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Bowie and Benchmarking

David Bowie (c)

On the morning of his sixty-sixth birthday, David Bowie released the song ‘Where are we now?

I played it the other day as I was reflecting on his music and it struck a chord. This question was at the heart of a recent discussion with an organisation looking for ways to improve their win rates in the new financial year.

Like many organisations, the leaders want the results, the benefits, the outcomes –increased capability, more motivation and improved win rates. They just want to get on with it. There is no time to lose, Carpe Diem, Tempus Fugit and all that. They want improved win rates and they want them now.

The frustration with the status quo and the enthusiasm to get going is palpable. And when there is so much energy focused on driving forward, it can be hard to put the brakes on.

But knowing what to do is not the same as knowing how to do it and, more importantly, how to do it in a way that sticks.

Making change stick is possible only when organisations understand the underlying principles at play. When they do understand, it can be a light bulb moment.

Understanding Change Management

In his book ‘The Primes – How any group can solve any problem’, Chris McGoff describes the core principles relating to change. If an organisation is to successfully carry out and embed change, stakeholders must be part of the programme which not only plans where they are going (the To-Be) but identifies their starting point (the As-Is).

Without parity of time spent on agreeing the As-Is and planning the To-Be, programmes will not generate enough buy-in to convince stakeholders that the pain of change is worthwhile. Without buy-in, stakeholders will exhibit low-levels of engagement, they will focus on other priorities, and the project-of-the-month will die a slow, painful and inevitable death.

Benchmarking is a solution that can engage every stakeholder in articulating the As-Is in terms of the good practice that is worth keeping, and the specific improvements needed. Giving every stakeholder the opportunity to influence the To-Be solution by asking about their priorities during the benchmarking exercise also generates vital buy-in to the programme.

So, if we are to engage people in change programmes and make them stick, we really do need to explore and agree ‘Where are we now?

For as Bowie says:

‘Where are we now, where are we now?

The moment you know, you know, you know’

Bid Management and Rock & Roll, whatever next…?

 Parity (c)

Author: Ian Sherwood PPM.APMP  Bid & Proposals Director, twentysix2

Image Ref: The Primes by Chris McGoff. Published Wiley & Sons (2012) used with kind permission from the author.

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