What We Do





Strategic Planning

We believe very strongly that most organisations have most of the data necessary for their own strategic planning. What most companies don’t have is the process to consolidate their knowledge of the environment, markets, internal capabilities and external opportunities into a coherent strategy driven from a compelling vision of the future.

We do not provide content consulting (although we can help you commission research if we think information is missing – it usually isn’t) but implement a process which takes your company’s top team through a series of strategic “gates” to an agreed, implementable and measurable strategy. In doing so, we involve the company's own executives in this process which ensures a much greater degree of buy-in than had your strategic plans been drawn up by experts with considerably less knowledge of your markets, products, customers, capabilities and processes.



Human Resources Strategy (Review / Creation / Audit)

HR strategy is an essential element of any successful organisation. But it has to align comfortably and logically with the overall company business strategy – and culture. And it has to be grounded in a well-defined and valid HR purpose. Independent HR strategies create conflict and dissonance (and reduced credibility) and isolate the HR function from and reduce its value to the business as a whole.

Our first step is to take companies through a process of identifying what their philosophical approach to their people is and how HR’s purpose is defined. Together, the company’s philosophical approach to its people and the business strategy provide the essential context for an aligned and effective HR Strategy.

Not all companies need everything; a full suite of complex HR practices can distract organisations from focusing on the really important HR functions which deliver the most benefit. But whatever the company wants, all the elements have to be aligned to not just the overall business strategy, but integrated with the other components of the HR function as well.

In particular, we assist with the identification, evaluation and implementation of practices and processes of:

  • Purpose
  • Culture
  • Leadership styles, models, impact and the distribution of power and influence
  • Organisational structure and design
  • Hierarchy and role design
  • Alignment of your people strategy and practices to you business vision and strategy
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Induction and orientation
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Performance management
  • Manpower and Succession planning
  • Change management system/philosophy 
  • Internal communication
  • Employee engagement
  • Organisation effectiveness
  • HR Dashboard – the critical strategic and operational measures which track the performance of your people

We look at each of the above elements and practices in three ways:

  1. Each practice separately
  2. How each practice integrates with each of the other practices
  3. How the whole (the integration of the practices) aligns to and supports the HR purpose, vision and strategy of the organisation and is consistent with the existing culture

Central to our diagnosis and recommendations is the move from the what – the data and information around your practices – to the so what; the judgement and decisions called for, based on what the information is telling you. We use our proprietary methodology to do this raising the level of your practices from merely transactional to those which integrate with your vision and strategy, informing and re-informing them in an iterative value-adding fashion. 


Coaching

Our greatest thrill is to see individuals achieve their potential – and helping them to do this. We provide tailored coaching for executives in transition or in need of external challenging. This involves formal 360° feedback (at the start and end of the contract) using tools from the Human Synergistics International (HSI) suite of assessments which range from personal style measurement through to leadership impact.

Our approach to coaching is much more structured then sometimes found elsewhere – we believe that we are working with executives towards something and so are very clear that both the company and executive are in agreement on what it is they would like to achieve.

The coaching contract is customised and is never longer than twelve months. Face-to-face contact is monthly, with scheduled weekly calls, but an open line for contact as and when and as often the executive would like.

Leadership Impact

Our starting point is that leadership is an action not a title or job description. Leaders have to lead and in order to do that effectively, have to understand what it takes to get people to follow of their own will rather than compelled to do so. We assess the impact leaders have on their subordinates and what that impact has on their subordinates' behaviour and work together with them to understand the most effective and appropriate styles to make them great leaders.

We view leadership in the context of an organisation, and see the organisation as a social system. This means that we don’t seek to enhance leadership outside the context in which it is to operate. Nor do we see leadership as the only element in the effectiveness of the organisation – although it is by far the most important. We bring together all the elements in a company to ensure that the leadership styles are aligned and constructive and, most importantly, effective.

Since we believe that by far the greatest influence on culture is leadership, we see leaders as the starting point for constructive cultural alignment.


Organisational Effectiveness

We maintain that organisations habitually and systematically underperform. Not against their budgets or targets, but against their potential. Organisations will only achieve their potential when there is full and constructive alignment between the purpose of the company and the people who have to deliver. An organisation in which people rally behind the vision and strategy because they want to will, obviously, perform better than organisation in which employees are compelled to follow and are mistrustful or disengaged from the goals of their company.

We believe this underperformance pertains because leaders are unaware and unappreciative of the negative and corrosive effects their current culture is having. And how this undermines any chance of realising both human and organisational potential.

Structure plays an important role in organisational effectiveness. A company organised in a way which does not reflect how works gets done and how its practices and processes support the strategy will struggle to perform. In many cases, formal structures misrepresent and slow down the actual decision making flows. Redundant levels of authority create bottlenecks, inefficiencies, frustration and, ultimately disappointing performance. 

So, once again taking the strategy as our starting point, we examine the existing culture and structure, the company's values framework (espoused and actual), the way work gets done and the effectiveness of the structure and hierarchy and examine alternatives. In all, we look at 31 factors effecting culture and assess how effective these are in your organisation, how aligned they are and how they can be strengthened.

Culture is the invisible yet most powerful contributor to an organisation’s performance. Change is constant, and organisations whose culture is ineffective, weak or just plain defensive will consistently fail to respond to change and fail to meet achieve their objectives.

Cultural transformation programmes are longer-term interventions of intense audit, analysis, co-creation and implementation of culture across all levels of your company. 

These programmes are undertaken when frustrated business leaders recognise the need for an intervention to create the inflection point for superior engagement and outperformance to take the company to levels the status quo can only dream about. 
 
Communication

While company communication might be about the staff intranet, monthly magazine or regular employee and management meetings, we seldom see a disciplined and integrated understanding of what company communication is trying to achieve – let alone any attempt to measure whether it does what it’s supposed to do. Communication should inform and, more importantly, shape and influence behaviour. But so often it achieves neither of these objectives.

Company communication starts with the business strategy. We then take a deep look at what culture and value system the organisation is trying to develop. Then we learn from your employees what they think of and learn from the current communication interventions. We look at your existing communication and evaluate how aligned and supportive it is of strategy, values and aspired culture.

And lastly, we look at whether the way in which language is used aids or obstructs the delivery and reception of the message. Once all that’s done, we work with you to introduce or redesign, where necessary, a new strategy and practice for your communications function so that it works properly to help you achieve your objectives and reflect the values, culture, objectives and image of the company.

We also examine the way in which language usage helps or hinders effective interpersonal communication with a special focus on the relationship between language and diversity strategies.

Facilitation

Facilitation is not moderation which serves simply to keep members of the same team tearing each others’ throats out.

We provide a professionally-structured facilitation approach which ensures focus and thorough and complete debate through full, equal and constructive participation. And we not just encourage assumption challenging, but demand it.

The opportunity for good facilitation arises when organisations realise that the big issues are not being dealt with effectively or efficiently. Decisions are just not being made and meetings or workshops are considered by one-and-all to be a colossal waste of time. Reasons for this are numerous and varied. Barriers to constructive group engagement range from poorly constructed agendas, ineffective meeting controls, vested interests, hidden agendas, egos, and dominant (and subservient) personalities or just plain fuzzy thinking and purpose.

Our facilitation approach ensures that context and purpose are properly established, that the rules of engagement are understood (and then become invisible), expectations are managed and there is consensus around direction and outcomes. While the answer to a particular debate may be unknown at the start of an engagement, good facilitation ensures that the group arrives at an one and, more importantly, commits to it.

As facilitators, we are neutral to everything other than the requirement for the meeting to achieve its objectives. We create an environment which is safe and respectful, yet energetic, focused  and robust. 

Before the session or meeting, we research and understand the issues and expectations to appreciate the barriers and enablers to effective engagement. This includes designing and conducting structured surveys. We ensure that all data necessary to inform the debate(s) is made available before the session in order to avoid discussions based on opinion and speculation. With the company, we design an agenda which is productive and results-oriented.

At the session, we actively draw on the skills and experience of each and every member of the group in a challenging yet non-threatening way. And we make absolutely sure that by the time conclusions are reached, that whether there is agreement or not (not everyone can be expected to agree all the time) there is commitment - and commitment to a concrete set of measurable actions. 

We provide fully written-up notes and summaries of the debate and conclusions reached. And, if required, observations on individual and group dynamics with which companies can work to build constructive and effective behaviours for the future.

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