Increase your company's performance

on Monday, 06 January 2014.

Our Top Story

For a limited time we are offering a free diagnostic meeting to look at ways to increase your company's performance. For more information and insights go to our new website at www.crystalclearmanagementsolutions.co.uk
Top Business Challenges

Arrange a free diagnostic meeting to help you focus on tackling your top challenges to increase your company’s performance. These are some of the top challenges being experienced  by businesses in today’s tough market

1)Project costs exceeding budget and failing to deliver on their original intentions

2)Remaining competitive in the face of globalization and new markets

3)Identifying the efficiency gaps and dealing with them effectively to increase profits

4) Managing the pace of change to maintain sustainable growth

5) Motivating and engaging employees, suppliers and stakeholders
Our Ways of Working

Crystal Clear Management Solutions has the skills and experience to enable you to strategically enhance your existing resources for sustainable growth.

Every day brings new challenges and whether your organisation is going through transformation, divestment or operational optimisation the key aim is to make a smooth transition to the new world. At Crystal Clear Management Solutions, we work with you to define clear objectives and expectations and, subsequently, establish the right proposal. This will include a support mechanism to maximise the performance of your resources and successfully deliver the programme. By following our guiding methodology, we provide a unified approach to building trust and integrity, internally and externally, and subsequently reach the desired objectives and expectations in the most effective and efficient way. We guarantee results by systematically applying our guiding methodology:

  •  Understand the real needs of the organisation
  • Establish processes and resources to define a course of action
  • Innovate by enhancing the existing resources of the organisation
  • Enthuse the stakeholders by making them part of the changing process
  • Enable positive changes for the organisation
  • Sustain results in time

If you would like more information on how we can help you please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a free diagnostic meeting. We guarantee immediate value.

Project Management #1 – Empowering the client to become an “Intelligent Customer”

on Monday, 06 January 2014.

Crystal Clear Management Solutions have worked with a number of organisations, successfully delivering their programmes and projects.   One of the most important aspects is focusing on the right scope and structure before starting the project – getting crystal clear before embarking on a project is a must!

An initial study in a selection of construction projects shows that profit margins are sometimes less than 5%; therefore going wrong is not an option. How do these companies deliver the projects successfully within these tight margins? The overall feedback was getting the project right from the start to prevent project failure. This article summarises key steps to enable the client to become an “Intelligent Customer” ensuring they have a clear output, preventing statements like “this is not what I expected or want” and subsequently increasing the likelihood of success.

Starting with the end in mind makes sense and seems easy to implement, but the following are a few of the barriers which prevent us from getting it right from the start:

1)     Lack of one person/group making the final decisions and signing the scope
2)     Strategy confirmed and the pressure to get the project implemented
3)     The implementation team not allocating adequate time to understand the stakeholders, the overlaps, the impacts and the bigger picture.
4)     No clear understanding of what is expected and what the outcome is suppose to be.

Even with these challenges, there is adequate knowledge and information from best practice and successful project delivery to support and guarantee more project successes. So what is holding us back? The response was the need to change the attitude of clients and colleagues to really spend quality time to review the whole picture and understand the requirements before rushing into implementation mode?

The following are top tips to support your client and colleagues to start thinking with the end in mind and become the “Intelligent Customer”.

1)     Asking the client to visualise the project and its purpose.  Asking them to describe the outcome including the impact, output, consequences and benefits in a concise and clear way.  This enables clarity and alignment.

2)     Asking the client “What is the impact if the project does not succeed?” Listing all the consequences and impacts usually makes them realise the importance of upfront work.

3)     The cost / time curve – The cost of changes at the later date cost significantly more than at the feasibility stages.    Re-iterating this at the start to highlight that initial cost will be significantly less compared to overspend at a later date due to changes.

In the next instalment we will look at developing the right business case and engaging the stakeholders for project success.  We would love to hear your experiences on Project Management, Business Case and Engaging Stakeholders, please leave your comments here or contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Crystal Clear Management Solutions provides Project and Change implementation support to large and global businesses across Mining, Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities.

Project Management #3 – Engaging internal and external stakeholders early on will ensure your target project succeeds.

on Monday, 06 January 2014.

Crystal Clear Management Solutions have worked with a number of organisations, successfully delivering their programmes and projects. This is the third blog in the project management series and will focus on the importance of engaging the stakeholders to guarantee project success.

There is enough studies published by CIPD and Gallup to highlight there is a significant cost of disengaged workers. The latest figures published in 2008 by Gallup were $300bn in the USA and £60bn in the UK in lost productivity alone due to disengaged workers. Further studies indicate that only three out of ten are actively engaged with their work. So if nine of ten of the key barriers to the success of change programmes are people related, why is engagement and involvement not considered an important part of Project Delivery?

And now we know the impact of disengaged workers, how do we as managers and leaders promote and sustain an engaged workforce. On a parallel note, there is enough evidence that organisations committed to developing and embedding employee engagement strategies radically improve their performance and project success.

What are the impacts besides cost due to disengaged workforce

Project failure
Sickness
Absenteeism
Grievance
Stress / Conflict
Resistance / Sabotage
Turnover of personnel
Low morale in workforce

What are the benefits of an engaged workforce
Motivated workforce

Project successes

Ownership and increase commitment

Supportive structure

Strong leadership

Increase performance and profitability

New innovations

Respect and trust

This article two important areas that are quick wins to promote engagement.

Communication

Generating trust

Communication

Most organisations indicate the importance of the quality and quantity of communication, but ask employees on how well internal communication is received and there is uncertainty. Companies usually have the right intention but communication is measured on the impact. Therefore alignment of intention and impact are essential.

1) When starting a new project, one of the most important tasks is to communicate the intention and ensure there is clear sense of alignment. This should not only prevent aimless drifting but must galvanise, direct, energise and enthuse people to a common purpose.

2) The communication intent must have meaning and resonance to individuals to create ownership at every level.

3) Think about and clarify “WHAT IS IT FOR THEM (WIIFT)”before talking to stakeholders

4) How do you want individuals to respond to the communication

5) Making individuals involved and being able to influence and be part of the project

Generating Trust

Leaders and Managers must generate and sustain trust from the start of a project right through to commissioning. Without trust, projects cannot succeed.

1) Leaders / managers should empower, respect and facilitate their staff instead of controlling them

2) Leaders and Managers should clarify to the stakeholders the reasons for the project and the outcomes

3) Creating mutual trust between Leaders, Managers and Stakeholders

4) Creating two way open and transparent communication

5) Employees must feel that they can voice their opinions and be part of the solution

6) Organisations should show integrity

7) Treating stakeholders as individuals, with fairness, respect and employee wellbeing

There are plenty of other ways to engage your workforce but these have been proven to be effective and efficient. As our business partner, we ensure that your workforce are engaged from the start and incorporate all the aspects to make your project and organisation successful.

Therefore isn’t it obvious that making your workforce an important part of your project and organisation will increase overall performance. There is adequate research completed by Gallup that there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and profitability / sales and employee retention and customer satisfaction. Highly engaged individuals were found in high-performance organisations. The main reason for change is to increase the performance, so why are people not engaged from the start.

In the next instalment we will look at planning your resources for project success. We would love to hear your experiences on Project Management, Business Case and Engaging Stakeholders, please leave your comments here or contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Crystal Clear Management Solutions provides Project and Change implementation support to large and global businesses across Mining, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas and the Utilities.

Project Management #2 – Establishing a comprehensive business case is an essential part to succeeding.

on Monday, 06 January 2014.

Crystal Clear Management Solutions have worked with a number of organisations, successfully delivering their programmes and projects.  This is second blog in the project management series and will focus on the need to develop a comprehensive business case that includes hard tangible information and the essential people aspect to guarantee project success.

With the current fast moving markets and to address ever increasing demands from shareholders, companies have to be constantly changing in order to survive.  It is therefore assumed that all change is good.  If this is the case, why do 70% of transformations, mergers, business process re-organisations fail to meet the original intentions or perceptions? Why does these statistics never appear at the beginning of the contract? Why do we assume that our projects are superior and will succeed? What happens if it does not succeed? What are the main causes of project failure?

After reading published papers and from experience, it has been concluded that the main reason for project failure is the lack of well defined strategic goals complemented by the lack of acknowledgement or understanding that people and teamwork are important. Furthermore, having the change measured through hard tangible issues i.e. deals, strategy, accountancy and marketing does not enable a sustainable change. The obsession of the bottom line can be damaging if looked in isolation as the only catalyst for change.

Again starting with the end in mind, a typical business case covers all aspects, impacts and outcomes of the intended change and includes the following: -

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Opportunity
  • Alternatives
  • Benefits
  • Costs
  • Return on investment
  • Financial Analysis
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints
  • Market Analysis
  • Organizational Considerations
  • Sensitivity Analysis
  • Project Description
  • Implementation Plan
  • Recommendations

Very rarely does a business case cover the potential resistance to the change due to fear of the unknown or an expectation of loss.  It is only once the business case and the implementation timeline is finalised, then there is a sudden desire and need to engage people.  It is usually left to the individual project managers to engage where necessary and persons who resist change are noted as time wasters.  Therefore the preference is to “bulldoze” the change to all the people and accept all persons to be happy.

For the main benefits of working with Crystal Clear Management Solutions, we develop a holistic business and think of all the aspects to make the project successful.  Therefore to make a more successful business case, we consider that people cannot improve or do their days jobs when they are busy coping with constant changes that they do not understand. In addition, as part of the business case, career development, training, coaching and welfare of individuals is incorporated.

Therefore isn’t it obvious that making people are important aspect of the business case and consider the development of their people in parallel to the strategic goal would increase the performance of the change. There is adequate research including does completed by Gallup that there is a direct correlation between employee engagement and profitability / sales and employee retention and customer satisfaction.  Highly engaged individuals were found in high-performance organisations. The main reason for change is to increase the performance, so why are people not engaged from the start.

In the next instalment we will look at engaging the stakeholders for project success.  We would love to hear your experiences on Project Management, Business Case and Engaging Stakeholders, please leave your comments here or contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Crystal Clear Management Solutions provides Project and Change implementation support to large and global businesses across Mining, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas and the Utilities.

Project Management #4 – Planning your resources accurately to ensure success from the start.

on Monday, 06 January 2014.

Project Management #4 – Planning your resources accurately to ensure success from the start

Crystal Clear Management Solutions have worked with a number of organisations, successfully delivering their programmes and projects. This is the fourth blog in the project management series and will focus on understanding your available resources and managing them accordingly.

After developing an initial business case and engaging the stakeholders, one of the most important challenges experienced is the understanding of resources, their availability and supporting them accordingly. In an ideal situation all resources are available immediately and have 100% capability and capacity. This does occur in the real world.

So what are the top challenges when planning your resources accurately?
1) Resources are shared with other projects not to forget their day jobs
2) Changes to resources availability along the project length
3) Team’s capacity and capability
4) Conflict and team morale

It is impossible to address all these at the start of the project but the awareness and understanding of the above challenges and incorporating these will go a long way to ensure that the project is delivered to the agreed timescale, cost and quality. Before delving into detailed resource planning, the business case must be completed and approved. The aim of resource planning is to identify who, what, when, where, why and how the project will be delivered. Whatever the project size, planning your resources is a critical aspect and without the appropriate effort at the start, the project is likely to end up in difficulty with delays, increase in cost, non-delivery.

Choosing the right team

Similar to sports like football, the Olympics; it is critical that the right team is allocated for the project for successful project delivery. This topic has been briefly discussed in previous blog - Project Management #3 “Engaging your stakeholders” and this blog focuses on further steps in ensuring that the Project Team is fully on board. It is not always possible to choose the perfect team and the following steps will help in creating a perfect team that support each other towards a common goal.

• Match the team to the resource required
• Ensure that the personnel complement each other in skills, calibre and personality
• Each member should have clear roles and responsibilities,
• Each member should understand each other’s roles and responsibilities,
• Clear and aligned project drivers, goals and targets

To enable a team to work effectively, it is advisable to promote team building at the start of the project to reinforce the above pointers and subsequently create trust, openness and awareness, which are the essential backbone of the perfect team.

Managing the resources

Managing resources at the start, during and at the end of a project is a fine art and many projects fail as they assume and allocate 100% availability of all resources from start to finish. In a real world, all resources are shared and it is recommended to initiate detailed conversations with line managers, other project managers and stakeholders to understand availability. It is not unusual to have one resource shared on 5 or more projects, resulting in only 20% availability.

Unless the project is very short (less than 4 weeks), new projects and new priorities will create further stress and pull on resources. Therefore regularly resource reviews are an essential part of the project monitoring. An example is that one particular resource was available 50% at the start of the project and a period of one month he/she is only available 25%. The workload and resources will have to be managed pro-actively to ensure no delays to the deadline.

Supporting the resources

Programme and project manager must support their resources from the start through to the end of the project. The lack of support can lead to an ineffective team, individuals experiencing stress and team conflict. All these issues can subsequently effect project delivery if not managed effectively.

It is essential to take time on a regularly basis to review the project to ensure that the team have not lost focus. In addition, the project manager should be aware of the team dynamics and address any stress or conflict. Having regularly team building sessions to re-focus, re-group and understand the priorities will re-invigorate the team and give that extra reassurance that the direction of the project is correct and the work of the team is appreciated by senior managers. In parallel, having regularly confidential conversations with the team will ensure that any issues are managed pro-actively in an open and trusted way.

Summary

It is important that the personnel in the team are managed in an effective way that they understand their roles and responsibilities, their priorities and are not overstretched. In addition, having regularly reviews and team building sessions will ensure the team are aligned with project delivery, with each other and pro-actively address any conflict issues that may arise.

In the next instalment we will look at planning and monitoring for project success. We would love to hear your experiences on Project Management and Resource Management, please leave your comments here or contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Crystal Clear Management Solutions provides Project and Change implementation support to large and global businesses across Mining, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas and the Utilities.