The team drawn from the business present their findings

I spent 9 years raising a £6.4b plc's project success rate beyond anything they'd seen before.

Describing problems and solutions (telling the story) clearly enough for everyone to really get-it is hard – it's where and why most projects fail.

So in a similar way technicians draw plans, sections, and elevations for complex construction projects, I draw easily digestible diagrams, maps, and other visuals, for complex business change and transformation.

If you want to fix something, you have to be able to see it.

Two squares telling the same story on a TV screen. One is pretty bullet points and the other is a decision making tool
[ Points ] “The story is exactly the same in both squares”
A store concept model showing technology made available to customers to help decisions
[ Points ] “Our store colleagues have been telling us the system is broken - um, it is, completely.”

Imagine simply pointing, saying one short sentence…
…and everyone in the room, no matter how big the team is, totally gets‑it. How good would that be?

— A mini case-study —

No one got-it

Two illustrations above. The second shows a customer facing system used by colleagues. They'd been telling the business it was broken for a long time.

No one had been able to make head nor tail of the constant complaints. The colleagues themselves couldn't tell the story with clarity. They didn't know how to explain IT stuff. They just knew it didn't do what it should, not how it didn't.

The perception was that the system wasn't perfect, but it was good enough – it was ok.

A transformation project

The business was a 'basket case*' according to the PLC's Group Board, and we'd been asked if it could be saved.

A member of the diagnostic team, drawn from the business, mentioned the system was a big hinderance to serving the customer.

I unpicked it with them, while drawing the easily digestible diagram above.

The diagram was presented (pointed at) at one of our routine updates for the board. The board 'got‑it' immediately, because they could see it. They promptly agreed to a 'go' on a major investment in a completely new system, to start immediately, and be developed internally.

An actionable diagram

The Group IT director said, of the diagram and its accompanying 'to‑be' map (not shown): he'd never seen a better scoping document, and his team could begin building the new system from it immediately.

This is another little understood power of digestible diagrams – speed, agility – in decision making and subsequent 'doing'.

The new system was a major workstream of the transformation project.

  • More than just a diagram:
  • Investigated situation, drawing on the first‑hand experience of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts**)
  • Developed easily & immediately digestible working diagram during discussions with the knowledgable colleagues
  • Took the map through several iterations to amplify clarity, agree accuracy, and confirm authenticity
  • Explored solutions with the customer facing SMEs
  • Produced an easily digestible 'to‑be' map

After the new system became operational, a dominant competitor's internal email obtained said: "we have no response to this"

The UK PLC was so impressed with our success rate, they created a dedicated strategic projects centre around our best in class way of working. A way of working I developed.

Large strategic projects centre seen from above
Above: The prototype Strategic Projects Centre owned by a £6.4b UK plc. Created in response to our projects uncommonly high success rate. It was my unique process the plc hoped to absorb into their DNA. (Pre‑covid)

Everything they touch turns to gold Group CEO, Travis Perkins plc

Some businesses that flew higher with my help…

Kinsman Kitchens, Australian brandTravis Perkins plc, a 6.4 billion UK groupStockeld Park, family entertainmentTransave UK, Credit UnionShepherd Group, formerly Shepherd Building GroupA not for profit youth initiative, part of the NCS activityWickes DIY, Do it rightTiesplant dot com, online only retailerMagenta Frog Ltd, consultancyBenchmarx Joinery and kitchens ltdBig & Small Room StorageBSS Pipeline And Heating LtdCity Plumbing SuppliesMSS Clean Technology, formally part of the Shepherd Building Group

Some of my consultancy work for these companies

A digital sketch mapping customer autonomy
[ Points ] “Showing rather than telling is easier, fun, and confidence boosting for customers”
The team work on a single-view of the business area of interest
[ Points ] “We've a lot of issues feeding toxic customer experiences all through the journey”