Process Redesign and Business Issue Solutions
draws upon a variety of participative, rapid-paced organizational change and creative problem-solving methodologies to assist clients in implementing new strategies; in addressing mission-critical business issues; and in designing and implementing new structures, processes, and systems.
The Fast-Track Change Process
When an organization needs to redesign business processes or solve major organizational problems that require changes in structures, systems, and processes, they often turn to one of two options:
(1) They can hire a consulting firm to analyze problems, make recommendations, and provide little or no help with implementation. Too often, the organization is left with a large bill and a big implementation problem.
(2) They can put together a task-force of key employees to meet, say, once-a-week for half-a-day to analyze problems and make recommendations. This approach is less expensive, but it can take forever. In addition, decision-making on recommendations can be problematic, and mobilizing people for implementation can still be a big challenge.
The Fast-Track Change Process is a rapid-paced, large-group intervention methodology used to redesign business processes and solve other "hard" business issues. In this approach, we provide a proven change process that can be customized to your specific needs. Your people provide the content expertise needed to analyze and solve critical issues. Compared to other methodologies for addressing the same kinds of issues, Fast-Track is faster, more focused, and highly participative, producing strong commitment to change among employees at all levels.
The Fast-Track Change Process is a more sophisticated version of a methodology called the Work-Out Process, originally developed at General Electric in the late 1980s. Fast-Track includes three basic steps:
Sponsorship and Planning The Business Meeting (an intensive redesign or organizational problem-solving event). Implementation (usually 90 days).
The Idea Factory
The Idea Factory is a custom-designed, facilitated forum for creative thinking and problem-solving, applied to a specific business or organizational issue. These sessions not only bring out ideas people already have that otherwise would never see the light of day, they also generate completely new ideas on the spot. People identify the most promising ideas and then strengthen and develop them further until they become practical action plans.
Clients have used New Context Idea Factories to do visioning, strategic planning, organizational diagnosis, and organizational problem-solving. Idea Factories often take the form of half-day sessions that involve 12-20 people each. These sessions are sometimes stand-alone events and sometimes part of a multi-event process. Because every client situation is unique, we design each Idea Factory differently, drawing from a flexible "tool-box" of group facilitation methodologies. These creative problem-solving methods are also used during the intensive process redesign or organizational problem-solving events at the heart of the Fast-Track Change Process.
The System Time-Out Process (STOP)
The System Time-Out Process is a methodology for bringing together a group of about 15-25 key people across three organizational levels to work on a critical business issue. A "STOP," which usually takes the form of a one-day event, brings together the creative-problem methods of the Idea Factory with central insights from the Organization Workshop about improving relationships between organizational levels and between customers and suppliers.
For example, suppose that an organization is in the middle of rolling-out an important organizational change program, or in the process of implementing a critical business strategy. Also suppose that this change or implementation is not going as well or as quickly as it needs to. Very often what is behind these difficulties are "invisible" systemic power dynamics between organizational levels. As the Organization Workshop vividly demonstrates, top, middle, and front-line levels each tend to fall into certain debilitating attitudes and behaviors that reduce organizational effectiveness.
Each System Time-Out Process revolves around a "focal issue," for example: "our department's new customer-focus initiative" or "the change to a team-based organization." In a session attended by an intact group that spans three organizational levels:
Each level clarifies how they perceive the focal issue and how they have been trying to "fix" the issue as they see it.