Speed Lead – increasing speed by cutting out unnecessary work.
A video by Kevan Hall, CEO of Global Integration and author of the book Speed Lead – faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies.
Edited transcript for readers unable to access YouTube or reading from mobiles/other devices:
Gl;obal Integration’s Speed Lead book, training and consulting is based on our work with some of the world’s largest and most successful corporations. As great companies grow, they become more complex. They have more complex products, more diverse groups of people working in new ways, and more complex, matrixed and virtual organization structures. We noticed that this complexity can lead to delay, cost and dissatisfaction u less people deal with new skills for dealing with this much more complex world. We also discovered that some traditional management myths were standing in the way of success.
Our approach is built around ‘ Four Cs’ ,that describe some of the people management challenges and how to cut through the complexity to get more done.
In this video I will talk you through this image (note: on the opening page of the video) that we developed to explain the Speed Lead approach.
(zoom in to central panel)
The central panel shows some of the factors that create more complexity. Organizations have become global, virtual and matrixed. Many are coping with the complexity of integrating different corporate cultures following mergers or acquisitions. They are becoming more open to collaboration with customers and partners. They are constantly reorganizing, hoping to find a structural solution and, despite all this complexity, they need to get things done fast.
The first of the four ‘Cs’ is Cooperation,. People we have worked with tell us they are part of an average of five teams, each with 11 members. Their teams are complex, virtual and operate across geography and time zones. They spend two days a week in meetings or conference calls where 50% of the content is irrelevant to them.
Teams have become much more complex and the transaction costs – travel, communication and meetings costs for example – have increased massively. Yet still we think that ‘teamwork’ is the answer to everything. In most of the organizations that we work, with the challenge is too much co-operation, not too little.
We help organizations be much more selective about where they cooperate, to cut down the number of unnecessary meetings, calls and emails and focused cooperation on where it really adds value. With some of our clients, this has saved a day a week of unnecessary cooperation.
We also focus on how to structure complex teams to deliver results faster – in many cases speeding them up by 25% or more.
The second ‘C’ is communication. Every training course and meeting seems to end with an exhortation to communicate more. But our participants tell us they spend 80% or more of their day communicating: the answer cannot be more communication.
People in complex companies are swamped by hundreds of poor quality e-mails. An average of 80% of these are not necessary for people to do their jobs. Real communication is two-way, not an increase in the number of broadcast messages or email attachments. We help organizations to tame the technology – choosing and using the right technologies for the right task, reducing the volume of unnecessary communication and improving the quality and participation of the events that remain.
The third ‘C’ is control. In complex organizations we are more likely to be working with strangers – competing objectives, cultural differences that can cause misunderstanding and communicating mainly through technologies like e-mail can subtly undermine trsut. When trust is undermined managers tend to compensate by increasing central control and this can lead to delay and dissatisfaction. Nobody likes to feel controlled but everyone likes to be in control.
We take participants through a systematic process for building trust, capability and confidence to enable control to be exercised fast, and as close to the action as possible.
Decentralized control is essential to fast response in complex organizations – the alternative is high levels of escalation, which causes delay, additional cost and demotivation.
The final ‘C’ is community. In the past community (a sense of belonging, team spirit and so on) was often a free by-product of proximity. We worked in the same location, so we built relationships, resolved conflicts and got to know each other over coffee, lunch and social events. In complex global organizations and in virtual teams this becomes expensive and we have to organize to build community fast.
We need to engage people with different values in multiple locations. We have relatively little face-to-face time together, and what we have is often taken up by unproductive PowerPoint presentations. Yet community remains essential for the functioning of complex organizations. We help teams and organizations develop new forms of community that can work locally and virtually and that accelerate the delivery teams and projects.
The challenges at this level of complexity require some new thinking and some new skills.
Where to find help:
Global Integration has delivered over 100,000 participant days of training in these areas and has learned what really works, as distinct from the myths about what used to work in simpler times. Our speed lead process and training can be targeted to cut out unnecessary and wasteful work and to accelerate the delivery of what remains.
Speed Lead, the book, offers ideas that you can apply to your own organization.