Consulting With Andy Bass
My approach is to engage with the resources and investments already made in the organization. I’ve consistently found that this is the best way to ensure that people feel ownership of the results.
The first call is usually quite brief. I learn something about the company and the leader’s aspirations. I ask about the areas in which the company wants to improve, and what they’re looking to accomplish. I explain my approach. The aim for the call is to decide together whether we should meet face-to-face, so that we can explore specific ways to collaborate.
After the call, I might send some reading – a specific chapter from my book, or a relevant article or blog-post – which we can use as a jumping off point for a more in-depth discussion. At our second meeting, which is usually done in person, we zero in on the exact project. I’ll want to help clarify the executive’s most desired objectives, establish measures that will demonstrate progress and success, and gain a thorough understanding of the potential impact of achieving the objectives.
A clear sense of that impact and its value is vital for me to develop proposals that will deliver a strong ROI. If working together makes sense, I write and send you a proposal to confirm the scope and offer a range of implementation options, each with an associated fixed fee, so that you can choose the way forward that makes most sense to you.
Again, we are looking to release untapped, pent-up potential for change, and to appropriately shape it to meet your ends. To start, I need to understand the way the organisation is systematically producing the current level of (under)performance. That often means getting to grips with the network of relationships in the company.
I’ll meet with key people at all levels of the organization to understand how they see the business and their interactions from their unique perspectives. My work is highly collaborative, so this isn’t just a matter of interviewing people to discover facts – it’s about uncovering the resources the company has, and in some cases doesn’t even recognise, so that we can find ways to bring them into play.
Some of the people I meet will be the usual suspects – key executives and other managers – but also I will want to meet members of the ‘awkward squad’, since that’s sometimes where the best clues are for releasing change.
In a way, as different as my approach is at the detail level, the interventions are not going to look that unconventional. I’ll be talking to people, individually and in groups. I’ll be designing communications, workshops, off-site meetings. I’ll be reframing beliefs and decisions. I’ll be having informal conversations in the canteen, or while travelling with executives. I’ll be coaching people on ‘performances’ – presentations, critical meetings, the occasional showdown. As we begin to reimagine the ‘container’ of the work, I’ll be paying close attention to how feedback loops will keep the released energy on track, and I’ll be looking to reconfigure those when necessary. And I’ll be constantly talent spotting and ‘match-making’ – introducing people who don’t know they need to talk, suggesting and creating growth experiences and assignments for people with high-potential.
Throughout, we will jointly review progress against the metrics we agreed, and regularly updating and soliciting support from key stakeholders, so that we continue to be guided by feedback to ensure the best outcomes.
"Andy Bass is exactly the guy that every president or CEO needs. The fact is, senior leaders can get pretty isolated. We can’t share every thought with our employees, and most of them will be guarded about challenging or bringing tough messages, in case it affects their jobs. With Andy, though, you can discuss any business matter, and you know you’ll get a smart, knowledgeable view. Plus, he’ll call you on gaps in your thinking and when required, steer you towards something better."
“Andy’s contribution was essential to the success of the project. He was challenging, engaging and full of innovative ideas. Crucially he focused on what he called the “execution gap”. Andy doesn’t repackage old ideas, he adds a genuinely new approach and engages with his clients with real empathy. Seriously impressive!”