<![CDATA[Brio Risk Management - Business Blog]]>Fri, 04 Dec 2015 13:12:52 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Art of Powerful Conversation with Stuart Knight]]>Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:08:31 GMThttp://www.brioriskmanagement.com/business-blog/the-art-of-powerful-conversationCheck out today's Spreecast with Stuart Knight where he explains the difference between a "powerful conversation" and just "a conversation".  Ask yourself, how do you peel the onion?
Click image to view the Spreecast.
<![CDATA[Overview of the Steps in a Business Process Improvement Project]]>Thu, 08 Mar 2012 21:58:39 GMThttp://www.brioriskmanagement.com/business-blog/a-typical-business-process-improvement-projectBusiness Process Improvement (BPI) is a systematic approach to helping an organization optimize its underlying processes to achieve more efficient performance and results. BPI attempts to reduce variation and/or waste in processes, so that the desired outcome can be achieved with better utilization of resources.

The steps in a BPI project usually include:
  • Assess and document the "current state" of the business processes. Review existing process documentation, interview employees and document (map) the existing process flow and personnel involved at each stage of the process.
  • Identify and document existing critical business issues, risks and interrelationships. Business risks and critical interrelationships must be fully assessed during the initial review stage and considered in the recommendations for implementing change.
  • Benchmark the current level of performance against an industry recognized standard (frameworks include but are not limited to ISO standards, Capability Maturity Model, Six Sigma, COBiT).
  • Determine management's desired "future state" of operating. Process improvement initiatives must be aligned with the organization's strategic goals in order to provide direction and ensure progress towards change.
  • Perform a "gap analysis" including the identification of existing barriers and success factors critical to reaching the desired future state. A gap analysis consists of (1) listing the characteristic factors of the current state (2) against the factors required to achieve the future state and (3) highlighting the gaps that exist and need to be changed.
  • Develop recommendations and a practical implementation strategy that meets the organization's objectives. When preparing the detailed implementation plan, divide tasks based on immediate activities required to activate change today and a dedication to new ongoing control activities to embed change within the corporate culture.
  • Lead the change management process. This step involves a multitude of activities that should be championed by management and process owners. The rate of change achievable by an organization is dependent on many elements within the enterprise and management's appetite for effecting change.
  • Track and report against performance metrics and monitor progress. Regularly reporting progress and achievements against pre-defined metrics is important to maintain momentum in the change management process by communicating the BPI results. Continuous evaluation and re-assessment is required to ensure the changes are creating the desired improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
Effective people management is crucial in times of change. Organizations must activate change with employees through positive measurable connections between responsibility, ownership, accountability and reward.

If management engages external consultants to define the change process, they must be vigilant to ensure the consultant's knowledge is continuously transitioned throughout the project for changes to be self-sustaining.
<![CDATA[5 Interview Tips For Process Improvement Consultants]]>Thu, 08 Mar 2012 21:47:19 GMThttp://www.brioriskmanagement.com/business-blog/10-interview-tips-for-process-improvement-consultantsAs a process change management consultant, I spend a large portion of my time interviewing personnel at all levels of an organization to understand the current state of a process and the organization's appetite for change. During every interaction I am constantly watching body language, identifying power dynamics, building trust and gauging the level of resistance or openness to change. Effective interviewing techniques are critical to the success of every process change management project. The following are my top 5 tips for anyone charged with improving and therefore changing, a business process.
1. One Size Does Not Fit All - Don't Fixate On One Solution
I believe the number one mistake consultants make when assessing change projects is fixating on one solution that they believe will solve the problem. There are many factors within an organization that may prevent a new process from working as expected. During interviews, keep your solution to yourself and instead, focus on asking probing questions to determine if your solution is achievable for the organization. For example, if your solution is to implement a new automated system, you need to gauge the IT competency of the employees that will be using it or whether the new system meets the organization's corporate IT standards etc. Just because your solution has worked for another company, does not mean it will work again. If you present a solution to a client that they are unable to implement or sustain, you have failed to conduct effective interviews during phase one of the project.

2. Leave No Stone Left Unturned - Engage Every Stakeholder
Process improvement projects generally affect one major group of employees and cause small ripple effects in other departments or on specific employees outside the main group. It's easy to overlook or underestimate the impact on peripheral stakeholders due to pressures to meet deadlines and create change urgency. However, in order to successfully complete the project, every person affected should be engaged and interviewed to ensure the changes do not cause such adverse problems that the project is considered a failure and your reputation is tarnished.

3. Don't Be Afraid To Actively Manage Conflicts Or Politics
We all know that most organizations are rife with passive (or sometimes not so passive) employee conflicts and political play. In my experience, this is a leading cause of project failure because people were unable (or unwilling) to work together and align their priorities with those of the organization. It is critical to identify conflicts or politics that may inhibit a project and the primary way to do this is through interviews. Once you've identified the problem you need to decide how to actively manage the situation in order to be successful.

4. Always Elicit Ideas And Give Credit
During my initial exploratory interviews on a project I always close an interview with the question "What would you do to improve/solve this situation?".  As a consultant your role is to consider the complexity of the entire problem and present a solution and implementation plan that will achieve a higher level of operational efficiency. While you've been hired for your process change management experience and expertise, you should never underestimate the ideas and input of the organization's employees (those who are closest to the action and will eventually have to implement and live with the changes long after you are gone). If the solution you present to management includes the ideas of an employee, be sure to give them full credit. This will continue to build trust and motivate the employee to champion change.

5. Location, Location, Location
When scheduling interviews, make sure the location is appropriate for the conversation and seniority of the person. When in doubt, ask a personal assistant or administrative assistant which meeting room would be appropriate. However, whenever possible, I try to conduct one-on-one interviews at the person's desk. Often this gives me a "better feel" for the corporate culture and I generally receive more information from the interviewee as they can provide data immediately. The major draw back however, is that you often need to be very skillful at keeping the person focused and on topic to cover all of your questions within the allotted time.
<![CDATA[QR Codes and Mobile Marketing]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2012 20:49:19 GMThttp://www.brioriskmanagement.com/business-blog/qr-codes-and-mobile-marketingTrudy chats with Freeman LaFleur from QRlicious about the future of mobile marketing and the amazing business growth he's experienced to date.
Click image to play the video.
<![CDATA[Creative Stuff with Dave G.]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2012 20:42:52 GMThttp://www.brioriskmanagement.com/business-blog/creative-stuff-with-dave-gTrudy chats with Dave Gouveia about creative stuff, freelancing and how to be a legend at conferences! Click image to play the video.