A Short Note: On Artificial Division

This year my wife and I started home-schooling our eldest daughter (she started kindy!), and this week was reporting week. To meet the state government policies, we have to assess her against the specific outcomes in Math, English, Science and Technology , PDHPE, HSIE & Creative Arts.

The problem is that we aren’t running specific subjects with her.

There is no ‘English class’, nor ‘Math’. Instead she does tallies while counting tadpoles, addition when assessing rainfall, and practices her reading while learning about worm anatomy.

Her learning is natural, guided and in context. There’s no artificial division for her.

I see the same pattern when people learn how to drive change.

The same way that English, Math & Science are artificially separated out – as is project management, effective communication, change management, team leadership, benefits management, prioritisation, risk, etc. etc. The list goes on.

The problem is that to drive a project that truly pays off, you need a little from a lot of them. Yes, the theories for each can delve deep, but this isn’t academia – the vast majority of the time you just need what works.

An entire picture. Natural, guided and in context.

Where are you artificially segregating what should be whole? Perhaps it’s not about having a piece of the pie, but instead just a smaller pie…

Reflection Question: Do you have separate frameworks for change, benefits & project delivery? …why?

Another Short Note: On The Big End of Town

Last week I started listening to When McKinsey Comes To Town – a sobering look at the impact of one of the largest consulting firms in the world. I admit, I got a little over an hour in and had to take a break after the multiple stories of the loss of human life at factories and theme parks due to severe, almost negligent cost-cutting exercises.

As someone who’s worked alongside these types of organisations, I was sobered, but not surprised.

And yet these big firms keep getting hired. Last year the Boston Consulting Group cleared $11B in revenue!

Some claim it’s their brand. Others claim it’s their unique tools (although I’m yet to see anything from them in the project & change space that’s not just repackaged ‘best practice methodology’).

However, I suspect it’s fear that underpins these big contracts. The fear of being seen making a public mistake is more painful than the heavily inflated ‘big consulting’ costs. Or put another way – if you hire a big well known firm and your project fails… well you hired ‘top of the town’ so your ass is covered. But if you took a risk on a smaller firm… well, you should have known better!

It’s a frustrating reality about operating in this industry, but hey – there’s sharks in every ocean.

What’s more interesting for us change leaders is what it confirms:
Personal career risk is more valuable than $Millions in company cash.

When it comes to decision making: Personal objectives trump company objectives any day.

I’d suggest you pitch accordingly.