When Dave wrote ‘Politics or Quality’ with its twin book of ‘Quality or Politics’, major Transformations were quite easy to start and see through. Since then, the term ‘Transformation’ has become massively over-used such that virtually every major organisation Corporate Leadership Team believe they are masters of a universe that they don’t even know exists.
The development of Continuous Improvement over the years enables more powerful and useful transformations, against a background of denuded services where the management have lost sight of what good design should be, and where costs and poor quality of service delivery are frequently escalating out of control, instead of being made more competitive via the constraints of austerity.
Virtually every profession has been ravaged over the last decade from a rapid boom period in the late noughties, to an almost decimation by the late teens of the 21st century. These impacts in Social Care, NHS (most clearly seen in A&E) and infrastructure management, including Potholes and Flooding all point to a system that simply doesn’t work.
The Socialist Best Value scheme ripped apart their hated Compulsory Competitive Tendering fore-runner, but as a result lost all sight of commercial awareness and practice, followed by the Conservative Austerity measures, that ruthlessly decimate budgets, almost without care of consequences. Neither works! Neither has helped the public sector! Each in turn creates turmoil and survival by rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
When we start an intervention, there’s always trepidation… ‘Can we make a positive difference?’, ‘Can we engage meaningfully with the right people’, ‘Do they really understand what they need?’. We never clone ideas from another place, but we are willing to build on and learn from previous experiences. Thus; we are able to hit the ground running, often to be slowed down by the organisations reluctance to engage, or more usually, because they are swamped by business as usual.
Oddly, the consequences of too many years of austerity is a system that is far easier to add value to, if only the domination of wrong minded, poorly advised subject matter experts, can be overcome. i.e. ICT departments who see hardware and software, but NOT purpose of systems, HR people who create ‘one size fits all’ rules, who have never run a big business, Finance staff who set up accounts structures that are useful to them, but not the services provided and Change Managers who want to define outcomes of a review before starting it, without understanding how a service actually works.
It is said that 70% of change projects fail to deliver! Post programme reviews always create Blame and Excuses: The workforce didn’t engage, management wouldn’t commit, their information was wrong, we weren’t permitted to do that, the targets weren’t realistic…
SSD have been permitted to work with dozens of large organisations on hundreds of projects and programmes, spanning incredibly diverse services and requirements via Lean and Systems Thinking using Visualising Transformation. Every one of those projects and programmes have exceeded expectations: Greater financial outcomes, achieved quicker than thought possible, with as many job gains as losses, with lower investment in new kit, able to get better over time.
Why is there a significant difference between Visualising Transformation (VT) and ‘Best Value’, ‘Austerity’ or ‘Prince 2’? Well, VT is designed to be adaptive, starting from the reality of the circumstances of THAT service, making the good parts better, reducing the impacts of the bad parts and developing the capability of the organisation to grow in capacity and competence. We routinely achieve More for Less, which is why we have evolved from just VT to VT-Achieving More for Less (VT-AMfL), designing sustainable leadership into a whole system aware culture.
Note: VT and VT-AMfL are progressive books available from this web-site.