We offer integrated problem solutions to our customers which are customized to meet the specific requirements of the respective enterprises. When Target came to Canada in 2011, not only were consumers surprised that the retailer opened up over one hundred stores across the country, but so was the business community. Target’s biggest failing was in not piloting its entry to Canada with one or two stores before launching full scale. In addition to missing the mark with their full-scale roll-out across Canada, Target missed out on the basics of operations management. A material requirements planning or enterprise resource planning software would have helped Target manage its stocks and stores. While one can hypothesize about Target’s demise in Canada, it provides little comfort to Target employees. And then there are clients who fall short on anything from initial meeting to following through with an expert’s recommendations – these latter clients are wasting not only the expert’s time, but their own, as well.
In the end, it’s up to the expert to determine whether they are able to work with the client.
What if the worst possible thing happens during your project, in your company, in your life?
An organization that survives will patch up the outfall from the risk and continue business with a limp, hoping to get back to pre-risk operations. An organization that thrives will look beyond the risk, reinventing itself to become a stronger, better service provider. Like love and respect for a family, revisiting and remembering the past is good, but not if it stalls your future.
By keeping everyone informed about project progress on a regular (usually monthly) basis, potential changes or problems can be caught early and the project adjusted, accordingly. In the acclaimed Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof, the main character, Tevye, explains his society’s traditions in the song “Tradition.” The song juxtaposes village life to a world that is changing all around them. In many respects, struggles faced in today’s organizations may be rooted in difficulty in letting go of tradition—an inability to change.
Consider that the world’s most successful organizations have one thing in common: they are able to adapt quickly to change. To improve performance and productivity, companies use technology and its related gadgets, but if the technology does not provide useful information to the user and the organization as a whole, its usefulness is limiting. Some companies implemented a web-based time sheet manager that includes two measures of productivity on projects—one for the employee and the other for their team. In this example, time sheet measures provide what the organization is looking for, but what is missing is employee input.
Company demands for maximum productivity needs to be coupled with meeting employee demands. The tradition carried into the workplace by Baby Boomers no longer meets the needs of organizations. At a recent process and value stream mapping exercise, staff expressed a desire to change their operations for the better and acknowledged that they had many process issues that needed “fixing.” However, they were confused about how they or the organization should proceed. In managing organization-wide change, researchers have identified six elements that must be in place for change to be successful.
Sometimes organizations forget about the importance of having action plans in place to guide change. Managing change is not an easy task, especially if the change involves a large-scale project, but if all of the dimensions of change are in place, successful change can be a certainty.
Your complete project plan will include assumptions and decisions about the project as well as the project’s estimated (and approved) scope, cost, and schedule.
When I need to facilitate a meeting, I arrive early to set up the meeting room to create a positive environment for the participants.
When an organization does not take the time to identify and assign responsibility for every task, right down to details such as who is in charge of meeting room cleanliness or putting dishes into a dishwasher, it wastes time and creates confusion and frustration for its employees. A task will not get done if two people think that the other is responsible for doing the task.
If two people think they’re both responsible for a task, the task will get done twice (or perhaps not at all). If one person is assigned a task, but others who need to involved in the task are not aware of this assignment, the others may not cooperate.
If the above situations sound familiar, then get clarity about your role and what responsibility and authority you have for a given task.
One of the things that I’ve discovered is that many people are great at planning–thinking about how to change processes or things to produce better outcomes.
Actionable lists can help you define your projects and move you from thinking about what needs to get done to working on identifying tasks that will get you there.
When scheduling work on a project, try to schedule the same type of work at the same time of day. A recent reader survey shows that British Columbia’s business professionals are working long hours, trending to near 70-hour work weeks.
Implementing these ten tips will help you decrease your hours at the office, so you have more time to spend with family and friends doing the things you love.
As a Manage Leader, it is imperative to identify your strengths that enable you to lead others. We strongly believe in engaging our business clients in the process of solving their business problems, identifying their strengths, working within their core values, helping them make profits and retaining the right talent. Our Operational Risk Management services offer framework on Risk & Control Self Assessment (RCSA) and Key Risk Indicators (KRI) for operational risk measurement. To do such a “big bang” approach, you either know what you’re doing or you’re taking a major risk.
Any project manager worth their trade will tell you that starting small and building up when it makes sense to do so is the best guarantee of success. As well, the company itself is now targeted (pardon the pun) as a losing venture:  At least, in Canada. These clients believe they can do exactly what you’re proposing without you, so why are you charging them so much?
If the decision is to fire the client, provide them with the name of another expert – even if it is a competitor. What will you do if: (a) you are unable to prevent it from happening, or (b) you are unable to mitigate the outfall from its actual occurrence? Sometimes even the best thought-out plans and prepared-for scenarios are beyond our control. It not only looks forward five, 10, 15 or more years down the road, but it continuously adjusts its products, processes, and services to meet the approaching challenges and opportunities.


Organizations that pre-emptively make the necessary hard decisions, will not only sustain their future, but will thrive in doing so. This means ensuring that you thoroughly understand the project’s deliverables and carefully tracking that all efforts go into only those deliverables. Before writing the project charter, make sure you understand (really understand) the project’s deliverables. Understanding the tasks involved in the project is critical to writing the project charter.
Aside from the fact that the top 20 companies in the world are all in the field of technology, this in itself is telling—companies that have embraced technology are the companies that continue to lead in both earnings and productivity. Technological tools must be able to provide information about performance in both directions. While the system encourages productivity, it only measures performance one-way—the way the organization has determined correct.
Meeting targets is one thing, but did the employee agree to the targets in the first place? This includes understanding the individual and their work as well as understanding what the individual needs to get their work done. Insisting on maintaining practices started in the 20th Century is not a tradition that will benefit 21st Century companies.
Whether it is through strategic, business, or service plans, the vision must be clear and it must be communicated to all staff.
Simply stated, if there are insufficient resources to make change happen, then change will either not occur or will be slow to occur. It’s much nicer to work with colleagues with whom you share mutual respect than it is to endure hostility. Successful projects can typically be traced back to planning work that can take up to 80% of the project manager’s (and others’) time.
Organize your plan in a logical sequence so that both left-brain and right-brain people will be able to glean understanding. Another advantage to having a project plan is that it helps to facilitate communication among stakeholders – they don’t need to guess about the project, since all the details are written in the plan. As in example 1 above, communication is the key to ensuring that this timewaster does not occur. However, when it comes to reducing their plans to projects or actionable tasks, they get stuck.
When you know what needs doing (from your action list), use your calendar (I use my email calendar) to schedule time into your day (every day) for every single thing that needs to be done.
For example, if you need to provide a project update report to your boss, schedule it for the same time each week (or day) as the case may be. Typically, we tend to be very focused for either the first 20 or last 20 minutes of our tasks. If you’re high energy in the morning, then work on your difficult tasks in the morning and leave your afternoons for other tasks that allow greater flexibility in deadlines. If you’re in this group, you’re setting yourself up for serious health and safety problems, most of which stem from sleep deprivation. At the end of the day, your inbox should contain ZERO items – each email you open must be handled immediately. Productive people spend a lot of time thinking about and planning how to accomplish tasks before they actually do them. If you’re new to project task estimating, take a best-guess at how long a task will take and then multiply that time by three to get a true timeframe.
If your organization does not have standards and procedures for EVERYTHING that needs to get done, then you are spending more time on tasks than necessary. And at the end of the day, you owe it to yourself and to your employer to return to work mentally refreshed the next day. MartinLMD can identify the core strengths you posses and will help you apply those strengths that will lead to business success. Having MartinLMD assess your organization allows for a objective perspective that can provide key feedback to move the organization forward. The people sampled are encouraged to share their opinions, answer questions and provide feedback on the topic or product.
In addition, we also assist banks to migrate to Advance Measurement Approach under Basel framework. Often ignored, a robust pipeline is necessary to feed the new business development activities of any sized Endeavour. Content Marketing or Social Media Marketing via YouTube) and customer buying behaviour analysis.
Integrating quality into every element of an operation allows an organization to reduce its prices while still remaining profitable. The great clients (or customers) are those that are ready, willing, and able to work with experts to achieve organizational efficiencies. Or maybe they’re doing the project “under the table,” and don’t want to ask the “real boss” to pay for it. But imagine an environmental, financial, or other disaster that is beyond your or your risk management strategy’s control.
Within organizations, however, scope creep can be a real problem—usually hurting the bottom line. The charter should include relevant information that both you and the team can use to manage the project.
The successful organizations of the 21st Century will want to work with their individual employees to learn how to accomplish more for the benefit of both employees and the organization.
Examples of financial rewards include fair compensation, bonuses for work performance, or relocation support and housing.
Depending on the organization’s desire for change, resources must be ample, so that staff do not become discouraged with the pace of change.
In short, it allows all those involved in the change process to know exactly what is expected, who is responsible, and the timeline and process for achieving tasks to effect change.
Organizations need to ensure that their staff are well suited to the culture and that the culture promotes collegiality.
Mind mapping used during brainstorming allows everyone to “see” the gaps and makes them easier to fill. However, even if I use the same meeting room several times a week, each time I arrive, the room is in disarray. Communicate and clarify roles and responsibilities for everything; and I do mean EVERYTHING.


Better yet, management needs to communicate the responsibility and clarify this directly with the person(s) to whom they have delegated the task. If resources are assigned to projects, but those resources (employees) are not aware they are to complete tasks on the project, the tasks will not get done. This is similar to example 2 except that in this case, the task may get done differently twice. If you tend to fall in this group, spending your days thinking about what you need to get done, but never seem to launch out of thinking mode, then read on.
Having said this, just writing things down and being reminded to do them won’t get you there, either. This provides consistency in work and you are more apt to do this task if it occurs at roughly the same time. If you can focus intently on your work for those 20 minutes and then take a break (look away from your work–perhaps look out the window, make a phone call, review your email, anything other than the task you are working on), you will be more productive than if you slogged at the task for hours. Is your list physically (or electronically) written in a place where you can easily find it?
In addition to these concerns, working long hours is counterproductive and does more damage to your organization than you might think. If the cycle continues, the end result can range from absenteeism due to stress and sickness to accidents on the job and even to death. A clean office with sparse decor and no stacks and piles of stuff is more conducive to productivity.
For example, if you use a paper cutter only once a month, there is no need for it to be in your office (zone 1).
Get help for procrastination – it could be as simple as taking a day off to refresh and recharge. MartinLMD has taken this same strategy to help organizations solve both internal and external challenges that exist.
When inventory is scant (as it was at Canadian Target stores), one might reasonably presume that the retailer was using some type of customized just-in-time fulfillment. Solution: If the client does not have the money for the full project scope, downgrade the scope – phase the project into manageable chunks.
Everything gets decided by committee, no one takes responsibility for decisions, and decisions take much longer. For one thing, agile companies (those that thrive) do not have an emotional attachment to the corporate status quo. That is, developing a perspective around change, challenges and opportunities that are relentlessly solution focused enables organizations to thrive. A Gantt chart can be a powerful tool for visualizing the project’s work requirements at a glance.
This includes: definition of the project scope (what is and is not included in the project – be specific), project assumptions, project objectives and deliverables, project organizational scope, project timeframe, project team and other stakeholders, risk management strategies, project communication plan, and a project change management plan.
This is especially true in today’s economy where Generation X and Generation Y have already displaced the Baby Boomers in the workforce. Provide training, coaching, and counseling to ensure that staff have the necessary skills to do their jobs.
Non-financial incentives may include a quality culture, public recognition and awards, study leave, and mentoring in the work place, to name only a few. Anything from planning an event such as a small dinner gathering to building infrastructure like bridges and highways comes under the purview of a project.
Knowing the purpose will help you define what success looks and feels like for the project. The nice thing about scheduling consistently is that the more you do the same thing at the same time, there is a point at which you won’t need to look at your schedule to be reminded to do the work.
One of the best ways to get yourself off the cycle of overwork is to pay attention to your work when you’re at work. After you open an email, read it and then B-bring it forward (if further action is required), F-file it (no action is required), A-act on it immediately (if a short response will do), or T-delete (toss) it.
We have found that developing a scenario based approach to interviewing helps select the right people who can effectively do the job they were hired to do and that will be a good fit with the organization. Organizations at time face problems that hamper business profits or causes an unhappy work culture. Solution: Ensure that there is one “point” person (typically a Project Champion) that will sign-off on all deliverables. This includes obtaining necessary approvals and adjusting your timelines and resources before continuing with the project. These and other considerations need to be incorporated within performance measures to not only improve on performance measures, but to improve on the activities that comprise productivity. But did you know that the success of projects is determined in large part by the amount and quality of project planning?
You may be surprised to learn that the process of planning projects touches all nine areas of project knowledge control areas, whereas the execution process covers only five areas. Assemble all those who need to be involved in the work and communicate and delegate responsibilities. Become efficient and productive during your regular working hours and you’ll never again need to put in regular overtime. Once those traits are identified and effectively applied we guarantee employee growth that will make for a more productive and effective team.
Employee retention starts when the potential applicant enters your organization for the first time. Engaged focus groups can identify present and future areas of concerns that could affect the business operations. In fact, the less emotionally attached the corporation is to its products, processes, services, etc., the easier it is to change and become a thriving organization. In fact, of the five project processes (initiation, planning, execution, control, and closing), only initiation and closing have less steps than execution. Then clarify directly with the resources that they understand and will undertake their responsibilities. Let us help you develop hiring processes to identify and retain the best and the brightest employees. MartinLMD can help facilitate this process that can lead to positive solutions and outcomes.



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