Engagement in professional services

Getting and keeping the right quality professional staff is an increasing challenge for advisory, accounting and legal firms of all sizes. Not only is a skill shortage putting pressure on existing professionals, it takes time to recruit the right people (I was quoted 5 months at the time of writing), incurs increased recruitment fees and it takes longer for new people to become truly productive.

hybrid agenda-based coaching

There has been a lot of interest over the past few years into the idea of coaching to an explicit agenda, one that combines the needs of the client, the needs of their organisation with a particular set of ideas or framework. The addition of an explicit agenda – for example, complexity, business development, strategy development – in a sense adds a tutorial element to the coaching interaction.

Transformation is not a linear process

This joint-venture organisation had won some major infrastructure planning projects; and there was potential for more such assignments in the near future. As a branch of the government, their clients needed to ensure ‘value for money’ and wished to see evidence of ‘collaboration’; this was made a pre-condition for the award of future contracts.

Anticipating storms

On 14 Aug – 12:42:36, Musandam-Oman Sail, a MOD70 trimaran crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes. Their course time of 3 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 36 seconds was a remarkable feat & a new record – by 16 minutes.

Changing the atmosphere

You can frequently tell what it is like to work in an organisation, for example by observing how people interact, how they communicate, how offices are arranged & the ambience of the reception area. However, it is not always easy to articulate why you are left with certain impressions which tend to be formed quickly & often subliminally. In his book ‘Blink’, Malcolm Gladwell talks about “rapid cognition …the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye’.

Engagement statistics

“Improving engagement correlates with improving performance”. This is the overriding message & the evidence seems too strong to be ignored. The statistics speak for themselves…

Hierarchy vs polyarchy – a video

Organisations are always on the lookout for fresh ideas & we have recently come across Illustra.TV who publish short video interviews with influential management & leadership thinkers. They have published a video interview with Nick Obolensky, author of ‘Complex Adaptive Leadership’. In it Nick offers an overview of some of the principles behind his research. You can see the video here, at the bottom of the page.

In praise of the off-site

A rapidly growing client had promoted a number of their more experienced professionals into ‘Managing’ roles. The plan was for this group to assume more responsibilities so freeing the principals to focus on strategic growth & further strengthening relationships with major accounts.
Reorganisations seldom move as quickly as their architects would like & this was no exception.

Agenda-based coaching

Key members of the international finance department in a large London-based services group needed to adopt new ways of thinking & working. The group was seen as dysfunctional & coaching was the lever selected to address this. However, from a distance it looked like a remedial act, like coaching to an imposed set menu; the agenda was entirely the organisation’s, more ‘table d’hôte’ than ‘a la carte’.