The Tavistock Institute wins SME award for change & development consulting

20 November 2018 Consultancy.uk

A London-based not-for-profit consultancy has landed a prestigious award form SME companies for the second year in a row. The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations was presented with the gong for Best Business Change & Development Consultancy by the Greater London Enterprise Awards.

Formally established as a registered charity in September 1947, the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) is a British not-for-profit organisation which applies social science to contemporary issues and problems. Last year, the firm celebrated its 70th year in business, and has spent that time supporting sustainable change and on-going learning by engaging clients with evaluation and action research, organisational development and change consultancy, executive coaching and professional development.

Amid its 70th year festivities in 2017, TIHR was handed additional cause to celebrate by SME News, when the organisation handed it an award commending it as the Best Business Change & Development Consultancy of the year. SME News is a British media outlet which draws on a UK-wide network of industry insiders to provide readers with the latest news, features and deals from across the UK landscape of small and mid-sized enterprises. Each year, it organises the Greater London Enterprise Awards to promote the best practices of firms in the market.

The Tavistock Institute wins SME award for change & development consulting

Keen not to rest on its laurels, however, TIHR pushed on, and one year later has repeated that same feat. The firm was awarded the title of Best Business Change & Development Consultancy 2018 in the Greater London Enterprise Awards, with the organisers of the ceremony commenting of their selected winners, “Our awards are given to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.”

The statement from SME News added, “Every one of our award winners can rest assured that their recognition was truly deserved, as we carefully evaluate everything from their performance over the past 12 months, their commitment to innovation, their methods and even their competition to ensure that only the most deserving names walk away with one of our prestigious accolades.”

In response to the triumph, TIHR released its own comment, saying, “We are still celebrating over 70 years at the forefront of organisational development, leadership consultancy and evaluation and research after storming Chicago at this year’s Academy of Management conference. This is why UK and international organisations consistently choose The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations!”

Related: Eliat Aram on the role of the Tavistock Institute in developing leadership.

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Managing the demand for change in project management

16 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

The forward-looking nature of project management means that regardless of the type of project, thorough planning and risk assessment are essential to ensure it is delivered on time, on budget, and in line with the client’s requirements – while delivering the expected results. Consultants Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden elaborate in the article below. 

However, it is important to recognise that in this fast-moving working environment, and with projects increasing in scale and complexity, a degree of change is inevitable. Putting the right mitigation strategies in place early on can provide project managers with much-needed agility, allowing them to respond quickly to any new issues that arise.

When the goalposts move or project managers are issued with an unexpected client request, adopting a holistic approach is essential to ensure that changes are implemented successfully the first time around, reducing the risk of any problems arising in the future. Rather than considering the demand for change in one area of a project in isolation, it is important to conduct a full impact assessment, taking into account any knock-on effects on people, processes, systems and infrastructure. For example, a sudden need to digitalise a key HR process may have implications for recruitment, or the need to upskill existing staff through new training programmes, or both. 

Implementing a Portfolio Management Office (PMO) can also enhance project managers’ ability to spot interdependencies and better manage unforeseen changes. Where a number of projects or programmes are being undertaken simultaneously, this function is particularly useful, providing stakeholders with increased visibility and driving intelligent decision-making. For example, spotting an unexpected delay to a particular project could enable resources to be reallocated across the portfolio at an early stage, helping to drive efficiencies within the business and keeping budgets on track. 

Managing the demand for change in project management

As part of their efforts to make the most of available resources while keeping costs under control, project managers should consider using blended teams wherever possible. By combining the organisation’s existing employees with different skills and experienced project managers, it is easier to ensure that the correct levels of skills and resources are utilised at each stage of a project. Furthermore, this method can provide the additional flexibility needed to respond quickly to new developments without unnecessarily prolonging project timelines or increasing costs. 

It is worth bearing in mind that introducing some mitigation strategies may require an initial cost outlay and, as such, effective communication with stakeholders from the very beginning of a project is key. One example is to allocate a contingency budget to the project. This helps to facilitate the project manager’s ability to address key issues that require unplanned spend, without the need to undergo a time-consuming budget approval process. By educating all involved parties about the inevitability of change during projects, it is possible to put buffers in place, both financially and in terms of the project timeline. Over the course of a project, this should enable project managers to react quickly to change and take effective action without compromising on the timescales and delivery of client objectives. 

Likewise, where project delivery is reliant upon large and diverse teams, clearly communicating the impact of unexpected changes, and the required response, is also vital to ensure everyone is on the same page and disruption to day-to-day processes is kept to a minimum. When curveballs to project delivery occur, a failure to brief the team on how these should be addressed could also have a significant impact on levels of motivation and morale, which in turn has the potential to have a negative impact on productivity across a project. 

While meticulous forward planning will always be an essential element of project management, it’s equally important to recognise that to a certain extent, change is unavoidable. The ability to respond effectively to new developments as they occur is therefore vital. By making change a central part of discussions with stakeholders and clearly communicating with all parties on a programme, project managers can take new issues in their stride while continuing to deliver exceptional results for clients. 

Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden are principal consultants at business change consultancy Entec Si.