In this interview, I spoke with Andreas Trautner, co-founder BlackbeltPPM. Read our conversation, to learn more about the importance of implementing effective change initiatives for businesses.
- Hi! Please tell us more about yourself and your company?
My name is Andreas Trautner, and I am the co-founder BlackbeltPPM. We help organizations do successful PPM, i.e. how to successfully change the way that an organization runs their “business as usual”. This is an important business area, but it is characterized by much confusion, and many change initiatives fail. This has grave consequences because change initiatives are the only way for an organization and its CEO to execute strategies. Consequently, failed change initiatives will not only mean that valuable resources and time are lost, but may also threaten the existence of the organization. BlackbeltPPM can help organizations change because we master the skillset and we have the necessary mindset to do so. You simply need to know the craftsmanship, AND you need to be driven by the clear, inherent logic of why you want to enact a change initiative.
- What inspired you to start BlackBeltPPM?
We are really enthusiastic about making a huge difference for people and organizations! We realized that this was very rare in the business arena where companies pay for more expensive consulting hours and tons of power point presentations. To do what we are doing requires very high skills, which takes a combination of practice, mindset, theory and exceptional tools. This requires focus and passion! This is what our clients say about us.
- Oftentimes, many organizations seek to transform several different aspects of their business simultaneously. How does your firm insure that your client’s objectives will be met effectively?
Change initiatives fail because they are set up to fail. Our job is to set each change initiative up for success. This isn’t done by running many change initiatives, but focusing on the most important. Wanting to run several large change initiatives is one of the three reasons why many change initiatives fail. We help with prioritizing the best change initiative for the client, and help them execute it.
- What does a successful change initiative look like for an organization?
First, a change initiative is an investment; so harvesting the ‘ROI’ or benefits is the direct measure of a successful change initiative. Strangely, most people do not realize this, but it is the inherent logic of all change investments.
Second, a change initiative is a response to the “business as usual” idea of dealing with an issue, opportunity or a threat. Consequently, the issue, threat or opportunity should be under control and managed after the change initiative.
Third, the change initiative must not damage the “business as usual”. Some interruptions may occur, but people certainly should not leave the organization, or go on stress-induced sick leave.
Regarding “on time and on budget”, these are secondary measures that may or may not affect the change investment. However, people often focus on this because it is easier to measure than to do benefits mapping. We have developed a “Clear line of Sight Benefit Map” to help organizations with this difficult task.
- Are there any performance metrics that you are particularly fond of? If so what are they?
Controlling a change initiative requires measures leading and lagging the change that was set out to achieve. Lagging measures may be the benefits associated with the change, whereas leading measures would be product delivery and the results of the deliveries, i.e. the new capabilities of the organization.
However, it is very important to stress that these measures are agreed with the stakeholder via inclusive and transparent workshops. Starting a change initiative is NOT about filling out templates. This is one of the biggest mistakes in project and program management. This will lead to check box project management, and will add NO value whatsoever. It will just lead to a big rain dance within the organization.
- Your company offers several unique certifying courses. Can you talk about what a prospective client can expect from your firm?
Well, there are many other organizations that offer the same portfolio of courses, so in that sense we are not all that unique. However, we deeply understand the topics that we are training. For example, we offer 10.000 hours of theory, training, and practice using the methodologies that I train, so our courses are very, VERY different from most other trainers’ courses. The difference between a master trainer and a mediocre is that the latter is training driven by slides, whereas the master-trainer will provide training driven by real life examples and taking the examples from the classroom and breaking them down to display both the craftsmanship and the theory of the manual.