To Do the Impossible, We Can Help!

Crew
Alignment is important, or else your ship goes in circles

Now is the time to start reviewing your progress against this year’s goals. The results just aren’t what you wanted. Everyone’s working hard, but the efforts are not attaining the expectations you mapped out at the end of last year.  As you take time to think about it, you wonder if everyone is pulling together. Operations has their goals. Sales has their goals. Accounting has a goal or two, as does Human Resources and Quality Assurance. Yet, your company doesn’t feel successful. It’s like the oars aren’t being pulled in synchronization, or all pistons aren’t firing. Stress, worry, confusion…it’s just not fun anymore!

Bringing our experience and insight, we will partner with you to change the misalignment and remove the obstacles to success. As your trusted advisor, we’ll bring an analysis that will reduce your stress, worry and confusion. You’ll be able to focus on the parts of the business you enjoy–the reasons you got into this business! Instead of pondering what’s going wrong, you can create new tactics, strategies, innovations and opportunities.

And the rest of your team will sense your renewed energy and enthusiasm. With our help, your team will overshoot your goals by 25%–and it will feel effortless to them and you! We promise these results–or you’ll get half of your money back, or we’ll keep working for free till they happen!

Most organizational change efforts are a lot of blitz and blast. Many specialists look for velocity of change. Traditional efforts don’t create a lot of organizational action beyond the “early adopters” who are fiercely loyal to your organization. We look for depth of change throughout the organization. We turn skeptics into believers, not through a lot of hard work or flashy work….just steady engagement with your team. They buy into the vision and your organization reaps the rewards!

Efforts with 4ward Associates
Buy-in Improves with 4ward Associates

We specialize in changing corporate cultures, and alignment of the whole organization around a strategy or goal. We have seen the power of an organization that’s committed to succeeding at one or two key metrics. Having the right metric is important. Companies have exceeded their wildest dreams when they’ve selected a metric that requires everyone to make a coordinated effort for their customers. We can help you find and communicate the essential performance indicator. Now we can coach you in the successful methods of Springfield Remanufacturing Company as noted in Great Game of Business, which cleanly meshes with our own experiences and methods.

Education arm of Springfield Remanufacturing Company

Before you sign with any consultant, think about these considerations.  Being an expensive option to generate improvement, consultants should be used for the right reasons.

1) Bring experience or knowledge to your team that you don’t have. If you have a successful small business, your staff may be home-grown, which is not an entirely bad thing. Some experience, industry knowlege and cross-fertilization of ideas can occur at conferences, workshops or seminars. Another good way to infuse new ideas quickly is to bring in a consultant who has worked on the very problem or strategy you want to energize.  Just be careful of rejecting ideas because they’re NIH (not invented here).

2) Bring out the good ideas percolating within your organization. For various reasons, good ideas can flounder and die before they get heard by the ‘right ear’.  If you don’t have good ways to elicit and evaluate everyone’s suggestions, then a consultant will be the disinterested third-party who can ferret out the good ideas. A good consultant will also attribute those ideas to the person within the organization. It’s an inherent bias that executives listen more carefully to concepts for which a lot of money was paid than for ones that came free.  Thus, your team will appreciate the consultant carrying their ideas to you.

3) You need a revolution.  Consultants are expensive and you want to maximize the effort for the time. If you are looking to change the culture, and create a new way of operating the organization, be prepared for a lengthy contract. Or else your organization (and maybe you) will just wait it out till the consultant goes away and then return to “business as usual”. If that happens, you may either go out of business or end up hiring another consultant.

4) You need an independent sounding-board and a partner. There are times when you want to focus on the part of the business that only you can do. You need someone to help develop your team so your team is upgrading your marketing, your operations, your finances to world-class levels. There are struggles you have that can’t be shared with others inside your organization. We can listen and advise. Then you can enjoy the work for the reasons you got into the business in the first place.

We Should Be “There” Already!?

Chances are Lean, Six Sigma, “Knock Your Socks Off” Customer Service and other improvment programs you’ve implemented haven’t given the results you expected or had been promised.  Individual projects have been effective, but the rest of the organization hasn’t latched onto the tools and way of thinking. 4ward Associates can provide the consulting and assessment of your corporate culture and the alignment of your corporate system elements, and let you know if you have the foundation for continuous improvement programs. We help you bring focus through key metrics, and engendering a collaborative environment. Trust us to bring you improvement. (We even offer a guarantee.) When you’re not sure how to get from point A to point B, we’ll be your business coach.

Without the right corporate values, metrics and the alignment and integration of corporate systems, most change programs fail or become a “fad of the month”. Focusing on the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska), we will help you implement change in a way so that the progress is natural, adopted throughout the organization and achieving the results you need. 4ward Associates Big Questions

No Programs Allowed!

We won’t sell you a program. In fact, we believe that programs get in the way of real corporate change. Our experience has borne this out. As well, studies by Beer, Eisenstaat and others in 1990, as published in Harvard Business Review, show that change programs fail because they are a program, and not integrated into the activity of the corporation.

We’ve been successful by promoting new activities, new behaviors, new policies because they make sense to everyone in the organization. We avoid the results reports to prove that department ABC did their program activity, so that someone else can report what’s happening in the program. All these reports get in the way of real accomplishments. The only benefit to the reports is easy communication with the rest of the organization about some successes. However, if the successes are happening, people will hear about it.

We don’t sell you a program. We create a partnership with you to coach your organization into higher performance. We’ll help you with a strategy, culture and system element analysis and integration to go beyond your wildest dreams.

Strategy, culture and corporate system elements work together to create success. To give you a few examples: with two small changes, we led an effort that increased on-time delivery from 86% to 99.8% in two months, including a 50% reduction in WIP, 99% reduction in past-due parts, 20% more output and nearly double the number of demand hours on the core operations. If the company had planned to do that, these two strategic linchpins wouldn’t have been identified through normal strategic planning. They would have identified millions of dollars in investment for equipment and staff. The plans would have had qualifications: “We think  this will work if nothing else changes. We should get to 90% on-time delivery, at least.”  Two small changes, huge results: a change in personnel scheduling and a change in performance metric that emphasized the schedule effectiveness.

Also, besides profitability and stock value growth, we reversed wellness trends by leveraging the corporate culture into this area. Medical insurance premiums were the largest single expense outside of wages and materials. The culture already promoted collaboration, rewards as an organization, teamwork and ownership mentality. Wellness fit into the culture because it could be linked with benefits to oneself, benefits to the family and benefits to “your teammates” by helping reduce insurance premium expenses.

Those results wouldn’t have happened without first doing a lot work on the corporate systems (metrics, communication, integration and alignment of plans and goals, etc.) and the corporate culture (rewarding collaboration, enforcing values and expectations, coaching emphasis, etc.).

Invite us to help drive success in your organization.