Here are just a few examples:
While working with the European Management Team of a global telecoms provider, one of our Ensemble consultant teams were invited to help the VP of Technology & Customer Support explore more effective ways to support service delivery across Europe, Middle East and Africa. As the result of a recent acquisition the client was considering moving from an in-country support model to a cross-border support model.
Working as a partner with the client the consultants created two change teams. The first was a group of motivated and influential individuals from across the business, identified as the Change Team. The second, an Alignment and Steering Team, comprised of senior managers across the business. Their role was to run interference for the Change Team.
Using our on-line questionnaire the consultants quickly collected data about the current issues, solicited input from people tasked with aligning processes and tools, and identified potential barriers to the change process. The System Mapping® process was used to map out the key issues and identify potential barriers. The process allowed the Change Team to identify the actions required – and the best person to bring about the changes. This visual process focused the team upon perceptions supported by facts, while avoiding polarizing positions.
After investing a few hours in data collection, the client attended a mapping session where the visual System Map™ clearly highlighted the lack of alignment both across and within the different locations. The Map showed structural and cultural issues associated with the planned change in the service delivery model. The results enabled the client to pinpoint specific problems. It clearly showed the structural issues that lay behind the different processes and tools, and changed the way the project was rolled out. This enabled the company to save many hours and thousands of dollars in simplifying the service delivery tools.
“We were faced with many challenges about the way Service Delivery worked, the tools we used and process we had in place. This created quite a challenge and had major impacts upon the level of customer satisfaction. The System Mapping® process challenged my thought process about the best way to mobilize my people across different cultures, how to get their buy-in to the change process and accelerate the process. I would have tried to roll it down the structural hierarchy. It showed us a more effective way to get results faster. The initial data collection and mapping activity was incredibly illuminating.”
A wireless telecommunications research and development company set up a high-level, cross-functional team of executives to develop new products and services related to homeland security. The team comprised of 17 senior executives from different disciplines with team members nominated from their discipline or department. In the initial six months the team had been working towards developing new products, however several issues had surfaced which impacted the performance of this high profile team. It was essential to identify and address these barriers to high performance.
The System Mapping® framework was used to conduct a telephone interview with each member of the team to identify their perception of the current situation, supported by qualitative data. We then created a System Map™ to help the team identify areas where they saw things the same (were aligned) and areas where they did not (non-aligned). In a facilitated session their data was presented to help them uncover the barriers to their performance and build sustainable action plans. A quarterly System Map™ review was conducted to help the team measure the improvement in their ability to work together and accelerate their team performance.
The System Map™ clearly highlighted to the group how information was not flowing freely and, despite being a close knit team, there were still pockets of “stove pipe” mentality that inhibited the flow of ideas, plans and agreements. The team put in place structural changes and specific individuals in the team committed to being more cooperative. Three months after the initial session, this team had generated six potential new products for the Federal Government.
“While this team had a lot of energy and creativity we felt that there were some barriers stopping us reaching our full potential. There were some differences within the group that were not easy for us to identify, yet we all knew something was holding us back. The consultants were able to help us quickly identify these issues using their system mapping framework – and then did a great job of facilitating the team to resolution. We have subsequently used the System Mapping® process on a quarterly basis to help the team clarify any potential barriers”
After two acquisitions, the Central Finance Organization was overwhelmed with work that dramatically affected the work-life balance within the department. 80-hour work weeks were common, key staff were leaving due to stress and it was becoming increasingly difficult to attract replacement staff. The CFO and his senior leadership team had been trying to improve the situation by spending money on initiatives to improve morale and performance. At the request of the Employee Leadership Council a study was initiated to understand the facts around the current situation and to uncover the root causes of this problem.
An Organizational Climate Survey was conducted by the consultants in two ways. An on-line System Mapping® questionnaire was set up to collect perceptions and data examples from the managers and individual contributors. The groups were segmented by level and by work group/locations to make analysis of the issues more clear. This was supplemented by a series of focus groups to collect more detailed examples – and to obtain more buy-in to the solutions. The System Maps™ and the focus group data were then presented to the CFO and his senior leadership team at an off-site session.
The CFO and his team realized that they had been trying to address the symptoms of their issue and not the real root cause. The work-life balance issues and lack of training were two key issues, but these could not be addressed until the critical issue was addressed. That issue was the firefighting created by a lack of prioritization at the SLT level. Each executive was generating “special projects” that individually only required a small amount of time – but collectively resulted in excessive workloads. This was causing the overtime and work-life balance issues.
“The first thing this process did was to make us really aware of the current issues and the impact of these issues on the work life quality. During our planning session, and using the output from the System Mapping® exercise, we identified the three areas that seemed to be impacting the CFO Group the most. As a result of this work we were able to identify a number of key initiatives, and I assigned one member of my SLT to be responsible for ensuring that we take steps to address these issues.”