Leaders and managers on a rapid service design sprint helps them gain a new perspective that helps them to lead change
It can just take a week for a group of managers to have their deeply held view of their service to be transformed, and for them to create a new perspective and collaborative management style . The initial call was to help them look at their complex service, as they have critical problems that need addressing now. The response to that is fine, I need a week of your and your managers time. This is what we did;
Day 1 A couple of hours of understanding the difference between different types of problems, and complexity. And how we as managers need to adapt to mange those differently. Then we went into the work, and sat next to the first group of front line staff. Learning what they do, what gets in their way, and the ability the front line staff have to do their real job. Sitting with staff is a way to help managers to see their operations from a perspective that is outside-in
Day 2 We review the learning from day 1. Learn a little more about what are the characteristics of good workflows. Then they go out to the main service delivery area and sit with the front line. This only takes an hour, but on their return to the room, they are buzzing. It takes almost two hours to unpack their learning!
Day 3 We go deeper into systems thinking concepts, and understand some key aspects of Service Design. We learn about the service user (customer) and what matters to them, and the journey. We also examine the aspects that lie behind the design of the workflows. And what management thinking are driving the behaviours of staff.
Day 4 We listen to real feedback from a service user - and everyone is quiet. The managers realise that they have stopped listening to their service users a long time ago. The rest of the day is spent creating an end to end flow, and identifying points where they need to intervene.
Day 5 is summarising the improvement projects and systemic changes that are needed. Project sheet are created and owned, put on the walls, and off we go.
The group of disparate managers have now formed into a single purpose driven team. They understand each other, and they see how in the past they have failed to even simply work together with one purpose. This is one of the problems of a traditional stakeholder analysis view. Not only is the outcome, practical steps towards improvement, the greatest change is in their mindset, systemic understanding, analysis of complexity, and new management behaviours that emerge by friday afternoon.