Encouraged to Do Your Worst

Most people want to care about the work they do, and it goes without saying that leaders want them to perform their best. In contrast, though, workplace culture or team dynamics can inadvertently discourage good work. It then becomes paramount to recognize the cycle, understand what’s fueling it, and learn how to break it. At every step in my career, I’ve witnessed the most passionate, dedicated team members getting discouraged when good work isn’t paying off and in the worst cases, getting burned out and leaving. I’ve felt the cycle myself: getting deeply invested in my work, feeling frustrated with the outcomes and the state of things, reinvesting and recommitting to improvements, but ultimately disengaging with the process. Eventually, this led me to a career in consulting and I’ve come to see this same pattern play out with clients as they start undertaking process improvement and organizational change. The people that care the most in your organization tend to be leaders among their peers. They may not have formal authority, but they are likely a crucial part of your organization’s culture and others look to them for guidance. If your most passionate people are disengaged and discouraged, the lost performance is tangible. However, the biggest consequences are felt over time: a decline in morale, the loss of expertise and leadership, missed opportunities for improvement, and stalled growth. If you’re continuously losing your most passionate team members, who will be left? What is the culture like without them? What are you really rewarding and instilling in your current team? It can be easy to blame this cycle on a lack of commitment, not wanting to work hard, or wanting higher pay, but the catalysts are not simply a lack of rewards and recognition. If you are noticing this pattern, take a step back and evaluate where you, your team, and current processes are today. Catalysts Business-as-usual hasn’t been “usual” in a long time. This can manifest as taking on several new projects and initiatives in a short time, introducing new products or systems, or a high rate of turnover­—particularly in leadership roles. Keeping up with constant change can be destabilizing and eventually lead to burnout. While change is inevitable in any organization, it is crucial to balance your initiatives and properly manage the change. Following a change management methodology will not only increase your likelihood of successful adoption, but it will also support your team through the change and help mitigate change fatigue. Lack of follow-through. There are many reasons work may be deferred or canceled. There will always be competing demands for time and some items end up pushed to the bottom of the to-do list indefinitely. Without communication, a project seemingly disappears, along with all of the effort that went into it. If this is happening regularly, it can be hard for team members to dedicate themselves to the next request. At the extreme, I’ve been told by managers to disregard projects from leadership because “they will just disappear in a few months anyway”. They’ve never been wrong. As an individual, you may not be in a position to make a call like disregarding a request; however, you can align your priorities and take advantage of opportunities to share your feedback. As a leader, be thoughtful about your requests. Make an effort to understand what else is competing for time, specify a realistic level of priority, and state why this work is important or how it will be used at the time of your request. Share updates, if the situation allows, especially if it’s decided later that work isn’t going to move forward. There is a disproportionate level of effort to perceived value. It’s frustrating and disheartening to spend hours on work that just checks a box. For example, generating a report may take several days but perhaps only a small portion of the data is needed by someone else. Take the agency and learn why this task is necessary. Who are you sending it to? How are they using the information you provide? After investigating, I’ve been surprised to learn where some of my “tedious” reports end up. In other cases, I’ve been able to build a case for modifying or even discontinuing low-value work. If you are a leader, you should be prepared to answer these same questions, even if it means doing a little digging. The exercise of documenting your processes end-to-end can highlight areas of value, opportunity, and waste. This requires that you critically assess whether the work is truly providing meaningful value and if the work is necessary. Tools like a SIPOC analysis or basic process flow chart can support this review. If the work is providing value, you’ve created a visual that can bring awareness and shift perceptions. If it’s not, change course or [...]
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Commercialization

Commercialization Commercialization is the process of bringing new products or services to customers. In Health & Life Sciences, R&D, or research and development, is a large part of the commercialization process. R&D costs required to successfully bring a new drug to market can easily reach billions of dollars. These costs result from multiple years of highly regulated processes involving dozens of different stakeholder groups, and often do not result in a successful Clinical Trial.  Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are then understandably under extreme pressure to ensure those products that do receive FDA approval are marketed and profitable as soon as possible. It is during these initial years of entry into the market without potential competition that a company can generate massive profits to be able to recoup the costs of other failed R&D efforts and be able to fund future R&D projects.  That is why a focus on Project & Program Management, as well as Change Management, during the Commercialization process is critical. To minimize costly delays and to better ensure all stakeholders are aware and aligned with objectives, specific activities should be considered throughout the process of delivering products to market.  Project & Program Management:    The sheer number of separate activities that have cross-functional dependencies and disparate completion timelines require an integrated schedule to be managed. Project and Program Managers should develop and manage this integrated schedule with inputs from the different stakeholder groups, highlighting the need for constant communication throughout.  This integrated schedule should be resource loaded to understand who from each stakeholder group is available to complete required tasks, for example: This resource loaded schedule will showcase the need for collaboration across these groups reducing the likelihood of information silos that cause issues with hitting deadlines and inconsistent knowledge across the program. Additionally, it will highlight gaps to the intended resource plan and provide the maximum amount of time to identify and obtain external contracted talent as necessary.   For Commercialization within pharmaceuticals, typical activities need to focus on a range of outcomes, including how patients will be prescribed the drug, whether additional services should be provided based on expected disease stages, competition research that will lead to price point decisions, and more. Stakeholders can provide updates on their individual required tasks to meet the defined deliverables and outcomes.  Risk management will also play an important role in any holistic Project & Program Management undertaking for improved Commercialization. An evaluation of what potential issues could delay schedules or cause additional budget expenditures should be evaluated as early in the effort as possible and then reviewed weekly. Some examples of categories to be evaluated for potential risks that will need to be mitigated are below.  Identifying with stakeholders what specific risks could affect each activity, what the financial and timeline impacts would be, and what actions the team will take once the risk triggers. By taking the time beforehand to discuss the plan of attack, more options are available to reduce those impacts. Companies can create a standardized, repeatable process flow that contains all necessary forms, documentation, and guidance within each process step. This standardization of a commercialization process will reduce delays based on utilizing out of date forms, as well as ensure that decisions are made at the lowest level authorized (RACI).   Motive Power has assisted companies to visualize and operationalize standardized processes through their Process Optimization Platform (PoP) capability. Change Management:  Commercialization of a product introduces change within both the internal team and external stakeholder groups to include patients, payers, supply chain companies, etc. This change will affect individuals & organizations differently and each individual will transition from the current state to the desired future state at different times, if ever.     Focusing time and resources to ensure this transition from current to future states occur as quickly as possible will reduce the risk that speed to market profitability isn’t delayed. Even the best project management plan could be implemented but will have no effect if the individual stakeholders expected to change behaviors to make the commercialization effort successful, don’t change.  Furthermore, efforts to analyze the impact of the new product on each stakeholder organization will help to assess the level of change management required. If the new product radically shifts how a physician needs to prescribe a product, then additional training, targeted messaging, and follow-up should be planned and implemented. Change adoption metrics should be developed and implemented to gain insights as early as possible when individual stakeholders are resistant to the requested change. Effective change management is paramount to any project’s success. For more information on how Motive Power can assist your Commercialization effort, please contact us at sales@motive-power.com. Author: Nick Bruno

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Achieving Project Excellence in a Matrix Organization and What Utilities Are Missing

The list of challenges and “must-needed changes” the utility industry is facing keeps growing. How can utilities deliver successful projects in an overwhelming environment where priorities are constantly shifting? Find out in this whitepaper focused on achieving process excellence in a matrix organization and what utilities are missing. Below is an excerpt from the whitepaper… THE ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION – A MATRIX STRUCTURE Utilities, like many other longstanding industries, are complex organization. For the most part they have a matrix organizational structure with multiple functional departments serving one line of business. Which means that their employees might work on multiple teams everyday reporting to the same, or different managers. Matrix organizations have been around for decades and have been criticized and praised throughout their history. A matrixed structure can be exceptionally good at focusing employees on a unified mission, vision, and purpose. A 2018 Gallup1 survey highlights that employees who are part of highly matrixed teams are more engaged than non-matrixed workers. At the same time, the survey indicates that poorly implemented or poorly managed matrix environment can introduce new challenges such as: Poor definition of expectations Lack of standardization (multiple initiatives or processes addressing the same issues) Gaps in communication A constant competition for resources and establishing priorities   Over the past fifteen years working with a variety of utilities across the country, Motive Power has observed those issues manifesting into lack of accountability and undefined roles and responsibilities; which defeats the benefits the organization intended to gain. READ THE FULL WHITEPAPER HERE

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Death of Email and Productive Software Replacements in a Business Environment

The ever-changing forms of communication today are making us rethink how we communicate using the old tools and systems surrounding us. Email has been around for years and now is a part of our everyday life creating an “email culture”. But is email slowly dying?   For those of you who are not too familiar with the history of email, here are the high points. Email was created in the early ’70s for the main purpose of scientists being able to share real-time information across the world for research. Skip ahead to 1996, and Hotmail was introduced to the public with 2GB of storage — back when hard drives with that much storage cost $400. This was a game-changer in the industry that caught Microsoft’s attention in 2000 when they purchased Hotmail. In 2004, Gmail was introduced but didn’t officially launch until 5 years later after they worked out all the bugs. Email became used worldwide with just over 4 billion people using email in 2020. That’s half the world’s population! From that 4 billion, 43% of the users are Gmail accounts, with Yahoo and Outlook coming in a close second and third. With that many users in the world, 306 billion emails are sent daily which comes out to roughly 3.5 million emails per second. This is an enormous amount of information crossing between a multitude of users. In America alone, users can expect to receive up to 125 emails per day, with more than half of email being spam. What are the pros and cons of email as used in today’s society?   The biggest pro will be that it is easily accessible and free, depending on your access to a computer. The biggest cons are hackers/phishing/virus threats coming from the outside. Everyday users will come across emails aiming to steal valuable information and companies, on the other hand, will spend millions of dollars each year training employees to combat these emails. What’s next? The alternative to email culture has become a bigger presence lately with the use of programs such as MS Teams and Slack. These interactive programs offer all-in-one Organization Management communication which allows for: Each of these examples is something you have probably encountered in an email, however, it may be embedded in a long thread that’s unorganized. The power of programs is the ability to have all communication housed in a structured format that allows for sharing information easily. Instead of sending files in an email, they live in a shared folder organized by WBS. Instead of asking about progress or action item follow up, it is already visible to allow for questions to be answered quickly. Rethinking how we communicate within organizations by using smarter communication tools can help alleviate countless hours of pointless emails. Will email ever go away or die off? No. But with organizations willing to use change management techniques to help communicate more effectively, the landscape will continue to evolve to become more efficient. Author: By Cameron Laurent

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Going Green at Work

New Trends in Change Management

Author: Israel Gonzalez It’s a brave new world in 2020 and as we are returning to business and our previous workflows, we find the road before us ripe for opportunity. Industry leaders are ready to create evolution like a racehorse being let out of the gate. The winds of change are moving, and they are they are swirling around change management itself, humans, and machines. Continuous Improvement Who knew change management would find itself going through change? Initially, change was project based with a beginning and end, simpler, and flowed more in a waterfall methodology. It’s now evolving into a continuous changing model; more agile. Initiatives are becoming broader within this new cadence and then working in specificity in following initiatives to build off one another. This progression is predicted to combat change management’s nemesis; change fatigue. Change is always difficult and faced with opposition, but the project model produced disjointed change. The continuous model relates the changes together changing how they are perceived from disruptive to gradual. Many changes are implemented with the best of intentions to fix a problem, but at the expense of creating another. Now this graduality can push into a culture of its own. Change begins to be understood as a given part of the day-to-day and as continuous improvement of the whole. Upgrading Your Foundational Players It’s no surprise that a company’s employees are the bedrock of all its achievements, but that makes them the key players in analyzing future potential. Implementing a change doesn’t occur after one meeting, but over multiple touchpoints or phases. Companies are finding themselves growing the change leaders’ team within their companies to offer better support in helping usher in new change. This increase isn’t just providing better implementation but more change more quickly. They are the ones working less systematically and driving to the beat of the agile drum. To strengthen the odds and overcome typical roadblocks companies are building a culture with a higher affinity to learn to create an environment where change can take root quickly. Encouraged learning is finding itself to be at the forefront and company leaders are building a learning culture by providing opportunities for their employees to flex their brain muscles. They are bolstering the minds of the “masses” because they know that the speed of adoption doesn’t rest solely on the size of the change management team, but on the receptiveness of the employees. Learning items planned and set before you is the beginning, but being able to thrive in uncertainty takes adaptability. It’s becoming unreasonable to know every system in your industry or to be educated in all new trending ideas, so we must drive to embrace these uncertain times. An important note is that communication is vital within this uncertainty because it offers a lifeline to build confidence to march forward. Technology Digital Technology is permeating through all industries and change management is no exception. Understanding large amounts of dialogue from feedback throughout the process is proving difficult with the increased cadence. Systems like Google Duplex are showing the advancement of A.I. to understand and respond to human dialogue. Another leap forward is Housespace which is not only showing how easy and quick it can be to categorize this data but providing summaries of mass feedback. This has never been more crucial than now because as closeout reporting is declining, actionable data is emerging as its successor. This finalizing report is proving less necessary because succeeding change may not only attend to the next evolution, but fix a small pitfall form the previous one. This is where actionable data from these systems will prove useful by helping you spring forward from your last step. We need to reset out expectations around implementing change within a company. Change is coming and it will always be coming as we continuously change moving forward. Bolster your own change team and make them key players in your organization. Create a learning culture with workshops and team building to grow your employees. Lastly, rethink how you report out. Whether you use a new software to help you or not, learning to create actionable data over success reports will make all the difference. Find your pace. It is not a sprint anymore but a marathon.

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five tips for scrum project management

Consultants at a Higher Level

At Motive Power, our Project Managers and consultants strive to consitantly be up on the latest software, certifications, and trends. Our consultants have a variety of certifications under their belts including Scrum, PMP, and Prosci. For those individuals who are not involved in the Project Management industry, those certifications sound baffling and confusing. Here is a brief explanation on these certifications and why they mean so much to our company. Scrum Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. Scrum itself is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex products. PMP  The Project Management Professional (PMP)® is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. You can find PMPs leading projects in nearly every country and, unlike other certifications that focus on a particular geography or domain, the PMP® is truly global. As a PMP, you can work in virtually any industry, with any methodology and in any location. Prosci Prosci offers a number of advanced Change Management certifications for Project Managers and Consultants. The Prosci learning program teaches how to apply change management to your existing projects. Combining the Prosci methodology, tools and the Prosci ADKAR® Model.

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Motive Power on Coffee & Closers Podcast

Recently the Motive Power Minneapolis office sponsored an episode of Coffee & Closers, a podcast on techniques to successfully grow revenue. The podcast’s goal is for attendees and listeners to gain knowledge to authentically receive process design, tools used, and tips on what works to successfully grow revenue. This is a natural interview style format that will give you a peek into some of the top sales minds that propelled the growth of companies. Check out the podcast here >

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Motive Power Intern Featured on CBS San Francisco

Motive Power’s own, Victor Arellano, was featured on KPIX CBS San Francisco for a special story on Students Rising Above. We loved being a part of Students Rising Above. These students are breaking the social and economic cycles within their own families, serving their communities, providing a new generation of employees and leaders from diverse backgrounds, and accelerating positive change. Watch the video here:

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