In the aftermath of a failed CRM project, my employer implemented processes designed by the project team. The consultant’s processes were bloated. My task was process transformation and introduction.
For instance, the process to create a customer strategy required a week’s worth of prep over several long meetings and three days of facilitated workshops with five facilitators. This heavy-handed approach did not suit the organisation culture or requirements. So I set about removing the fat from the process and increasing team engagement.
The first thing I did was to work with the marketing department to understand what research they conducted. Existing processes already produced 80% of the process input, albeit it not in the prescribed format. Of the rest, most needed a slightly different focus and we had one or two items to add. Instead of spending a week, our marketing team member refreshed his existing pack in a couple of days. We sent the material out one week before the strategy workshops and sent daily reminders to the customer-facing team asking them to comment, add information or ask questions.
The workshop saw most of the cost savings. I slashed the number of facilitators by giving the power of the pen to the team. For each part of the workshop, I merely set the task, lit the blue touch-paper, provided moral support and pushed the teams to be creative.
Next, I made every minute of the workshop pay for its self. I gave every activity a focus. Removing open discussion is risky. But I was working with teams that sat together, travelled together and talked about their customer every day. I designed each session to produce at least one part of the strategy. During the day we progressed from our understanding of the customer and their strategy to key milestones and a plan of action for the near term.
I also introduced different types of workshop activities. The consultants sat the team and instructed the facilitators to capture information. This method bored the team, led the witness and stifled creativity. I
- used some post-it sessions
- used a lot of flip charts
- split the team into groups
- held knowledge cafes
- shuffled the groups
- asked them to think about stuff during coffee breaks and lunch
- got the team to review and wrap up.
We used five activities to develop full strategies.
The consultant designed process ended with the workshop.
At the end of each workshop and afterwards, I asked for feedback. I also typed up the workshop output, capturing verbatim information and designing a presentation. Using email, plenty of chats and the odd meeting, we reviewed for a week. Correcting errors, challenging decisions and filling holes. The team then presented to a senior governance meeting and gained agreement to pursue their strategy. We published the strategies to the broader organisation via an Intranet site.
I conducted five workshops, four for key customers and one by request. I documented the process, including a facilitation guide, and handed over to a process owner.
Focus on business outcomes – cost reduction, alignment with existing processes, integration with governance, business ownership of the result.
Workshop facilitation – active facilitation, lots of opportunities for quieter team members to contribute during the sessions and offline, material provided for feedback and questions.
Process transformation – process documentation, process development, process quality management.
Do you have processes that are unwieldy and time-consuming? Do you need to improve cut costs while enhancing quality and engagement? Contact us today to discuss your requirements and learn how Delta Swan can help you.