Paul Curtis

Joe Booth’s summary of 2018 for access2growth

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2019 will be the 25th anniversary for access2growth.
I remember the trepidation I felt starting the company back on 1st January 1994. Could we make it work? Could we make a difference? Would our clients improve their business performance as a result of our support?

Since then so much has happened (over 150 clients – Rolls Royce Aerospace, Carl Zeiss, Denby Pottery to name a few). I will not bore readers with distant memories, however I am proud to say that 8 of our clients have won national awards as a direct result of our support – this I feel is access2growth’s greatest achievement!

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I must take this opportunity to thank all past and present employees of access2growth. Special mention goes out to Alison Johnson, who was there from the beginning, getting access2growth off the ground. And Paul Curtis for his tremendous contribution and valued wisdom - we could not have achieved our successes without him.

The core competency of access2growth was to help our clients implement Lean successfully, which we extended by creating “Lean Managers” to change the culture of the organisation. It is a pleasure to say that 25 years later we are still maintaining this!

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In 2018 I continued our work with existing clients, whilst my daughter Leanne Shea, progresses in her quest to introduce the Lean philosophy into offices – which is mostly unheard of and sadly neglected.
We also started a fantastic new Management programme within the Care sector, which has been fun and demanding….just the way access2growth likes it!

2019-20 is already looking exciting for access2growth. Keep up to date with us by following our LinkedIn page, using the link below:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/6916935/

 And thank you for your continued support

Joe Booth’s summary of 2017 for access2growth

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The beginning of the year started with a bang, as we brought Leanne Shea (my daughter) into access2growth. Lean for manufacturing has been the main pillar of our business, however Leanne has the exciting task of introducing tailored Lean into offices – which is mostly unheard of.

With over 10 years’ experience in senior positions within retail forecasting and analytics, Leanne has taken to the job like a duck to water, and considering she is family, Lean was clearly in her blood already!

Leanne’s first year has been spent developing new material for our Lean Leader Programme and she is now creating bespoke versions for use in office environments. She gained her first client in Feb-17 which involved coaching a junior manager and resulted in a big promotion.

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2017 saw the launch of the new and improved access2growth website (with huge thanks to Samuel Lyndsay Design). We are uploading articles and interesting reads regularly – this is one of them!
 

Our company LinkedIn page also had an overhaul – if you’re not already following us click the link below:
https://www.linkedin.com/company/6916935/

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After many successful years, Paul Curtis chose 2017 as the year to slow down, work less and enjoy his downtime. He continues to work with longstanding clients, writing articles and maintaining the Lean philosophy.

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As for myself, Lean manufacturing still calls to me with increased demand. I had the pleasure of working with familiar faces throughout the year in the bid to sustain culture change. I’ve also had enquiries from “blasts from the past” whom I am looking forward to working with in 2018.

access2growth continues to fire on all cylinders and the future is exciting!

The Impact of Culture

Paul Curtis took the time out to write his thoughts on the impact culture can have on an organisation - see his article below;

Culture Impact

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In the 1980-90s a company’s culture was seen as an important element within the strategic planning framework.
Today however it’s seen as more tactical, not something to be lived, rather something to be planned and managed. Despite designed cultures rarely working, the subject of ‘Culture’ has become a low priority. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake.

Typically, an approach is adopted that best suits the company’s perceived needs i.e. develop a strategy that will keep you ahead of the completion and in favour with the customer base (assuming longevity is a desired outcome for the business). 

This thinking only relies on a critical assumption; that your strategy cannot be copied, or achieved faster by your competition.

Is it sound business practice to develop a winning strategy totally reliant on innovation (acquisition, products, service and cost) in a time where technology is growing exponentially? 

If one assumes everything can be copied, then differentiating yourself on the most difficult element to copy must become a critical success factor. Culture is extremely difficult to copy, it is even more difficult to achieve. 

 

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Is Strategy successful without an established culture?
With so much time invested in market research, consultancy support, communication forums, strategy workshops, deployment workshops etc., why do we still persevere with this obsession?

We are told it’s to; provide a clear plan of what the company needs to, give stakeholders/stock market confidence and provide clarity and guidance to the employees

Or is the truth . . . Sitting amongst all the bureaucracy ‘Strategy’ has just become the pursuance of just one metric ‘Winning’ where winning means generating big profits (irrespective of any social impact).

The development culture is dying and this action is producing the same results everywhere:

  • High flyers (promoted or recruited in) reduced to underperforming conformists
  • Fearful, anxious, bewildered and broken-down people trying to find meaning in their lives
  • People who want something to blame and blame everything that seems different
  • People who see the complexity but are marginalised amidst all the noise

 

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What can be done?
First stop looking for silver bullets. In 2003 a study was carried out by Harvard Business Review called the ‘Evergreen Project’. The aim of the research was to identify what differentiated the great companies from the others (criteria had been established to enable judging). 
The great companies excelled at four practices:

  1. Strategy - all companies within the research could evidence a strategy that was known by all employees not just a few
  2. Execution - flawlessly implementing the strategy
  3. Culture - having the right motivation and behaviours, including how good and poor performance was rewarded
  4. Structure - this equated to round pegs in round holes i.e. having the right people in the right jobs in the right organisation structure

The Evergreen Project established that without Culture the other three practices are not enough to achieve greatness. Culture can kill the performance of excellent people.

The conclusion we draw is that culture has become less important in the twenty first century. Peter Drucker once said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". Perhaps it’s time to renew our thoughts on culture to ensure our strategies have a better chance of working.

 

 

Article written by Paul Curtis (August 2017)
www.access2growth.com