Continuing our project preparation in this Part 2:
The Basics: Your Project Team
Ensure you pull together a team which includes people from each level within the firm and also each practice area/department, to ensure representation is covered.
It is also important to include people with different appetites for change in this area. The more varied, the more powerful your team.
Depending on the size and type of project you may need to take different approaches to pull together your team:
- Vertical Focus / Single Area of Practice – Working in a specific area should enable you to pull together a project team with a breadth required for a successful project. This will mean you can ensure you have 1 (ideally 2) people from each level within the firm to ensure you cover all the bases.
- General Practice – Depending on the size of the firm and how many areas you practice within, you may need to separate into similar areas for review. Think of these different areas as ‘different businesses’ within your firm. This takes more time and effort and there are different approaches here which may be required. (i.e. Focus on one area and get this right first, or take all areas of practice to Stage 1, then take all areas of practice to Stage 2 etc – this is a longer cycle but important if you want to work towards a firm-wide single solution).
Resistance is your ally
You want to engage with positive people and naysayers. A mixture of people who are keen to change keeps the momentum going, and helps drive the project forward. You also need to engage with people who may initially appear to be difficult. These individuals may genuinely be protective over their working practices as they have not previously seen a solution which will believe will help improve their productivity. Spend time with them to understand their challenges and frustrations… you may find some real gems which are key to your project success. More importantly, you will find you are converting naysayers to champions as you go.
Project Lead – food for thought
As Independent Advisors who work with firms, we have the benefit of not being a line manager to any individual we speak with. We are also removed from internal politics. This does help immensely and increases the “openness” of discussions, which is very important. If you are using an internal project lead – please consider who is asking the questions and who is answering. You need to create an open environment where people can speak freely without any repercussions.
Are you ready?
Once you have your team… yes, you are ready to move forward. Before you start meeting with individuals or teams to open discussions and begin “peeling the onion” send your project team an email to announce the team and welcome them aboard.
Notify them that initial interviews or discussions will be taking place in X days and weeks and ask them to complete a short table. What works and what doesn’t. This doesn’t need to do anything more at this stage than to start them thinking about their specific areas. You are not asking them why as yet, just ask them to bullet point areas of process they want to raise.
Your project has started… let the transition commence!
Alex Hutchinson, TBA Group