MindSonar Benchmarks for Project Teams – I wish I’d known about Them!

In my previous role I was responsible for managing a major programme involving multiple project teams. Part of the programme management involved regular risk management and “lessons learned” meetings. During these meetings, representatives from each of the project teams would discuss any issues that had arisen since the last meeting, and what steps had been taken – or needed to be taken – in order to rectify the issue and prevent it happening again.

The aim of the meetings was to ensure that the systems and processes we had in place were adequate to minimise the risk of problems arising and to enable a rapid corrective response when needed. However, at times these meetings could become quite tense because there was a fine line to tread between good risk management and problem resolution on one side and the development of a blame culture on the other. This was clearer to some members than others. Some members would always want to attribute all problems to individuals, rather than to consider the more common situation of them arising from system weaknesses. Tthe result was that friction would arise between those individuals with a “name and shame” approach and other members of the programme board. This created risks to the programme itself as it could result in people being reluctant to raise issues when they spotted them in fear of being blamed.

As the manager of this programme I had to manage the situation and try to cultivate a systems approach in the individuals concerned, most of whom I had no direct line management of.

How helpful it would have been to have had MindSonar back then. I believe it would have been possible to construct a Benchmark Profile to help identify the members of each project team who would be best suited to be the risk management/lessons learnt representative. This Benchmark Profile could have been constructed in consultation with other project and programme managers to provide a narrated estimation (with consultation).

My first thoughts about this are that this benchmark profile might include the following:

Graves Drives: Ideals; Learning;

Meta Programmes:

High: Away From (for risk management); Past (for lessons learnt);Structure (for systems approach)

Low: People (to avoid blame approach)

There are likely to be others and different views which is why I would prefer a benchmark profile resulting from a narrated estimation with consultation.

It would be great to hear from other MindSonar Professionals about their thoughts on this – and about whether anyone has yet used the MindSonar tool in this context.

It would also be good to hear from project and programme managers who have found themselves in similar situations – they could find MindSonar particularly useful when allocating project roles to their team members.

What are your thoughts?  Use the comments box below to share your experiences and views on this.

Selling Products ‘Powered by MindSonar’

Let’s talk about selling MindSonar. MindSonar professionals need customers who buy MindSonar products. And in the realms of consultancy and coaching the ‘product’ is usually a ‘project’; a custom built solution. For an individual it will be a custom planned coaching path. For a company or an agency it will be an intervention designed for that one particular organization. It may have standard components, but the combination is still one of a kind.

Passion and expertise
The way I see it, a good MindSonar product is a combination a MindSonar professional and the MindSonar system. The professional brings their passion (what they are very enthusiastic about), their vision (the ideal world they see), their mission (what they want to contribute to that ideal world) and their expertise (the content areas they know a lot about and have a lot of experience with). MindSonar adds understanding to that, based on a fine grained, in depth measurement of mindsets. It is the synergy between the professional and MindSonar that creates a great product. MindSonar would not be nearly as effective without the passion and the expertise of the professional. And the professional would be much less effective without MindSonar.

“I have a great tool!”
Many people have approached companies with a pitch like: “Hey, I have this great new tool, a test that can actually measure mindsets. With this test I can help you understand how people in your business think.This tool I can help you guys advance in all kinds of ways!”. Often they have been met with blank stares. Or with: “We already have a test”. Why? People who lead organizations are not that interested in the tools their consultants use. It is a bit like being called by a sales person saying: “Hey, we have this great new set of wrenches that can help the engine of your car run smoothly!”. Sure, I want my engine to run smoothly, but as long as it isn’t making funny sounds I am not that interested in the first place. And even if I were worried about the state of my engine, the type or wrenches is a detail I leave with the mechanics. Customers love to leave it up to you to use whatever tests you like, as long as you help them get results.

What people are interested in
People and organisations are interested in results, not so much in the tools they are achieved with. If someone feels a lot of anger, they may want relaxation as a result. If two organizations are merging, they want the people working together as harmoniously as possible. Sales people want to be selling in good quantities. Departments want happy employees. Managers want conflicts resolved as quickly as possible. Almost every business wants excited customers. Employees want to develop as professionals and as people. Almost everybody wants interesting new products being developed. That’s the kind of things organizations are interested in.

Powered by MindSonar
And when you have the ability to measure mindsets, you can offer these results, often in a relatively straightforward manner. And you will be offering them a lot more than just MindSonar. You are offering them you expertise in designing and running change projects. Often you also have some content knowledge of the business they are in. You know what’s going on in their kind of business. Plus you have a broader theory of how things work, in which mindsets are a central element. You are offering a product that is ‘Powered by MindSonar’. Just like your website is ‘Powered by WordPress’. Well, actually it is ‘Proudly Powered by WordPress’. So my advice is: make your next offer about something that you client really wants and that has been difficult for them to get. And have it ‘Proudly Powered by MindSonar’.