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The Business Transformation Podcast

Podcast 021 – Jonathan Coneby –The Theory of constraints - the 5 focus areas for business transformation success.

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"Most our clients cant write down everything they are doing because they are doing so much stuff. So one of our first steps is - 'what can you stop doing, what can you pause?' All these things take away organisational energy. Lets create some space in the organisation and really focus on what's important"

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Check out our latest podcast with the Lead Consultant at Empathy Associates, Jonathan Coneby.

Jonathan has extensive experience and business transformation in the public sector, having spent the last five years at the Texas Workforce Commission. Before that, the board of directors at another government organisation in Texas.

Jonathan is in the biggest state in the US right now. And so some of these organisations have had an enormous number of employees, some even around 5,000. His previous roles in the public sector included auditor and internal auditor.

We discuss Jonathan’s experience in three (3) key areas:

  1.  The theory of constraints
  2. What is it?
  3. How to apply Theory of constraints to successfully run your transformation

Join this conversation and learn the key takeaways; you can do that in your team and organisation too!

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Transcript

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Heath Gascoigne (00:02):

Sound the one to hear. And all right. My name is Heath Gascoigne. I am the host of the Business Transformation Podcast, and this is a show for business transmitters who are part business strategists, part business designers, part collaborators, and part negotiators. Business transmitters have moved past this just business design and includes oversight of implementation of those business designs and business transformations, and includes stakeholder management, coordination, and negotiation. If you work in strategy, development and implementation and work to ensure that that strategy is aligned to the business design and technology, then you’re probably a business translator. This is the show where we speak to industry experts and professionals to share their stories, strategies and insights to help you start, turn around and grow your business transformation. Welcome to the Business Transformation Podcast, and in this episode we are talking to one of those experts. We are talking to Jonathan Cohen. B Is that That’s correct there. Jonathan 

Jonathan Coneby (01:05):

Canopy Cany Car Course. It’s a tough one. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:07):

Oh, that’s a, uh, that’s American version. So I’m, I’m speaking the Kiwi version. Sorry. There buddy. Okay. . So, so Jonathan is a lead consultant at Empathy, uh, associates, uh, that deals with public sector transformations, all shapes and sizes. Jonathan has, uh, extensive experience and business transformation in public sector spending the last five years at Tech, uh, the Texas Workforce Commission prior to that, um, a board of, uh, directors at another government organization in Texas. Jonathan is in the biggest state in the, uh, in the US right now. And so, uh, some of these organizations have had a huge number of employees, I think what we say, 5,000 for. Um, uh, that’s right. The 5,000. Yeah. That’s huge. I think I’ve done some transformations around 2000, but 5,000 is massive. Um, previous roles include auditor and internal auditor with, again, in the public sector and for many. So you are like looking into the detail. So it goes way back to the tune of the century. So, Jonathan, welcome to the podcast. Glad to have you. How are you? 

Jonathan Coneby (02:08):

Thank you, Heath, doing really well. Really, uh, quite a pleasure to be on your podcast. Uh, you’ve got a, a great following, a diverse following, and I’ve, I listened to a couple of videos before this and, uh, it’s exciting stuff. And, uh, just happy to contribute some perspectives. I might be a little counter, uh, cultural with some of the things that I say and use because I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks that some, some of these techniques we think are the best, don’t end up being the best. So, uh, have some, uh, unique perspectives on things that I hope to be able to contribute to your community and really looking forward to hearing from you and your audience, uh, as well. And, uh, and learning myself. Thank you. Oh, 

Heath Gascoigne (02:46):

Very good. No, excellent. Awesome. Jeff. The, um, I like what you see there about the, the frameworks, right? So the, I I, uh, yeah, I see that a lot where, um, we’ll get into some, um, uh, what some topics a second, you know, disagreements, some topics. Um, but yeah, the, the frameworks that I see, or people or practitioners that are in, in practice talking about or pushing a particular, um, practice. Some of those, uh, uh, I, I won’t name any names, but the, the frameworks were intended for another purpose at some point in time. And now, cause of maybe the projects are quite big and seemly complex that they want some tried and tested framework of some time ago mm-hmm. , but it was used for a different purpose mm-hmm. , and now they’re repurposed it and applying it as it was written for something else. And it’s not quite living up to expectations, but for whatever reason they are maybe sunk cost or the, the time invested up until that point. They don’t want to like stop or pause or reflect and going, are we actually getting what we expected from this? And are we going at the pace we need? Um, and it becomes a bit of a hard slog and hence when ultimately, which, you know, the projects don’t end very well. Um, yeah, sadly. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (04:04):

Yeah. It’s a good point. I mean, uh, you know, I think all of us should have our own frameworks, so there’s no way to do our jobs without some type of framework can just go in there and wing it all the time. Right. Well, yeah. I mean, some people do, but Yeah. . Um, but, you know, I mean, we need a framework, but I think it’s good to be a little skeptical or a little, you know, humble about the application, like you said. I mean, some environments work better than others and, you know, we, I think we fall in love with our tools sometimes when always, you know, we shouldn’t do that. Right. We, yeah, we should always adapt, always learn, um, always apply. I mean, I, I have a primary methodology of the theory of constraints. It’s a very uhhuh, lesser known methodology, but even within that, uh, I don’t use everything. Right. I pick and choose based on what works, and I use other concepts from other things. Mm-hmm. . And so, um, yeah. It’s a really good reminder to not fall in love with your tools. 

Heath Gascoigne (04:58):

Yep. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, they’re very good. Yeah. And that we have to talk about that theory of, uh, constraints. Yeah. I th I I talk about, um, um, that it’s not so much the framework that that is applied. It’s the skill of the, I know, that’s why I call ourselves business transmitters. Cause the one is, I’ve been on programs where they, that you said, oh, you, you cannot use the name business architect anymore. So was that, oh. Cause they came in here. Like they had one conversation with the, with the team, with the division, you’re changing, they disappear for months and they reappear and they go, da, da, here’s your target operating model, and the, the business is going, you got that from that one conversation that we had. Wow. And, and so, um, I said, no, it’s not the framework that you use, it’s actually the ability from the person doing the transformation, the one leading it on the ability to apply it in two ways mm-hmm. 

(05:48)

Appropriately for the situation and proportionately. Cause as I’ve God say to me, heh, you read your book and I’m trying to apply it by the, by the letter. And I was going, whoa, whoa. You know, here’s the, here’s the thing. I say, thanks for reading the book, um, but I know unless that framework with is mine or someone else’s, or even your own was written specifically for that project, yeah. Then apply it, know a hundred percent. But most cases it’s not. Let’s the, the key’s in the name mm-hmm. framework mm-hmm. mm-hmm. . If it’s said policy or procedure, then you have no choice because it’s a, you know, that’s procedure. That’s the nature of procedures that you follow the procedure mm-hmm. , but a framework is as, as you say, correctly. I, you know, I support that. And I, I agree with it as, yeah, you apply it, you know, you pick what you need to mm-hmm. 

Jonathan Coneby (06:35):

, you gotta think, right? Uh, too often we don’t actually think critically. Right. We, especially, I think we can fall into that trap with frameworks as we apply it, and we just, just keep, keep applying like the textbook says. And you know, unfortunately, you have to have some professional judgment every once in a while. And, you know, that’s good news for people like me. It’s job security, right? I mean, uh, it teaches us, you know, where to look, where to think, but we have to actually still think, right? Oh, yes. Think clearly. 

Heath Gascoigne (07:06):

Yeah. Yeah. I, I’ve, um, recently helped the client and, uh, they, their first almost, and now I had to said, we’re now gonna implement a new modus operandi of the, of, uh, our, our mode of operation by default is their, their default mode of operation was that they will fail fast. And I said, so what I understand, I said, well, let’s just try it. And I said, but the concept of just trying something is, I’m writing notes here on what we’re saying here, there, there’s some great quotes here if you’re dropping the Air Johnson. So I wanna play those back again later. So, so the, the, um, the, the mantra of fail fast is we’re not gonna think we’re just gonna do. Mm-hmm. And then what it happens is, oh, no, but we’re, we’re failing fast is says, no, no, no. That’s your excuse for not thinking. 

(07:49)

You need to think about why, why are you doing it in the first place? Mm-hmm. , you’ve been told you need to do that in, the first thing you should say is why that’s the very first year of default is, and why question, the question even question me. I’m not beyond question, you know, you should question me. And if you can’t question the question, and you have been told to go to Google, to Google what they’re just telling you, it’s like, well, if you can’t convince somebody or your argument in the room, you know, in, in a, in a, in a couple of sentences, you gotta wonder if you’ve been asked to implement it. Because if they can’t explain it is you’re gonna struggle with trying to live with, with what you’ve just delivered after they have left. 

Jonathan Coneby (08:26):

Right? I think Heath, I think you’re spot on with that. And, and I experienced that in, in my profession as well, is you have to start with the why question. Why are we doing this? What is our ultimate end goal? Because, you know, my mentor, one of my mentors, Kristen Cox, says, you don’t confuse the means with the end. Right? Oh, yeah. And so when we talk about that example of, okay, we’re gonna fail fast, right? Okay. Yeah. Well, that’s a capability. I mean, I guess you’re trying to basically build a, a, a speed of development, right? That’s, that’s sort of an organizational capability. Yeah. What are you gonna, what are you gonna point that at, right? I think is what you’re saying, right? Why, why do you want to do that? What’s, what’s the either the ultimate customer, uh, impact or organizational result that we’re striving for here, that is the reason why we wanna implement and develop fast, right? Yeah. Yeah. But we don’t, we don’t go that far typically, right? We, we, we see, oh, you know, these things, like, we want to increase our capability, but if we don’t target the right things with those, um, you’re not gonna get the result. Sometimes if you go really slow, but you do the right thing, Hmm. You’ll get there faster. So, uh, another quote that I’ve heard is, uh, go slow to go fast, right? Yeah. 

Heath Gascoigne (09:40):

Yep. 

Jonathan Coneby (09:41):

Uh, I think one of the, the, I was reading some of your materials earlier and you, you had a quote in there that 70% of business transformations fail. 

Heath Gascoigne (09:49):

Yep. Yep. 

Jonathan Coneby (09:49):

Wow. That’s an indictment, right? Not only is it a f a 50 50, you know, coin toss, it’s actually, uh, your net worse off typically, right? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. That should be unacceptable. I mean, yeah. Our industry is doing harm. not good. 

Heath Gascoigne (10:04):

Yeah. . Oh, yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (10:06):

So, uh, I think that’s a very important question. Why, why do we want to do this? What is the ultimate goal we’re we’re striving for? Um, and that’ll tell us where we need to go. And if that means we do the right things, but methodically and slow, we’re actually gonna get there faster. It’s, it’s the classic tortoise in the hair story, right? Yeah. Yeah. Uh, don’t be the turtle, right? Not the rabbit that’s racing around, uh, doing a bunch of stuff and taking naps during the race or whatever. Yeah. Yeah. Slow and steady can sometimes be faster. 

Heath Gascoigne (10:35):

Oh yeah. Flow steady wins the race. Yeah. They’re like these old cliches, you know, they’re cliches for a reason, you know, they, they, they, they, they stand the test of time and they stand the test of time cause they make sense and they keep reappearing and they’re going, oh yeah, the old go slow to go fast. You know? It’s like, well, some people go, oh, no, no, no. They’ve gotta move the rabbit in the here run a hundred miles around the block. And meanwhile the, you know, the doodle, it takes his time and it gets their job done. 

Jonathan Coneby (11:05):

. Yep. And, and don’t get me wrong, Heath, I mean, I like to go fast to go fast too, so Yeah. 

(11:10)

, oh yeah. It reminds me of, uh, sorry, I have another story, ma’am. We’re hit. You’re just getting all the stories out of me right away here of, so I was with a client last week, and one of our sayings is, um, in our engagements is start by stopping. So it kind of fits this theme, which is you guys are doing a whole bunch of stuff, right? Yeah. Uh, most of the time my clients can’t even write down all the stuff they’re doing. They’re doing so much stuff. So one of our first steps is, what can you stop doing? What can you pause, right? Yeah. All these things take organ organizational energy. Yeah. So let’s, let’s create some space in the organization to work on what really matters. So we say, start by stopping. Uh, and it was funny cuz uh, the executive director said, I hear what you’re, you’re saying, but I also follow this, uh, you know, she follows someone else or reads a book and they say, start by starting. So I’m like, conflicted. Do I stop by stopping or ? Yeah. Well, well, I think that is good though, right? If you do know what your why is mm-hmm. What your goal is. Yep. Yep. It, it absolutely don’t be paralyzed with fear to go off and go and start creating and trying and, and piloting. And these things are healthy as long as they have the right orientation and perspective, 

Heath Gascoigne (12:21):

Right? Yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (12:22):

So you can start by starting as long as it’s the right thing, right? 

Heath Gascoigne (12:25):

Yes. Yeah. in the right direction. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Actually, we, you, you talked about their, about, um, in the organizations that you, you work with. So we should Tori talk about the, um, our topics, right? ? Oh, yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (12:39):

We should get to that. 

Heath Gascoigne (12:40):

Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, no, it’s my my fault. We got into the conversation pretty quickly. So, so having and long background and, and now in a, a consultancy that specializes in, um, public sector transformations, all shapes and sizes. Um, so let’s, let’s, I like to stick to three points. It’s easy for what both us but also the, the listeners can, can listen whether or on listening to audio only or watching it on YouTube. So what, so in terms of the transformations coming into these public sector, which is, you know, this a sure that the, uh, the amount of spend on these programs is probably, well, some of the programs I’ve been brought onto, they, they talk about the budgets and, and fractions of billions, billions of dollars, billions of pounds in, in the uk Yeah. So they’re not small. And the number of stakeholders they impact, um, one of the first ones they’ve done here, impacted almost, and what the whole country can talk about rolling out insurance and transforming the insurance industry. 

(13:32)

Now, what sort of insurance policies have you got? Well, everything from life, death, your animals, you know, to, to specialty business so that everyone is impacted by these issue. So, um, so yeah, these projects have, they reach far and far and wide mm-hmm. . So from, from you yourself, they’re having, you know, been a, a specialist expert in public sector. What are they doing right, right now in terms of public sector and transformation progress? Have they got it right? Are they, you know, what are they, what are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Uh, yeah. Is there, is there a process that you follow? Number two? And, you know, so you’ve, you come in, you’ve done it a few times, you know, something that you, you talk about, we talk about frameworks. Is there something you like to use? And the number three is the con key conditions or elements that you like that are, um, need to be present or should be present. But when you’re doing this transformation, you go, okay, this is a telltale sign that if we get this, you know, it’s gonna be happy days. If we don’t get that, um, we need to work to try and get it. 

Jonathan Coneby (14:26):

Perfect. I love those questions. Are you ready to dig in? I got, I, I took some notes. I I’m ready to talk about it. So, so your first question, um, what are the, what are the organizations doing right or wrong? Uh, when I come in, what do I see? What’s the state of the industry, so to speak? Um, so I would first say that I think what they’re doing right, and not everyone has this perspective, but I think the assumption that I’ve come to find is true, is that people are good. Oh, yeah. Right? Yeah. The public sector organizations, um, I sure I’ve run acro across a couple of bad apples here and there. Um, but at the end of the day, they care deeply. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. Um, these are people who are committed to their mission mm-hmm. , uh, and, and have a lot of passion about this. 

(15:15)

So, uh, I think that’s what they do, right? Um, they’re mission oriented, um, which can be an incredible advantage, of course, with staff and everything else. Uh, there’s kind of a sense of the greater good, right? Um, yep. You had mentioned working on projects that affected, you know, the whole nation in some cases, and that that’s an incredible source of motivation, right? Uh, so I, I’ve found a lot of value in it, um, you know, knowing that my work, uh, contributes to helping real people with real problems. Yeah. Yeah. So I think that these organizations are, can always demonstrate mission, um, orientation and perspective. The motivations are good. Mm-hmm. . 

Heath Gascoigne (15:56):

So, so that’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’re doing. Well, they come from a good place. 

Jonathan Coneby (16:00):

They come from a good place. They’re, they’re trying their best out there. Um, and I guess that’s a good lead into what are they not doing well. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know, I think I see a lot of, um, a lot of organizations struggling, right. And maybe it’s, uh, selection bias because we’re brought into organizations who need help, right? We don’t, don’t always see the, the, um, the world class organizations. Yeah. Yep. Right? Yep. Um, but typically what I see is that they’re just, you know, totally overloaded. Hmm. Um, I don’t know if this is too different in the, in the private sector, you guys, uh, let me know in, in the feedback, uh, to this podcast, but Yep. Typically they’re a hundred percent overloaded. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Um, and they have many different stakeholders who, um, have input into what they do. Right. And they all want their own things to be fixed. 

(16:53)

Yeah. And which drives the organization to launch even more things, right? Yes. Uh, to try to satisfy all the stakeholders and all the demands. And the demands are great. Yeah. In the public, in the public sector, right? You have people calling like the governor’s office, and I don’t know what the equivalent is in, in your area or your, your, your, uh, audience’s area, but many different oversight bodies who have legitimate authority to provide feedback, and it can be a crush, right? So the, so the leadership of a, of a public sector organization has an incredible job to do because they have all these different forces that want to try to have an opinion. Yep. Yep. And they have to protect the organization from that, right? Mm-hmm. , like, they’re, they’re like the gatekeeper of, of all of this, right? They have to put it all together. And, and that can be overwhelming. I personally have never done that. I’ve never been an executive director of a large agency before. And, but I can imagine what that’s 

Heath Gascoigne (17:48):

Like. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. 

Jonathan Coneby (17:49):

And so that’s what we typically find is well-intentioned people who are totally overwhelmed mm-hmm. , which means they’re doing too much at once. Yep. Yep. Um, and the only way they know how to get out of that is to, is to just keep trying more and more, uh, launching more and more things mm-hmm. , um, which of course, you know, burns out the organization. . Yeah. Right? 

Heath Gascoigne (18:12):

Oh, yeah. Yeah. No, become 

Jonathan Coneby (18:13):

A vague, um, so that’s typically what we find. So, um, typically we see strategies that are really complicated, really complex. Um, I see that what their ambition is, or they’re, why, as you put it, is often vague. They don’t really, they don’t have it. They haven’t clearly articulated what they want to the result to be at the end of the day, and they focus on the means and not the end. Right. They focus on, oh, I’m gonna create a better culture. I’m going to transform my technology, I’m going to implement an agile mindset. These are all good things within their own, you know, for, for their own uses. 

Heath Gascoigne (18:53):

Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (18:54):

Right? But if they’re not connected with that, why, then, you know, people aren’t gonna have the context to implement them correctly. 

Heath Gascoigne (19:01):

Oh, yes. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. So that’s 

Jonathan Coneby (19:03):

Typical, typically what I find. 

Heath Gascoigne (19:05):

Okay. So, so we’ve got great people, um, overwhelmed. The, the solution out of it for them, they think is to do even more. And so you, you come in for as new fresh eyes. So what are you, what are you, you know, people also, and I I’ve seen, you’ve got almost, you know, they won’t say it themselves, but life, it’s, you know, these mm-hmm. , these guys that have been in their organization for, for the most of the adult life, you know, straight from high school, right. 20 years plus. And so they not only, um, you know, very experienced in their, in their space they’re in, but they are, um, really attached to it mm-hmm. . And so in terms of changing it, it’s like, well, this is the what we’ve done it. This is the way we do it. This is, yeah. So how do you, is that an issue? And how do you overcome that? 

Jonathan Coneby (19:49):

Uh, definitely, definitely. Uh, these people that you’re talking about in organizations that have been there, you know, for a long time, uh, I call them the historians of the organization, 

Heath Gascoigne (19:59):

historians, it’s the okay historians, right? 

Jonathan Coneby (20:02):

We always, we actually need those people present in an engagement because they can, they’re like, excuse my language, but they’re like the BS people. Like they can call BS the bs, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s it. Like, oh, yeah, we tried that, you know, 15 years ago and it didn’t work, and Yep. You know, um, so we actually need those people in an engagement because Oh, yeah. First of all, they can tell you everything wrong with your solution, which if you can preempt those things mm-hmm. That’s gold, right? Oh, yeah. So, uh, they provide, even if it’s a negative sort of always sort of second guessing things, um, they actually provide a lot of Yes. Buts, we call ’em yes, Uhhuh, but you haven’t thought about this, right? Yeah. And if you can, if you can engage those people, understand their, um, you know, their hesitations, and actually build that into the solution, then, um, then you’re, you’re gonna be more successful, first of all. 

(20:55)

Yeah. But second of all, if you don’t engage those people, they’re gonna continue to resist and Yeah. Even more so, right. They’re gonna, uh, I’m really not seeing too many examples of this, but some people will just try to sabotage the whole thing. Oh, yeah. Right? Yeah. Because you’re not, you know, they’ve been there done that. They’ve seen a hundred consultants come in and nothing’s really changed for them. Right. So why should they believe you? So, so first of all, we should embrace these mentalities mm-hmm. , I mean, there needs to be some ground rules, right? I mean, they, you Yeah. They can’t just run the whole thing, but Yeah. When you to engage these people, but I would say how, I mean, the hard thing is how do you convince them that you’re just not another person coming in and, and stirring up the pot, right? 

Heath Gascoigne (21:34):

Yeah. He comes another consultant. Why are you different to the last guys? Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (21:38):

Right. Um, and I would say there’s, there’s some techniques and, and things that we do that, that help, um, you know, um, keep, keep that, you know, manageable. And one is uhhuh. W we seek to do win-win solutions, right. Uhhuh, we never want to do a win lose solution in our engagement. Yep. Right? And so, um, typically, and, and Steven Covey, uh, I love his materials. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him. Yeah. But, but he, he reminds us that always strive for a win-win. Yes. 

Heath Gascoigne (22:07):

Too often it’s one of the seven habits, right? 

Jonathan Coneby (22:10):

Yes. Seven habits of highly effective people is always seek a win-win. For some reason, our brains are wired to think that it’s a zero sum game, that in order for me to win, I something else has to 

Heath Gascoigne (22:20):

Lose. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (22:21):

Right? And we default to that all the time, and I do it all every day. Right. I mean, it’s just kind of how we think the world works, but often there’s so much improvement opportunity for win-wins. We just have to be looking for it. 

Heath Gascoigne (22:34):

Yeah. Yeah. You thinking you are fine. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (22:36):

Yep. So you have to go into it with that type of mindset. And so mindset is really key in these engagements. Whenever we go in, we’re not, you know, the, the sole source of, uh, of ideas and improvement. Uhhuh, . Yeah. We, we teach some principles, and then we apply as a group, and then Right. And then we go into implementation and, and, and on through that kind of framework. And so we try to teach some of these mindset pieces first. And so we are always seeking win-win. Those people have the opportunity to raise the, raise the red flag and say, no, uh, that’s not gonna work for me. Right. Yeah. And we’ll try to address that. Um, and then, you know, so those are some of the techniques. And I think also starting with the why, starting with the goal, that’s the first thing we talk about as well in our engagements is Uhhuh, what’s our goal? Yeah. We have to be very clear on what the goal is here, so that we know what we’re striving for, first of all. Yep. And we know what the problem is. Right. Um, my mentor, Kristen Cox, says, A problem is only a problem in the context of a goal. 

Heath Gascoigne (23:38):

Hmm, yep. 

Jonathan Coneby (23:39):

Right? For an organization. Right. There’s problems everywhere, but which problems should we solve? The ones that are holding us back from achieving that why or that goal? Yep. And so if those skeptics see that we have the right orientation, we have a clear goal, and that we’re willing to hear all the perspectives on the actual solution itself, and to build that into implementation, by and large, you address their concerns. Um, and, you know, you have to give these people, uh, you know, the benefit of the doubt. And then if they keep resisting, then that becomes a leadership issue, that leadership has to go address. Right? 

Heath Gascoigne (24:14):

Yeah. Well, cause your first point, you said that people by nature, naturally, uh, good people by good by nature. 

Jonathan Coneby (24:20):

Yeah. That’s what I believe. And it, it, and even if you don’t believe it, it’s a really good assumption to have mm-hmm. . Um, and if it doesn’t bear out, then at least you tried, right? Yeah. And you probably addressed most of the people’s concerns, um, in that way. 

Heath Gascoigne (24:33):

Yeah. I think if you went in, there’s two, you know, people motivated by two things. Either they gain of pleasure or avoidance, avoiding pain mm-hmm. . So if you went in there with the stick to beat them with the stick and, and tried to motivate them, and then, uh, they guy, no, I’m just gonna respond with another stick. Or if you, you know, with the why you motivate them with the why, like with, with a client I helped recently, um, they’ve gone straight out to rfp, like, and then talk about defining the problem first as mm-hmm. , they’ve gone out to RFP to, um, find a solution, uh, provider for their in game that they’ve already picked before. They’ve understood the current state mm-hmm. , and they can’t get any business engagement to come and, um, um, be involved in the demos. And so now they’re offering to pay, um, vouchers for the people to attend. 

(25:16)

And I said, the only reason you are offering people to pay is because now they, you know that, and they know that it’s naturally painful for what they’re going through. So you’re trying to listen the pain , and so you’re trying to motivate them by the carrot and so, so the by the stick now. So what you should have done is the starting point, the why you should have, uh, created a y that’s so aspirational for them. They would’ve answer their, what’s in it for me? And they go, yeah, I wanna be a part of that. I wanna contribute. And so when you send out requests for, for attending these demos, you’ll get hundreds because they want to be a part of it. Mm-hmm. , but you’ve gone in intense solution mode into the deep, I say, whoa, what’s going on here? 

Jonathan Coneby (25:55):

Uh, that I’ve never heard of that technique of, uh, paying a voucher that’s . It’s impressive. Yeah. Imagine if you just spend a day with someone on the front line to see how their current software, whatever it is, is working, right. And oh, hey, I see you. It takes you this long to enter this, or it always glitches out, you know, Hey, we want to, we wanna solve that for you. Right? Why don’t you come to this demo to see if this is something that’ll work. 

Heath Gascoigne (26:18):

. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (26:21):

So crazy. That’s a crazy story. I, I wish I had that tool. Uh, I don’t know if, uh, most, most government organizations, I don’t know if we can pay people like that. Uh, but that, you know, it’s one way to do it. 

Heath Gascoigne (26:31):

Yeah. Well, in end, they, they, I I, I, I advised that they probably don’t do that, and that doesn’t create in an environment where, you know, there’s the people can just cross the realms and go, you know, if we wait long enough, we’ll get vouchers coming our way and . So, you know, that’s the wrong kind of motivation. 

Jonathan Coneby (26:50):

Yeah, that’s interesting. That’s very interesting. 

Heath Gascoigne (26:53):

Yeah. Okay. So we got the, uh, the, I like the historians and we, we’d call them over here and, uh, we’d call them lifers. Um, lifers. Yeah. But that’s not a derogatory tomb. That’s like the same point is, you know, these guys know the culture and Yeah. They are, they are really like your litmus tests, you know, you, you, you, that’s your first point of call. Like I’ve, unfortunately, the current client helping now that’s a, there’s a quite a lot of, um, seasoned professionals. Um, it’s, and the building, it’s like, oh, great, you know, we’ve got them available as, you know, as not just SMEs, but also seconded to the program full-time. Like, oh, amazing. You know, we are gonna run past all the ideas, you know, what we’re coming up with and what we see past them as the first test. And then, you know, that’s gonna pass the, the test, to your point, the stuff test, the, the, the, the BS test mm-hmm. mm-hmm. . It’s like, if we can’t pass the BS of these guys is, you know, forget it. 

Jonathan Coneby (27:43):

Absolutely. And, and they’ll also, if you can engage them, they’ll then help you change the culture of the agency. Right. They’re, they’re gonna help convince others if they believe it too, so Oh, yeah. Yeah. There’s, there’s big change, uh, management, uh, implications of doing this right or wrong, right? 

Heath Gascoigne (27:59):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, they become the change champions. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Good one. So, so that’s what the, the, the pros and cons of the, the, the things you, um, look forward when you, you go into a program and then, and then you’ve got some range of techniques there that you apply when you see their take. Um, yep. You know, set the goal from the beginning. Um, you wanna see, you know, if there’s any red flags, you wanna make sure that you talk through those, um, address them, um mm-hmm. , and those include those as part of the solution. But the, the, the key part, and I think it’s overlooked, and, you know, most of these programs, if I’m not mistaken, and one one’s particularly, um, that I can speak to, uh, although they will, and they are labeled, um, business transformation, but they have a high degree of technology involved as part of their enable the solution. 

(28:45)

And so doing, and it’s, it’s interesting to hear that, you know, I I, I’d imagine from, you know, although we’re in different continents and different parts of the world that yes, technology features quite a lot in these business transformation programs, but it’s not just technology that is part of the change. It’s a big part of it. If not, a lot of it is on the people aspect. And when you talk about mindset, that is, that is the people part mm-hmm. , and, you know, like where we are, right? Well, we’re happened to helping a, a client and they, um, and they say, look, we’re, we’re just sopping out this old system for a new one, and I, so what does the business think? And they’ll say, uh, well, the business don’t care. I said, what do you mean? You’ve got people that have been here for 20 years, they definitely care if they’ve been here for 20, if they wouldn’t have lasted two years, let alone 20, they, they absolutely care. But they, they, that people element seems to be missing in these programs with the focuses on the technology. 

Jonathan Coneby (29:38):

Mm-hmm. , 

Heath Gascoigne (29:39):

Have you had that? 

Jonathan Coneby (29:40):

Uh, absolutely. I mean, I, I usually, or not usually, but often, uh, we’re brought in because of a technology implementation failure, actually. Uhhuh, Uhhuh. Yeah. Right. Um, so I don’t know what the technology industry has done to, to receive such a favorable standing Yeah. Uh, in, in the world, but people run to technology, right? Yeah. Yeah. Um, and I think, you know, in some parts it’s, I mean, it’s because technology can be a force for good, an incredible force for good mm-hmm. right? If it’s done well. Yep. Um, but also I think people sometimes want kind of a shortcut, right? Um, and they know they, they do what they know, right? Yeah. And they hear about new systems, new technology, new capabilities, right? And they, and they go to that. Yep. But to your point, um, maybe they’re not engaging, uh, the organization in this. 

(30:33)

Mm. Um, it’s really, you know, my perspective in our engagements is not a heavy technology focus. Um Yep. It’s, it’s a secondary focus. Uh, it’s a tool, right? It’s a tool in the organization. And sometimes there’s incredible opportunity to use that tool. Um, and sometimes there’s not so much, right. I’ve done entire engagements where actually we kind of, we didn’t change the technology either at all. Yeah. Or we actually reduced its functionality cuz it wasn’t working very well. Yeah. Right? Yep, yep. Um, and so, yeah. Uh, we come from the perspective of, again, what’s that? Why, what’s the goal? Let’s be very clear on that then what’s holding back this organization from achieving that? Right. Um, and if technology is in that picture, wonderful. Um, but if it’s not, then we’re, we’re, we’re gonna be mature enough to not run to that tool. Right? Yes. 

(31:27)

Yeah. And, and use other things, uh, to help the organization get there. Uh, one quick story. Uh, there was a function that I helped out with, uh, about a year ago. They had this new technology implementation. Yep. Um, it allowed customers to, you know, do more self-service, do these things, uhhuh, . Yeah. Very, very customer friendly. Whereas the old system was very antiquated in, in other things. So in a lot of respects it was a big upgrade, right? Yeah. Problem was the way they implemented it, um, completely wrecked the organization. And here’s why. Before they had a manual intake process, right? Yeah. They, that staff would take something, review it, decide if it’s, if it’s sufficient, right? Yep. Mm-hmm. , uh, if it has everything it needs, and then send it to the appropriate resource. Yep. Um, and so they decided to automate that through the new system and the system had capabilities, right. That, that would allow that. And the problem was it just ended up being a, uh, card dealer. Right. So something would come in Uhhuh, , and it would just automatically assign it in a random Okay. Fashion to staff. Uhhuh . Yep. And also Heath, uh, unfortunately that was implemented right before the pandemic. Oh. Where this, this program’s demand went about 8000% higher than it ever has been in the past. Right. So what do you, you think happened 

Heath Gascoigne (32:48):

 

Jonathan Coneby (32:48):

Automated distribution to a set sort of resources? Yeah. Um, in, in an incredible environment of demand. I mean, I didn’t ever do the calculations, but let me tell you, it was like 8000% increase in demand. Yeah. 

Heath Gascoigne (33:02):

Through the roof. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (33:03):

The people had 5,000 things assigned to them, and they didn’t know what to do every day when they walked into work. 

Heath Gascoigne (33:08):

Right? 

Jonathan Coneby (33:08):

Yep. First. And so, so was that piece of technology the problem? No, probably not. It was the way that we implemented it, it was not married to a good business process and a good set of procedures and mindsets. Right. It was just off the shelf, slap it in and let’s do the best we can and let’s move on. And it just wasn’t done in a, in a good way. Yeah. So 

Heath Gascoigne (33:29):

Implementation. 

Jonathan Coneby (33:30):

Yeah. Implementation is key, right? Um, oh, yeah. And, and I, I am a bit of a, a skeptic when it comes to a lot of, uh, technology capabilities. So I’m, I’m gonna be a little bit different than a lot of your audience today. And, and I, I’m not in the high tech space very often, so I would love to see really great examples of, you know, incredible technologies, transforming businesses mm-hmm. . Um, but I haven’t seen much of that, right? No. It’s actually been the simple solutions and sometimes aided by technology that had made incredible impacts. 

Heath Gascoigne (34:02):

Yes. Yeah. This, yeah. The, um, yeah, I think see simple as best I might too, mine too is that I’m yet to see that we’re talk about hightech next, tech, tech, tech, all the sorts of tech can get. And it’s like, well that’s, it’s like year 2000. I’m sorry, technical guys, you know, it is like the.com boom. You know, a lot of vaporware was brought out of that. And, you know, they all sold the sold, they’re all singing, all dancing system. And in reality, you didn’t need that. And, and the second they didn’t even deliver that. Yeah. So, but I, I have a, an experience with that same, don’t even touch, didn’t even touch technology from a very similar example of the poor implementation at a recent HR transformation that I was called in to fix up and deliver after that, the second attempt. And I was told from the get-go that this system is off limits. 

(34:51)

You cannot touch it. It’s there to stay. Even though it had been the off the shelf, no customization didn’t match the business processes. It’s, you know, people just complained about it and probably lead to the high turnover in the HR system. Cause all now, the queries not on a system came straight to whoever was available sitting next to the, the, the entrance in the HR department mm-hmm. that they just got bamboozled with the amount of work they had, that the turnover was like this, those, it was like 70 plus percent and so unbelievable. And it was like, no, well, you can’t touch the system. Well the, the thing that seems to be hurting the organization the most is that system and you can’t touch it. It’s going, okay, well fine, we’ll work around it. And then the work around was, oh, starting the process seems to be go straight to the system. 

(35:35)

Well, how about this? How about go to a guidance paper, um, that sits as a, on internet as the entry to go to the process. But you’ve got to just read this, the cheat sheet first. Have you done these things before you start in the system? Because there’s no workflow in it, which you thought there was, but you adopted straight off this the shelf. So there isn’t have, so there’s fine, there is a way around it. Yeah. But it’s, yeah. I like what you’re saying is that yeah, the default to technology is not necessary. Not necessary. Um, there are ways around it. Um, I I, I see with a lot of techno, technology’s got the talking stick. Cause that’s where the budget’s spent. And, uh, so we wanna spend that money or flex our muscle and, you know, prove that we can, we can play off our toys and produce beautiful things. Right. But the usability is like, you know what, and that’s like the empress new close. Right. Someone has to call it out , but who’s gonna be the, the, the, the guy that calls it out? 

Jonathan Coneby (36:29):

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a good point. And, and you know, I, I don’t, I try not to do a lot of tech bashing because technology has transformed the way we live, right? Mm-hmm. . Um, so, uh, I don’t want this to come across as never use technology. That’s not the message here. It’s just No. Yeah. I think the takeaway is you ha it, it has to be done in the context of the entire system or organization. Yes. Right? And if, if it’s not a complete solution, if it’s just one-sided or one interest, then it’s not gonna work, right? Yes. Um, and that’s the beautiful thing about organizations is you have to work together as a team, right? Mm-hmm. , all the pieces have to fit together. It’s not just how well you do your job or the technology does its job. Yeah. We all have to work together to achieve that ultimate goal or, or why for our customers, right? And that’s messy. And there’s not, there’s not a step-by-step guy that’ll get you there. There’s things that, there’s tools that we can use along the way, but, um, you know, it’s, it’s kind of a beautiful thing when you take a step back and, and look at it. It’s kind of like relationships, right? There’s no, there’s no 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 for marriages or other things, right? Yep. You gotta work together. 

Heath Gascoigne (37:38):

Yes. Yeah. The, um, yeah, that’s, I, I, I like these, these programs mostly for the, the, the people element that like, by nature, people are change adverse mm-hmm. , when you get them in a group, and a, particularly in the context of an organization, you know, the, the concept of a group thing comes in where, you know, as one person doesn’t wanna change. What do you get when you’ve got an organization that doesn’t wanna change? So, whoa. Now there, there’s, but then if you put the why in front of them, and even the best part, it’s their own why that they created, or you might help lead them to that, their version of what the, the why they want and that they go, they get motivated. Go, if we can go from this current operating model, this current state and ways of working, which is quite painful, but we don’t really wanna change to this future state that we can achieve this vision, and they do that change themselves. 

(38:26)

Mm-hmm. like, you know, I, I’ve, I’ve gone up and caught up with some old, our previous clients and they, I walk in the room and they, they kiss and hug me, and I’m going, yeah, are you guys all right? What’s going on? I said, oh, our life now is just amazing. And I was going, well, hey, well, first of all, it was your, you guys did the work, right? Yeah. As that’s why. And so I like, so yes, we’ll get onto your approach. And I think yours is, is is very similar to that, is that, yeah, you give them the tools and you show them the way and they do the work, and it’s like, and then they, they, the one, they own it. Um, and they really, you know, they, they talk about embedded change, right? Mm-hmm. , because most of the time, well, when the consultants come in, they deliver the change not long after the back being called up again to fix what didn’t stick. And so, well, it didn’t stick cause it wasn’t embedded, why wasn’t embedded. 

Jonathan Coneby (39:12):

Mm-hmm. You know? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. It’s a good question. And I think, you know, uh, hiring a consultant, again, it’s kind of like going to technology a little bit. It’s, it’s like, oh, well, I need results fast, maybe, right? Is one of their motivations. And I don’t wanna mess with the, in trying to get my internal organization to change, so I’m gonna bring in someone else to help us do it. And it it almost like emancipates leadership or the organization from actually owning it themselves sometimes. So I don’t think it’s all on the consultants for that mentality. I think it’s, again, ch organizational changes have to happen as a system, right? And we all need to be, uh, you know, playing to the same sheet of music. So yeah. Our approach, what we prefer is to come in, give people some of the mindsets. 

Heath Gascoigne (39:56):

So, so Jonathan, we’re talking about point number two here, right? This is your, your, um, uh, yes. Um, your, your approach that you followed. Yep. Sorry. Yeah, go ahead. Correct. 

Jonathan Coneby (40:04):

Go ahead. Yep. Yep. So going into an engagement. So, um, so yes, we seek to engage the organization to lead their own change, right? So we go in, typically we do like a two-day workshop where we cover some of the fundamental things like, what is your goal? Let’s get very specific on what you’re trying to achieve. Um, we give them a lot of mindset pieces, like assume that people are good, we’ve talked about that uhhuh, , um, we wanna seek to have win-win solutions. Um, a lot of other mindset pieces that just get them thinking differently, right? Mm-hmm. , um, expose them to some of these tools and, and then we start digging into operations in that two day workshop. And again, we’re, we’re teaching, they’re applying with us, right? Uh, and, and creating their own, uh, uh, future, right? And trying to achieve their own goals and objectives. 

(40:57)

And so we very much, you know, we’re not gonna assume, you know, the, the improvement, uh, you know, need, right? We’re gonna help them do it. And that’s for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t have any legitimate authority in the organization, so why you don’t want us leading it anyways. Yep. Uh, but two is, you know, people are good. They want to do it themselves. If if given the right opportunities and, and skills and frameworks, then they’re gonna do it. Right? And they’re gonna want to do it. And, and that is how I think you can really make change management easy, right? Yeah. Let be the, the own owners of their destiny. And we had a, a mindset at the last organization I worked for the Texas Workforce Commission. We said, um, people who do the work are best equipped to improve the work. 

Heath Gascoigne (41:48):

Yep. Okay. People who do the work are best equipped to do the work 

Jonathan Coneby (41:52):

Yep. To improve the work, improve the work, because they have the intuition, right? They’ve been there, done that. They know how things really work, not what the s SOP says. Right. Not what the process map says. Yeah. How things really work. They know the customers Right. They know what works and what doesn’t. Right. And so what we give them is just some different ways of thinking Yeah. And the facilitated process to have them improve their own systems. 

Heath Gascoigne (42:18):

Right. Okay. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (42:19):

And so that’s how we start, right? Let’s get together, let’s engage the workforce and, and we try to make sure that there’s equal representation on that workshop team, right? Hopefully some frontline representation, some upper management, some middle management, the technology side, you know, the legal side, whatever, you know, whatever’s important in that organization is represented. And then we go through a, a facilitated process, um, to kind of work this through with them. 

Heath Gascoigne (42:46):

Okay. So have you found, you know, I, I I, I like the approach. I think I’ve followed something similar is that you’ve got a, you know, I like that probably now I’ve found the words about the people who, uh, do the work are the ones that should, uh, best ones would know how to improve the work. So, you know, like I, I’m, I’m a big fan of Yeah, we’ve gotta go down to guys who are actually doing operations, like mm-hmm. , current current client. They’ll have a, their design authority, and it’s all from project people and they’re making decisions for the business. They said, who’s from the business here? And they’ll name what they call platform owners. And I said, but they actually are effectively product owners, technology product owners who actually sit under the technology, um, organization. So there’s no one from operations here. 

(43:26)

You are actually making decisions for the business. We need business people, not just the business people management. Cause they’re too far from the pain. You know, we gotta get the guys that are in the pain, you know, they will have, we’ll work with them to, to draw out what that, that actually looks like. And then we’ll prioritize those with the, with leadership, management leadership. And then we’ll come back for the design decision and how we’re gonna solve that. Mm-hmm. , if you, if we’ve not, if we’ve got people from project who are far removed, have never worked a day in the life, in the operations, then, you know, you know that, that I, we’ll tell you how that’s gonna end. So, you know. Yeah. It’s like, you know, come on guys, we’ve gotta be smarter than that. But have you found then where, um, you, you, you’re facilitating, facilitating a workshop and you’ve got, um, you’ve got the, the guys that are in the pain and you’ve got the managers in the room and they, they wanna make a suggestion and, but they gave, they feel like they, it’s not their place or they can’t do it. 

(44:17)

Cause they might get, um, unfair, you scrutinized, criticized, you know, segregated from the group, because now they’re, uh, being honest and I know no one wants to, you know, impress new clothes. No one wants to say that. 

Jonathan Coneby (44:30):

Right? Absolutely. Happens all the time. Uh, ideally we create a space and we kind of set some ground rules up front to, to say, all opinions matter, right? Uhhuh, uh, and and maybe not every idea is gonna be implemented, but we should all feel safe to voice, you know, honesty in these workshops. Yeah. And so we try to create an environment where they are comfortable doing that even mm-hmm. if it’s a reputational risk for them. Um, but I think something you mentioned in your intro to the podcast is also true is as a business transformationist, you wear many hats, right? One is mediator. 

Heath Gascoigne (45:04):

Oh, yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (45:05):

Yeah. And so it’s not uncommon for those people to come up during the break. Right. Or email us afterwards or do these things and say, yeah, I did, I wasn’t quite comfortable sharing this, but he, I want you to know this is what really happens. Right, 

Heath Gascoigne (45:20):

. Yes. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (45:21):

So, um, so there’s different ways that that can be shared and, and, you know, you have to treat that with, um, 

Heath Gascoigne (45:28):

Uh, discernment 

Jonathan Coneby (45:29):

With care, right? Yeah. Yeah. Because, uh, now you know the real truth that maybe wasn’t shared, and you gotta kind of figure out a way to, to make that known or that voice heard in a workshop. 

Heath Gascoigne (45:40):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The, um, yeah. I’ve had, uh, some situations there where you get told there’s things you’re not supposed to know. Well, not, there’s not public knowledge. Um, but you, we know talking about negotiator, uh, as mm-hmm. , when I met the, uh, the c o o, um, prior to this, uh, recent engagement. And, uh, so we, we met up and he said, so tell me, you know what, I’m not clear on what you actually do. What will you actually do? And I explained it to him, and then he said, ah, so I’ve worked it out. So this is what you do. You are the, you are the horse whisperer to the executive team . And I said, well, if that’s how you wanna put it. Yeah. So it’s like, yeah. It’s like, okay, we’ve got a structure and a process, but there’s a people element, right? 

(46:22)

Yeah. And you’ve gotta talk to their, you know, whatever their motivation is or their pain is. But then a language that I talk about and, and transformation is the three Ls. There’s, um, levels, language and layers. You’ve got the layer levels in the organization, strategic operations and, and project. Mm-hmm. , you’ve got language. Each one of them speaks a different language. You know, talking market share, reputation on the top, and ops are talking about turnover and, um, widgets and, um, cost of good sold, et cetera. And then done in technology or projects, you’re talking about code and a level of detail, you know, quite high, medium, and very detailed. And so mm-hmm. , when you’re having these conversations with diff different stakeholders, it’s like normal presenting, right? Mm-hmm. , you’ve gotta understand your audience. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So once you understand your audience, you don’t, you know, you talk to the right level of language and detail to to, to where they’re sitting in what’s in terms of context. And, you know, context is key, right? Mm-hmm. 

Jonathan Coneby (47:11):

. Absolutely. And imagine as the leader, you gotta put all those puzzle pieces together. Mm-hmm. Wow. What a job, right? What a job, good one that our, our executive leaders have to do to, to bring the voices together. And so that’s a good segue into the approaches that we use in, in our workshops and our engagements that I’d love to share with you if, if we have time. Yeah. 

Heath Gascoigne (47:35):

Yeah. Go for it. Yeah. Fire away man. Fire away. 

Jonathan Coneby (47:37):

So we primarily used the Theory of constraints. This is a, a little lesser known methodology. Um, back in the seventies and eighties, there was, it, it was, it gained a lot of momentum. Dr. Ellie Goldratt is the founder of the methodology, and he wrote a 

Heath Gascoigne (47:53):

Book. So Ellie Fol, 

Jonathan Coneby (47:55):

Goldratt, G o l d r a T T, gold, Ellie Goldratt, 

Heath Gascoigne (47:59):

Ellie Okay. Very great. 

Jonathan Coneby (48:01):

He, he had an interesting background. He was a physicist, so he viewed the world through a physicist eye. Uhhuh . Yep. And, uh, and a lot of these concepts, uh, actually apply to manufacturing environments, to organizations as well. And so he started the Theory of Constraints methodology, and he wrote a book called The Goal that I occurred. The goal, okay. Uh, was, it’s pretty popular here in the us. Uh, a lot of business schools, uh, prescribe it, uh, to students. Um, but I would encourage you guys to take a look, uh, at it and read it. 

Heath Gascoigne (48:34):

I’ll put this in a show notes. It’s lovely. Thank you. 

Jonathan Coneby (48:36):

So, so the theory of constraints is a very focused and pragmatic methodology. So I, I, in that methodology, there’s something called the five focusing steps. Okay. Um, and so it’s all about how do, how do I as a leader put all the puzzle pieces together to, to achieve my goal? That’s exactly what this methodology is about. So, okay. Um, if we view the world as complex, we will create complex solutions. Yeah. Right? , so, so 

Heath Gascoigne (49:05):

We want to quote you on that. Yeah. You view the world, um, as complex, you all create. And I, I think a lot of organizations are, uh, we call ’em symptoms of that, that mm-hmm. . Yeah. They think their life is, you know, o overcomplicated and they mm-hmm. . Yeah. Complicated solution. 

Jonathan Coneby (49:23):

Absolutely. And, and that example, you gave earlier of like the technology, people were worried about code and the business people are all worried about customer impact. This is all good things, right? Mm-hmm. , this is what they know, right? But the question is, how do we get us all working together to solve the right problems that achieve our goal? Yeah. And that’s how you can create focus in an organization, right? And so the five focusing steps, let me go over them really quick and then I’ll, I’ll tell you an example that illustrates this. So the first focusing step is identify your constraint. 

Heath Gascoigne (49:55):

Okay. Constraint. Yep. 

Jonathan Coneby (49:57):

So a constraint, um, the simplest version of this in an organization is like, think of a manufacturing environment like a floor, right? There’s a physical, uh, manufacturing process. Um, you know, a lot of people call them bottlenecks, right? Yeah. Uh, where work, work piles up in one spot, typically is mm-hmm. , you know, that that’s a constraint, right? Yeah. It’s, it’s something in the business process that is setting the pace of everything else in the system. Mm-hmm. , right? Yep. And so in a physical environment, it’s much easier. See, this, the problem is most of the world is now in a digital space, is now in a non-physical space. Yes. Right? Yes. And so it’s much harder to see where the work is and Yeah. How well it’s flowing through our organizations, right? Mm-hmm. . Yep. So identify the constraint. Uh, really quick example is if I’m part of a process and I pass work off to you, Heath mm-hmm. 

(50:51)

, if I can do 10 units an hour and you can do five units an hour, does it make any sense for me to do 10 and send you 10? Hmm. Probably not. Because you can only do five. Yeah. Yeah. Right? Yep. And so it’s all about dependencies in our organization operationally, right? And so we need to know what is the weakest link of our business process. Yes. Because that’s where improvement matters. Mm-hmm. . So let’s go back to that example. I can do 10 units an hour, whatever that is, right? If it’s making widgets or it’s advising clients or whatever your work is, right? I can do 10 an hour, you can do five. If I improve, I go through a transformation. I can do 12 units an hour now, but you can still only do five. We’re still only gonna produce five an hour as an organization. 

(51:43)

Yeah. Yeah. Right? It’s a little bit, at least you, it really matters where you improve, right? Mm-hmm. . And so the five focusing steps teaches us you need to improve at your constraint, right? In the operation where the, the resource or the step in the process that is setting the pace of everything else. Okay? Okay. So that’s the first, the first focusing steps. So that right there already reduced the scope of where we need to improve by like 90, 90%, right? We don’t need to do any of this. We don’t need to improve upstream of the constraint or even downstream right now. We need to focus right at that spot that’s dictating the pace of this organization, right? Yep. So that’s the focusing step number one. Number two is called exploit the constraint. This is a kind of a harsh word, but it basically means make sure that step is as productive as they can be, right? 

(52:33)

Yep. If I sat down with you, Heath, if you’re the constraint, which by the way, I’m the constraint in a lot of things that we do. So don’t, don’t, uh, take it personally out there if you’re the constraint. Yep. Um, I, if I go sit next to your desk, and I, and I notice, gosh, Heath is really battling this technology today. Um, man, he’s getting interrupted all the time, people calling him, and he can’t focus. Mm-hmm. Uh, man, you know, the way he’s getting sent work, I’m noticing that he has to send it back a lot up in the organization. Yeah. So, gosh, you know, like it turns out that only 50% of your time is actually value adding work. Yeah. Right? And so the second focusing step is go and make sure that constrained resource or step in the process is as productive as possible. Hmm. Right. Whatever that means, right? If they’re doing rework, if Yep. You know, um, and then the third step, this is what’s most important and what also aligns the organization. The third step is called subordinate everything else to the organization. So what this means is everyone in the organization has a role in making sure you and your job go well, Heath Uhhuh, if you’re the constraint. So if I’m sending you work, I need to make sure I’m sending you stuff that is ready to be worked. 

Heath Gascoigne (53:47):

Ah-huh. , right? All right. Yep. 

Jonathan Coneby (53:48):

I need to be sending you enough work, but not overwhelming you. Right. This is a mature operational system. I’m managing the system by managing around my constraint. So this is called subordination. 

Heath Gascoigne (54:01):

Subordination, yep. Okay. 

Jonathan Coneby (54:03):

The third step. 

Heath Gascoigne (54:06):

Alright. Okay. So everything that makes sense, everything around the right, it’s almost like putting in cotton buds or cotton wall rather, uh, around protecting that constraint, but you’re actually not protecting it. You’re clearing the way for that mm-hmm. Constraint, like unblocking, uh, block drain, breaking out that, um, the, the block and mm-hmm. and allowing the water to float. So Yeah, 

Jonathan Coneby (54:28):

Exactly. Exactly. And okay. And, and you know, like the, the analogy of a highway is a good one, right? Um, we all have local highway systems and there’s always like that one spot, but just always bottlenecks, you know? Mm-hmm. Yeah. It’s like always slows down and all these things. Well, you know, uh, that’s very similar to a constrainted an organization. Um, you know, often it happens when lane’s, uh, you know, collapse and, and other things, and the capacity of that spot is just lower. Hmm. Right? And so, doesn’t matter if you put a five lane highway in earlier, in fact, you’re probably gonna make it worse. You’re trying to jam more and more cars into that one spot, right? 

Heath Gascoigne (55:05):

Yeah. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (55:06):

Yep. Right. And so, um, so this, this happens in organizations all the time. Um, 

Heath Gascoigne (55:11):

So I coordinate everything around the constraint 

Jonathan Coneby (55:13):

Mm-hmm. , so everything operationally, but also, you know, from a leadership perspective, from a technology perspective, how is your technology implementation affecting the lives of the frontline staff who are the constraint? Right? Is a huge question with technology implementations, right? Is your piece of technology going to impact the, the most constrained resource in the organization in a positive way? If you can demonstrate that, then you’re gonna be, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna be like wildly successful, right? That 70% transformation failure failure rate’s gonna reduce drastically. Right? If you can address that, the fourth step is called elevate the constraint. So this just simply means add more resources, 

Heath Gascoigne (55:57):

Okay? 

Jonathan Coneby (55:58):

Add more resources if, if you need to, to meet demand, right? Whatever that is. 

Heath Gascoigne (56:02):

Okay. Yeah. Simply 

Jonathan Coneby (56:03):

We start with more resources, right? This is like, um, my mentor calls it the, the seductive seven, she calls it. And I’ll have to send you a link afterwards. 

Heath Gascoigne (56:13):

Yeah, yeah. Okay. But these are like sive 

Jonathan Coneby (56:14):

Seven uhhuh, these are seven techniques that organizations typically run to first without really understanding what the problem is. Okay. So one of ’em is more resources, right? Yes. I can’t tell you how many times people just say, ah, I just need more staff, you know? Oh, um, I just need more staff. 

Heath Gascoigne (56:31):

And yeah, I hear the, um, just throw, throw more money or bodies and or both at the problem. Yeah. So, well, that’s not all. Yeah. We were successful, but you forgot to say that we threw a, you know, doubled the budget and threw a lot more money and a lot more people. Well, that’s, you know, you’re six, if you didn’t have the money, you not, you wouldn’t have been. 

Jonathan Coneby (56:48):

Yep. And so we just have the principle of like, let’s make sure you’re doing good with the resources you have first, and then let’s talk about adding resources. Right? Okay. And so that is the fourth step though, if you’ve done those previous steps, right? You’re managing the system, subordinating the constraint of the operation, right? If you’re doing these things and you still are not meeting demand, right. Uh, for the organization. Other things, you can elevate it. I mean, more resources are sometimes needed. 

Heath Gascoigne (57:15):

Yep. Yep. Okay. 

Jonathan Coneby (57:16):

And then lastly, the last focusing step is it’s a, a cycle of continuous improvement. So it just means go back to step one, right? Continuously improve and be going through this cycle because often the resource constraint can move, right? And, and we see that, but I wanna give you an analogy to kinda like, implement this cuz this sounds kind of foreign or maybe it even sounds too simple, right? Um, to some of your listeners out there. So take the analogy of a doctor’s office. Uh, which resource in a doctor’s office do you think is the constraint 

Heath Gascoigne (57:51):

Typically receptionist, 

Jonathan Coneby (57:54):

, it seems like it sometimes, right? Yeah. Um, but typically, well, I’ll, I’ll phrase it this way. Are we often waiting for the doctor, or is the doctor often waiting for us as patients? 

Heath Gascoigne (58:06):

Hmm. Good one. Yeah. I, I, from my experience, I would be waiting for the doctor mm-hmm. . Um, and there’d be a lot of people in the same situation in the waiting room waiting for the doctor. Yep. And so the doctors a constraint. 

Jonathan Coneby (58:20):

I I think you nailed it, at least where I live, that’s the same story. And maybe it’s different cause we have different healthcare systems, right? So maybe some of you guys aren’t waiting on doctors so much, but a lot of us are. Mm-hmm. Right? And, and that’s because they’re a very expensive resource, right? Yep. Um, we, we can’t have a lot of extra doctors laying around, right? Mm-hmm. They’re a highly trained, very expensive resource. Yep. Right? And, and they’re also, by the way, the, the resource that this system is designed for, right? They’re the people of adding value to the customer, right? Yes. I don’t go to the doctor because I get checked in or get billed for heaven’s sake, right? Yeah. I go to the doctor to get treated right. And to be assessed and treated by a doctor. Yeah. And so they’re the constraint typically of, of a, you know, an office, a healthcare system, right? 

(59:08)

Um, and so we can improve in many different ways, but if we’re not actually improving the job of the doctor doing the diagnosing and treating mm-hmm. We’re not really improving anything, are we? Yeah. Yeah. Right? Yeah. Same. And so, so that’s why there are people who check in and make sure that, you know, all the, all the records are ready for the doctor Right. To review. Yep. That’s why there’s a nurse practitioner who, you know, checks your vitals and everything so the doctor doesn’t have to do that. Yep. Right. So that you can maximize your time mm-hmm. with the doctor to do what you’re there for. 

Heath Gascoigne (59:43):

There’s other supporting resources Yep. Which should be Yeah. To, to your point there of, um, uh, the elevate the constraint by put things around them. Um, yeah. So help the doctor out so that he has to do or at less work, like to the e earlier point about when you give the work, you give the work that’s ready to be done. Um Right. Cause that, that’s the support inordinate everything. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:00:06):

Yep. If you’re not the constraint, your job is to make sure that that step in the process goes well, whatever you do. Mm-hmm. Right. Whatever you do, what are you doing that allows that part of the process to go well? And we typically want the constraint to be, again, that part in the process where true customer value is delivered. Right. The doctor in the doctor’s office, the investigator in an investigation operation, the counselor in a social services environment. Right. We, we want to be managing the system in a way that makes their job go well because they’re the frontline. They’re the ones that are actually delivering value to a customer. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:00:43):

Right. Okay. So in case the, the listeners missed that, that is, that the improvement is in the, ideally in the place where you add the most value to the customer. Mm-hmm. not, that’s not Cause it’s the nice place to do the improvement because of mm-hmm. , whether you’re a technology guy and you could make a No, but in the specific place. So you get, you get real return. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:01:05):

Perfectly said. And sometimes, you know, there’s actually a difference. We’re getting into some nuances here. This is awesome. Um, there’s a difference between a bottleneck and a constraint, right? Uhhuh . So, so maybe there’s a bottleneck in the doctor’s office at the intake phase because it’s a new person and you know, it’s not, they’re not having a good day or whatever, right? People can’t get checked in. But there’s only typically one true constraint an organization, one resource that’s gonna be setting the pace for the entire system. Right. And that’s the doctor, right? So we want the, the thing that we’re managing this system around to be where that value is delivered. And that’s what we wanna manage around. You might have to address some bottlenecks up front or down the stream or whatever, but you want to be managing around where the value is created. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:01:54):

You know, that’s a, that raises a good point about, um, you know, if there’s been, I’ve been recently and a previous client helping them, and they, they’ve just had a restructure and they’ve, they’ve let go a third of the organization, and I’m coming up with target operating model as they’ve asked and working with the, the, the, both, the, the project team and the organization, and then that looks like that we need to increase the headcount. And they said, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that. I said, why is that? I said, oh, no, they just let go through of the organization. We can’t be talking about rehiring again. They just got rid of, I said, Hey, hey, I know these conversations that we are now going to touch upon might feel un or be uncomfortable, but we need to have this conversation. It’s like, if you don’t talk about it and, and it’s all, you know, we, you know, it, it doesn’t get done. Well if you don’t talk about it in these transformations, we’re never gonna transform. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:02:46):

Yeah. Yeah. The sacred cows, we call them. Right. Some, some of these things are just 

Heath Gascoigne (01:02:51):

Like the sacred cow. That’s a great one. You 

Jonathan Coneby (01:02:53):

Know, it’s like these things in the organizations. Oh, we just don’t talk about that. It’s, you have to, that’s our, that’s our mindset piece, right? We have to, we have to be humble enough to know that, you know, maybe there’s a different way out there. Maybe we haven’t, uh, you know, tried every, everything that we can, or we have to kind of suspend what we know sometimes to, to be able to see past that and to see where a true transformation can happen. And, and I think this is the, the advantage of being an outside consultant is these people have all the intuition and all a lot of knowledge and, and, you know, they probably know what they need to do, but they, they need a, an outsider to come in as fresh eyes and say, this is what’s really happening, or Yeah. Or, you know, this is what’s really, you know, what you should do because they’re just so in the day to today, they can’t see 

Heath Gascoigne (01:03:41):

Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:03:42):

That perspective. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:03:43):

They are, which I would say, you know, they could not see the forest for the trees. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:03:47):

There we go. Yeah. I’ve heard 

Heath Gascoigne (01:03:48):

That . Yeah. Yeah. I, if we could write a whole book on, um, um, quotes and, uh, cliches in on the school. I tell you what. Yeah. Okay. So that was, uh, that’s, that’s the process that you follow. And then, uh, uh, yeah, what was the, the, yeah. The key elements mm-hmm. , what were the key elements that you look for, um, when, when coming in, whether they’ve got it, um, you know, I, shit, look, they don’t have it and we’ve gotta get this. And, you know, if we don’t, you know, tell you what it’s gonna look like in you six months, 12 months time, um mm-hmm. what it was that you look for on, on these programs. If they don’t have it, how do you get it? 

Jonathan Coneby (01:04:22):

Good. Really great question. Um, so there’s a couple of things that I would say. If these things are in place, then we make much greater and faster progress, right? Yeah. Uh, and if they’re not in place, then, um, it takes a lot longer and we have to address and, and recommend and coach and advise and do these things, right? So one is that, uh, and we’ve talked about many of these already, but just to kind of touch on them again, is I think it requires an organization to have a leadership who can ensure focus on the things that really truly matter. Yep. So, as I was saying, a unique, uh, challenge in the government space is that there are so many people trying to tell the function how to do their jobs. Yeah. And, and so you have to have leadership who is able to hold back the thousand things that, that, that the organization could do and focus on the things that truly matter. Yeah. Right? And there’s a quote by Steve Jobs, um, and he says something, and I’m paraphrasing here, but he says something like, I’m most proud of the things that I didn’t approve or I didn’t commission. Right. The things that I shot down at Apple. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:05:32):

Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:05:33):

Yeah. As much so as the things that I drove drove forward. Right. Um, and I think there’s, there’s sort of a, I don’t know if this is true or not, but I heard, like on his first day back at Apple after he, he went back, he slashed like, at least half of the development projects right away just cut ’em. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:05:50):

Whoa. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:05:52):

Because he knew that he had to get the organization to focus on the products that truly mattered. Yeah. Which at the time were, you know, uh, apple computers and probably even the iPhone and other things that transformed the world we live in today. Yeah. Yeah. And so I think it takes leadership to hold back and be that gatekeeper for the organization to ensure focus. Yeah. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:06:13):

Okay. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:06:13):

Which is an incredibly challenging thing. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:06:15):

Okay. So the leadership, strong leadership and that focus element again mm-hmm. , it’s like, so, so, so listeners, if you’re, you know, you’re in this situation here and I I for focus on, on the programs development, and it applies at the program level, if even at the higher portfolio program and project level is one fundamental thing. And that, that’s I think what the theme we’re saying here is focus mm-hmm. . And for, for me, it’s focus instead of getting away from, you know, the aspirational or, or I’m big on vision, but vision needs a vision is like a, is almost like a dream. If you don’t have a plan, it’s, you know, it it a goals. If there’s no plan, it’s just a dream and it’s like a vision. If there’s no strategy on how you’re gonna get there, then you know, you’re not gonna achieve your vision. But how do you know you have, you have, you have executed or, or going towards your, your vision that you’ve got objectives of every strategy, and then you’ve got measures of every of those objectives. So you can clearly articulate what good looks like, your progress towards it, and when you’ve got there. So mm-hmm. , you, I’m big on, you know, the, the focus, you’ve gotta, um, you know, that’s, that’s key at all levels throughout the organization. Mm-hmm.  

Jonathan Coneby (01:07:18):

Absolutely, absolutely. Focus is, I don’t know how, again, I’ve never been, uh, uh, a top level executive in a huge organization, but I don’t know how you would do your job unless you’d had focus. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and so I think that’s key. Um, and I would say the second thing I would, I would advocate for Heath is a focus on operations. So we, we touched on this a little bit. Um, we need to realize that operations is where value is delivered for our customer. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:07:46):

Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:07:47):

Right? Yep. Even in technology, technology allows the organization and the operation to do their job in ways they never were able to before. But at the end of the day, operations, this is how you deliver that, 

Heath Gascoigne (01:08:01):

Right? Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:08:02):

And so it, it’s again, that concept of subordination, if you’re not operations, your job is to make the operations go as well as they can. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:08:11):

Yes. Okay. I’m a big fan on the ops, so I love it. It the, um, uh, yeah. That, that is where, where the one, I like what you said there, that where the value is, is delivered mm-hmm. . And that’s, you know, partly when we talk about these change projects and your, your stakeholders and you have on the project, and you know, I, I’m a big fan of that. You’ve gotta get the people PO closest and into your words there about, um, closest to the pain. It’s like that you, you are those people that do the work, the best people to know to how to improve the work. It’s like, yeah, you’ve gotta get the people from operations mm-hmm. . Um, and I think that’s missed, you know, again, for the listeners in the context, you know, Jonathan is in Texas and in the biggest state in the states, in, in America, another continent, the part of the world. 

(01:08:56)

But the symptoms of, of what works and doesn’t work on these transformation programs are the same. Mm-hmm. And so, and so what Jonathan’s just described there about the focus on operations is like, yeah. Operations is exactly where the value is driven. Now we’ve got, um, a business capability model is most organizations do and map their processes to the capabilities. And I’m, I’m a big fan of the capability model because then you, from a capabilities perspective, you can see you can, you can cost everything. You people, you know, the people with head counting your cost, you know, the process, what’s carried out, the inputs, the what’s generated, what the outputs, you know, called cost and revenue, the, the, um, technology and data. So you’ve got your strategic level, your tier, you’ve got the operations, and then you’ve got supporting. And so I’ve picked up the capital model at the current client, and um, and I said, look, with this, I, we’re gonna massage it a little to align to where these actually people sit in the organization is where they will sit, where these will dictate where they sit in the, um, in the capability model. 

(01:09:54)

And so they’ve got currently technology sitting in operations, and I’m going, uh, unless you’re in the business of selling technology, then yes, technology is in the in op, in operations mm-hmm. , but I think technology is a supporting function, supporting the operations. Mm-hmm. and technology, of course, because of the previous owners of the capability model they are selling to. I can see the bit of resistance here. I saying, you know, to that same point where value is, is provided as in operations. Mm-hmm. . So which part from technology do you sit facing customers giving value mm-hmm. , you don’t mm-hmm. , you support the people in the business doing it. And so now for what happens there is when we start talking about committing resources, we’re go all, we’re gonna pull all into operations. Well, and then it all goes to technology. Say, eh, you mm-hmm. 

(01:10:45)

not actually committing any money to, to operations. It’s all going to technology. Yeah. And then you wonder when the business is struggling saying, because you know, you’ve not being honest and there’s honest conversations. Again, there’s a, yeah. You’ve, for whatever reason, ego or you like sitting in the middle. You don’t wanna be, you couldn’t be str strategic, so you couldn’t sell that one. And, but you don’t like the idea of being a supporting function. It’s not very cool or mm-hmm. , you know, it’s uncomfortable for you. Yeah. So, but those part of the conversations. Right? 

Jonathan Coneby (01:11:12):

Absolutely. And, and also not to demean non-operational people. Yeah. Yeah. You, you allow, and you, you know, uh, 

Heath Gascoigne (01:11:22):

You 

Jonathan Coneby (01:11:23):

Manifest your value through operations. So it’s not to say your job doesn’t matter, it just means that’s where it’s delivered. Right. And that should be our orientation. Um, and technology can be an incredible, um, magnifier of value Right. Through operations if we wield it correctly. Uh, one more story, Heath, I’m sorry, I’m full of story. Yeah, no, 

Heath Gascoigne (01:11:42):

Love it, man. Love it. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:11:43):

This is a good sort of summary, you know, story, uh, to kind of put it all together. But I once was the lead consultant in the team that made an $8 billion change improvement. Whoa. 

(01:11:56)

$8 billion in, it was a, I can’t reveal too much about the, the operation itself, but essentially the change that we made, and it was, you know, there was many changes. Many, there was all sorts of technology companies knocking on our door trying to help us, you know, meet the demand at the time. Yep. We did use technology, but it was a very simple form of technology that helped us make this change. What was happening was it was a manual, you know, it, this operation required a manual step in the process to initiate an investigation for fraud. Okay. Uhhuh , okay. It was a ma a person had to say, yes, this looks like fraud. I’m gonna open an investigation. Mm-hmm. problem was when demand grew by 700%, there wasn’t enough people to hit the open an investigation button. . 

Heath Gascoigne (01:12:46):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:12:47):

And so we, using technology, were, were able to create some criteria to automatically open fraud investigations if they trip certain things, right? Yeah. Yep. Yep. Um, and so we had to use technology and we used, uh, advanced data analytics to, to do these predictive indicators. Right. Uhhuh . But, but at the end of the day, it, it was a very simple piece of technology that because it addressed the resource constraint in the operation, which was the investigator, it had drastic improvement and prevented billions of dollars in fraud. So technology is essential. Mm-hmm. But at the, it paired with operations and in the right context, solving the right problems. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:13:30):

Yeah. Yeah. So, so for our technology colleagues out there, you know, it’s not, uh, you know, it, it’s like I I to explain to a, a colleague just earlier today actually, um, is that it’s, it, it’s not good or bad where you sit on the capability model. That’s not the purpose of, of, um, the hierarchy. There’s no hierarchy in a, uh, a capability model. It’s just where people sit. Um, but yeah, to the point is, don’t feel like you’re adding less value or of no value. It is of you are in service of the outcome, and that outcome is deliver value and it just happens to be in operations. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:14:09):

Absolutely. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:14:11):

Yep. Okay. So that was your five steps of, uh, of the five sub five, five elements of, um, what you look forward to. So that, to just wrap that, summarize that one there for you. Um, so you exploit the constraint, let’s say you inspect it to make it, we aim to make it more effective. Mm-hmm. , you subordinate, um, everything around it so that the, this is where the, um, you, when you’re ready to hand them on the work, the work is ready. Um, so you, um, remove the, um, the bottleneck. Um, so there’s one of about, um, operationally le, um, leadership, and technically there’s, um, that you want to use technology in a positive way to clear that constraint. There’s, and that specific constraint mm-hmm. , like, I’ve been on projects where they’ve wanna just deliver technology. It’s like, well, for what purpose are you delivering that technology? 

(01:14:57)

Mm-hmm. Hmm. . So that’s a question. And I think, uh, a common common theme we’ve got focus is a bit a consistent theme, but also mm-hmm. , I think we, we mentioned it earlier about the question, like, don’t, don’t be afraid to question, you know mm-hmm. question everything. Mm-hmm. , um, then the number four was evaluate, um, alleviate the constraint. Mm-hmm. . So add more resources. Um, but you’ve gotta be, not just add any resources. Um, like I’ve been, you know, I, I gave that example of programs I’ve been on and they say the successful year, but you just threw a shit load of money and, and resources at it. And, you know, really they return on investment is, you know, you, you, you are, you, it’s, it’s sun cost. You know, you, you’ve, yeah. You’ve lost money on this, this transformation. Um, cause it cost you too much. Your best off have not done it. You could have not done the whole program, lived with the pain, been cheaper than you do in the program. . Yeah. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:15:48):

It, it happens. I mean, in government, we don’t quite have that profit sort of lens a lot of the time. So, you know, it sometimes it’s just as many resources as possible. It doesn’t matter what the efficiency looks like, right. We’re we want to have a win-win, right? Yeah. We want to be, to meet public demand, but also be more efficient. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:16:05):

Yeah. I think, I think, um, uh, unfortunately, uh, the public sector, uh, maybe unfairly, uh, I’m gonna be over scrutinized because they have so many oversight bodies looking at them. Mm-hmm. and that they’re unlike private companies where they have the, um, well, private unlisted companies where they have the, maybe the ownership maybe of not having to disclose it. But from a, from a public sector perspective, um, they have external audit. Mm-hmm. , they have like a, here in, in the UK they have the, um, the National Audit Office, the n nao, and they do regular inspections, uh, into big programs of work, and they publish the results and those results, uh, and they’re known. And then of course, when they’re published, they also get discussed in parliament. And once they’re in the parliament, they’re in the news, and then it becomes a headline. And then people, uh, unfairly everyone scrutinizes it. Mm-hmm. . But had that same scrutiny been applied to the private sector, if they also disclosed the, the what was happening, you know, they might not fear as well also mm-hmm. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:17:09):

. Yeah. It’s, it’s a tough environment to succeed in. Lots of, uh, lots of oversight, lots of reporting, lots of other things. But again, the people who are in these environments, and, and so even if you’re listening today and you think, oh, I don’t know what any of this means to me, I’m in the private sector. Well, you probably know someone who’s in the public sector, and if you don’t, you know, you, you’ve been interacting with it in some form or fashion in your life, right? And so we all interact with this. So, uh, even if your takeaway today, by the way, all these principles are developed for the private sector. We just applied them in the public sector, so I hope they’re applicable to you. But even if not, um, grab the person, you know, who’s in the public sector, right? And, and let ’em watch this podcast, um, reach out to me. We we’re mission driven, right? Um, so we’re very inclusive into my community in helping each other out because it’s for the greater good. Oh, yes. Yeah. So, yeah. Absolutely. It’s a good, good reminder there, Heath. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:18:01):

Yeah, absolutely. So, and the last one, number five of the five elements you look forward to is the cycle of continuous improvement, which is to go to back to step one for, you know, to continuously improve. Because as, as you said, the constraints always move. And that’s, yeah, that’s a, I like to see when we talk about a delivery framework or a process, and the last one is continuous improvement. Go. Yeah. These guys, they’ve done it before. They know it’s gonna happen. The time we get to, like I tell the guys on these programs, you know, the time we get like six months on the track, and that’s why we do current state assessment. So we just baseline it mm-hmm. . Cause in six months time, even though we’re probably not gonna deliver for another six, you won’t be able to remember what the business looked like six months ago, . So, 

Jonathan Coneby (01:18:40):

Yeah, exactly. Our environments constantly change. Yep. Right? And this is the challenge with complexity in doing these mega huge projects that take five years, your whole external environment is gonna change before you can even implement that, right? Mm-hmm. . And so we always need to, to, uh, be knowing where we need to improve and not letting inertia become our constraint, right? Is another thing is even if we’ve solved the problem, you can keep going, right? Continue to push the envelope, continue to see how you can improve, because why not, right? Don’t just sit around waiting for the next crisis to happen. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:19:14):

Oh, yeah. Yep. Yeah. I’m, uh, yeah, I’m a big believer on, I, I talk about in terms of maturity models and your continuous improvement, it’s okay, now you’ve done it and you’ve got good at it, you’ve got a level of maturity. You, and this, this, these transformations may take a different guise, but you’re gonna do it through the same process. You’re gonna transform HR and finance, but you’re still doing the same process. Yep. So you should, you, you’ve be in your best interest to get good at it. Um, so yeah, the continuous improvement is a, is a big one. So good one on that. Um, and I, I like, we’ve got a couple of quotes, like I’ll quote you too, probably, uh, I’ve got a better, uh, year worth of quotes there, the Sacred Cow. Um, yeah, we’ve talked about the difference between a bottleneck and the constraints, Uhhuh, , um, and your three key elements. 

(01:19:54)

One was leadership, um, focus, where the, where it really truly matters. Um, we got a, you quoted, uh, Steve Jobs, which he’s proud of, what he didn’t approve. I quote Steve Jobs from this perspective of, um, we always gotta, you know, you can’t work out, he like paraphrase real badly, is that you find the problem before the solution. Mm. Like he talked about, yeah. That, um, don’t try and well build it and then try to sell it, and he’s got the scars to prove it. It’s like, yeah. So, yeah. So that’s like, okay guys, if we know that, why do you continually want to go to the end and build the solution without understanding the problem? 

Jonathan Coneby (01:20:32):

Hmm. Yeah. Wow. That’s a really good perspective to have. And you think about the products that he, he developed, I mean, that, that was true, right? I mean, he wasn’t just iteratively developing something. He was creating new innovations that addressed customer, um, you know, needs or desires, right. In a way that no one had done before. Yeah, that’s a really good point. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:20:51):

Yeah. And then do you like to, number two is the, uh, you focus on operations, uh, like, okay, you know, got listeners, you’re listening to that operations, not technology, not strategy. We’ve gotta get out of the clouds for the, you know, the 25,000 foot vision statement. That’s very nice and aspirational. But we’ve gotta get down to reality, the pragmatic part that you talked about earlier about actually where, and now think your, your third part of adding value, uh, where you deliver value, like for the technology part specific, specifically as that, although in, in my capability model, that that wouldn’t be sitting in ops, but, um, uh, and supporting is mm-hmm. , when we focus on change, you try, you focus on change where you add the most value mm-hmm. , and everyone plays a role in adding that value. You may not be directly, um, delivering that value yourself, but you should not discount your role that you pay. Mm-hmm. if you play in that process. Mm-hmm. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:21:47):

, well said. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:21:50):

Awesome. Awesome. Charlton, my man, we’re wrap up there. Thank you very much. So for you guys, the listeners, you, you, you’ve, you’ve heard it head first from a, a, a true transformation, one practitioner, an expert, uh, and from other side of the world, um, and, and from, from American in the States and Can, and, and Texas, the biggest state, which is like probably a few size the size of the country that I’m from, from New Zealand, is, you know, the symptoms of what we talked about, and some great tips here. There’s the seven steps and the, the three elements you look forward to, um, for, for getting on a project. Um, you know, the, the really good stuff. So we’ve got some, um, show notes there, some books you talked about. We’ll get the links, we add them in there, in the show notes, report, how to contact Jonathan, um, and how got the, the value, the mission, purpose driven organization that he’s in. So if you’re in the States, that’s not just, uh, limited to the states, right? You guys work remotely all around the world that you get in touch with. Jonathan, you’ll have his details on the show notes and reach out to me at any time. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:22:47):

Keith, thank you so much for the platform. Uh, you’ve got a wonderful show here and, uh, a wonderful company. Thank you for the opportunity, and I have to correct what you on one thing though, unfortunately, uh, Texas is not the biggest state geographically, although we think we are, I think Alaska’s the biggest, but our heads are big enough that we think we’re the biggest state. So that, that’s the only correction in your eloquent summary there, sir. Thank you. Okay. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:23:13):

You’re welcome. You’re welcome. I’ll get my friend. Okay. Look out for this. We’re coming out and, uh, maybe, uh, a few days time, but maybe longer. Get the, the, um, podcast manager on it. And, uh, yeah, I’ll tag you. You do what you like with it, share it to make your friends network. Um, once again, Jonathan, thank you very much for your time and your, uh, uh, humbling, uh, which I, I said from you from the start that, that this, so far, the guys on the, on the podcast have been in my network on, on LinkedIn, and they undervalue the, the contribution value they bring and, and used just seen here, ladies and gentlemen. My god. Um, mate, there was an honor and a privilege. Thank you very much for sharing your insights. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:23:50):

Thank you, Heath. Thank you everyone for 

Heath Gascoigne (01:23:52):

Watching. Okay. Thank you much, buddy. 

Jonathan Coneby (01:23:54):

All right. 

Heath Gascoigne (01:23:55):

Bye-bye. Bye.

Heath Gascoigne Business Transformator

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I’m Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients’ business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.

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