Accelerate Your Plan

iStock_000005745963XSmallChange efforts succeed or fail in three places:

  • Design,
  • Execution, and
  • Degree of Shared Destiny.

Yet in most instances we encounter, too much emphasis is being placed on execution, and the people doing the work. The underlying assumption is that willpower and the right to-do list overcomes all, and this simply is not so – not in the case of larger, longer change efforts. The real leverage is found in the other two factors…


Things change at the rate they were designed to change.

iStock_000008025420XSmallThe design of a change effort has more to do with the speed of execution than the willpower applied. No matter the intensity of desire, a turtle* is designed to travel at feet per minute. If we want it to go faster, we must change the design…

The principle here is that structure determines behavior. Think of projects to change the course of rivers: the focus is not on convincing the water to act differently, or work longer hours. Instead, the focus is on reshaping the riverbed. As soon as the riverbed changes, the water follows the path of least resistance. We make sure you have the right design for the mission at hand.


Building is not maintaining – they require different orientations.

Once the design is established, one must put the right people on the change effort. It is not simply a matter of skill, but a matter of the orientation of the individual. Do they see themselves as building something, or simply maintaining and optimizing it.

Builders:

  • Can create new systems where none exist today – and love the challenge.
  • Get bored with maintaining things.
  • Are interested in putting themselves OUT of a job.
  • Could possibly be more expensive to begin with.

Maintainers:

  • Best at optimizing existing systems, but struggle to create a new system on their own.
  • Tend to be interested in job security.
  • Often strong desire to keeping things running smoothly.
  • Often lower salary than builders.

Our focus is to help you staff the project with the right skills and orientation to get the job done, and where necessary, reinforce the skills of design and execution to increase odds of success. For more information, see Build Your Leaders.


Projects are built upon a fabric of relatedness.

Most overlooked are questions of relationship:

  • Why should we cooperate to achieve this goal?
  • What can we create together that we cannot create, alone?
  • How are we related to each other? How are our destinies tied?

These questions are larger than the project, and frequently larger than the organization, extending out into the community and across stakeholder groups. When we encounter a project where, locally, Design and Execution appear sound, we turn our attention to the larger system encompassing the effort.

Our priority, here, is to help identify the stakeholders in the system and convene a series of conversations designed to help participants discover the degree to which their future is shared, and the extent to which they care about the good of the whole. We then help them explore and confront their freedom to choose and shape, together, a future distinct from their past.

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*all tests of theory were conducted by unionized, professional stunt turtles – please do not attempt in your terrarium. No turtles were harmed in the building of this website!

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ANN RALSTON

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GARY RALSTON

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Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 - 05:57:17am



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