Our Thoughts

Check out our latest views and thoughts

Personal development – a team perspective

Investing in people is a critical element of any successful organisation. Encouraging the workforce to undertake a journey of personal development will nurture a range of ‘soft’ skills. Not only will staff thrive as individuals, the business will also reap a range of benefits. This ultimately leads to a stronger, happier and more productive team.

Similarly, COVID-19 has caused a radical disruption to the way people now work. Flexible hours and remote working mean it’s even more important that we build in time for our own personal development and support opportunities for people to explore new interests and passions.

Nurturing our team

At Entec Si we firmly understand the value of this approach. We’ve consistently provided a range of opportunities designed to nurture personal development. These have included our new people focused operating model, Mental Wealth Working Group and Academy Practice. So we asked some of our team what they thought about personal development and their goals for individual growth. 

What does personal development mean to you?

“I think of personal development as being not only how you are in the workplace but also how you have resilience, how you adapt change, how you manage your own wellbeing as well.”

Sue

“For me personal development isn’t just for work, it’s for outside of work too. You might not know exactly where you want to be or what you want to be, but under that huge overarching goal there are baby step goals that you keep picking your way through. That’s how I view personal development, as a continuous self improvement set by yourself and driven by yourself.”

Charlotte

“Generally it can mean becoming a better version of yourself. For me personally, I’m trying to figure out at the moment what is it that gives me that drive and what routes I want to go down. I think you can be the best at anything but if you don’t have that drive it is a loss cause.”

Eilis

“For me the journey of personal development is a process of constant learning. Personal development is part of your journey in whatever role you do.” 

Julie

“Personal development to me means being able to develop myself, my skills and knowledge for me. Personal development is learning and gaining experience of skills that I need to have effectively to be able to move forward with my career.”

Ben

“For me personal development all relates to skills, quality and behaviours. I believe everybody has a set of skills, a set of qualities and behaviours. And I believe that everybody would like to improve themselves in a certain way.”

Sofia

What are your personal development goals for this year?

  • Identify my leadership style and working on leadership skills with Jude Jennison
  • Write an article about a piece of client work for social media

Charlotte

  • Build my LinkedIn space to be personal to me and what I represent
  • I would like to complete the internal project that I took onboard at the start of lockdown three and be available for other internal opportunities

Eilis

  • Gain more experience at communicating with clients
  • Pass my apprenticeship exam
  • Learn more about resource management

Sofia

  • Further development of multi-tasking abilities
  • Proactive approach to work and home-life management – finding a better middle ground between home and work-life while working from home

Ben

  • Develop an oxygen mask approach to wellbeing, with personal wellbeing as a priority, to fuel my personal resilience to support those around me
  • Keep checking both my personal and our team priorities regularly – are we on track, what adjustments do we need to stay or track or improve?
  • Have fun and help the team have fun!

Sue

  • The focus I have at the moment is around developing my leadership brand, by producing articles, linking with people through social media and developing the strengths of the Entec brand alongside the Tim brand

Tim

  • Enhance my leadership skills to start to think more strategically
  • Move away from day-to-day management and working with the leadership team to develop the company moving forward

Julie

Start your own journey

We hope that you’ve found our team’s experiences of personal development inspirational. As Julie suggests, personal development is a journey, so explore whatever interests you and enjoy where it takes you.

Moving forward with change in the public sector

For the public sector, change is often viewed as something to fear, with failed transformation projects leading to a negative organisational culture and even reputational damage. However, by gaining an understanding of the key drivers for change, the public sector can overcome the barriers it once faced.

Proof change can be positive

Over the last year, the public sector has been forced to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Innovation has been pushed to the fore, with new technology solutions having to be introduced quickly in order to maintain service continuity while working remotely.

This necessary transformation has shown that change can be carried out successfully, as long as the organisation has the right tools in place.

Shifting perceptions

The move towards a more modern operating model has helped to alter people’s perceptions of change within local authorities. However, to ensure organisations continue to view transformation as positive, a people-focused approach is needed going forward.

Promoting the long-term benefits of change and addressing past failings can lead to successful transformation projects in future.

Creating a robust strategy

Reduced expenditure, inadequate resources and understaffing have all contributed towards past failings. These factors are unlikely to disappear overnight, so must be considered in project strategies. Potential complications should be identified early on, allowing realistic timelines and goals to be set.

Preventing misunderstandings

There is a misconception amongst the public sector that change always leads to job losses. By keeping a clear line of communication open with employees, and laying out the project’s aims from the start, people are more likely to support the transformation.

Involving employees at all stages of the project can also improve organisational culture. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as regular consultations or internal surveys.

Transformation shouldn’t be seen as a quick fix. Continuous improvement is vital to a successful change project, making employee support essential. A shift has already happened in the public sector. Now is the time to build on the positive changes that have been made, by embracing new technology and placing people at the centre of organisations.

For more information, contact Julie Smith.

Building back better: What culture lessons can NHS trusts learn from 2020?

Even before COVID-19, NHS trusts had been facing several cultural challenges. These include a lack of frontline workers, structural inflexibility and rigid working practices. Solving these issues is no easy feat, so where should trusts start?

Looking into staffing arrangements

Addressing workforce shortages, and inflexibility within staffing arrangements, should be a top priority for the sector.

By adopting an agile approach to developing solutions to cultural challenges and testing out what works, trusts can become more resilient. However, this may involve the need for employees to take on additional responsibilities to fill in any knowledge gaps. If so, this process should be handled considerately and with adequate support and training.

Focus on working together

Trusts must understand the needs of different employees, especially those working on the front line. Taking these into account at every stage of the change process will help to strengthen teams and optimise the success of the project.

Consider mental health and wellbeing

The mental health impacts of the battle against COVID-19 are becoming increasingly clear. Providing tailored support to people will help to bring employees together and build individual resilience, which will enable people to better handle stressful periods.

Prioritise effective line management

Exceptional line management is a cornerstone of excellent patient care and employee wellbeing. Training up managers to spot signs of poor mental health and be compassionate is a vital part of supporting frontline staff.

Communicative effectively

Through open communication with employees, trusts can foster a more joined-up and resilient workforce and a more cohesive culture. 

Consider opportunities to collaborate

Collaboration with the local community can help trusts to reduce pressure on their workforce during times of crisis. For example, this could involve creating local wellbeing initiatives and support groups.

Plan for the long term

With the possibility of further healthcare crises ahead, trusts need to take steps to improve their resilience where possible. By thoroughly reviewing long-term plans and considering future staffing constraints, trusts can better plan for tomorrow by building on the culture lessons from the past year.

For more information, contact Sue Johnson Gregory or Tim Powlson here.

Evolving the way we work

The disruption of the pandemic has provided us with a unique opportunity to transform the way we work and create a new business plan that best fits both our clients and team. But what does this new approach to business development entail?

A focus on mutually beneficial partnerships

Over the years, we’ve noticed that while a number of consultancies specialise in technology implementation, being able to provide change management support is what truly sets us apart. As part of our new business plan, we’ll focus on forming strategic partnerships with companies providing complementary services, helping us to deliver even more value for our clients.

Opening up the talent pool

No longer bound by geography, the pandemic has transformed our recruitment approach, introducing a new level of flexibility. This has enabled us to recruit people purely based on their skills and experience. With location no longer a deciding factor, we can focus on building an expert team that perfectly supports our clients’ needs.

Embracing change

Eman Al-Hillawi, co-founder and director of Entec Si, said:

“The pandemic may have forced many businesses to rethink their plans last year, but it has created an opportunity for us all to improve the way we work for the long-term. Change has become an accepted part of our lives now, and this should be embraced.

“Working remotely has allowed us to focus on finding the best fit, whether that relates to our clients, people or partnerships. Now that we aren’t limited by location, we can deliver exceptional change management solutions to organisations across the UK.”

Lessons learned pre-mortem – top tips

Here at Entec Si, we undertake project and programme assurance work for IT-enabled change. Our experience in this space has shown that most projects and programmes struggle with some common challenges. Many of these issues could have been avoided at the start by assessing risks and issues.

This has made us think that perhaps every project or programme should kick-off with a lessons learned session. Acting as a kind of pre-mortem, this would get the team thinking about what challenges might occur during the project and how these can be addressed.

So we’ve put together some top tips, these are common lessons learned that we find time and time again across projects. Although you’re more likely to find these in a closure report, by addressing these potential risks from the outset, you’ll find your project will be a much smoother experience.

1. Securing dedicated resources for the project’s delivery

This is one of the most common challenges for any project or programme. Typically the client will only offer their key people to support the delivery on a part-time basis. These people will have business as usual as well as specific project work to complete. There are a range of ways you can overcome this issue:

  • Careful planning
  • Adding contingency into time and budgets
  • Bringing in dedicated individuals to manage specific work streams
  • Commissioning specific work packages for part-time resources

2. User Acceptance Testing is cut short

This is always a challenge, often because build and other tests take longer than originally planned or anticipated. The only way to manage this is by adding contingency into time, budgets and resources. If possible, use a dedicated test manager to oversee user acceptance testing. For large or complex projects, consider pulling together a test team.

3. The level of business change is underestimated

It is becoming more unusual these days to find technology projects that don’t take into account the business change elements necessary for a successful project, however, they do still exist.

The old adage of ‘people, process, technology’ is still valid to this day. The only way to manage the challenge of business change is to ensure that you always approach technology-led projects from a business perspective. Similarly, you should outline business benefits from the start. Engagement and communication with all stakeholders throughout the project’s lifecycle are critical elements of this.

4. A lack of operational readiness planning

It can be the case that poor operational planning will not support a smooth go-live and transition into business as usual. This is especially the case for complex projects and programmes.

Often this is an area that is left to the last minute, or sometimes even neglected altogether. The only sure way to ensure a ‘soft landing’ is to have a clear set of acceptance criteria. These can then be managed using a series of gateway reviews and ‘go/no go’ meetings.

5. People were slow to embrace change

In this situation, a slow adoption of change often means a project has to have a second phase. The root of this lies in a lack of focus on the change aspects of a project or programme.

It’s also often the case that training is rushed and therefore doesn’t allow for different learning styles. The way to tackle this is to offer different options and channels for learning. This would allow for additional support and the offer of training and support for some time after the go-live period.

Contact us if you would like to find out how we can manage your project or programme.

Rolling out positive change in 2021

The pandemic has taught UK business leaders some valuable change lessons. By building these into their strategies, they can improve the way their organisations operate and get teams on board with the change journey. So, what are the top transformation tips for companies to consider in 2021?

1. Adopt a step-by-step transformation approach

The perception that transformation projects are always expensive or have to occur on a large scale can be off-putting for many business leaders. Adopting a step-by-step approach to change and thinking 2-3 months ahead enables them to begin adding value to their business models straight away without breaking the bank.

2. Rethink long-term objectives

In light of the events of 2020, leaders must take another look at their long-term objectives and ensure that they’re still relevant. This should involve considering three key areas; what should the business stop doing, what should it continue to do and what should it start doing now? A strategic business health check can help leaders to spot change opportunities and make them a priority.

3. Balance reactive changes and strategic transformation

The process of balancing short-term changes and the need to invest in strategic transformation should begin when setting annual objectives. Once a range of potential short and long-term improvements have been identified, leaders should develop a plan that gives attention to both areas.

4. Secure stakeholder buy-in

In the current remote working environment, leaders need to think creatively about how to engage people with change and strengthen team relationships. Digital channels such as Microsoft Teams can play a valuable role in keeping people connected. However, being clear from the start about the purpose of each channel is important to prevent them from becoming overwhelmed.

5. Invest in the workforce’s mental wealth

To ensure that change projects don’t negatively impact people’s mental health, leaders should view workforce wellbeing as a vital strategy for commercial success. Setting aside dedicated resources to protect the team’s mental wealth and remembering that change is personal is key to creating an organisation that thrives from change and is fit for the future.

For more information contact Sue Johnson Gregory or Julie Smith here.

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Contact us at info@entecsi.com