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What more can there be?

Developing an approach to help individuals, teams and organisations achieve more. Dave Bradley: Presentation notes

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Introduction These are my presentation notes, they are written to be spoken, a dialogue between me and you. As such they are not designed as a written document which means the eagle eyed will find dialogical grammar in places. The aim of the presentation and these notes is to give food for thought. These ideas are gleaned from my years of practical experience. Implementation and realisation of each of the key elements I describe is the subject of a completely different discussion. I hope, however, you find them an interesting reminder of my presentation to the Excellence Factor 2012

Dave Bradley April 2012

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JFK Rice Stadium September 12th 1962

‘We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.’ JFK made one of the greatest speeches of all time. One which recognised the great achievements of the past but, at the same time he threw down the gauntlet and challenged the USA and the rest of the world to raise their ambitions and achieve more. I’d like to start today with a short story if I may. It is about an incident I saw reported on the main television news and which, if you like, was my ‘Moon’ moment and has subsequently led to us working with many individuals, teams and organisations to help them achieve more.

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T5 Heathrow Airport London

The incident which sparked the development of this approach happened on 27th March 2008 when Terminal 5 (T5), the £4.3 billion new terminal at Heathrow Airport, was opened to passengers for the first time. Heralded as a brilliant technological project it quickly turned into a passenger nightmare with the simple addition of people. They’d obviously spent a huge amount of time and effort getting the technology and building right, possibly at the expense of fully training the customer facing staff and support services. As travellers joined ever lengthening queues and their luggage disappeared into the bowels of the building, not to return for weeks, one frustrated woman gave her reaction to a broadcaster. Her analysis was short, incisive and insightful: “New tent, same circus”.

New tent, same circus. What a brilliant phrase I thought, I need to think about that.

P a g e |4 An easy way of thinking about this is to recognise how often we have been in a similar situation where we’ve been through often painful organisational change, only to come out at the other end, resplendent in our new whatever, look at each other, shrug and carry on. Business as usual. It doesn’t have to be like this. But, what more can there be?

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‘Everything flows, nothing stands still.’ Heraclitus Change happens. If we are going to change then surely it should result in improvement, not new tent, same circus but new tent, new circus, whatever that is. Since this incident I’ve used this wonderful metaphor as a stimulus for developing my new approach to improve customer service and help individuals, teams and organisations achieve more.

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More for less The driver for change these days seems to be the mantra ‘more for less’. How many of you have had your bosses using the phrase: ‘more for less’? You’re probably then all familiar with the predicament of a training manger I was speaking to the other day other day, who had been told by his boss they needed ‘more for less’: More for less, or did they mean more or less of what they already had, but really less. He now had less. But the question remained, what was more? More of the same… but less of it. So in reality his boss meant, more of less.

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Ricardo Semler Think differently.

I don't know how many of you have heard about the work of Ricardo Semler. He is the CEO of Brazilian company, Semco, who have grown from being a pump manufacturer employing 100 people into one of Brazil’s most successful organisations. They achieved a 27% growth each year for 25 years. Most importantly, they have just a 1% per annum staff turnover rate. All this despite the topsy-turvy state of the Brazilian economy over the last 25years. Ricardo Semler’s ideas launched onto a world stage with an article in Harvard Business review: ‘Managing without managers’. In which he advocated a different way of managing organisations. His approach has been sometimes been called ‘management by omission’. In essence the workers choose their managers, the team then chooses the people who they need to deliver whatever project they are on, at whatever level of profit they choose. Every six months it is a bit brutal because they have to decide who is needed for the project, and if they don't need you, then you have to put yourself forward to a different team.

P a g e |8 Put yourself in the rather scary position in your organisation where every six months your team asks if it needs you to be part of whatever they need to achieve. Ricardo Semler at MIT link:


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Why? Why? Why? They got to this way of working by continually questioning why they do things in a particular way. Why? Why? Why? By asking the same question three times you are able to drill down to uncover root causes. It might then become obvious that it may be better to do things differently, or maybe, even not at all. All that I’m talking about today is just as relevant to us as individuals, as it is for teams and organisations. Just go through this thinking process now:    

What are the stupid things you do? Test: why you doing these things? How can you break from this design? Stop pretending about what you are doing. (Stop defending the indefensible.)

Think! Do more of less! Do more of the things that count. The first elements of my approach: 1. More is a way of thinking. 2. People, Teams and Organisations need to be trained to think in this way they won’t do it naturally. Why should they? But this isn’t enough …

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Give 100% more Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing Older People’s Service Is this possible? How could you do it? The challenge presented by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) was to help a high performing team in a high performing organisation become even more effective whilst saving cost. They recognised further improvements could come from improved staff wellbeing and reduced absence. Taking a typical team like the Older People’s Service, the cost of unplanned absence was around £19,000 per year; with additional agency cover costing a further £30,000 per year. The Team Leaders identified a further long list of hidden costs to the provision of their service and the wellbeing of their customers; inconsistent customer care, reduced staff morale and team effectiveness, difficulty in recruiting the right people and in some teams higher staff attrition.

P a g e | 11 Can a high performing team get even better? Let’s just examine what they had to do. • They had to believe there could be more (changed mindset) • They had to accept that what they had been doing for 20years could be changed (changed the rules) Let’s not underestimate how hard this is. Part of our approach was to get them to change perspective. What do we need to do to improve wellbeing in this team? Rather than; what do we need to do to manage absence more effectively? After our work with team leader they showed that it was possible to achieve a 100% improvement. They achieved • • • • • •

Short term unplanned absence for one team has reduced in the four month period from an average of 24 days to 0! Agency staff costs have been reduced from £30,000 per annum to £0. The legacy of long-term sickness absence was managed effectively resulting in a full complement of staff. Increase in the take up of wellbeing and support arrangements. Our attitudinal survey showed a remarkable shift from an already high level of wellbeing factors to an even higher level. Increase in team-led improvements

It is possible. For the full case study email Let’s add a third element to my approach: 3. Create a mindset where people are prepared to do something different

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Engage your workforce They have the answers

Like Ricardo Semler I have to conclude that the workforce have the answers. Go into any workplace and ask the workforce and they can solve most of the problems you might have. I’ve looked long and hard at organisations which want to make improvements. So often there is a desire for more, but nothing much changes. Ideas stay as ideas and don’t get adopted. The centrepiece of our approach is to get them involved by asking them for their input and letting them implement their improvements. They are like the NASA engineers who found the way enable Neil Armstrong to take ‘one small step’ on 21st July 1969. Now think: You lead teams of rocket scientists who will solve our issues! Our approach is to train managers to get their people involved. Let’s add then two more elements: 4. Change the perspective to always be that of your customer 5. Improvement is driven from your workforce; after all they have the answers

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So what is a new tent, new circus?

Our approach to training for improvement in customer service centres on two questions; any programme we design needs to address: The tent: This is a metaphor for the rules we impose on our business and our people. Are you prepared to radically change the rules? Our world is changing and the ‘old ways’ won’t allow us to deliver ‘more for less’ without reducing the quality of our service. Many of our rules are self -imposed, just ask yourselves ‘what stupid things do we do?’ The circus: This is a metaphor for your mindset. Do your people have the right mindset? The scourge of all change programmes is ‘MINDSET’. 60% of all change activity fails because it does not effect a change in mindset. We need participants to view their world differently and think differently in order to create lasting change.

P a g e | 14 Consider all those promises we make to ourselves: to lose weight, to get fit, to read more, to write a book etc. We intellectually rationalise what needs to be done and yet we often fail to make a lasting change. We only achieve our goals when we reach a stage whereby we intuitively think differently about what we do in order to bring about new behaviours. • •

Ask yourself what is your mindset? Is it useful or a hindrance? Can you change your mindset? (Albeit with difficulty) How can we act differently? What will make us challenge the practices that stop us considering a different approach?

Transformational improvement is delivered by a new tent, new circus. It is defined by a change in mindset to one which is always looking for improved service for your customers, accompanied by a change in your rules so that this can be achieved. So on 27th March 2008 a disgruntled customer likened her experience of the opening of the sparkling new T5 at Heathrow airport to a ‘new tent, same circus’. This simple phrase set us wondering how we might achieve a new tent, new circus. It led us to change what we were offering in order to formulate a new approach to training, in particular towards improving customer service. The key elements are: 1. More is a way of thinking. 2. People, Teams and Organisations need to be trained to think in this way they won’t do it naturally. Why should they? 3. Create a mindset where people are prepared to do something different 4. Change the perspective to always be that of your customer 5. Improvement is driven from your workforce; after all they have the answers

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Dave Bradley Trainer Speaker On-line facilitator Coach

As a member of the Paradigmantics Training Team we deliver programmes written and designed by Paradigmantics or those designed by an in-house team. Sometimes this might be a stand-alone programme or to supplement the existing training team. My practice has been independently certified by the Customer Service Trainers Network. I am also a Certified On-line Facilitator having trained to use Webex Training Centre. This means we can deliver live on-line training from our studios. Increasingly, organisations want us to redesign existing courses and modules to use this technology. I love working with all types of learning, often using actors in training, team building and conferences. At present I’m writing a book ‘What more can there be?’ It’s a philosophy that guarantees there is more. The approach and associated techniques and management reporting means individuals, teams and organisations can ensure measurable improvements. As I complete each section of ‘What more can there be?’ I will invite you to attend online training / webinars so we can test the ideas and stimulate discussion. Our blog site: also has pieces of stimulation for the enquiring mind.

A Paradigmantics ProductionŠ 2011 Paradigmantics is the trading name of Paradigmantics Limited Registered Office: 33 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1LX Registered in England Company No: 6932992

What more can there be?