Knowing Everything isn’t Knowing the Right Things
What is in a name and what is in a brand? Everything!
This is part 1 of a three-part series explaining what Sage means to us. Sage as Wisdom means bringing the right information to our clients at the right time. We use Kaizen and strategy based theory to provide a Method that empowers clients through skills and tools. In part 2, we will explore why Sage is also Organic. Part 3 focuses on why people are our brand.
PART 1 OF 3: SAGE AS WISDOM
“A fool thinks how to spend time: a sage how to use it.” Just like this quote from Leo Tolstoy, we want to dedicate our lives sharing the things we learn with our clients. We see ourselves first as consultants that enable a change in culture – whether that be through improved processes, project management training or automation through implementation of a technology element like Primavera Unifier. When we seek first to empower our clients through education, we see much better results. Our team follows the same lean mentality internally that we use in our Sage Method.
THE SAGE METHOD
Wisdom isn’t knowing everything, instead it is knowing the right place to look for answers. The famous quote by Einstein summarizes this quite nicely when asked about the speed of sound, “I don’t know. I don’t burden my memory with such facts that I can easily find in any textbook.”. The Sage Method is the output of this philosophy. It uses key components from effective strategies to keep a lean focus. We all focus on specialization in key philosophies to provide a diverse team. We focus on components that show lasting benefits, not through academic rigor only but through personal knowledge of what has worked in the past.
Kaizen is a foundation of the Method. It is a lean strategy that has its history in manufacturing but applies very nicely to any process. While the loose translation of Kaizen usually cites it as “continuous improvement”, at Sage Method, we prefer the simple translation of “change for better”. Our goal is to make small changes that improve the business. We can facilitate traditional Kaizen sessions but also instill “mini-Kaizen” by applying the methodology into all of our requirements sessions. Knowing the “as is” state is important to recognizing the ROI on process improvement. When time and budget do not allow that traditional approach, Kaizen tools can streamline a process through small, meaningful changes. Mini-Kaizens are key to the success of small change.
Without knowing the “big picture” of your strategy, the small steps of improvement could be in the wrong direction. One of the tools we use to help our clients understand their strategy is the Business Model Canvas (BMC). The BMC can be applied to small organizations or a change to an existing department within a larger organization. The BMC was created by a company called Strategyzer and is a strategy-focused exercise that also has its roots in value. What is the value to each of your customer segments? Once you know that, you can complete the rest of the components that aid in creating and delivering that value to your segments. At Sage, we work with our clients to understand the roadmap so that we can prioritize the activities that create the most value.
Last, the element of human capital in this picture. As our client’s greatest assets, we firmly believe that any project or organization improvement should have a strong component of human capital in it. We do this through a focus in working directly with end users to understand the challenges at the bottom. Then we work with executives to understand the challenges as the top. Our strength is then translating… we translate the value driven activities into improvements. We also translate their needs into technology that works for them.
IMPROVING THE METHOD
The Method is not stagnant but continuously being challenged by our internal staff. They bring new ideas and trends to the table through our collaboration tools but also by applying lean and strategy to our own internal operations. We also learn from our clients. A recent client introduced us to a successful application of PPC, a concept used in Lean Construction. We are challenging ourselves internally to see how this can be used as an internal KPI that supports productivity through delivery – not through time spent on the clock. While we are working on implementing PPC into a Unifier dashboard for that client, we are also seeing how this KPI can benefit our Method. Maintaining a culture of continuous improvement isn’t easy as it takes a large internal investment that has statistically shown to be beneficial. We will talk about more in Part 3.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
Sage as a component of wisdom through experience means that our staff is consistently learning, educating and improving. Kaizen is a strong foundation in our approach to empowering improvement through education and coaching. We also rely on understanding the strategy to prioritize the step-change needed to create a lasting improvement. We live the Method we teach, trying new techniques internally and sharing what we learn with our clients. The best and most effective components are integrated into our Sage Method.