solutions, take into account the variables and see how they can be baked into positive outcome.

Now here’s a link to a great recipe for muffins.


Off-the-rack change packages can’t transform organizations

It occurred to me recently that a completed change process is like a bespoke, tailor-made suit.

A suit is a suit. You can buy a suit off the peg from a department store. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Armani or a Ben Sherman – it’s still unlikely to fit exactly the way you want it, because your body is unique and the suit is a mass produced product.

The second option is to have a complete bespoke suit made for you. If you’ve ever done this you know what a difference it can make. Not only is the suit tailored to your body, it functions as an extension of the image you want to project to the world. Some people want a suit of armor to hide behind, others use the suit to give them confidence. The intention and purpose of the suit is as unique as the person wearing it.

So how is the suit like transformational change? Well it can either be bought off the shelf or it can be tailor-made based on the needs of the organisation. In short, a change process is not a product.

As part of the work we do with clients, we take them through a process to help them identify what it is they’re trying to achieve. Then we design a unique program that takes into account the organisation’s current working climates and pushes them toward the desired transformational outcome.

Yes, we use many of the same tools that have worked for other companies. But staying with our analogy for a moment longer, it’s a tailor-made suit which allows the organization to be more flexible.

Organizational change needs a lot more than an off-the-rack solution. And if you go with the cheap suit, it’s never going to fit.


If an organisation sees Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein

When working with organisations looking to change, I often start by showing them a prepared image that combines the visages of Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein. It’s the same image but looks entirely different depending on how close – or far – you’re standing from it.

Stand far away and you’re seeing Monroe, move up close and you’re seeing Einstein.

Senior management thinks their operation looks like Marilyn Monroe, people on the front lines see Einstein.  And caught in between are middle managers who have to artfully mediate between both views.

Talk about a thankless task. These brave souls talk to frontline staff and say ‘yeah, it’s bad’, while thinking, “Oh, I’ve got to change these reports to make it look like Marilyn Monroe  or senior management is going to come down here there’s going to be mayhem.”

The Monroe / Einstein metaphor is also useful when examining end-to-end business, particularly in development and IT. The developer or project sponsor is at one end, seeing Marilyn Monroe while the IT people managing infrastructure – including all the bugs and customer pain – are seeing nothing but Albert.  The view from the top looks great. But like the picture, it’s all an illusion. 

In situations like this how can an organization possibly come together in consensus and purpose on what needs to be fixed? Without clarity of purpose, we get politics. Without clarity of purpose we get bad customer responses and lose trust.

So getting that vision, that single vision is really important. In order to get a strategy for change, the entire organisation needs to see the same picture. If you’re all seeing a very different picture of reality, things can go mightily wrong.

If you want to have me guide your organisation’s change, please be in touch.

Parry Presenting 4

A3 thinking guides managers from thinking to doing

One of the more popular workshops I conduct has to do with the A3 decision making process

It’s popularity isn’t surprising. Many managers at all levels know well how challenging it can be to manage a steady flow of data and information coming to you from a myriad of sources.

A3 thinking pulls that info apart separating the noise from the really useful information. Adapting an A3 process provides a structured problem-solving mindset to guide you and your staff to the best solution.

First developed at Toyota, A3  Thinking is a process is now applied to just about any management conundrum. However It is especially effective at helping understand and solve complex, cross-functional, and chronic problems.

The A3 Thinking process helps you:

  • Make rapid, iterative steps toward improvement and problem solving
  • Surface issues and problems in a way that avoids blaming individuals
  • Cut through the noise and/or misleading information to get the facts
  • Be clear with your team about priorities and responsibilities
  • Quickly develop a problem solving mindset in your staff to take responsibility for improvement

At Lloyd-Parry, we engage with companies at all levels to demonstrate just how effective A3 is in empowering management environments to move ahead smartly and quickly when sourcing solutions.

If you are interested in A3, Lloyd-Parry is interested in talking to you about workshops and educational sessions. Please be in touch by clicking here.



Testing work climate first step in organisation transformation

Organisation transformation almost always starts with a climate check.

It makes sense. After all, an organization, is not the sum of its structure, but rather its people.

Ask yourself, what it’s like to work at your organisation? Not on any particular day, but rather, any week, any month. Typically, what is the pervasive attitude of employees? Is it energetic? Open to discussion of ideas? Or is it closed? A company of silos? Are staff secretive and nervous?

Your work-climate is comprised of the combined perceptions, feelings, and behaviours of staff, managers, and leaders. Extensive research has proven there is a link between the work-climate and overall operational performance of an organisation, and demonstrates that work-climate is a predictor of a company’s long-term profitability.

Testing the work climate is arguably the most important step of any transformation, in that it provides a signpost towards not only the areas for change but also the amount of change needed.

Measure for value

Climetrics® is a unique organisational diagnostic we use to identify work climate in all of its facets: management activities, measurement systems, structures, and delivery capabilities. Ideally those organisational pieces should combine to create an adaptive work-climate leading to high-performance and long-term profitability. If they don’t, then change should be on the agenda.

A Climetrics® survey is structured to surface the impact of management choices through a careful analysis of the perceptions, feelings and behaviours of staff and management.

The survey, in addition to assessing behaviours, provides insight into the influence on the work-climate as a result of management choices in the following areas:

• How organisational design impacts collaboration
• Managing practices such as continuous-improvement and governance
• End-to-end service performance
• Service quality
• Innovation and change ability
• Customer centricity
• Leadership style

If your organization is looking to explore change, Climetrics is a proven organisational diagnostic that will take a detailed snapshot of your work climate and assist in developing a roadmap to move forward. Without a roadmap, you can’t plan a journey to transformation. 

One more thought on that roadmap, however. Your roadmap is only as good as knowing your coordinates. Most people know where they want to go but have no idea where they’re even starting from. Getting to your destination really depends on how certain you are of your current location.


Building trust essential to building Lean and Agile organisations


You get the behaviour you design for. That’s a truism I encounter fairly regularly when working with organisations looking to become Lean and Agile. These organisations are typically looking to develop working climates that encourage creativity and participation.

And they’re speaking with us in the first place because they need to respond to the challenges of a fast-changing business environment.

And as we begin the process, and I review the current behaviours within an organisation, it can be a very awkward experience for both management and staff.

A key part of work culture development centres around trust.

When I go into an organization, the first question I ask is ‘are you trustworthy?’.

Trust is an inside job

Digging a bit, I usually hear about seemingly arbitrary layoffs and a lack of respectful communication between management and staff.

The transformation of an organisation to a high level of trust is directly affected by the behaviour that brought it to the current state.

If there is a high degree of suspicion between management and staff, that’s going to take some hard work to fix. Reviewing past history and finding out how trust was lost involves difficult conversations that are extremely valuable in getting to the root of the problems.

In essence these conversations become the de facto building blocks for the new work culture.

To that end, I usually set out a timetable for developing a ‘Trust Strategy’ :establishing a new starting point to move on from after we clean up the way we look at the past.

In Lean and Agile, the’ taboo’ transformation not spoken about, but nonetheless essential, is the transformation of the relationships between employees and customers and employee and managers. Designing for the willing contribution of staff to engage with customers and managers is just the start of the trust strategy.

Post transformation, those still struggling to adapt will learn fairly quickly from their peers.  Lean and Agile empowers staff to address behaviour that does not contribute to the well being and creativity of the organization.

If it’s been a rough past, it’s going to be an equally tough challenge to go Lean and Agile. It’s difficult. But then again, nothing worth doing is ever easy.

The payoff is considerable. Management gets a staff both creative and engaged in the work of the company. And, crucially, they become a company able to prosper in the new economy.

If you see your organisation in this post and would like to talk more about creating a culture for Lean and Agile thinking people, then please be in touch.