Education and Communications Pathways and Pitfalls

“Communications help to keep people feeling included in and connected to the organization…give people information, and do it again and again.” — William Bridges, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Changeo You need to establish the few core messages you want to communicate throughout your organization. Use any and every communication channel you can to review, remind, and reinforce them. These include:o Newsletterso Videoso Voice and e-mail updates and dialogueso Recognition and celebration eventso Annual shareholder reportso Annual improvement reportso Visits to, from, and among customers and partnerso Special improvement days and fairs that allow teams to display their activities and resultso Orientation and training sessionso Teleconferenceso Intranet siteso Toll-free hot lines and telephone information centerso Get out and talk to people. Multiple communication channels can and should be widely used to reinforce and support your core messages. But the best way to communicate is in person. The most effective communication approaches are like political campaigns. Leaders are out actively “pressing the flesh” and standing up to present their change and improvement themes and core messages. During times of major change or refocus, we’ve seen senior managers at some large organizations spend well over one hundred days per year delivering these vital communication messages. That’s leadership.

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o Develop your “stump speech” or “talking points” among your management team before any of you heads out to give your version to the rest of the organization. This generally includes messages around your Change Drivers, Focus and Context (vision, values, and purpose), key goals and priorities, change/improvement plans, and such.o Get people together. Get teams together weekly, monthly, and certainly no less than quarterly. That’s especially important for management, operational, or improvement teams that aren’t in the same building. At my previous consulting company, The Achieve Group, we found frequent face-to-face communications were the most important when we could least afford the time or the money to hold them. We continually find that getting the key players together can turn around most misunderstandings, mistrust, and misdirection. BUT, and here’s the “big if” – only if the meetings are well run.o Develop highly visible scoreboards, bulletin boards, or voice mail, electronic or printed announcements of progress toward team and organization goals and priorities.o Share all core strategic measurements (including “confidential” financial, and operating data) with everyone in your organization. Treat people like full-fledged business partners and they’ll act that way. But don’t snow them under with a blizzard of meaningless reports and numbers. Train everyone how to read these data. Show them how to relate the measurements to their daily operations and improvement activities.o Team education, learning, and communication can be kept simple. In my early management years I got a lot of mileage from having my team sit around a conference table reading, discussing, and debating selected book passages or articles. This dialogue established a common values and knowledge base that enhanced mutual understanding, teamwork, communications, and context for further training and work together.o Establish an internal “best practices and good tries” communication system, clearinghouse, or network. A free flow of information and active communications is the lifeblood of a learning organization. Use videos, visits, fairs, Intranet sites, voice and e-mail, meetings, reports, hot lines, teleconferences, information technologies, and the like.o Get feedback from your customers and partners on the characteristics of your education and communication strategies, systems, and practices. How many communication channels are you using? Are they clogged or working well? What others could you be using?o When you’re sick of repeating the same core messages over and over again is about the time that people in your organization are just starting to hear you. First they didn’t understand. Then they didn’t believe. If you stop repeating yourself now, they’ll conclude that you weren’t serious after all.

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o Just as a marketing professional would never rely on just one marketing channel, don’t rely too heavily on the management hierarchy to deliver your core messages. It’s full of filters and personal agendas that twist and distort your messages. Yet you can’t go around your managers. They need to be central in communicating, reinforcing, and repeating your core themes. So start with them and give them that responsibility. But don’t assume it will be delivered as you wanted. That’s why personal meetings and multiple communication channels are so important.o Keep moving your best people to the teams, positions, and parts of the organization that will spread their experience and leadership as broadly as possible. It’s also a great way to continue their development.o Reward and thank people who bring you bad news before it’s festered into a catastrophe.Trust and communication levels go together. Find out how high your organization or team trust levels are. If they’re low find out what’s causing the problem. This may be painful. The source of misunderstandings and mistrust is often in the leaders’ behavior.

Safety Culture – Developing, Writing, and Communicating the Direction!

When you plan a vacation, you and your family have this great vision in mind about where you want to go, what you want to see, and what you want to do as well as the types of experiences you want to have. You may have planned over a number of months or years for the trip. Extensive arrangements for travel, tickets, luggage, guidebooks, maps, clothing, etc. are completed to ensure that everything necessary to make the trip a successful and happy one is thought through, packed and crosschecked.Isn’t planning and developing a safety process not that different from planning a trip or any other endeavor? The first part is a statement about some form of desire. I would like to visit the Rocky Mountains, or for the safety process, the statement maybe, I would like to have a safety process that is designed around ANSI Z10 (or some other equal or similar process.)Once an agreement is reached by the family or the organization as to where to go, the next thing that must be answered is: Why do we want to go there? If it is a vacation, it is because I think we would see great scenery. If it is the safety system, it is because we believe that an enhanced safety process will reduce the organizations risk, reduce hazards, and make the organization a better place to work.Once the where we want to go is decided upon, the next step is to put your vision into a better format, a written plan. Now questions can be asked such as: How can we pay for the trip? How long will it take to get there? What will we need to do to get ready to go? What do we need to transport us there and what do we need to pack and prepare for the journey.Once you have answered these questions, you will use similar methods to determine the direction of your management system or process. At this point you are moving away from a safety program mentality to a safety process that will continue to develop overtime. This is where you will define your policy statement, goals, and objectives and align them with your vision.

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It is said that “The destination is not always as important as the journey.” It is important to ensure that while moving towards your destination, each step of the way is planned and taken in a way to ensure that the journey can be completed successfully. And that in the end, the result, like reaching a holiday resort, will be enjoyable and all involved are able to enjoy this new and exciting place.You must ensure that all of the elements are in place and working before you start your journey. However, as in real-life, not everything will work right the first time. Sometimes on the way to your destination, there will be breakdowns in the system, for example, when your car breaks down when you are on vacation, you must get it repaired before starting the journey again. Using this same example and applying it to your management system; think of it this way: The Lewis and Clark Expedition was a journey into wilderness never explored. When you are developing a safety culture you will be experimenting and changing things on your journey, trying to find your way and there is nothing wrong with learning. The good news is that Lewis and Clark found their way and so can you. Pathway to Safety Excellence If you are really serious about moving your process forward, in the early phases, you will begin to see the desire for change to take place. The key is to use your employees to help you with this journey. At the middle phases of the journey many organizations have dealt with the trust and credibility issues in the eyes of the employees if specific safety activities have not been formulated, acted upon and maintained properly. This may be perceived as just the “program of the month.” This is usually the perception that everyone in the organization will have if you start down one path and decide to move in another direction without proper communication. Again, this is where the employee participation comes into play, as all employees must be part of every change that occurs.In the final stage, safety is a demonstrated value by management. As issues rise, employees and management are involved, making decisions together. At this point in time some will be skeptical about letting employees help make specific decisions. You may think: “We are the management team and we will make the decisions.” While this is true, having employees as part of the decision-making process will, in our opinion, help you define your direction, therefore making more-informed choices. This will have a tendency to have a positive impact on the organization. Pitfalls to Overcome in the Process In the beginning stages, a major organizational concern is the trust factor. Employees may initially question why a particular approach is being offered and may question the sincerity of the effort.When an organization fails to maintain the safety efforts, the setback could be worse than doing nothing, as employees and management alike will be less likely to be made a “fool” twice. As the old saying goes: “Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me.” There are no questions that mistakes will be made. And this is acceptable only if one openly acknowledges those mistakes and takes the necessary steps to correct and prevent recurrences.One key item to keep in mind: Always prepare management for the potential of an initial increase in reported injuries and loss producing events. If safety has not been designed as a loss producing process and not a risk and hazard control effort, with increased awareness and trust, more employees may report injuries that were in the past hidden. Under-reporting can be an unintended consequence of stressing frequency rates and using post loss measurements. As the new process takes into account the information and implements additional hazard controls, the effects of the new safety efforts should show a leveling off of losses as the system changes take hold as reported issues are identified and corrected. The Priority of Safety A truly successful organization aligns and places safety in the same level of priority as production, sales, and quality control. Therefore, the management process must be understood if actions and commitments are needed that will take your organization to the next level. The following items provide a basic overview of a safety process:

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- Defining safety roles and responsibilities for all levels of the organization; for example, ensuring that safety is a line management function.- Developing upstream measures, for example, number of reports of hazards/suggestions, number of committee projects/successes, number of related specific activities, etc.- Aligning management and supervisors by establishing a shared vision of safety goals.One major concern at the final level is the sustainability of this new safety culture, especially if there have been changes in workplace requirements, management and employee responsibilities, job methods, administrative guidelines, and the like. If the safety system has not had a chance to cement itself in the organization with the appropriate level of employee participation, then the changes could damage the sustainability of the process.Source:Developing an Effective Safety Culture: A Leadership Approach” by James RoughtonOSHA Web site – eTools – Safety and Health Management

Instant Online College Degree Program Information and Applications

If you are thinking about an online college degree because of the flexibility and ease that it provides, you can get instant information and applications online to get you started. Because online degrees have no geographical limitations, you can apply to reputable schools all over the country and have access to many different types of programs.An online site can provide you with information and applications for certificate programs, associates, bachelors, masters and PhD education programs, as well as personal follow-up, almost instantly.

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You will be provided information on programs for nursing, engineering, psychology, accounting, computer science, business, and many other programs at just a click of the mouse. Different schools will provide you with information about classes, schedules, requirements, and financial aid packages. Contact via phone to discuss specific questions with a specialist is offered. You will have access to enough information to make an informed choice. Applications are available online to start the acceptance process. Before you know it you will be an online student!Each school that you apply to will be able to provide you with information about how their online degree program works. Availability of chat rooms, blogs, e-mail to communicate with the instructor and classmates and to turn in assignments will be explained. Some schools run on a set schedule and others allow you to enter at anytime, so this type of information is important for you to know.

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Once you have reviewed the many choices of programs that are available to you, you can apply online to the program or programs that interest you and start your new academic career. Soon a degree in a specialized field can be yours.

A New Science-Art Solution to the Global Information and Communications Epidemic

The ethical evolutionary growth and development of the human condition is extremely complex. The task of advancing human evolution involves the recognition of past scientific mistakes and acting accordingly. Modern science has classified itself as an incurable carcinogenic state leading to certain extinction and that is not ethical. Ancient Greek science on the other hand, knew of the extinction of life forms from fossil evidence and invented an atomic science, specifically so that civilization would not become extinct. During the 3rd century BC, Plato’s Academy actually called it the Science for ethical ends. At the Epicurean University the ethical atomic first principle logic applied to the movement of the moon influencing the female cycle by resonating with the atoms associated with female fertility. This resonance was held to explain a mother’s love and compassion for children and belonged to the Science of universal love. Its teachers were called Saviours, saving civilization from the destructive properties of unformed matter of chaos emerging from the atom, as envisaged by Plato and Philo.The search for first principle logic, in particular concerning the real nature of carcinogenic growth and development, is of paramount importance. Under these circumstances the recognition of scientific mistakes requires an exacting reexamining of ancient science itself. While associated intuitive religious beliefs are very relevant, it can be considered to be demeaning to leave them tied up in knots of unfathomable complexity rather than to obtain a more astute understanding of our commitment to them.Scientific geniuses representing age old scientific thinking, related to the destructive property of unformed matter (nuclear detonation) emerging from within the atom to destroy civilization, existed. They included Plato; the father of ethical scientific research in the Western World, Philo; who linked Greek science to Hebrew culture, and Al-Haytham; the Islamic father of optics. Isaac Newton, a devout Christian, published that the ancient Greek first cause principle logic explained gravitational force correctly. He argued that it was a pretensious mistake to hold that the mass of objects in space caused gravity (see Newton’s 28th Query Discussions). Plato, Philo and Al-Haytham stated that by developing a science based upon the concept of all knowledge being derived from the senses, in particular from vision, would cause the destructive property of unformed matter to emerge from within the atom to destroy civilization.The general global religious reluctance to research such profound fundamental scientific mistakes is preventing information and communication research into advancing human civilization in an ethical, non-carcinogenic direction. The consequence of this is the global epidemic, concerning the contagious effects of scientific dysfunctional communication and information.It is rapidly becoming common knowledge that American medical epidemiologists, appointed by the Government of the United States of America to protect the health and wellbeing of communities, have identified an uncontrollable virus-like dysfunctional 3D global epidemic. Scholars have published that is is an emotional control epidemic, transmitted though the mass production of information and communication devices. They have acknowledged that in order to the carry out their epidemiology responsibilities, the best that can be done is to try and mitigate the damage that the virus-like epidemic is causing.The strain of the current global information and communication 3D epidemic echoes the form of the mathematical intent programmed within poker machines to bring about bankruptcy if continually played. Scientists are now afflicted with a heroin-like addiction, leading to both moral and financial bankruptcy, and have become obsessively committed to continually play the global corporate profit game, which is their proud badge of dysfunctional excellence. This unfortunate situation can be remedied if their brilliant research is synergized with new living information logic.

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The inability of scientists to program a computer to generate appropriate human survival simulations in order to solve real evolutionary problems is particularly exasperating. In 1979, China’s most highly awarded scientist, Hun Huang, educated in Scotland, provided Australian cancer researchers with the methodology to program a computer to generate 50 million years of healthy seashell evolution through space-time. Mainstream mathematics, lacking first principle logic, could only generate deformed or carcinogenic futuristic life-form simulations. The use of first principle mathematics to generate optimum growth and development representing the existence of a life-force, was proven. The simulations exactly matched fossilized mathematical seashell evolutionary growth and development. Likewise, the fossil record of humanoid sphenoid bone evolution exists to allow an identical methodology to obtain a human survival blueprint rather than a seashell one. Even if we remain locked into the present extinction mindset, such blueprint evidence would buy us precious time to harmonize mechanistic science with living scientific logic. Therefore, providing antidote knowledge regarding the present dysfunctional 3D epidemic, is a crucial issue.The Australian team’s discovery was published by Italy’s leading science journal, Il Nuovo Cimento. In 1990 the world’s leading technological research institute, IEEE, reprinted it as an important discovery, listed alongside such names as Louis Pasteur and Sir Francis Crick. The existing carcinogenic mindset sentences all life to extinction instead of allowing it to evolve toward infinity. Therefore, it follows that an examination of our incomplete science, to locate crucial first principle laws governing the human evolution of living information and communication, is warranted.Politicians can presently only react to the reality of problems by acting upon their emotional responses to scientific advice given to them based upon the dysfunctional 3D communication and information epidemic. Scientists, technologists and politicians are at present emotionally denied the will to enter relevant human survival data into a computer program to generate realistic solutions. The scientist, Kun Huang, fully realized this situation when he provided the Australian researchers with the methodology to obtain an alternative line of reasoning to help bring about a balanced scientific mindset.We know from released data belonging to the Manhattan Project that ancient geometrical logic was astute enough to intuit the existence of nuclear destructive chaos. A moral argument existed relevant to the making of the atomic bomb before Nazi Germany did. However, nobody thought about creating the omni-technology obviously associated with the ancient ethical human survival science. Logical reasoning at that time meant that the scientific information and communication needed to win the Second World War had to cause more entropic chaos than that of the enemy. As a result, global information and communication technology is about irresponsible and short sighted corporate profit in the form of a dysfunctional global epidemic.Da Vinci, Descartes, Sir Francic Bacon and Einstein were certainly happy to give human vision a major role in the evolution of science’s understanding of reality and this became the basis of a mechanistic science devoid of first principle living logic. When the sperm and egg unite to create human life the eye does not exist and therefore cannot be the seat of all knowledge. Therefore, modern science, by ignoring this fact, divorced itself from reasoning about the crucial first principle information associated with the evolutionary act of conception.A high resolution picture of the geometrical shape of the human cell about to divide exists, showing that it is an infinite fractal expression of reality. Its geometrical electromagnetic shape does not allow the current 3D information epidemic to be transmitted to the new cell. That technological rejection obviously contains antidote information relating to the prevailing mechanistic epidemic bought about by the influx of dysfunctional communication and information devices. The epidemiologists are becoming aware that the transfer of living information during cell division does not obey our present understanding of information and communication.The philosopher of ethical science, Immanuel Kant, who laid down the foundation of the electromagnetic Golden Age of Danish Science, considered that the first principle logic for ethical evolution was an “asymmetrical electromagnetic” inner vision within the creative artistic mind. As a deeply religious person he referred to it as it God’s ethical purpose for perpetual peace on earth. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, intuitive religious beliefs are relevant and it can be considered to be demeaning to leave them tied up in knots of unfathomable complexity. Kant’s asymmetrical electromagnetic inner vision viewing glasses actually came into existence in 2003, allowing us to make Salvado Dali’s intuitive stereoscopic evolutionary artistic theories, visible for the first time to the general public.Modern quantum biology cancer research has noted that healthy information flows in the opposite direction to the energies of entropic chaos, apparently entangling with it to evolve universal consciousness. Within his book, Utopia or Oblivion, Buckminster Fuller presumed that the merging of mechanical science with humanitarian science would be achieved through a new human survival artistic perspective. Using asymmetrical electromagnetic 3D glasses to view copies of paintings over the centuries, it can be observed that during the 21st Century artists have begun to unconsciously paint very dramatic 3D images into their work. This naturally occurring evolutionary intuitive ability contrasts with the artificial 3D virus-like epidemic proliferated by the mass production of dysfunctional communication and information devices. The flow of Kantian healthy ethical information flowing in the opposite direction to the dysfunctional virus is a mirror image of it. That is pertinent to the discarded 19th Century linguistic colour perception theories belonging to the English Prime Minister, William Gladstone and the philosopher of Science, Wolfgang von Goethe during the Great Darwinian Debate.The Architect and Coordinator of QUAGI-Quantum Art Group International, the artist Roberto Denti, in collaboration with prize-winning quantum biologists helped to fuse the Australian Science-Art discoveries into Italian quantum biology’s concept of the 21st Century Renaissance. Several international magazines recorded the birth-date of that Renaissance as being the 24th of September, 2010, when Denti’s colleagues, Professor Massimo Pregnolato and Professor Paolo Manzelli, were awarded the Giorgio Napolitano Medal on behalf of the Republic of Italy, for their quantum biology research discoveries.In 2012 the scientist Guy Deutscher’s book of the year, Through the Language Glass, upgraded 19th Century linguistic colour perception theory into a new advanced neurological science. The work harmonized into the first principle cancer research theories of the Australian linguistic colour research and resonated with the research conducted by Roberto Denti and his colleagues. A unique coincidence had occurred. In 1988, the science writer for the Australian Medical Observer, Dr Calvin Miller, wrote a feature article for that eminent journal, based upon his investigation of the Australian first principle logic theories. He predicted that they might well become the basis of a New Renaissance. Roberto Denti and his artistic colleagues, expressed their Science-Art 21st Century Renaissance theories clearly in the new neurological language. It can now be observed that they were unconsciously painting in extremely vibrant 3D imagery, now relevant to locating an antidote to the artificial 3D science-art epidemic.

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Massimo Pregnolato is one of the world’s most highly awarded professors of medical chemistry. His research association with the artist Roberto Denti is recorded on the internet surrounded by paintings and coloured medical illustrations. When viewed through asymmetrical electromagnetic 3D glasses they depict vivid representations of Immanuel Kant and Emmanuel Levinas’ inner artistic vision of futuristic ethical reality. In quantum biology cancer research this inner vision information flows in the opposite direction to the 3D information/communication epidemic bringing about heroin-like illusionary inner vision addictions related to an anticipation of poker machine-like financial gain.The naturally occurring unconscious evolutionary development of inner stereoscopic vision is a visible demonstration of Salvador Dali’s overwhelming intuition that his artwork contained a stereoscopic message of an advanced futuristic science. Dali’s intuition dismissed Descartes’ first principle “I think therefore I am” mathematical truism in favour of Sigmund Freud’s first principle logic based upon the “joy of life”. For those wanting to create and love children, Freud’s first principle axiom could well read, “we desire and think, therefore we will be”.Pregnolato and Denti’s proclamation of the substance upholding their 21st Century Renaissance resulted in two major world Art Quantum exhibitions involving internationally prestigious artists. The first exhibition is to be held at the Silber Gallery in Rome, from March 31 to 06 April 2016, and the second at Russia’s famous Artists of Central Palace, Moscow, 22 to 28 April, 2016, as announced in the Spring Edition of Russian Art Week – Quantum Art Group Italia. Some of the artwork on exhibition is also represented by the world’s largest commercial art gallery, Park West Gallery in Michigan, USA.The crucial importance of this precursor to a new ethical 21st Century Renaissance science has been summarized by Roberto Denti: “The Art Quantum is a precursor of cognitive change to look for new inspirations, new reference models based on overcoming the limitations of the old mechanical ideas, thus generating anticipatory and innovative action of ‘scientific and technological imagination, capable, factually capable of encouraging more useful interpretations of life and its evolution”.This article has been written as a possible contribution to obtaining the antidote to the 3D global information and communication epidemic. It seeks to help establish a source of corporate ethical stamps of approval for future first principle cancer research posters, depicting the past scientific mistakes mentioned herein. Establishing such a delicate but essential corporate synergistic understanding about futuristic technology is considered to be more effective in the manner of Dali’s eccentric, colorful, unsophisticated methodology. The seals on the proposed posters containing an intent to consider ethical peacemaking initiatives based upon radical scientific shakeups are considered able to promote more trustworthy inclinations to try and solve the epidemic problem that are seen as being critical to the entropic status quo.

Tips for Successful Project Delivery: Customer Engagement, Respect and Communication

What if a professional athlete set a standard where winning was not enough? Instead, they had to achieve a personal best or break a previous record year after year.What if a new theme park opened on schedule, with no delays, and offered tickets to the first one million visitors to return at any time and bring up to 100 guests at no additional charge?Welcome to my world. As an IT provider, I face the similar challenge: that is, delivering a project experience to customers that will not only achieve all project goals, but also blow them away.I have delivered on hundreds of projects for customers in my career and I have seen projects go smoothly and poorly. I have seen projects end with both the customer and the provider feeling a sense of accomplishment, and I have seen projects drag on for months, even years and then dwindle out almost as if customer and provider conceded defeat for any of the following reasons:

lofty project goals

misjudged budgets

technology that couldn’t be wrangled in
Sound familiar to anyone? These are some of the reasons why PMI (pmi.org) reports that 89 percent of projects at high-performing organizations meet their original goals and business intent, compared with just 36 percent at low-performing organizations.The Cost of Poor PerformanceThose low-performing organizations also lose 12 times more money than high-performers.My customers include professionals in all aspects of IT service delivery. Their business and IT needs are great because so much depends on the success of these projects-their budgets, their revenue goals, their own staffing decisions, their perceptions to upper management, and the perceptions of other customers.But what many people don’t realize is the poorly performing projects hurt both customers and providers equally. Obviously the customer is frustrated and perhaps feels slighted in what they are getting versus what they are paying for. These kinds of projects severely impact the provider as well. The provider’s number one priority is to deliver on the scope of the project to the customer. That has to be the most important principle for a provider, held above all else, because a project that ends with an unsatisfied customer is a complete waste of everyone’s time. However, a very close second priority is delivering a project quickly and efficiently, even when there is no time pressure from the customer.Long-running projects incur overhead in several forms. As projects run late, the provider may now have more concurrent active projects. Their engineers have to split their time and attention between two or more projects which can result in lower quality. The longer the project goes on, the more disconnected the team can become, momentum slips, and decisions made early on can start to be questioned. Changes in direction often delay the project even longer and more meetings are likely to occur. For a typical small project with just five resources, a two-month delay can easily incur 50 hours of additional time.

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I have found that successful projects that avoid these pitfalls and end in mutual accomplishment always require both parties to be fully engaged and invested. Since the nature of project delivery is a client/merchant one, it is up to us as IT service providers to ensure that engagement happens and to drive mutual investment in the outcome.Customer EngagementFirst, let me expand on the benefits of customer’s remaining actively invested in their projects. When a customer signs a statement of work (SOW) for a project, they agree to pay some amount to have work done. Whenever money changes hands like this, a sense of entitlement on the customer’s part can sometimes emerge that often goes like this: “I did my part by paying you, now you go deliver on what I paid for”.I want to be clear and say this is perfectly understandable and not completely unreasonable. However, as providers striving to fully deliver on customer needs and goals, we need the customer to remain engaged and part of the process. I call it everyone in the boat and the metaphor is interesting to me because you can think of it as the project team bringing the customer to the goals rather than bringing the goals to the customer. In the boat, the provider is the captain and crew of a private cruise liner and the customer is the pampered passenger with input on where the yacht goes.In the end, however you conceptualize it, a customer that is engaged in a project is less likely to be critical of decisions made about direction and design and more likely to feel some ownership in the outcome. A customer who is part of the process is less likely to criticize than one who remains distant as an observer. In my experience, projects with high customer involvement always end smoothly with a sense of mutual accomplishment. They often build lasting business relationships between provider and customer.Let’s examine some tactics to improve customer engagement and buy-in. The following two main methods get customers engaged in projects, help keep them engaged, and improve efficiency as you work.Method 1: Build Trust and Respect Between Project Team and Customer at the StartBuilding mutual respect is a key to smooth projects. Mutual respect means that decisions can be made about the project constructively and without dissent. There are several aspects to building a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.First Impressions: The old cliché is true; there’s only one chance at a first impression. Moreover, a good first impression only lasts as long as you live up to it. The minute you falter, the good first impression is gone, so it is critical that you stay consistent in your positive interactions. Do your homework and make sure all project team members know the project inside and out and are ready to speak authoritatively on their parts before engaging the customer’s team.Mutual Decision Making: Next opportunity for building trust and respect is the experience you bring the customer in mutual decision making. As the provider, it’s important to take the time to lead them through the decision process. Where there are no customer opinions, backfill with yours. When a customer has a strong opinion on a topic try to yield to their desires. When the customer desires are not aligned with your agenda (best practices or efficient execution) then you must engage them in dialogue. That dialogue must always be grounded in respect for the customer’s point of view and focused on a mutually beneficial resolution focused on the goal not the execution (the what, and not the how).Respect for Time: While keeping the customer involved, we never want to waste their time. Guide them to focus their attention on the important parts of the project and not the mundane details. Customer’s should be engaged in decisions about whether or not to do something but not necessarily about how exactly to do that thing. Customer’s should be appraised of the how, but in more of a review format to build buy-in for execution.Execution: One sure-fire way to lose respect of the customer is to fail to execute. Always do what you say will you do, when you say you will do it. As mentioned above, mess this up once and you’ve lost the game. For that reason, it is very important that you are realistic about what you say you will do and when you will do it. Set yourself up for this, you are in control of the expectation and the execution. If you have a perfect track record of execution, the customer won’t have a reason to question your plan.Method 2: CommunicationThe what, when, and how of communication can really make a difference in projects. Separate customers will react in different ways to your communication methods. For example, one might prefer a regular status update in e-mail while another one expects to view a milestone report with a summary of weekly achievements.

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Goals: The very first communication engagement should be about establishing project goals. This may or may not be adequately defined in the presales process so it’s the first opportunity to interact. If the goals have already been adequately defined, then the provider’s role here is to articulate these goals back to the customer to make sure customer and provider share the same vision of the goals. If they are not the same vision, or the goals have not been adequately defined, this engagement is the first opportunity for customer and provider to collaborate and build mutual trust/respect.Level of Detail: Meaningful ongoing communication should be tailored to the individual customer. There is no right way to go about it. Too much can be a turnoff for customers and will result in them disconnecting, too little and they’re wondering if you’re making any progress at all. I personally like the more frequent informal contact with periodic formal updates. Keeping with respecting the customers time concept, the updates must be meaningful and relate back to their business needs, not related to gory details of execution. Consider a daily dashboard with a series of weekly reports.Creativity vs. Execution: Good project delivery creates a line between creativity (design) and execution (plan). Customers lose faith if you are months into a project and need to redesign some work item every week. Attempt to get all design details done and communicate about those design decisions up front. As a provider, walk through the whole execution conceptually and figure out all the questions that need answering first. Engage the customer in a high-level walkthrough of the project and derive answer to those questions. During the design stage, gather information and understanding from sessions with the customer but organize the designs into work plans away from them to save time (yours and theirs). Present and review for final approval. Once you both agree on all design elements, close the design discussion, and begin executing to a plan/timeline. For large projects, break this cycle up into chunks if appropriate.