Martin P Wilson


Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Insight, IT

Facilitation and Mentoring for Success.

Time to Hit the Books, Study DC040022In the current difficult financial times, many organisations in both the public and private sector need to reduce costs. Even saving money requires business change that needs specialist skills; in better times consultants, interim managers or contract staff would often have provided those skills.

Running Projects Without Consultants

When budgets are constrained, the challenge is to run business change projects and undertake other specialist work without the use of outside resources. Indeed, in good times the organisation would often have outsourced the delivery of such projects to third parties that has left the organisation without the in-house skills to do such work.

Now, organisations have to run business change, and other, projects with only in-house resource. This puts pressure on staff at all levels to deliver specialist programmes of work without the necessary experience or skills. Everybody feels exposed and fearful. However difficult as it is, it is also an opportunity for the organisation to redevelop the missing skills. It will be difficult as it takes time to gain experience and it may be difficult to fund traditional training; as many organisations have downsized it may also be difficult to release staff for training.

Managers can often take on some of the burden of training their staff. Staff will have to take more responsibility for their own development, which in itself will provide valuable skills. The biggest problem is that after years of outsourcing there is often no organisational memory or capability that understands projects and the associated technical skills. As a result, managers also need to gain skills to allow them to direct specialist projects.

A more creative way forward is to use a very small amount of external support and leverage its contribution. Such support should not undertake the work; that will simply perpetuate the problem. Rather it is to act as coach, tutor or mentor to enable the in-house management and staff to achieve their project goals. By using experienced project directors or managers can enable motivated but relatively inexperienced staff to deliver complex programmes of work.

The external coach provides high-level oversight to ensure the work stays on track and guides the self-development of managers and their teams. The external resource does not do the work but challenges the in-house team, highlights potential issues, shares knowledge and experience. It gives senior management comfort that the work is on track. Although this may sound difficult, it is very similar to the approach good directors have used to support and develop those external project teams.

Instead of using a full project team from outside, expensive, this coaching method would usually require only a few days a month even on a large project; a huge saving that will give senior management peace of mind and recreate the lost capability for the organisation. Individuals too will benefit from new skills, improved job security and the satisfaction of being able to deliver what they once thought beyond them.

Now is the time for organisations and individuals to redevelop lost, or new, skills. It is a case of "needs must".

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:

Quick Thoughts

Has Military Action Ever Dissuaded Tyrants?

Syria - flagIn his speech before the war in Iraq Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, argued that not intervening would send a message that tyrants would feel at liberty to act without consequence. By military action in Iraq, he argued, those who would perpetrate atrocities would think twice. There would not seem to be any evidence, before or since, that would back up that contention.

We now have David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, making essentially the same arguments – do politicians ever learn from history?


Government Spending is not Driver of Growth

Parliament Square London IC02001If more public spending is the only way to create growth then surely governments have become too large a part of the economy? Government is about spending and has little to do with creating wealth.

The best government can do is move wealth from individuals and business to those who serve government.


Capped Bonuses, There May be Trouble Ahead

Politicians do not seem to be good at imagining unintended consequences. The cap on bankers’ bonuses, however popular, may be counter-productive in reducing risk.

Dark Stormy Skys and Beauty Often CoexistIf a smaller proportion of a trader’s income is at risk if a trade goes wrong they may pursue high-risk opportunities to get that big win. If it works they guarantee the full bonus and could also use it to negotiate a higher salary (and bonus) for the following year. If it fails the downside is limited by the capped bonus to a smaller part of overall income. At the end of the day traders are competitive and gamblers at heart so will they be more likely to pursue the big win when their own risk is limited?

Copyright © 1995-2010 Solidus Ltd & M-dash.

All Rights Reserved.Copyright Explained.