The use of digital, new emerging and existing technologies in Health care
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The Use of Digital, New Emerging and Existing Technologies in Health Care
In this episode, we will be joined by Martin Howard, a partner at Fortium Partners. A savvy technology leader with a gift for utilizing IT to drive business transformation and profitable growth. A firm comprised of the world’s foremost C-level technology leaders. A specialized partnership with extraordinary technology leadership expertise, solving the most challenging strategic, operational and organizational obstacles for clients seeking to minimize risk and enhance value. Whether interim or permanent, fractional or full-time, business-to-business or W-2, Fortium helps clients solve complex technology problems with “the right resource” and the best delivery model every time.
Whether in a start-up or public company environment, he provides strong operational leadership to deliver secure, high-performing, scalable and cost-effective information platforms. He excels in the design and delivery of analytics platforms that drive operational improvement and strategic growth. Martin has consistently delivered on-time, on-budget IT solutions that spur organization-wide transformation while reducing cost. In diverse organizations he has recruited and led high-performing lean IT teams. He prioritizes strategic planning with attention to data science, analytics, emerging technologies, business process, and cost optimization. He has worked with strategic and private equity sponsors on over 600 M&A objects ranging from target identification, due diligence, integration planning to integration and post deal execution.
Listen further to know the background of Martin Howard, how he does his work and how he ended up being the man he is now.
[00:00:00] My name is Heath Gascoigne and I'm the host of the business transformation podcast. And this is a show for business transformator who are part business, strategist, part, business designers, part collaborators, and part negotiators who have moved just past design and includes oversight of implementation of these transformations and include stakeholder management, coordination and negotiation.
[00:00:30] If you work in strategy development and implementation and work to ensure that there is aligned to the business design and technology. Then you're probably a business transformation. In this show we will speak to industry experts and professionals to share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you start, turn around and grow your business transformation.
[00:00:50] And this episode is exactly what we have. We are speaking to Martin Howard partner of 14 partners or from specialized. World a [00:01:00] world-class for, for for my C level technology leaders, specializing in solving the most challenging strategic operational and organizational obstacles for clients seeking to minimize risk and enhance value.
[00:01:11] Martin is a current member of the board of advisors, of the area, the digital labs partner at 14 partners and held former C-suite roles as CIO at New York proton center X a woman's health. M Adidas home health and home health hospice, former director of the Deloitte KPMG, N E Y not to mention VP at Ericsson with a strong focus on health data, and patient care, not to mention business transformation and turnarounds.
[00:01:44] It is an honor and a privilege to heavy on the show. Thank you very much for your time. How are you? Pleasure. My pleasure. I know you you you have a long, long history. I think myself, I've done a few years and got a few years under my belt, but you put me [00:02:00] to shame you a veteran of this decade and in the last decade and digital we'll call them digital transmitter.
[00:02:09] Have you seen the industry change in this time? Or how have you seen it? Well, I think and in terms of the experience the combination of my consulting M and a work along with my industry experience, I've been in over 800 organizations involved in that many transactions and, and obviously a smaller number, but many, many transformations.
[00:02:34] And I think, you know, my area of expertise is in helping. And the transformation is extremely critical in the United States in particular, but all across the world, the cost of healthcare, how to reimburse, what matters access to care. Our issues everywhere. And the use of digital [00:03:00] new emerging and existing technologies along with improved business process is really key to making a lot of this happened during the past couple of years, depending on.
[00:03:10] Has shown some promise in accelerating some of things like tele-health medicine, telemedicine that have some promise we're progressing extraordinarily slowly at a healthcare pace of, you know, two, three, 4% increased adoption a year. But in the past two years globally, the use of. Digital health remote healthcare has, has skyrocketed to as many in some countries as 40 or 50% of all patient visits.
[00:03:42] So, and that, of course we're access to care is an issue where folks are. Many many miles from the closest physician or there was not a specialist in their region. Tying transportation can be huge, but it needs to be done. Right. And [00:04:00] unfortunately, as in any other business endeavor there's a huge variation in organizations that are doing this well.
[00:04:06] And, and those that are not, so you have a. What approach or method that you use to when you come in or you're called in by a client, how do you, how do you go about. Yeah, I think the, the there's nothing new or different about digital transformation than any other business transformation or improvement.
[00:04:29] I think often folks mistake complexity for sophistication when in reality root cause. Simple foundational issues or what needs to be addressed. And folks are quick to because there's such a extreme pace and transformation folks want to get to answers real quickly when the key is really not in focusing on answers, but in making sure.
[00:04:57] You asked the right questions. What, what [00:05:00] problem are we trying to solve? There's an old, maximum maximum that its origins are unclear, but sometimes attributed to Deming and others. Let's say every system is perfectly designed to yield the results of guests. Another way, another way that's put is structure plus process equals.
[00:05:23] I believe it was a famous person from the UK who said, first we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us. And I think the same is true of work charts. You know, and in a lot of companies the work that needs to be done is across departments. Somebody from operations, someone from sales, someone from product development, someone from clinical or financial, and yet each of those.
[00:05:48] People are housed in a vertical that only focuses on that. So we, we put structures in place and then develop these complex processes to sort of overcome our own [00:06:00] limitations. And we tend to then deal with assists symptoms, as opposed to saying, you know, the root cause is who owns this function early on in my career.
[00:06:12] Someone told me that the, a simple way to determine whether a company was run efficiently was a simple two column spreadsheet where in the first column where all the key functions that are required to run the business model. Second column is who owns that function. Who's responsible who who's who's the person and in a well-run organization, nearly all the folks in that organization can fill that column.
[00:06:38] That chart out pretty, pretty well. In an organization that's not run well. No one knows or a responsibility isn't clear accountable ESN, and each department owns one particular piece, but there's no. General ownership and then folks forget, or don't know what the end goal is. Again, [00:07:00] coming back to what problem is it that we're trying to solve?
[00:07:03] And the performance objectives tend to be in how quickly I perform a part of the overall initiative other than is this initiative success. Well, a long winded answer there, but I think the, the fundamentals are are, are fundamental. They're simple who owns it? What's the simplest way to get this done?
[00:07:24] What are the, the smallest number of processes and people required to get it done? Every step is a step that needs to be audited checked, managed, recorded so, and diagnosed when something goes wrong. So fewer. At value on every step. Exactly. You know I can't tell you how many times working with businesses.
[00:07:48] Whether it's Columbine or Kaizen or lean, or, you know, the many methods of quality improvement, we walked through a process where everyone gets a post-it note, right back in the day when you [00:08:00] can be in a meeting together, and then you'd map out what the process actually is and the number of times, and the number of different organizations, whether it's.
[00:08:09] Manufacturing or healthcare or transportation or financial services when people sit down and look at the process, their first response is, wow. I can't believe it takes that many people in this many steps to get that done. Yeah. And again you know, the, the, the key is in simplification. You know, and I, and beginning work on a business book and my title is the the complexity of.
[00:08:34] Complexity of simple. What a great total. Yeah, I think Richard Branson has a, as a quote or quoted as saying, I think it is any idiot can make something complex. The, the, the, the geniuses in the simple words to that effect as a yeah. It's there was a some, some methods. I think that's interesting, but in practice they might be a little bit complex.
[00:08:59] Yeah. [00:09:00] Yeah. The other piece of you know, transforming a business is starting from a process. I call zero basing everything. There is a real tendency to look for incremental movement. You know, we've been doing this, it takes X number of hours of person hours to get something done. Can we cut that down by 10%, right?
[00:09:21] Or 20% or 30% when we, we should be asking, do we have to do this? Yeah, and it be done without on the it side, many organizations looking to simplify, they have way too many applications software that has been gathered from multiple acquisitions or changes over time. And they have three or five or 12 or 1500 applications.
[00:09:45] And, and their goal is to reduce by 30% or reduce by 20% or by 50% when they should say, let's start from the. Yes. See how many we actually need as opposed to looking for [00:10:00] incremental improvements and then another maximum. And this is a bit harsh and unfair, but as a generalization, it bears some relevance.
[00:10:09] The people who got you into this mess are if people will get out of a hell of a far less harsh way of looking at that. If there are many people who are hardworking and dedicated and committed to the company and, and, you know, do whatever it takes. But if this company is the only place they've ever been and the only process and the only structure they've known, are they the people to.
[00:10:36] And completely turned around and envision an entirely new approach. And of course there are many exceptions and many great people. And many people who've been very successful, but, you know, in general, it's something to for a new management team or a transformation team to understand is that if you've been doing something the same way for a very long time, The [00:11:00] likelihood of completely rethinking that, you know not, not, not, not very high in, in orderly Fiverr.
[00:11:05] How is it all you could imagine when, if you were to say that to certain members of staff at all levels to, to, to communicate that. The same people that got you into this as probably not the same people to get at, how would they, how does it normally go down? Well, or what's the messaging that you are saying and who are you saying it to to make that then come to that realization?
[00:11:29] Yeah. One of the, obviously every company it's the people right in the company who, who determined it success or failure and, and taking folks and having them be excited and enthusiastic and on board versus either leaving. Or you know, opposing or being more cynical is, is difficult. And so partnering with professionals really top notch, HR folks folks in human resources to really know how to [00:12:00] manage the situation to understand which people are going to be a part of the, the solution.
[00:12:08] I think a big piece of it is Transparency sharing information. Not surprising people I've been to country examples of what you're talking about. I was with a company where we thanks to an it transformation. We're able to. I was able to, ER, and unfortunate for people involved an it department that had 350 people less than a year later had a 55 people and was performing far better.
[00:12:37] And by improving the it platform, we were all. Reduced staffing and other back office and support departments. And this was a big chunk. This was about almost almost 25% of the total back office staff, a home health care and hospice company, and working with talent and HR folks. You know, a lot of these people, obviously [00:13:00] there are not that many bad performers.
[00:13:02] This is the transformation was largely due from changing direction from. Writing our own software and managing our own databases, running our own network to outsourcing most of those functions are using commercial platforms. So one of the things we did is we told people we'd be doing this. We also have told people that you're not going to show up one day and, you know, have a cardboard box waiting for you and shown the door.
[00:13:27] We're going to give out placement services. We held a job fair. We contacted other employers. We gave people plenty of notice and time off. And the best part of that is. That sends a message to the people who stay that they want to stay, and they're going to be treated with respect fairly and, and like grownups and, and colleagues.
[00:13:49] I was with another organization where they acquired a a new company. In a location, very close to an existing office. And those [00:14:00] people, when they were determined that we needed to reduce the number of folks were called into a conference room with no notice marched out of the building with hired plainclothes security force and showing them the door.
[00:14:14] Not surprisingly many of the people who the company wanted to stay chose to leave instead. So that's, you know, that's when it comes to termination, but a lot of people transformation can also be on the flip side, an opportunity to be recharged and to be excited and to, for career growth. I'm in an organization right now, just just coming on with a new management team where The it department which I'm running in addition to business, intelligence, analytics and reporting are, are not and not through any cause of their own.
[00:14:49] And the organization has some challenges. Are basically considered a support, you know, make sure the system is not broken. Keep it running. Keep up with regulatory [00:15:00] requirements. The vision here is to transform this into a strategic organization that drives improvement. That drives growth, that drives performance improvement across the organism.
[00:15:12] Okay. And a lot of people have, have been very enthusiastic because instead of a key performance indicator being the system hasn't crashed today, which is not a particularly exciting goal that K or the performance indicator is, did we help improve customer satisfaction? Did we grow operating margin? Did we improve employee satisfaction?
[00:15:34] How do we deliver tools that enable growth in markets? And, and people are largely excited about the opportunity to be part of. And your improvement, as opposed to just, you know guardians of not making sure things don't break or go haywire so people can be excited and challenged. The other thing is when you're going into a new direction, people get the opportunity.
[00:15:58] And again, it's both [00:16:00] challenging and frightening at the same time to create a new job description, you know, what was good performance in the past what the performance objectives were in the past. They're going to be different going forward. Again, it's opportunity. It's frightening. And for people doing transformation rolling early on in my career, when I did my first turnaround, and I asked a mentor, how do I know, you know, who the people are, who are going to stay and who you need to go.
[00:16:27] And he said that part, that part is easy. And he said, you'll do all the things that I just talked about. Your layout, the vision, what success is going to look like, what help is going to be necessary, what opportunities there are. He said, it'd be some group of people who jump right in and are very excited and they want to be part of it.
[00:16:43] And they're all, you know, and that's easy. Most people. We'll have heard the same stuff from management over and over again. This will be the third or fourth or fifth time, you know, they're highly valued and we love you and we all need your help and we're going to listen. And [00:17:00] yeah, we've all heard that many times before and it may or may not be true and they'll sit back and be a little cautious and that's fine because you know, that's quite understandable and.
[00:17:11] Yep. Reasonable approach. And then there were some people who were so happy with the way things were or so unwilling to change. They will make their their futures clearer by, by their behaviors and the most important thing for someone responsible for transformation is to listen, to pay attention, to observe and, and see who wants to do what.
[00:17:34] Yeah. Yeah. So this is a, I think this is a good point for, for the listeners is. But you you come from a very strong data it information analytics, background, particularly and health. But what you're saying here is, although it's really towards technology side, the key is around. The people who are a major part of this transformation.
[00:17:58] And so [00:18:00] from where I come from, and most of those projects, you know, I get called into they'll call them a digital transformation, but really they're doing a business transformation and technology was the enabler, but they'll focus only on technology and almost ignore the people. Have you found. I, I, I think you, you make an excellent point there.
[00:18:18] One of the things that I think is a huge mistake although probably a great marketing technique is technology and software companies to call what they do solutions you know, a software application, the technology, and it's not a solution and never has been, never will be a business problem or a challenge.
[00:18:38] Has never been solved by a piece of technology. You know, a business problem is about the structure of the process. The goal of the objective technology can be a very powerful tool that enables ports makes possible. New initiatives, but thinking of any of these things as a technology project is a mistake.
[00:18:58] I often when I'm speaking and [00:19:00] writing, I told people that if you're not an it company, there is no such thing as an it. Is it a market? It's a marketing product. It's a product improvement. It's business development. It's a marketing project, a sales project, even something like expanding the network or capacity is a project to get info, a communications project, right?
[00:19:21] To get information more rapidly across the organization. There is no such thing as an it project. And by having it run some of these things in a sense it's asking. Because it people are expert at it, not at marketing, not at finance, not at business development. So when companies say to an it department, go ahead and put in a financial system for me, the likelihood that it's going to be optimal for the finance department needs is.
[00:19:49] So, you know, they're not ITD projects. They, it is a big part of it. And you know, but you're you're right. Digital transformation. 20 years ago it was e-commerce right. We [00:20:00] needed a separate an e-commerce strategy. And I would say, no, you'd need a commerce strategy. And one of the, one of the tools in your toolbox can be the part.
[00:20:11] It's not an easy strategy. It's like a digital strategy. Is it a strategy with digital was right, right. So again, you know, there, there's no such thing as, as the it project. Ideally one of the, the, the opportunities is because of emerging technologies, whether it's in healthcare or transportation, Food manufacturing, whatever, whatever sector it is relevant of the rapid development of some of these new technologies can make new business strategies possible.
[00:20:43] Reaching new customers, reaching new markets changes in the supply chain and ideally. Your it, people will be savvy enough in those business lines to understand how to help one of the keys to successfully [00:21:00] transforming a business through technology is exactly that integration. I'm sure you have heard many times we all have how the complaint that will, it doesn't understand the business.
[00:21:10] Right. And meanwhile, Yeah. And here's the big surprise, right? Because when they look to hire for it, people, they look at the certifications on it and won't want a university degree in computer sciences. They tell the person their responsibilities are software developers. And, or a database architecture or data integration.
[00:21:30] And then they're surprised when they don't understand the needs of the marketing department, the context. Right. And so ideally, so what they do, what a lot of it departments do that is they hire people, they call business or systems analysts, and the idea of being well. That's how we link it with the business lines.
[00:21:51] That two is. Because those people tend to be expert in that software system and that the technology, but still [00:22:00] not in what the business needs. And so what I've done throughout my career and I think is becoming popular. Seeing other folks do this as well is to have. The it organization and chart mirror, the organization chart.
[00:22:13] So an it leadership team, is it whether it's the VP director, whatever it's called you know, an it lead for finance, for business and marketing, for HR, for product development and healthcare for clinical. And those people come from those fields. So for example, in several organizations Folks who have CPAs and their university degrees are in finance and they worked in finance departments.
[00:22:39] And then during a big implementation of SAP or Oracle or something, they were so facile with the system that they became, that system person. That's the person who should be the it lead for finance because they can sit in the finance meeting, understanding what finance needs are and then match the category of the characteristics of the system to meet the [00:23:00] business needs.
[00:23:02] There are folks MDs who no longer want to practice medicine, but are quite five Paso with data or technology, a nurse nursing informatics informatics itself. These are all degrees. Epidemiologists often should feel that because they can speak physician languages. They can understand the clinical, they can go to a meeting.
[00:23:22] Operating room physicians and understand how we can use technology. Whereas a more junior person who understands the it system that the operating physicians use, isn't me able to help to use the term digitally transform they understand the technology, but they don't understand the. Business people shouldn't have to understand the technology.
[00:23:47] It's I'm going to get, get a court down the business people should because there is gold. This is I've been on a, on a project where the technology division made it. Aye [00:24:00] standard of the room that they were an ITIL company, although they weren't anything to do with software, they were a regulator, they were just adopted this let's say framework.
[00:24:11] And they said everything is done by title. And everyone must do BPM in notation or process modeling and mapping for people who were not even in the business transformation or transformation division thing. Why are you making. Doctors and practitioners actually learn BP mean it's not the language then it's exactly, as you say, this business would not need to know the technology.
[00:24:34] I often you know, when I T people right, make that statement about how business should understand or stopped or whatever adapt to new technologies better. Turn the question back on them and say, all right, you're an night. Do you understand how to calculate a depreciation schedule? Do you know how to do cash forecasting?
[00:24:53] You know, you're not expected to be a finance expert. We have a finance, you know, they, they take care of that stuff and it [00:25:00] shouldn't be the same thing. The finance department tells you, Hey, we need a system to to better manage our cash flow or amortization schedule. They shouldn't have to know it that that's just laziness on the part of it or again, that separation.
[00:25:16] I find, and again, this is. Harsh generalization, because there are many, many exceptions, but I think most of the extraordinary contributors in it I've met, or many of them come from other fields and other degrees, they have degrees in psychology or engineering or literature. And at some point because they understand that technology.
[00:25:41] Is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I think that's another law of it, people. One of the things that I'd make in terms of a recommendation for hiring it, folks is when looking at a CV or resume. We're talking with recruiters and looking for a senior IP job. Can you [00:26:00] find someone who seems extraordinarily talented in the introductory part of their resume says competent or extraordinarily skilled in these technologies?
[00:26:11] Stay away from that person. And instead look at that person who said. Helped improve sales by 5% in three months, by implementing this new approach or, you know, reduced errors in our back office process, by whatever the, again, using technology is a means to an end. There are too many folks in it who who think it is the end right.
[00:26:35] How many business people think. They think this was an it company, you know this was, it's not an it shop. So how do you, how do you, how do you battle that? Cause my experience is that most of the money on these big transformation seems to be spent on technology. So the technology guys, I think, feel that they have the talking stick because they have the budget and they have [00:27:00] the closest route to the person signing off the chick.
[00:27:02] So whatever they say. Yeah, I think yeah, I think the, the, any project, again there are several and, and that's a terrific question. And then I think the there's no simple or single answer, but I think it's a combination. One is, you know, okay. What is the business objective? ROI, right. There has to be a significant ROI and that ROI has to be expressed in business terms and the business has to be, so if I'm gonna, if I'm on the business side, endorsing a project that it's going to, that's going to increase my sales by X percent, that needs to be built into my objectives and my budget for the next year.
[00:27:43] The executive sponsor should never be. The chief information officer, chief technology of anything, because again, the company is not in the business of making technology you know, big asterisk here for those companies that hard because it's a whole different story. But if you're a [00:28:00] financial services company, a food company, a specialty sheet metal manufacturer you need, what is the ROI?
[00:28:06] How is this going to improve sales? How is this going to reduce costs? How is this going to improve our margin? Patients fattest satisfaction, some quantifiable measure of success and some of us to be responsible and accountable for it. Again, you know, what, what problem is it we're trying to solve here, digital transformation to what end?
[00:28:28] What, what are, so what, and, you know, you've seen this, I've seen this many, many times when, just as you've said, what is, what is the use of having a digital transformation? Strategy. Why would you do that? And the answer, if the answer is, well, we do that because we can, again, we can grow the company. We can introduce new product lines, we can improve our customer service.
[00:28:52] Well, those are the projects that you're doing, and there's some digital tools that can help you do that. Again cart before the horse [00:29:00] you know, errors. Those are the kinds of things you need and, and measure and evaluate. I think it was you know, actually it was Galileo who said measure what is measurable and what is not measurable, make measurable.
[00:29:14] What a great one. Yeah. So, you know, people talk about indirect costs. I'm I'm never, always been confused about what, what that means. Can I put an indirect dollar into my bank account? I, I don't, I don't think so. Yes either. There's either a cost or there's not a, and there has to be some way to quantify the benefits.
[00:29:37] You know, if, if consolidating from multiple systems to one is going to save time, you can calculate how much time that's going to save and time equates to dollars. And, you know, so do the calculation. Is it worth it? Is there a return on, on that? Yeah. When you say this, interesting. When you say indirect costs, I've seen a [00:30:00] benefits map that looks like a spider's web, and they will say that these changes are impacting these benefits.
[00:30:06] And I go well, which changes implementing that benefit, that all seem to be linked to each other. Well, It's injury. So I say you can't, I'm not on the hook for any of this because I don't have to deliver anything. Cause if someone else is delivering it and this lack of clarity, and as you're saying the early about the accountability, when there's no accountability you know, it's very hard to hold someone accountable to saying, Hey, you did, or you didn't.
[00:30:33] Yeah, and I, and I want to make sure, I mean, that that's, that I think you'd put it very well and, and you know, accountability is not due or a lack of accountability. I think a lot of people take things personally or assume things personal. It's so much easier to blame who's fault. Is this right? When the.
[00:30:52] It's not someone's fault, it's the fault of the process. And so, again, getting back to the structure and the process, [00:31:00] if you have six different teams involved, right. In trying to achieve a certain result or get some kind of output, and it's not clear, which of those teams, those responsible. Some things aren't going to happen and those people will get blamed.
[00:31:16] But it's not that easy. There's a, another mantra. The problem is isn't the people and it's the process. And although, you know, there are always a few problematic people when it, when things aren't going well, it's much more likely the result of, of process problems.
[00:31:36] repeating this point before. You you know, you are, I think, you know, you're, you are, you have a strong technology background and you talk about things that probably technology people don't do it. And it's people in privacies and you know, so how, how do you go about when you got your colleagues who might be at the same level, same experience, the it driven it backgrounds and they're going to do the big transformation [00:32:00] and they see, oh, I've got my hammer.
[00:32:02] My solution is is is technology. So therefore every problem can be solved with my hammer because it's a technology problem. Have you, have you seen. Oh many, many times. It's being a trans one of the cautions I would have. And I don't know how relevant this is, but I'll hopefully I'll circle back and make it that way.
[00:32:22] In my earlier years, I used to be a basketball. Oh, I'm not a very popular if you're interested in being well-liked basketball referee or any sports official is not really the career for you. Being a transformation leader pretty analogous same people say they like change. But mostly they mean they want other people to change, to do things the way they think they should be.
[00:32:48] They like it when other people change. And so we're all, you know, all for change is a little frightening. I've been doing it this way. For X number of years, I'm good at it. I know how to do it. I'm competent if I'm [00:33:00] going to be doing something totally different. How do I know that? I'm good. I might not be good at it.
[00:33:04] It's it's scary. You know, I don't know what w what my future is going to bring. It, it it's, it's unsettling and it's, it's natural. I used to. Come up with some trying to come up with some cute saying or something about, you know, how, and I, I often said two phrases that were never uttered next to each other.
[00:33:30] This person really brought great change to our company and we really like.
[00:33:37] And then I was reading an article written by a woman who had a career, has a career, somewhat similar to mine. And she said, it's so much better than I did. She said, companies, organizations may appreciate what you've done for them, but they will never forgive you. And I think that was a much, much more well put, some of it is [00:34:00] because if you're improving, no matter how you phrase phrase the word, if you reduce, if you improve efficiency, especially in the back office, that means it takes less hours to produce the same amount of work, which means.
[00:34:13] Jobs less employment. And so you know, that, that is a factor of it. If you're going to make things more productive, make things more efficient, remove unnecessary steps, you're going to have, you're going to need fewer people. So you know, that's one aspect of it the other time to do more complex. Yeah.
[00:34:37] Yeah. And that's a huge advantage in an organization that's growing. And, and I actually just about six months ago, I finished up a job where that was exactly the case where we were able to reduce. Lou reduce amount of time. Many back office tasks took by 20, 30% and there was no need for any reductions in headcount.[00:35:00]
[00:35:00] We reduced the future additions because you know, little company was growing and there was more work to do. So instead of hiring 50 people in the next month, we only need to hire six. Unfortunately, if a company is stable or that's not happening, sometimes is, are necessary. The other piece is because transformations tend to happen department by department across as opposed to across the entire company at the same time.
[00:35:30] If you succeeding in your departments, Improvements. Others may feel threatened by that, where I've been in an organization where when one part department is dramatically improving its performance where the chief executive will say to the other department heads, you know, why aren't you achieving the same results?
[00:35:53] One one organization. I was at early into my career. I actually asked for a change in policy [00:36:00] where every month there was a financial meeting for the department and for each of the departments. And if if you were miss Mr or underperforming in any measure, basically you got raked over the. If you had met or exceeded all your targets, you didn't have to show up at the meeting.
[00:36:19] So we a teamed up was in trouble, right? So not showing up for a couple of meetings, had my colleagues I wasn't very popular. And I said to the CEO, why don't we just have everybody attending? All the meetings for the department has had is it's it's it's good for all of us. So yeah, it's. It is a difficult thing to do.
[00:36:39] You know, organizations are social and people tend to and I'm not a therapist or a psychologist or, but, you know, but, but people do tend to and again, I guess most of this applies to pre COVID, but enjoy the social aspects of work, get value know their colleagues, there's certain rhythms and [00:37:00] patterns and paces to an organism.
[00:37:02] And transformation will disrupt every one of those things. And again, it can be uncomfortable and unpopular. So the two do I take when you have you come into a project and you see that there's, there's going to be this a new chef to change. Maybe we call it a new chef. Are you doing the communicating or are you giving the, as a practitioner, you give the instruction to a change manager.
[00:37:28] Who, who do you have on your team to help with this whole transition? Yeah, it is and that needs to be organization wide. So the communication needs to be consistent across the organization. There there's you know, inconsistent communication and hearing one message from one executive and a conflicting message from another executive cabinet.
[00:37:50] Very disruptive and confusing to people. How do I know which 1, 1, 1 leader says you were going in this direction? And another leader tells me something [00:38:00] different. That's a horrible situation to put people in. So one of the things that the executive team needs to do is to, is to make sure those communications, not just within each department, but across departments are very concerned.
[00:38:14] Same message is being heard. That's something again, that in terms of any. Part of an organization to transforming really needs to rely on the effective communications, which often are in a human resources department or in a standalone department. But that's very, very important then has to have total support from the chief executive as well as the board.
[00:38:38] And you said the magic word there. They the, the, from upstairs, the, the people upstairs and they I I've covered it in my book in tune about the four causes of project or pro transportation program failure. And one of them is the lack of the four of them is the lack of business, user involvement, but lack of senior leadership support and what were another two was changing [00:39:00] requirements and incomplete requirements, but that one there about.
[00:39:02] The lack of senior leadership support this one, this one, this client that I'm helping out right now. And they said, oh yes, we've got senior leadership support and it goes right up to VP. I seen no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. When you say senior leadership, we talking the top, what do you think? Yeah. How far, how far do you need to go?
[00:39:22] You said. Yeah, it has to be the top rate up to VP by exclusion says not the CEO. It was the message I hear when someone says up to the VP level, right. We're there as the chief executive then you know, it was that question because it is hard and executives tend to come and go. Right. If I'm, you know, I, again, I'm, I'm not blaming people for this cause it's understandable behavior.
[00:39:49] If I have a vice president who says we're going this way and the CEO, isn't saying the same thing. Well, maybe I'll just wait a bit because there's some of that conflict that [00:40:00] vice president may be gone before long. And so if we're talking change again, which is hard on everybody, It has to be supported from the very top.
[00:40:09] And, you know, sometimes depending on how involved a board of directors is, even from the board of directors to, you know, to make sure that everyone's on the same page, it is difficult and that's, that's an important thing. To to realize for senior PMs that it is difficult and it's hard and it's hard on people because your work is a big chunk of their lives.
[00:40:31] We spend more of our work waking hours in the workplace than any place else. And you know, saying, Hey, the world, you know, is now going to be significantly different. And it needs to be understood and appreciated, and then people need to be given some cut some slack as the expression goes and, and given some room to, you know, to fuss a bit and to complain and to their objections don't they need to be heard.
[00:40:59] That's the other [00:41:00] piece of transformation. The more people can feel, they are part of it, and it's not being cascaded down from leadership, but they are part people need to. Own right. We talked about the, you know, the importance, all this depends on people. The more people feel like they're a part of this and they own, they own it.
[00:41:19] The, the more successful it will be because we need everyone's ideas from the most junior employee and perhaps customers and, you know, janitors and, and support staff, you know, all the way out through, through board members, good ideas come from everywhere. Of saying that, and I try to do this myself or I do.
[00:41:38] They push to the point of the business? No, the business base, trying to get a consultant in or consultancies in there to tell the business how to change and try seeking guests there. What they, what they should be doing. Go ask the business. Is that what you feel? Is it the same, or can you rely on a consultant team to come in and just deliver this magic [00:42:00] transformation?
[00:42:01] Well, they use the term magic, which by definition doesn't, it doesn't work really well except on television shows and, you know, video streams. So yeah, no, I mean, a consultancy can be of great value if you use the right way, but, but again, looking for that easy. Much as you know, a software package is not a solution.
[00:42:23] There is no consulting firm that is going to transform your organization for you. They can help you with understanding what other folks or have done in your industry pitfalls, because they've seen it before, you know what to hoarding. What's gone, right? What's gone wrong. They often spend a lot of time developing tools.
[00:42:43] Templates to help you along the way, but you know, but again, there, they can also be an effective tool, but, but not. A solution on themselves. And that's easy, right? The silver bullet, the, the magic elixir, we'll we'll just, you know, we, [00:43:00] we'll just outsource, we will just hire a consulting firm. We will just put in this new software platform.
[00:43:05] Those are, those are not, those are not answers. It would be nice if. But but that's, that's not the case. I think the one of the things I've been really impressed with this new management team I've joined because of the question of ownership. Top-down, you know I always feel, again, you know, ideas, smart people are everywhere at every level in a company and current chief executive doesn't refer to what is common.
[00:43:33] Called an executive team or leadership team that doesn't use those terms. His name is Sean and he calls his meetings. Sean's direct report meetings that people who report directly to him. And I liked that because by calling that a leadership meeting again by exclusion, you're implying. The latest others aren't leaders and, and leadership should and can come from everywhere.
[00:43:58] Yes, [00:44:00] absolutely. Yeah. I think I've been, I've been asked to did a previous UK government project. Can I say, I say it again, how you want to run this? And I say, we'll do it this way. And then first it was a silica is a few steps to this. And, you know, first we start here, as you've said about objectives and vision, get that clear.
[00:44:17] Then who's, who's involved in the decision-making process here and let's get our structure and vote for governance. And then we're going to understand the problems today. And then after that, where changes are in scope, and then I'm going to do. And I'm Stefan and the sponsor said, I understand your approach, but I disagree.
[00:44:35] I want you to start a number five, not a number one. And I said, well, so I see that. Okay. So you want me to come up with this target operating model and roadmap for implementation? And do you want me to just design it based off what understanding of the current operating model tonight? Because look these 53 offices around the country, they do this awkward, this business, 53 different ways.
[00:44:56] I say, great. Just give me. One version. And we'll just [00:45:00] pick that as the benchmark and in some people it's going to be an aspiration and other ones it's just be below or how they operate today. Just give me one, we'll call that the baseline. And he goes, no, no, no, no. Start it start number five and just get to work.
[00:45:11] And I said, wait a minute. So you've had two guys, two companies coming here before four for me do this piece of work for 18 months. And they got nowhere had started at number five. I think you want me to do the same thing? He goes, yes. I said, okay. I said, this is amazing. And I eventually got him to come around to my way of thinking.
[00:45:28] And he goes, okay, you can start at number five, but I disagree. And I said, okay, well, a few months old, six months later, I came back and he signed off the fact that open model and the robot flipped plantation. And he said, Can I say that? I said, I said I had an approach, but I said, I don't have the knowledge.
[00:45:43] The knowledge is in your people. I need to, I need a team. I need, please. eConsults second. The guys from the team will have a core team. I said, what, how this was successful, because what you were saying is that the people have the answers. And as I said, they, they provided all the [00:46:00] content. I said, I just had the structure.
[00:46:01] And so I said, you just go. Yeah, how are we when you're going to come into a client and there's for the first time and you have a similar situation, you'd say, okay, well give me your team or or I'm going to tell you how to go. The what you, you, I agree with you entirely the. Coming into a new organization.
[00:46:22] My, my approach and I think it's not just mine, but a more successful one just as you lined out, is that the listening tour, right? You need, you need sure. We all have approaches. We have models. I think the I would say that the question. To ask and every organization are exactly the same, but the answers are different depending on that organization.
[00:46:45] And so to get to the, you know, you can ask the same questions of every organization what's working, what's not working, what's the value, what should we keep watch? But the answers to those questions are going to be very different. And without knowing, without having that information, because it is the folks who.
[00:46:59] Face [00:47:00] the customer's face, the patient's face, the clients who know what the problems are, who know, and not listening to them. Not hearing them is one of the biggest mistakes. Again, it's that corporate executive belief that somehow, because people occupy a place high up on the org chart and that they have some superior you know, mindset to everybody.
[00:47:23] Yeah. When, you know, who knows customer service better than the customer service rep you know, what's going on with that, with our customers. So But even that it's hard to get. It's not easy to get that. Right. For example a nurse you know, has the experience of his or her background and sees a certain number of cases.
[00:47:44] A number of patients, I worked at an organization where we were trying to put together, you know, what are indicators? How do we decide what the best practice. For treating a patient with a certain amount of conditions and, you know, putting together a big analytics platform, you know[00:48:00] big data machine learning, artificial intelligence, all those techniques to get this because the organization did 15 million visits a year.
[00:48:08] So a lot of data and a nurse said, you know, I've been at this for 20 years. Right. I don't need data. I know it's. And we did some calculation and found out just, you know, how many visits the nurse does, how long their careers and that in her 20 years, the organization as a whole is the same number of patients in one day that she sees, she has seen in 20 years.
[00:48:33] And so when we just presented that to her and said, Hey, here are the facts. She said, wow, that's really impressive. Okay. I hear you. I understand where you're coming from. You know, these people deserve those kinds of explanations. You know, so it's, it's again, it's always a hybrid. It's a whole. You need to listen to people on the street on you know, who, who have that direct connection, but not just one [00:49:00] of them or six of them or 10 of them because you don't know which six you're listening to.
[00:49:04] So again, getting that right, getting the input the right way, but clearly. It is the people who are using the systems the most in touch with customers, clients, business partners, that's where the value lies and understanding what is going well, what isn't going well with folks like, and don't like, so I'm with you a hundred percent on that approach.
[00:49:27] Okay. Good one. Okay. So now tell me, you know, you've got many, many years experience, big, big projects, big transformations, big mergers. You've, you've probably seen it. Knowing what you know now, what would you have liked to have known hedging now and, or done things differently? What, you know now back then, when you started.
[00:49:49] That's a terrific question. And you just, although you did just make me sound very old and then [00:50:00] the teaching is that it's not just a, it's the practitioner. I think more and more over the years. And through these things you know, I wish I focused more on people and relationships with everybody from again, you know, entry-level people in their very first jobs to senior executives, to folks in other departments and really, really.
[00:50:26] Understanding the human part of it. I hope that I've gotten a lot better at that. And I think getting better at that has, has made me more effective and and helped me do a better job and work with people. I think that's important. And then just there's, there's no alternative there's no, there's no There's no, anything better than just reps.
[00:50:49] And so having done it many, many, many, many times because you, you have, although I haven't seen it all, it's interesting that there are still things that are different, but you tend to see patterns and trends and things [00:51:00] evolving. And if you can learn. Right as that worked old. So should, that would be wise Delia said to to king Lear you know, you can learn through experience.
[00:51:09] And so sometimes the, you know, there there's nothing. Having done it 10, 15, 25 times to, to learn those patterns. But you know, a simpler answer to your question is what I've learned. And again, hopefully better, much better at is, is the human side of things is coming from ladies and gentlemen that is coming from.
[00:51:30] A C IO partner level C a VP level X KPMG E Y the Lloyd's who, and it's been in technology projects for a long time, as now saying, and saying it as a listen, being people. Isn't that interesting. So I think that's a great takeaway for for, for the guests. So. Mine. I want to thank you for your time.
[00:51:56] So you got a I, I'm going to put the show notes up [00:52:00] on the site. There is a lot of quotes in there that I put the show notes and links back to your profile and onto the company. So people can go if they want more information. And especially I'm going to put the links there for food is quite a, that you were mentioning.
[00:52:14] I'm going to find the sources of those. So thank you very much Mandarin for your. It's has been priceless and yeah, I look forward to hopefully sometime in the future, we'll get you back on again and, and see how things have changed. And, and you can share some more lessons on. I'd be delighted and thank you very much and enjoy the conversation.
[00:52:33] Thank you. The business transformation industry is broken. So let me give you the context. What is happening today? This is transformation projects, programs and initiatives are in trouble. We live in a data driven society. Now let's talk about the numbers. 70% of business transformations fail. That is business transformation programs that implement the business transformations fail.
[00:52:58] That means only [00:53:00] 30% of these transformations actually are successful, which means something is terribly wrong.
[00:53:22] First, let me break down what the current situation is, what the problem is and how has the solver facility. But before we get into that, but the first thing is I to do one-on-one a program where we go in and program we're leading is to get the language right. And grew in the definition of common terms so that everyone on the transformation program and those in the business who were impacted by the changes, the transformation is delivering is using the same terms.
[00:53:47] I mean the same thing to everyone.
[00:53:56] What is business transformation? This is a two-part. [00:54:00] The first part is what is business transformation? When is the change. The organization goes through deemed a transformation. Firstly, the definition, this is a transformation of our business changes the way it does business. That is, it changes how it creates and delivers its products and services at CVP its customer value proposition to its customers.
[00:54:24] It doesn't necessarily change what it does, but it changes how it.
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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.