Introducing The S&S Speed to Value Accelerator

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Every day we speak to businesses that are largely dealing with the same 4 challenges:

  • They struggle to meet their strategic KPIs, so their business dials don’t move.
  • Their people are disengaged.
  • They want to be customer-centric, but don’t know where to start.
  • They aren’t making full use of their data to drive decision making.

When we get into the details, there are a lot of good points to note. Typically, the business has an overall vision with clear objectives, and there’s an attempt to follow some sort of working methodology – like Agile, Scrum or Kanban.

However, the challenges arise when teams are organised according to their functional areas. It introduces handoffs and causes priority conflicts, which leads the business to spin up new teams or structures to enable cross-team collaboration.

The end result? 

Because the business becomes so focused on how to get teams to work together, the original objectives become lost in a fog of planning and communication. According to The Anatomy of Work Index, workers spend 60% of their time on ‘work about work’. Additionally, teams start to struggle with delivery because they’re in constant conflict over their priorities. And because the business lacks true collaboration, where people genuinely work together and share information, the understanding of the customer is fragmented.

Flip the script

Fundamentally, the 4 key challenges that organisations face are down to how the business is organised to deliver value to the customers.

Traditionally, organisations are set up to be activity-based. At the top of the hierarchy is the CEO, followed by managers of specific functions – like IT, finance, HR, sales, marketing – and then down into delivery teams. As organisations scale, the layers of management increase, and separate entities are created to serve different sectors or countries, but fundamentally the structure remains focused on the activities each person performs.

In the modern world of work, this approach needs to change. Rather than focus on what you do, focus on how you can help. Switch to an outcome-based way of working, and it immediately changes the dynamic:

  • You move the dials that matter.
  • Your customer is at the heart of your business.
  • Your people are empowered and engaged.
  • Your decisions are driven by data.

Sounds great in practice, but how does it work in reality?

The Glass Tube: a vehicle for change

In essence, The Glass Tube is designed to move you from your current state to a new ‘Ways of Working’ (WoW) blueprint which is right for your business context. When we place clients into The Glass Tube, it’s with the single objective to deliver a high-value outcome within 90-days. It’s up to the organisation to set the pace of change. And coaching is delivered to people at both the leadership and delivery team levels.

The Glass Tube works so well because:

You have a mission. Think of it as the glue that holds everything together because it sticks the team’s outcome to the vivid vision and at least one business dial.

You gain an understanding of your actual customer. You are not your customer because you work ‘in’ the business, and will therefore always have a biassed view.

You adopt a leadership style that supports delivery. Rather than command, servant leaders remove barriers to success and empower people to make change happen.

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You form a blended team of capabilities. A mix of people with access to relevant data and insights ensures any question can be answered within 90-days.

The team sets their own OKRs and holds themselves to account. It breeds a healthier culture because people want to take ownership and challenge poor behaviours.

The Glass Tube is surrounded with a media bubble. The team promotes its success through different channels using hard evidence to build excitement across the business.

Delivering significant improvements to customers in 90-days

While we’ve used The Glass Tube with several organisations, one engagement we’re particularly proud of took place during the lockdown, where everything was done remotely. The Glass Tube helped our client to successfully realign its business to focus on customer centricity and employee engagement. In just 90-days, the delivery team created a new WoW blueprint that achieved international award-winning results – including reducing the manual effort required to support the onboarding of new customers by an incredible 60%.

Make change a reality

For our team, the idea of The Glass Tube seems like a very simple concept, simply because we implement it every day. And yet in reality, the nuances that surround it – like stakeholder management, cultural change, and tech debt – can in reality make it difficult to deliver. 

With every client engagement, we deliver more than the expected change to focus on how we enable the team to embed continuous change as part of the rhythm of the business. We do this through ongoing guidance, advice and support, as well as providing 1-to-1 coaching and mentoring. And once we’ve exited the business, we’re always there as a buddy and critical friend.

Find out more about the 4 challenges every business faces in our

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Written by
Sullivan & Stanley