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How We Work

We work in an agile way, utilising and exemplifying everything we teach, including Service Thinking. We work this way in order to maximise the value we deliver, as well as to demonstrate our approach to clients, allowing them to experience what we teach.

We always collaborate in full partnership with our clients, preferring to create cross functional Clear Star / client teams under a client led steering group or Guiding Coalition, in order to put our clients in full control of their transformation. We believe this is critical to enable our clients to be able to continue transforming and improving their organisations after we’ve left, and we focus on continuous coaching, support and handover to enable this.

We hold formal kick-off events with client stakeholders for every engagement, where we review the outcomes required, explain and discuss how we plan to work, review any key risks, and do some initial planning.

Organisation

We work as a team (ideally including client personnel) on consulting and coaching engagements – we collaborate on outcomes, hold each other to account, flex our effort to ensure we are working on the highest priority and the client is continuously getting maximum return on their investment, and jointly share in successes (and failures).

We have a couple of key roles on every client engagement:

  • Every team has a Team Facilitator, responsible for facilitating the effective operation of the team. This role is often rotated regularly.
  • Every engagement has an Account Manager, responsible for ensuring that the team(s) engaged with the client are delivering the required outcomes and delivering value for money. This role operates at arms length from the team(s) to enable them to be objective and challenge the teams.
  • Every engagement has a Clear Star Coach. They are not involved in the day to day delivery, but may be called on by team(s) or Account Managers to support the resolution of risks or issues or to help challenge and improve the team’s ways of working.

Every team will hold a team kick off event at the start of every engagement to agree how they want to work together, and what values and principles will guide their decisions. This is especially prioritised for cross functional Clear Star / client teams.

We also expect every team to hold regular wellbeing events, ensuring that everyone is working at a sustainable pace, finding the right work/life balance, and that everyone in the team is getting the support they need.

And we expect every team (including any client personnel) to invest time and effort in continuous learning, for example through short regular discussions on new books or ideas.

We work to outcomes, not outputs. We welcome challenging outcomes that have no clear route for delivery, and we use experimentation and innovation techniques to identify and test potential solutions allowing us to then commit to the delivery of an outcome.

We use Lean Portfolio Management techniques to decompose large long term outcomes into smaller shorter outcomes through which we can deliver value early and repeatedly. We form Epics around these to ensure we have a good understanding of the time and effort required to deliver outcomes, and we regularly prioritise these to ensure our capacity is focused on the work that will deliver most value to our clients.

We aim to capture both quantitative and qualitative measures of success against outcomes, capturing key results, baselined early, as well as capturing anecdotal feedback.

We plan regularly – daily if we’re in early discovery or experimentation/innovation, with weekly planning added when working to better understood outcomes, and monthly or quarterly if working to longer term outcomes. And we make commitments against the desired outcomes – not against the plan or the expected outputs.

Our clients are at the heart of delivery. We work transparently and our progress is permanently visible, so they can make the best decisions without latency. We include them in formal review and planning sessions, ideally as a short weekly session to enable timely feedback, with longer sessions once per month for portfolio and strategy reviews. We also use these sessions to review risks and issues, and to escalate any items that require wider discussion.

We aim to demonstrate what we’re doing via a show and tell as an open session to client organisations on a regular basis – exposing what we’re doing, what we’ve done, and welcoming feedback from as wide a range of parties as possible.

Outcome Delivery

Performance

We hold regular retrospectives, which the Clear Star Coach will often attend. We do these both internally to ensure we challenge ourselves on what we’re doing, and with our clients to ensure there are no undiscovered challenges, issues or inefficiencies. We will often start doing these monthly, reducing this as and when appropriate.

We also aim to capture anonymous client feedback once per month on the performance of our teams. We use this to identify where improvements and interventions are required to maintain team performance.