access2growth philosophy

Working with Skills Matrices today

The Skills Matrix is a practical and visual way to illustrate the present level of skill and competencies within your business.

What the makes the Skills Matrix so advantageous is:

  • It gives better awareness and understanding of individual skills for the department and for each team member

  • It will enable you to plan your team members’ coaching, training and development

  • The department’s competence level is quantified, which then makes training and development plans more meaningful and measurable

     

Get in touch with us via the "Contact" page on our website to learn how to successfully implement a Skills Matrix

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Why too many new employees fail

This month we are working on successful Human Resource management for a client . . .

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Whilst specialised skillsets are essential for specific roles, we believe businesses should focus more on the attitudes and behaviours of the candidate.

Do technical skills really matter if the employee isn’t able to accept feedback, does not have the drive to achieve full potential or has the wrong personality for the organisation?

If your HR department solely covers all recruitment processes, try involving current employees – especially the line manager for the vacant role. They won’t be distracted by facts and figures, but will be looking for someone who is a good fit for their department.

Joe Booth's recommended reads

Whilst access2growth has kept Joe Booth busy for the last 25 years, he still finds time to learn new ways of working for enhancing efficiency and continuous improvement.

We wanted to share Joe’s favourite books from the last 25 years.

Have you read any of these?
Are there any books you highly recommend?

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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

The importance of professional coaching

At the 1996 Olympics, Great Britain won 1 gold medal and ranked 36th in the ratings table. Investment in these athletes had been minimal and little support was given.

As a result, the government deemed professional coaching to be essential and funded it through the National Lottery.

 

Following this support, Great Britain went on to flourish and their success flowed . . .

2008 Beijing: Great Britain ranked 4th with 19 gold medals and 47 total medals

2012 London: Great Britain ranked 3rd with 29 gold medals and 65 total medals

2016 Rio: Great Britain ranked 2nd with 27 gold medals and 67 total medals

 

Professional coaching is also needed for management . . . imagine the results that can be achieved!

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How committed are you?

We had an experience this week that lead us to repeat the quotation “commitment without understanding is a liability”.

In our experience, it is futile implementing change without top management commitment. Unfortunately top management often think that paying the bill and employing facilitators is commitment . . . it’s not! Commitment comes from the heart.

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P.D.C.A - The Deming Cycle

Picture the scene . . . the Director has discovered an irritating problem.

He asks his best manager to resolve it quickly and the manager drops everything to please the boss. The manager surveys the problem by asking a few involved workers to offer their opinions of causes, effects and potential solutions. The information gathered is assessed and by using common sense and experience, the manager decides the best course of action. A solution is implemented with speed and efficiency - the problem is now fixed! The manager cannot wait to inform the Director of the success.


Unfortunately a week later it is discovered that the problem has only partially been resolved. The Director feels let down and the manager is in the doghouse. What went wrong?

 

Absolutely nothing if you believe the Deming Cycle’s P.D.C.A process.

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In a traditional business culture, senior people are expected to resolve problems and make decisions. That’s the basis of their job. However in stark contrast the culture of an excellent company has a different leadership style along with different values and beliefs – such as;

  • It’s not the manager’s job to fix problems, instead they must facilitate problem solving with workers
  • Finding the root cause of a problem is the best way to resolve a problem permanently
  • Sometimes there are more than one root cause
  • Discovering true root causes can be difficult
  • The best way to fix a problem is to estimate a root cause quickly and implement a fix to see if it works
  • Guessing the wrong root cause is good not bad, as it leaves you wiser
  • Resolving problems is iterative - keep at it until the problem has been resolved

 

Imagine the difference in culture between the traditional and excellent companies.
In the former, fear is always in the background. Fear of failure, fear of letting the boss down, fear of not knowing all the answers. Often the smartest managers in the traditional company become adept at transferring blame onto others - thus apportioning the fear away from themselves.

 

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How would an excellent company perform with the above scenario?
Once the problem has been brought to the attention of the manager, the Deming Cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) clicks into place.

The manager mobilises a small team closest to the problem. Speed is of the essence. They quickly identify the probable cause and plan a solution. They implement the solution (do) then assess how well it worked (check). If the problem has not been completely fixed, they move onto the next cause (act) and plan another solution.

The P.D.C.A iteration continues until an adequate solution has been achieved.

 

So what are the major features of the excellent company? Iterations are good as new things are learnt with each cycle and failure does not exist. The workers closest to a problem are often the best ones to fix it - the manager does not fix problems, but coaches others to do so. Finally the way to respond throughout is to act quickly and not to procrastinate.

 

Article written by Joe Booth (April 2018)

Teaching our Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P) game today

When lack of consistency is a problem, implement a S.O.P
Variations in quality can then be avoided for all areas of work . . . products, systems, reports, services, etc.

A first-class S.O.P is not just a quality aid - it can be used as a problem solving tool and a control document, to help identify gaps that may exist. In addition, a S.O.P is ideal for training and as a personal development performance monitor.

Get in touch with us via the "Contact" page on our website to play the S.O.P game

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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  

 

Effective Motivation

This week we have been working on motivation, which includes the theories from Herzberg.

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He quoted:

"if a small percentage of the investment in Hygiene Factors went on job enrichment, the economic gains would be the largest dividend that industry every reaped".

Do you think his criticism is justified?

The Invisible Enemy

Every once in a while we come across something that completely understands access2growth's way of thinking. Gwendolyn Galsworth's article on Visual Management is a perfect example.

Joe Booth summarises Gwendolyn's article below;

The Invisible Enemy - a summary

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There is an invisible enemy in your company. Its impact is massive at every level of the enterprise. The only way to destroy it is by focusing on what it causes . . . inefficiency.

The enemy is information deficits - information that is incomplete, imprecise, misleading, late, wrong or missing.

Missing answers are rampant in the workplace and those needed are the ones required for us to do our work. The impact on the business is enormous. When people search for their missing information people become busy but not effective. The symptoms are people searching, guessing, counting etc... This includes, asking questions, answering questions, interrupting to ask/being interrupted to answer and waiting for answers that might never come.

Information deficits don’t just cause inefficiency, they become contagious. When missing information, people interrupt others to find answers. People often interrupt co-workers for answers. The disease spreads as interruptions continue. The cost caused by the invisible enemy swells. Missing answers rule the non-visual workplace.

It takes 8 to 10 minutes to recover from an interruption, no matter how long or how short. To recover doesn’t mean getting back to the task-at-hand - but instead to the level of focused attention before the interruption. Some people are interrupted continuously.

What if the invisible enemy, were removed from the workplace? The efficiency of the organisation dramatically improves when the missing answers are available to all.

We at access2growth have developed a new way of working to remove the invisible enemy. It’s called VISUAL MANAGEMENT.

The information to do work must be visible to everyone. Within each department, daily targets are set and shared with the team. Every day each team has a brief huddle, assesses progress, shares problems and fixes them quickly. Over time processes improve and information deficits disappear. In six months a revolution in the workplace occurs and efficiency rockets.

Let the workplace speak!

 

The Invisible Enemy: Ruler of the Non-Visual Workplace by Gwendolyn Galsworth.
Summarised by Joe Booth (July 2017)

Top management commitment - how important is it?

It is an understatement to say that for any company undergoing change, Top Management commitment is essential for success.
Unfortunately lack of Top Management commitment is often cited as the cause of many change programmes.
If it’s so obvious, why is it so neglected?

What do the experts say about the importance of Top Management commitment?

What are your thoughts on this?

Why isn’t maintaining change easy?

Sometimes we are approached when a company has previously implemented Lean, but it has not proved successful - Lean improvements fritter away, and staff resort back to previous behaviours. Even good companies reporting similar findings.

Our philosophy recognises that it is not easy to maintain changes to processes, resources, and timeframes . . . and we know the reason why.

Sound familiar? If so get in touch with us via the "Contact" page