Measuring and Assuring Service
Those of you who have watched the firm evolve may have noticed that we have adopted a three-word slogan – Assess, Advance, Assure. Put another way – set your strategy, deliver your projects, then make sure the deliveries continue to add value once operational. We forget the last part at our peril.
Last year, I was actively working on the Assess part, setting the strategy for a large department in one of the major banks. Just recently, they have called me back in to deliver on the proposed strategy. My colleagues at the bank seem to find it amusing that, so often, consultants set the strategy then walk away.
From my experience it is normal that the project team sets the strategy, delivers it but it is often the ongoing follow up which does not get done. It is the continued assurance of service, and ensuring that promises are delivered that organisations forget.
When we were discussing our re branding to Assess, Advance, Assure there was debate within the team as to whether Assess and Assure are actually the same thing. Why is that, you may ask? When were were documenting all our methods (which in fact lead to the eventual branding) it became rapidly apparent that the first part of Assess is actually the same as Assure. When you design a strategy, the first thing that you do is understand today. Document your current situation, understand what works, what is causing issues and look at your problems and opportunities. Then you can go on to look for improvements, which is exactly what you have to do when reviewing your situation; the method we use for Assure. Organisations should be constantly reviewing where they are, checking that everything is on track, analysing risks and issues, and (especially after big change programmes) making sure the promises have been delivered.
I will leave you with a little thought – is Assess is the same as Assure? In other words is constant vigilance the same as understanding opportunity? If it is, then surely setting a strategy should be an ongoing, organic thing, not a one-off exercise occasionally. So I would vote to build repeatable strategic assurance programmes into all organisations.