I was involved in the start up of Symbian and, since its launch, have been the driver of numerous other initiatives – strategy, business planning, business processes, inter team working, team culture. All these focused on enhancing effectiveness and implementing plans to achieve that through collaborative effort.
One particularly significant assignment was to conduct a project review of release 5 of their operating system, a project that had experienced considerable difficulties. Management were determined to explore the real issues to ensure the success of subsequent projects.
Every one of the twenty teams working on the project had a session with me, contributing freely and providing suggestions (not always polite).
We convened a three day event for the top hundred managers and engineers to share their issues, analyse them and agree actions. Each team had generated between five and eight sheets of contributions and every single one was visible in a hotel ballroom – it resembled a Middle Eastern souk.
It was a tough three days but this initiative led to the transformation of culture, improvements in management and communication and, ultimately, to enhanced service delivery to the customer. Many people agreed that it had saved the company.
I led the first part of the Transformation agenda. This included taking the brief handed down by the Prime Minister and converting it into a practical plan. The brief said that Government services should be delivered the same way as Amazon. I felt this was a challenging but good brief, except that the Cabinet Office interpreted it as a focus on technology.
I managed to shift their focus away from IT and onto citizens and what they wanted – ie service. My next task was to extend their focus onto the front line service providers and what they needed to provide an effective service. These vital messages that we established are still being championed today.
Sun Alliance Life Marketing
I helped established a new unit of 120 people. This included a simultaneous top down and bottom up approach to strategy, business processes, departmental structure, roles and responsibilities, expected behaviour and customer focus.
For the individuals, I undertook psychometric profiling. The initiative was supported by training workshops in areas such as coaching and feedback, which accelerated the implementation of the new culture.