The Brooke Breakfast Sessions: working up an appetite to solve your most complex problems
In a world where the challenges facing businesses, governments and not-for-profits are becoming more complex and time consuming, it can be hard for executives and project managers to carve out time to step back and look at the big picture. Many decision makers find it hard enough to fit in breakfast!
To solve this particular problem-within-a-problem, Brooke created The Brooke Breakfast Sessions, a series of seminars linking some of Australia’s top decision makers, with the country’s most experienced problem solvers.
Breaking down complex problems
Just when you’ve cracked the perfect product to meet the needs of the market, someone else starts doing it faster, cheaper, with more ingenious marketing, or a slicker app. You attract some of the top talent in the industry, but they move on before you can celebrate their one-year work anniversary. Your “cost-driven” outsourcing strategy is costing more in time and resources to manage than if you had kept the manufacture or service delivery in-house. You’ve found the solution to your problems, but you can’t get the buy-in from your staff needed to make it sustainable. These are all complex, and common problems facing organisations in all spheres.
Technology, innovation and the accelerating pace of change wait for no one, and with this ever-expanding web of complexity comes heightened unpredictability and risk. Organisations need to challenge the status quo and think differently about how to solve their most complex problems to deliver exceptional market results and stay ahead of the pack.
Brooke’s staff have been researching complexity for many years and we have identified the most common root causes of failure in complex projects. This work has led to the development of a very specific approach, which begins by ensuring that people undertaking projects get crystal clear on the outcomes they want to achieve, and how they will know that they have succeeded.
In the Brooke Breakfast Sessions, the challenge of how to achieve these outcomes is looked at from three dimensions: complexity, competency and control.
We will address each dimension in more detail in future blogs, but to whet your appetite…
- Complexity: Identifying the full scale of the complexity of a project or problem, and accompanying risks, is vital. The assessment of complexity includes both inherent complexity, for example the challenges involved in manufacturing a product, or delivering a service; and contextual complexity, the factors bought to bear by the environment in which the project or problem is occurring.
- Competency: This dimension addresses issues that arise when systems or solutions are created and deployed without enough attention paid to the jobs, skills and competencies needed to effect change. People are more complex than the most complex of complex problems. You need to identify the right people to be involved, and ensure all stakeholders join you on the journey.
- Controls: Institutions typically dictate controls on employees from the top-down, leaving little elbow room to deal with changing environments and unforeseen opportunities. To achieve unbridled success in projects and problem solving it is important to ensure that where controls are required, they are outcome-focussed. People need to retain decision making rights, and be empowered to make the best possible decisions as circumstances change.
The Brooke Breakfast Session operates under the ‘Chatham House Rule’ with select groups of executives and project managers discussing some of their most challenging problems, and their perspectives on how to drive results.
Appetiser served. If you are interested in learning more about the sessions, or our approach, please contact us today.