High Spot Review
Uncover, understand and prioritise your key business issues quickly and effectively.
Our High Spot Review will uncover the critical areas in your business that require attention, ensuring you spend your time working on the right problems in the right order so you can resolve them as efficiently as possible.
Depending on the size and complexity of your organisation or particular circumstances, the High Spot Review should take around three to six weeks to complete. Anything less than three weeks and you’ll almost certainly miss something, or just not have time to ruminate on the issues. If you take more than six weeks, you’re in danger of being drowned in the details, or senior management might think you’re wasting your time, and their money!
Establish your team
It’s important to build a small, focused team to deliver the high spot review. Partly because one person can’t possibly have all the necessary skills, experience and background knowledge. More importantly, this is the initial step in gaining internal buy-in, understanding the issues and challenges, and starting to build some organisational momentum behind the change.
The high spot review must comprise a balanced mix of information gathering and analysis. This should include reviewing existing relevant business documentation, for example:
- strategy, vision and mission statements
- financial budgets
- current programme and project plans
- existing (“as-is”) organisation and process charts.
You should also carry out interviews with a selection of key people within your organisation. And it is crucial that you not only meet a range of the most senior directors in the business to receive their “pearls of wisdom”, but also that you talk to people at various levels of management and staff, including those who operate at the more junior levels.
Synthesise and consolidate
As you progress through the review, start to synthesise a consolidated and simplified list of the key business issues and challenges. Make sure you record the evidence and sources for each issue and ideally also gather real quotes from the interviewees, highlighting personal views of what is not working now, and their views on why it isn’t. These personal insights can be a very powerful way to get the message across to top management that “something must be done”. If you pitch them correctly, they can be just as effective, if not more so, that a set of financial statistics or a list of problems.
Define the Benefits
Start to generate an initial ballpark estimate for the financial benefit opportunity. It only needs to be rough figures at this stage, to be refined in the more formal Business Case Development stage. One very important piece of advice here: make sure you have a genuine finance professional in your team, to shape and own the business case and ideally someone who has a strong reputation with your finance director.
Plan the delivery
As you synthesise your findings and pull together rough costs and benefits you’ll start to see some commonalities or overlaps between the issues. This will help you to work out how the required changes should be grouped together and the relative importance of each and thus the ideal timing for delivering them.
There is no magic recipe or standard logic path to follow for defining the timing and structure of the programme. You will have to use elements of judgement and intuition. It’s very important to have close colleagues around you to act as sounding boards – you ideally want to receive plenty of constructive challenge to make sure you’re going in the right direction.
The Team to Deliver
Give some serious thought to who must be involved in the programme, particularly the sponsor, plus the person who will be in the driving seat to deliver, i.e. the programme director or project manager – or whatever role title works best in your organisation. And also the key members of the Steering Board. But at this stage you don’t need to have selected all the team members who will actually deliver the programme.
Note: one of the other advantages of the interview stage (see earlier) is that you will almost certainly come across people in your organisation who will be very passionate about making change happen; or have a specialist skill you need; or they might just be very strong team players who could help you to establish a high performing team.
Getting buy-in and sign-off
Towards the end of the high spot review, we strongly recommend that you “trial” the key findings at least with the sponsor and perhaps a few of the steering board members. It is always worth having a one-to-one session with each of the key stakeholders before you hold a review with the full board. It is remarkable how differently senior people can behave in a one-to-one meeting compared to their behaviour in a group forum with their peers or seniors.
Once you’ve held these trial runs, you nevertheless should hold a formal checkpoint with the sponsor, or sponsor-designate, as the chair. It’s very important to make sure you stimulate debate and discussion in the session. Avoid at all costs a “death by PowerPoint” session, where you blandly walk through your slides and everyone just nods. This checkpoint is the first key milestone in your transformation, so it is vital that it is full of energy and constructive challenge, and that you build a collegiate sense of what needs to be done and the urgency to get it done.