Saturday, 3 September 2011

Stakeholder Engagement - Place your bets... Now!

You are on the horns of a dilemma – you are at the start of a tricky project and are trying to work out what you need to do and how the hell you are going to achieve it. First impressions count and its important to make a strong start and inspire confidence in all connected with the project. This project could make or break you!
So what do you do? Consider the following choices… do you:
  1. Go to ground with a small team of experts to work out what to do…surfacing when you have answers to the key questions that will inevitably arrive (appearing clueless is not a flattering look!)
  2. Talk to people who have either something to gain or lose from the result of the project (but risk being attacked for not having the answers and having a half baked solution) 
  3. Book a long vacation, some where far and remote with no phone coverage and hope by the time you return the project has been cancelled (and say to your colleagues you knew the project was doomed from the start)
Whilst considering where to place your bet... consider the following:  From our research and experience at Pentacle, we know that only 1 in 4 projects successfully deliver their anticipated benefits. These aren't great odds! This is a result of the New World, where the fast paced environment we now find ourselves in, (World after Midnight) where knowledge has a short shelf life and reliance on expert views, based on past events, are not a good indicator of what to do with our unique problems now our in the future. Option A is not looking too promising!
Option C sounds great…but how likely is this to happen?... and even if it did, you’d need to be extremely lucky with your timing... a bit like spinning the roulette wheel and placing everything on “22 Black”.

In the New World, “stakeholders rule ok”, and they are an essential part in deciding what it is we need to do and how we need to go about it. Engaging them at that start gets their buy-in and makes it easy for them to place a stake on you to succeed in the risky business of project delivery. All those that opted for Option B collect your winnings from the front of house! Early engagement (now!) goes some way to allowing project managers to avoid the lottery of successful project management delivery. 

Since we don't get a second childhood.....

What do you do when your Children's charity encounters the New World? 

The new world changes everything for everyone even if your mission in life is to ensure that children have the best childhood they canChildren in Need, the BBC charity, just like the rest of the world is facing growing expectations from customers (donors want to know more) more challenge with a tough economic climate, multiple choices to reach their audience as media options multiply and many other challenges you would find familiar. 

David Ramsden and his team are rapidly moving into the New World  developing new philosophy for both raising and distributing the funds and doing this across the UK through a dedicated and energetic team.  The focus was on more and faster so that children across the UK would have better childhoods not in the future but now. 

To accelerate the process Professor Eddie Obeng was invited to participate in a workshop at the Leadership College in Nottingham to share consolidate and plan the future.  Eddie Spent the time he had with the group sharing some of the tools and tricks of surviving and thriving in the New World - He shared with them the WorldAfterMidnight video (from and together they used the EDD PET (Performance Enhancement Tool) to explore creatively what to change for real to make the difference.  Eddie also shared with them a number of PETS for gaining speed through alignment, understanding the underlying barriers to change and engagement.

Since we don't get a second childhood... every second counts!

If you enjoyed this blog you can always donate

Another way to travel through ambiguity

There are many ways to make a journey, by plane, by road, by car...  that works for 'touchspace' or the real hardware world.  In 'cyberspace' you can journey by browsing the web, walking around QUBE, meeting friends to play on your xbox or Wii with the right software.  In your mind you can make learning journey's through your 'wetware' brain world.

But one of the most evocative and iconic ways to make a journey is on a Harley Davidson. 

Professor Eddie Obeng was working with one of the worlds most famous brands to explore the journey of learning to lead in an an ambiguous world.  Over a roller coasted day session he led the audience of top executives around the  pitfalls and possibilities of Leading in a world of Ambiguity.  They traavelled past 'What being wrong feels like'How to enjoy and thrive in Foggy change  but missed what would have been a groundbreaking session by Steve Whatmore who as a VirutalGuest was to discuss his role in transforming Rolls Royce Motor Cars and Aston Martin.  The course began last April with a webinar from Eddie.  Using traditional webinar software Eddie revved up a tale of challenge and intrigue explaining the sources of ambiguity as well as  engaging a number of polls.  In one he asked "Did you predict the Arab spring more than a month before it began?"  The Exec leadership group answered just the same way as you just have. 
He explained how a combination of the pace and scale of change and the fact that human interaction has become so dense that a revolution in one country can spark a revolution in another country in the same way as news about a particularly funny cat on youtube spreads.  The virtual and face to face sessions were in partnership with Duke Corporate Education is part of a significant journey of development for the leadership cadre programme directed by Denis Baltzley  himself a Harley owner.
One quote heard about Eddie was - "He's a real live wire!" and that from Harley Davidson is real confirmation of Eddie's Rebel/ Rockstar of Executive Education status!  The participants zoomed past Pentacle PETs (Performance Enhancement Tools) including AliensTM, IDQB TM, GapLeapTM and SquarePegTM proving that there really is another way to travel through ambiguity.