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Book details
  • SubGenre:Project Management
  • Language:English
  • Pages:60
  • eBook ISBN:9781927677056

The ALIEN™ Coaching Encounter

5 Pre-Flight Checks for I.T. and Business Change Programmes

by Paul Hookham

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Imagine you are going on a flight somewhere – anywhere, it doesn’t matter! I’m convinced that you will feel much more relaxed if you had observed and listened to all the pre-flight activities and announcements prior to the aircraft launching itself up the runway at 160 mph. This repeatable process is no different to launching a change or transformation programme. It makes perfect sense to have the pre-flight checks but for some inexplicable reason we feel an urge to be at our cruising altitude when we’ve only just started the engines. What I’ve tried to do in this book is articulate, in 10 short chapters, the dos and the don’ts of change and transformation. It takes the reader on a short journey from the pre-flight-checks, to take-off and coping with the first signs of turbulence - but no further. It does not seek to guide you to your destination or ensure a safe landing. There are no-in flight movies or refreshments. I’m sorry about that. It identifies many things that often get overlooked when launching change and is solely based on my practical experience with huge helpings of hindsight in equal measure. It has always puzzled me how I can step up to the plate and successfully deliver hundreds of projects but when it comes to the poisoned chalice of change, I don’t quite get there. The book is intentionally short. I wanted it to be both helpful and something that could be read on a flight from cover to cover. In my project world, small is good and big is bad and often with no track record of success. I hope you will see the real benefit of being an ALIEN™ coach. For me, an independent coach would have been invaluable and was a major missing ingredient from my transformation recipe. The content really is a condensed version of my 40 years experience as a manager, coach and mentor in the field of technology and business change. I hope you get something out of it and at the very least, don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Have a great flight.
The contents of this book are based on pragmatism and real world change experience – right at the coalface. I have read many books on the subject of change but I can assure you that what I’ve written here is based on a personal career of major success in the delivery of projects and programmes, sadly coupled with a ‘must do better’ comment from teacher on major change and transformational class work. So why write a book? I have become very frustrated with the inability of organisations to consistently realise the benefits of change programmes. Nobody remembers who came second in anything, so not winning for my customers is not a great place for me to be. So how come? What’s the missing link? What makes a major improvement effort fail to deliver on all its promises and what gives it a reasonable chance of success. This is what I have agonized over in this book. I also wanted to write something that could be read from cover-to-cover on a flight or just a handful of sessions and not a Victorian novel where I dot every I and cross every T. Unlike many books in my collection, the weight of the book should not preclude a satisfactory outcome for the reader. In the book I have used a flight as an analogy to explain what I believe needs to be achieved before launching major changes. This is the part of the programme where many of the issues need to be addressed. There is no need for a manic scramble to get to cruising altitude before we’ve checked the fuel gauge. I’m sure that whether the flight involves a short haul (small to medium change) or a long haul (major to massive change), the safety announcements need to be listened to and everybody needs to understand them and know what to do in the unlikely event of…etc etc. I hope that you will enjoy the flight with me today – but just keep an eye out for the odd bit of turbulence; there’s nothing to worry about but you need to get the odd bounce resolved when it happens…and it will happen. Before you steam in and get reading, can you please contain your excitement for just a few seconds longer while I explain the rationale behind the book’s structure. It needs to be read from cover to cover, left to right or starting from Page 1 if you are that way inclined. Please don’t open it at Chapter 5 and start reading as it will not make much sense. I start off by introducing an ALIEN™ to you. This is an acronym that I explain in Chapter 1 and involves the critical component to any successful programme – independent coaching. Chapter 2 is all about failure and the death throes of a change programme and I detail some of my hands-on experience of real abject misery and disaster. Chapters 3 – 7 detail the 5 key pre-flight checks that need to be undertaken BEFORE you start – similar to the Initiation Phase of any project. Chapter 8 is all about completion of the Pre-Flight checklist and fastening your seatbelts whereas Chapter 9 highlights some turbulence that you will encounter and what actions you should take to cope with it, in order for your blood pressure to remain at life sustaining levels. Finally, Chapter 10 gives you a summary of the Duty Free Allowances that are available on this flight and what you need to do in order to get them. I mention them throughout the book but they’re here in one place for your convenience, so you can decide whether you want to take advantage of these FREE offers. I’d like to thank you for flying ALIEN™ Airlines today and hope you had a pleasant flight. I never forget that you have a choice. Good luck with your mission.
About the author
Paul Hookham is a vastly experienced authority on I.T and Business Change programmes. He has worked in the industry for over 40 years and successfully delivered hundreds of projects and programmes. Paul is an advocate of quality and passionately believes in delighting his customers. If any work is done that adds no quantifiable value to the customer then he strongly feels that not only shouldn’t it be performed but also not charged for. Paul has held senior positions of influence in some of the world’s most demanding companies and is a qualified coach. He believes that knowledge workers are happier and more productive when empowered to do outstanding work in an environment free of fear and blame; where decision-making is always performed at the informed level. Paul has worked on many change and transformation programmes throughout his career, the vast majority of which have failed to realise their full benefits which have resulted in dissatisfaction from both customer and supplier organisations. He has many ‘war wounds’ and few medals from the theatre of transformation. This book begins to unravel the reasons behind this and focuses on the practical steps that must be taken before launching a change or transformation programme.

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