Unfolding plans 3

I’ve restructured our Senior Leadership Team meetings. Today we did something that I’ve wanted to do for some time but never got round to it. We had our first meeting entirely dedicated to the customer. It was a sales meeting or a commercial meeting or a focus on growth. I’m going to take this as the second thing I’ve never done before (this might be a bit lame and so may retract this at a later stage, especially if something better comes along).

It’s daft. How come we have never done this before? We’ve talked about the customer in all of our meetings yet often cursorily as if they were an afterthought, an interruption perhaps rather than our raison d’être. We’ve always thought of ourselves as customer focussed yet our actions speak so much louder than our words. It is a bit like how an organisation says that its best asset is its people yet concentrates much more on its bricks and mortar or the cash in the bank. It is a bit like how an organisation says that it puts its customer first yet reserves the best parking spaces for the chairman.

We make time for what is important. Is the customer important? Do our actions need to align with our words?   We have made time.

Edward de Bono introduced me (not personally) to a focused thinking technique which he called PMI. The idea is that you focus your attention on one way at a time as if you were facing the points of a compass. P stood for all of the positive things that could be gleaned from the idea in question while M focused on the minus or negative aspects. I was left for anything else that was interesting that wasn’t positive or negative. During P you can’t be M and vice versa. It’s a bit like thinking hats. We’ve used the technique several times in reviewing ideas to good effect.

So this is what I have done in restructuring our Senior Leadership Team meetings. We have a commercial one, a people one and a performance one on a four week cycle. In the fallow week we will have a meeting of the wider Senior and Project Leads although we may be changing what we call them. Each week, rather than have a free for all series of meetings, we will be focussing our attention on one of our cardinal points. I’m also trying to create more space to allow us the time to think and discuss. The ‘formal’ part of the meeting will be kept as tight as it can be. Pam is going to have her work cut out keeping control and making sure that the right subjects go on the right days

The first meeting this morning went well enough though the agenda was a bit wonky and we still need to think through the relationship between this team and the management of the service. Next week will be a focus on people and so that will be a good place to raise such topics.

In the afternoon I was up at Northumberland to attend my first management meeting of theirs.

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