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Management Skills for a VUCA World

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These are the slides (including the exercises) from a 1-day workshop I designed, which covered a range of skills and tools to help managers cope with an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

Published in: Business, Technology

Management Skills for a VUCA World

  1. 1. Management skills for a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World Facilitated by: Ian J Seath
  2. 2. Workshop Aims  As a result of this workshop, you will be able to:  Explain how planning needs to be adapted to cope with a VUCA world  Identify the key components of good planning and prioritising  Use a variety of practical tools and techniques to improve work plans  Identify personal actions to improve time management  Apply a simple behavioural skills model to improve face-to-face interactions 2
  3. 3. Workshop Agenda Morning  Introductions  It’s a VUCA World!  Planning and the Management Cycle  Short-term Plans  How long will it take?  Who’s responsible? Afternoon  Weekly and Daily Planning  Overcoming the Time Stealers  Win-win Communications and Influencing  Dealing with difficult situations  Personal Action Plans 3
  4. 4. 4 IT’S A VUCA WORLD! “We are moving from a world of problems, to a world of dilemmas”
  5. 5. 5 VUCA Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity Increasing rate of change Less clarity about the future Multiplicity of decision factors There may be no “right answer” A term originated by a US Military College to describe the new challenges facing leaders.
  6. 6. 6 What do you want from today?  Identify some specific examples of VUCA situations that impact on you and your day- job  What challenges or issues do you face as a consequence?  What will make today a success for you?  Your Learning Objectives
  7. 7. 7 The 4 management environments Simple • Change a wheel on a car • Build a wall • Prune a tree Complicated • Build a car • Build an office • Re-plant a fruit farm with new trees Complex • Design a new car • Design a new office • Manage an area of outstanding natural beauty Chaotic • Deal with a multiple car crash on a motorway • Deal with a fire in an office • Deal with the aftermath of a major earthquake Ordered Unordered
  8. 8. 8 The 4 management environments Simple • Known knowns • Facts • Right answer • Domain of best practice & rules Complicated • Known unknowns • Facts • May be more than one right answer • Domain of experts Complex • Unknown unknowns • Patterns (not facts) • Many competing ideas • Domain of emergence Chaotic • Unknowables • High turbulence • No right answers • No time to think • Patterns • Domain of rapid response Ordered Unordered
  9. 9. 9 The Manager’s role Simple • Sense, categorise, respond • Delegate • Standardise processes • Adopt best practices • Communicate directly and clearly Complicated • Sense, analyse, respond • Set up panels of experts • Listen to conflicting advice • Encourage challenge • Identify good practices Complex • Probe, sense, respond • Generate ideas • Experiment: try hard, fail fast • Increase interactions and communication • Encourage dissent and diversity Chaotic • Act, sense, respond • Look for what works • Command and control to re- establish order • Communicate directly and clearly Ordered Unordered
  10. 10. 10 PLANNING AND THE MANAGEMENT CYCLE “Plans are nothing, planning is everything” [Dwight D Eisenhower]
  11. 11. 11 The FPOC management cycle Forecast Plan Organise Control What might happen? What do we want to achieve? Who is working on it? Are we succeeding?
  12. 12. 12 A forecast… Is made with a particular decision in mind Is a statement of expected future circumstances Should be made at the last possible moment Should be for the shortest possible period
  13. 13. 13 All plans should start with “why?” Why: Set objectives How: Decide activities What: Assess/ allocate resources
  14. 14. 14 Bringing plans to life Daily Plan Weekly Work Plan Look- ahead Plan Master Plan Overall project schedule 4-6 week view Next week’s plan Today’s plan What should happen What can happen What will happen The right people, collaborating on the right level of plan, at the right time
  15. 15. 15 The Master Plan/Schedule  The aims of Master Schedules are to:  Give us confidence that the end-date and milestone dates are feasible  Develop and display overall execution strategies, based on known, current facts  Identify and schedule long lead-time items  i.e. anything that cannot be planned within the look- ahead window  Divide the work into phases, identifying any special milestones of importance to the client or other stakeholders
  16. 16. 16 Tools to use
  17. 17. 17 The Look-ahead Plan  Shapes the workflow sequence and rate  Might range from 3-12 weeks depending on the overall timeline  A 5 or 6 week look-ahead is typical, where “Week 1” is next week  Used to ensure all the necessary resources will be in place in time for the planned activities to start  Begins to develop detailed plans for how the work will be done weekly and daily
  18. 18. 18 CREATING SHORT-TERM PLANS “Man cannot control the current of events; he can only float with them and steer” [Otto von Bismarck]
  19. 19. Put first things first Schedule your priorities, don’t prioritise your schedule If something is really important, make the time for it 19
  20. 20. What’s the priority of each quadrant and what proportion of your time you should allocate to each? HIGH LOW LOW HIGH IMPORTANCE U R G E N C Y 20
  21. 21. What’s the priority of each quadrant? 3 Distraction? 2 Plan 4 Waste! 1 Manage HIGH LOW LOW HIGH IMPORTANCE U R G E N C Y 21
  22. 22. What’s your current workload in each quadrant?  Identify 10-15 “things to do” from your current work  Write each one on the Urgency / Importance grid Do them in the sequence you suggested! 22
  23. 23. 23 ESTIMATING HOW LONG TASKS WILL TAKE Hofstadter's Law: “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.”
  24. 24. Estimating: scenarios… 1. You have been asked to help a team in the early stages of a project to build a new production facility in the UK which will use some emerging technology that has only been used at pilot scale, so far 2. You have been asked to help a new manager who has to create a 45 minute e-learning course, to be delivered via the intranet 3. A Senior Manager, preparing a Business Case, needs help thinking through the likely costs and times for an organisational re- structuring project for a Department of 150 people, to achieve a 25% cost saving  How would you go about creating an estimate of the likely costs and timescales? 24
  25. 25. Some possible approaches  Create a WBS or PBS  Use this to build bottom-up costs  Analyse the historical cost and time data from a series of previous projects and use average data  Find an example of a similar project and adjust the times/costs to allow for the difference in technology/scale/objectives  Ask some experts 25
  26. 26. 5 Estimating methods 26 Expert Judge- ment 3-point Estimate Comparative Estimate Parametric Estimate Bottom-up Estimate Perception Fact High Accuracy & Detail “Quick & Dirty”
  27. 27. Which estimating method is being used? Expert 3- Point Compa- rative Para- metric Bottom- up The team identifies a best, worst and most likely case and averages them The team asks two suppliers who have done similar work before The team uses a spreadsheet of data from previous projects and it calculates cost and time estimates for them Members of the team have been involved in 4 previous projects and know exactly how long each one took and what they cost There’s so much work to be done that the team breaks the project down into 150 work packages 27
  28. 28. Estimating methods in your day-job  With a colleague, choose a current project or work activity and decide which method(s) would be most appropriate for creating the best estimates  or choose a past project and identify which estimating method(s) you should have used 28
  29. 29. 29 ALLOCATING RESPONSIBILITY “All organisations are perfectly designed to achieve the results that they do”
  30. 30. 30 The RACI Matrix  Who is Responsible for doing that task  Who is Accountable for ensuring it is done to the required standard, on time  Who should be Consulted about the task, or be involved in decisions about it (2-way communication)  Who should be Informed about the task, its progress and its completion (1-way communication) Tasks Ann Bill Carol HRDir. Trg.Admin Ops.Dept. Finance Develop Objectives for Service A R R C I Agree Budget R A I C Create first draft of Specification A R C I etc. R = Responsible, A = Accountable, C = Consult I = Inform
  31. 31. 31 WEEKLY AND DAILY PLANNING “Eventually, all plans must degenerate into hard work” [Peter Drucker]
  32. 32. The 80:20 Rule 20% of the time leads to 80% of the results. 20% 80% TIME RESULTS 32
  33. 33. Scrum Board for Weekly/Daily Plans 33
  34. 34. Percent Plan Complete 34  A key metric for your WWP is the “per-cent plan complete” (PPC) value  It is calculated as the number of activities that are completed as planned, divided by the total number of planned activities  It is a measure of the accuracy and reliability of your WWP
  35. 35. 35 DEALING WITH THE TIME STEALERS “Events my dear boy, events” [Harold Macmillan]
  36. 36. Scenario – where are the time stealers?  Ian gets into his office, starts his computer and logs on to check his e-mails. After 10 minutes he has a quick look through his Twitter stream and checks his Facebook page. He then spends 30 minutes preparing the first part of a report which is due tomorrow. After attending a 45 minute meeting he grabs a cup of coffee and chats with some colleagues. Back at his desk he notices he has 5 new e-mails which he decides to read and he replies to 2 of them. Returning to his report he spends 10 minutes collecting his thoughts and another 30 minutes writing before deciding it’s nearly time to break for lunch. He makes a couple of quick ‘phone calls, then goes off for lunch. 36
  37. 37. Time stealers 1. Procrastination/indecision 2. Ineffective meetings 3. Interruptions - visitors, telephone, e-mail 4. “Never say no” 5. Lack of delegation 6. Lack of planning before starting tasks 7. Waiting time - between meetings 8. Starting too many things and not finishing them 9. Changing priorities 10. Communication failures 11. Unclear responsibilities 12. Unnecessary Travelling etc. 37
  38. 38. Dealing with your time stealers • Step 1 - Individually, select the top 3 time stealers that affect you, day-in and day-out • Step 2 - Share your thoughts with the group • Step 3 - As a group, identify and share some possible solutions 38
  39. 39. What is “quality time”? • A person’s average uninterrupted time at work is usually less than 10 minutes • Respect your colleagues’ quality time by not interrupting them unnecessarily 39
  40. 40. The four Ds… Do it Delegate it Delay it Dump it Does it require action? No action? 40
  41. 41. The 2 minute rule: Less than 2 minutes?  Do it More than 2 minutes?  Delegate it  Delay it 41
  42. 42. Delegate it… “Tell me what you want me to do and why, then let me get on with it. If I make a mess of it, coach me so I know where I went wrong. But, don’t fuss !!!” A Subordinate’s Prayer 42
  43. 43. If it doesn’t require you to DO something… Dump it “I might need this later” File it 43
  44. 44. 44 WIN-WIN COMMUNICATION “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” [George Bernard Shaw]
  45. 45. 45 4 Communication styles • Question • Listen • Summarise • Withdraw • Silent • Apologise • Inform • Persuade • Direct • Attack • Dominate • Threaten Aggressive Assertive ResponsivePassive
  46. 46. 46 Communication in a VUCA World Vision Under- standing Clarity Agility Clear intent and direction Listening, empathy and sensing Options and recommendations Try hard, fail fast, learn [JFDI]
  47. 47. 47 Seek first to understand…  Open Questions – What, Where, When, Who, Why, How – To get the candidate talking and open up discussion  Closed Questions – Did, Can, Was, Were, Is – To confirm facts and close down discussion  Probe Questions – “Why did that happen?” – “How did that affect you?” – To get behind the first answer  Reflective Questions – “You mentioned training, in what way was...” – “Challenging, how was that...?” – Reflects back the candidate’s answer and leads to a further question – Demonstrates active listening  Leading Questions – “Do you prefer X or Y?” – “You agree, don’t you?” – Should not be used  Multiple Questions – “What... & was...?” – Should not be used
  48. 48. 48 DEALING WITH DIFFICULT SITUATIONS “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” [Henry Ford]
  49. 49. PERSONAL ACTION PLANS 49
  50. 50. Say it, see it, write it…  Identify from all of today’s inputs and colleagues’ ideas, what you plan to do differently  Be specific and ensure the improvements are measurable  Be prepared to share your plan with the group Do it… 50
  51. 51. Facilitated by Ian J Seath (2014) ian.seath@improvement-skills.co.uk 07850 728506 @ianjseath uk.linkedin.com/in/ianjseath

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