The manager was finding it difficult to maintain integrity. Difficult to utilise their professionalism and expertise. Difficult to be innovative in a professional sense - 01.02.18

The manager was finding it difficult to maintain integrity. Difficult to utilise their professionalism and expertise. Difficult to be innovative in a professional sense.
The manager’s boss, the divisional manager, is a relatively nice person, who has got to the position by making sure that no one is offended. Has some brains, and decent qualifications. Runs a pretty steady ship, and has the ear of management. All is hunky dory under their management. There are few if any major disagreements. Everyone has fallen into the routines, imposed by the IT people, the accountants and the HR people. Reports are produced and go into the system.
The manager’s peers are on the whole nice people. Most of the managers peers have a drink together at least once a week. The manager’s peers have the same or better qualifications, and experience. Their culture seems to be one of “follow the leader, and don’t rock the boat”. They survive and some get promoted every so often.
The client can generally be described as follows;
• an organisation of similar make up, culture, and size, but in a complementary industry
• an individual in the clients organisation who has little authority or delegation, and who wants to be seen to succeed without rocking the boat
The problem that has arisen
The client is being delivered a service that is not as good as it could be. The need “ to manage client expectations”, is being pushed by the divisional manager. It appears that the price quoted by the marketers is too low for the service promised. There would be no problem for anyone except the manager whose job it is to deliver the service. The client and the manager have a good relationship. The client is not demanding. The client does not have strict quality control guidelines for delivery of the service. It is probable that the organisation can get away with delivering a less than optimum service.
Should the manager deliver a service that is less than promised? A problem for the organisation, and the manager.
The story of how the manager tried to deal with the problem
The manager tries to rationalise in their own mind that what was promised looks like what they can deliver, within the budget.
The manager speaks to the divisional manager seeking support to change things, for example going back to the client and renegotiating.
The person who sold the service approaches the client to try to negotiate down the service to be provided to less of a service but for the same price
The manager acts under direction from the divisional manager and falsifies / uses misleading words to show that the services being provided are in fact what the client signed up for, but in reality are not
The manager gets their immediate boss to supplement the budget for the services to be provided, from another source within their own organisation to deliver the services promised. Perhaps the marketing department contributes some of their budget?
What happens when an external coach is involved, and how it can happen
Coaches are often seen as less than complimentary by individuals in an organisation. They may perceive that having a coach allocated to them is a reflection on their performance. People don’t often individually seek out coaches external to the organisation. Their view is that the organisation would not see it as a good move, or they instead seek mentors in the organisation. In many organisations a mentor is one who embodies the culture of the organisation, and in this particular case would not really be of any help.
So why would an organisation call on an external coach, in relation to this problem? What would drive them to do it?
• The client insisting that an external coach is appointed to assist the manager delivering the services. In this case the “power” of the coach is such that the coach can move across and advise the organisation delivering the services, at all levels while mentoring the manager
• When a new person is engaged / appointed to the organisation delivering the services who is in a position, and has the backing, to engage external coaches in an attempt to improve the culture of the organisation to achieve greater productivity
You see, in this case, the organisation had bad habits. Their “capture of the market”, (and their client’s expectations based on the reasoning that they had a large share of the market must mean that they were good), led to poor productivity, (not necessarily profits). Poor outcomes. Less than optimum outcomes. They existed in an environment where barriers to entry to the market were high from a money point of view. The more that was spent on maintaining dominance of the market by buying up smaller competitors, and “managing expectations” became the norm.
When everything else is failing, not necessarily from a “manage expectations” view, but from a real view, then call in an external coach to assist the manager.
Why ProjectCoach ?
There are three major reasons that clients pick ProjectCoach:
• A lot of experience actually working in the industry, in a variety of counties and cultures, and in business and government. This helps with credibility. It helps with being able to access senior managers to improve the environment for better performance.
• A sound and proven approach to getting measureable results. You pay for a measured result, not a general hourly rate in the hope that things are improved.
• An approach that focuses on defining and then developing new habits. Habits that go to building the solution. Habits that are needed across the hierarchy.

Related posts:

  1. The PMO
  2. Dealing with problems outside of the Project Manager’s control
  3. The MD’s dilemma
  4. difficult project teams and how to handle poor performers
  5. Compliance – the culture is a key -coaching to develop the culture

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