transforming-global-delivery-service

Adaptability in motion: a simple small example

How does adaptability work? How does it make a business more profitable? I get asked those and related questions almost daily.

Let me give you an answer by way of an example. I once worked with a parcel shipping company looking to find differentiation on their core business: package delivery.

Working with them, we came to realise they needed to start having different conversations with their customers.

Here’s how their business was run. Staff would typically drive to a customer who’d called for a pickup. The customer hands them a package that has been estimated in weight and cost. The courier would then bring it back to the office where it would be weighed again. If it was different – and it often was – they had to call the customer to find out how to proceed. If they couldn’t get in touch with the customer, they drove the parcel back to the customer to talk in person. About 24 hours was wasted in this process as well as a lot of the customer’s patience.

We did some research and came up with some solutions. The customer errors in calculating weights for their parcels was due to their lack of a weigh scale. So we gave the couriers scales to bring along when picking up the packages. We also had the couriers show customers how to properly pack items to get the least expensive rate. If the customer didn’t have the appropriate materials, the driver would bring in packing materials to assist.

They basically turned the driver into a customer service specialist. Pretty soon they would see other packages with the customer and ask why they weren’t shipping with their company. If the reason was shipping cost, they would source pricing for them often to find they were cheaper. They would even offer to do the complex import / export paperwork if necessary.

The courier took our recommendations, implemented them and increased their local revenue by 25 percent overnight.

Further, their proactive courier customer contact ended up growing the account.

They had underestimated their couriers. Originally hired to drive from location A to B, they more than rose to the challenge of their new customer-focussed roles.

Is that how all adaptable change processes work? No, not at all. They are as different as one business is from another.

To talk with Lloyd Parry about how to transform your business into an adaptable one and increase profitability, please get in touch.

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The Change Field: Separating the wheat from the chaff

Working in the field of adaptive change means that one has to consistently assimilate new information and adjust strategies accordingly. To some the very idea that concepts and approaches are fluid because of our hyper-evolving business landscape is terrifying. But for me, it’s business as usual and I love the challenge.

Avoid Snake Oil Salesmen

I work with clients who are committed to real change. They want to make their organisations profitable, now and into the future. It’s something a lot of organisations say they want in theory, but are scared off by the work involved. So obviously the market has responded with numerous off-the-shelf change solutions that are easy to implement but can actually cause significant long term harm to the organisation they purport to help.

People want to achieve big results for as little effort as they can. It’s human nature.  But this has resulted in simple solutions that may seem like the real thing – but only in the way fast food smells better than it tastes.

The bottom line is there are no shortcuts to making successful organisational change at the deepest level. And anyone who claims otherwise is either lying to their clients or to themselves. Change is work and it requires commitment. You can always lose a few pounds to fit into a bathing suit for a week in the sun. But it takes real lifestyle changes for those pounds to stay off once you get back to your real life.

Those few pounds may give you the illusion of fitness, but it’s not real. I understand the allure of easy solutions to managers on a budget who want to be aligned with the change brand and can shed a bit of weight in time for their next quarterly update.

Some don’t really want real change in the first place and even the failure of a look-a-like change program provides the temporary illusion of effort.  They tried – a good optic for them – and that it failed – an out that allows them to avoid actual change.

This is where Lloyd Parry comes in. Our organisational change doesn’t come in a box. There aren’t a series of specific steps to follow to bring change to your organisation. Real change is like a bespoke suit. We institute change in organisations by using Climetrics to assess work culture and then crafting a change process based on what we find.

To learn how Lloyd Parry can bring real change to your organisation, please be in touch.

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Talking about Adaptive Design in New York

On February 23rd, I’ll be in New York City engaging in one of my favourite professional activities: speaking with and to my colleagues in the change management world. It’s always interesting to hear the divergent, and sometimes conflicting, viewpoints around management theory and implementation.

The Business Agility 2017 conference on February 23 – 24 will be an opportunity for me to speak about radical organisational change, specifically shifting the culture of a company from an industrial one towards an Adaptive Design.

This is a fundamental but crucial shift, bridging adaptive teamwork in organisations with a management model that is built to support it. That this results in greater profitability is a given, but it also allows an organisation to respond quickly to rapid changes in the marketplace and to smaller, more nimble competitors.

My involvement is with the Agile Organisational Design part of the day. I will speak to workplace design, and job design as it relates to decision making.

I intend to explore how organisational design can inhibit or promote self-organising teams, collaboration, transparency and devolved decision making.

Accepted organisational constraints on decision making will be critically reviewed with a specific focus on evolving role definitions and how shifts of authority can impact organizations. .

By analysing those issues, I intend to explore how organisations can create the proper structures and people development strategies for an agile business.

Increasingly organizations are moving past supporting adaptable teams within a command and control environment to changing the very culture of their leadership structures.

How this will be received is going to be very interesting. But it is only through the free exchange of ideas and the rigorous intellectual vetting that goes with it that one can truly take something theoretical and make it truly implementable.

If you would like to talk with me before or at Business Agility 2017 or have me speak at your conference, please contact me.