In the second of my two part blog on starting your CHERISH journey, it’s important to gather your thoughts and ideas before embarking upon any programme of change. What are the outcomes you want to achieve and what does success look like?
In my book How to Survive Austerity I take readers through the whole CHERISH programme – it’s a simple, common sense approach but an approach which can be extremely effective. I’ve developed a simple four-stage process to help you frame your thinking and gather together your ideas before embarking on the CHERISH journey and this is a great little exercise for anyone working in public services. So are you ready to be CHERISHed?
1. Positive mental attitude
Are you brave? Do you want to give this austerity thing a poke in the eye? Yes? Great, that’s a good start. That positive mental attitude – and backbone – is just the thing you will need to help you steer your course over the next three months or so. Not quite as self-assured and a bit of self- doubt? That’s OK; as long as you share the desire to succeed and willingness to try, then you are still in the right place. You will need to keep your eye on the vision and on your aim throughout this process as well as doing the day-job. Not easy, I know, but keep this in your mind and we are off to a good start.
Next, decide what you are going to seek to improve and make CHERISHed.
2. Identify your target
The key to being able to move quickly and effectively is to identify a very specific service project with very clear benefits and to develop a practical improvement plan. Having a structured approach to delivering projects and programmes so that they are aligned with your organisation’s strategic and operational plans is critical. I recently came across the Business Lifesystem®, which is an example of such an approach. It uses the concept of Delivery Management Vehicles (DMVs) to ensure projects deliver the capability, transformational change and benefits required by your business strategy. It offers a better alternative to the usual project and programme management techniques; you can decide if this approach is for you by looking at the Business Lifesystem® approach at www.businesslifesystem.com
Make sure what you have in mind is achievable over a short time frame. This is not going to be a big-bang restructure that will absorb half your management resources for the next six months. And remember, CHERISH need not be a one-off. Having completed one project successfully, you could look to another area of activity, or you could refine the process on the basis of your experiences first time round. Or perhaps you will, on the basis of your achievement, see a way forward for larger-scale change. Austerity brings opportunities as well as dangers.
3. Plan for action
Time is of the essence. Austerity is banging on your door, so you need to do something about this now – easier said than done in the public sector, where lead times tend to be measured in many months, even if you are lucky. My challenge to you is to set yourself a twelve-week target for action.
Your initial aim is to be able to define your service in terms of outcomes, costs and value to the legendary ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ in less than 30 seconds. For those of you who don’t know who that man is, Wikipedia provides us with the following description: ‘The man on the Clapham omnibus is a hypothetical reasonable person, used by the courts in English law, where it is necessary to decide whether a party has acted as a reasonable person would – for example, in a civil action for negligence. The man on the Clapham omnibus is a reasonably educated and intelligent but nondescript person, against whom the defendant’s conduct can be measured. The term was introduced into English law during the Victorian era, and is still an important concept in British law.’ This all means that while you may know your service inside out you need to be able to present that service and what it offers persuasively to that man on the Clapham omnibus.
4. The right support
If you try to do this in a vacuum, the outcome will not be well received. You will need the permission of an appropriate sponsor within your organisation. It may be the chief executive, it could be your service director, or your regional director or your chief superintendent, etc. With an appropriate sponsor, there is a better chance that once you have worked through this process successfully, you will be able to spread this technique to other services in their sphere of operation and to colleagues, and wider changes will inevitably require corporate support to implement. And there will come a point when you will want to engage your staff in the CHERISH process, with those staff becoming advocates for your service. They will be instrumental at the ‘Share’ stage as well as playing a key role throughout the project. I recommend identifying CHERISH Champions to work with you so that the process is done with staff, not to them.
So use these four steps as your pre-commencement tick box. If you’ve ticked all these boxes you’re ready to start the CHERISH journey…
How to Survive Austerity: a Manager’s Guide to Doing More with Less and Emerging as a Leader in the New Public Sector is available to buy now on Amazon.