We, the three partners in Brizzey, came together largely due to a shared conviction that People, Partnership & Process are the essence of success in every part of a business and that when we keep all 3 elements at the forefront of our strategic approach, real magic can happen. People, Partnership, Process forms the foundation of our philosophy, our principles and our methodologies. We'll talk more about these elements of our philosophy in future posts, but we wanted to start with a brief overview of why we believe so firmly in each of these principles.
Obviously people are a fundamental part of any business. People are also inherently complex creatures, endowed with a complicated mixture of emotions and beliefs, which in turn drive behaviours, attitudes and approaches. Yet, it's surprisingly easy to overlook the impact of those complexities when we're focused on the goals, plans and activities our businesses demand.
The good news is that the emotional and behavioural path people take in times of major change is rather predictable, whether the change is perceived as positive or negative: denial, resistance, exploration, acceptance (the change curve). To acknowledge these emotions and behaviors, to accept them as normal and invest in supporting people through the change curve requires patience and courage and may appear to be time-consuming.
Yet investing in the people factor of change will, in fact, not only accelerate the change, but also ensure its sustainability and therefore return on investment, while preserving the energy and morale of our most important asset: our people.
Silos have taken a lot of stick over recent years, being blamed for inefficiency and dysfunctional behaviours; the call often being to break them down. While silos are important structures in an organisation - they allow specific skills and expertise to focus on what they're good at and they assign clear accountabilities to groups set up to deliver on them – if we build them with such dense walls that messages can't penetrate, then people don't share information across silos and we impede the communication and collaboration essential to meeting the broader goals of the business.
By forging strong cross-functional partnerships, we can ensure that leaders develop a more holistic approach, set realistic objectives and align on appropriate risk taking. By ensuring that cross-functional project teams collaborate from the project's inception, we are most likely to meet our customers' needs and expend our energy on innovation and creativity rather than on recovery and rework.
If we invest in looking beyond our silos, to understand the inter-dependencies between objectives and processes, we improve our chances of getting things right first time, in less time and with less frustration.
As our elder partner Rob is known to say, if each of us were to get up each day and cut a new path to the watering hole, when the watering hole didn't move overnight, we'd be using a lot of energy that we could be using in more productive pursuits. If only we'd agree on a single path to that watering hole…
We're all in the business of producing deliverables or providing services (the proverbial water hole) and to be as efficient and reliable as possible, we need to find the fastest, safest, most reliable path to that water hole, mark it with signs, pave it and make sure our teams all know about it, so that we can preserve their creative energy for the steps that genuinely do require some alternative navigation.
In the case of a major change, it's essential to define and clearly articulate the new process and understand just how it differs from the old process. But more than that, the process for process development can be a powerful change management tool itself, creating a pragmatic framework for potentially difficult discussions within and across silos, engaging the people who do the work to define the new way of working and providing a roadmap to help the unknown rapidly become the known.
If you have any comments on our post or would like to talk to us about how we might be able to help your organisation, we'd love to hear from you.