The diagnostic phase of ‘The Openside Approach’ ensures that the skills and behaviours you choose to develop are directly linked to your desired strategic position, embody and reinforce your culture, are driven by your firm’s values and consider your current firm-wide strengths and weaknesses.
We will begin by working with you to understand your firm’s unique context: its situation, goals and objectives.
Through a series of discussions and interviews we will jointly define your desired culture, clarify your desired strategic position and discuss the behaviours, skills and processes we would expect to see that embody and reinforce these cultural and strategic ambitions.
Desired culture: Together, we will ensure the skills and behaviours you choose to develop both embody and reinforce your culture and are driven by your firm’s values.
We will jointly define and clarify your firm’s values – ensuring they prescribe direct actions beyond pithy statements – as it is your firm’s values that should drive all behaviours, and it is behaviours that define your culture, not the other way around. We will help you to identify your culture, its ‘sacred cows’ and the ‘uncontested untouchables’ and then consolidate it or transform it.
Strategic Position: Your desired strategic position in the market will determine the specific skills and behaviours you need to develop through your professional development strategy. Together we will identify and clarify your desired strategic position and discuss the behaviours we would expect to see in a firm that has attained your desired strategic position.
Once we have clarified your desired strategic position and desired culture, we will define the specific skills and behaviours you need to develop to align your people with your strategic and cultural ambitions. Your firm’s strategic and cultural ambitions are unique to you, so your professional development strategy should be too.
These skills and behaviours are typically divided into the four core responsibilities required in a professional services role: consult, build, manage and lead.
This stage of our diagnostic approach produces much more than a static competency matrix or training needs analysis. Why?
Firstly, your firm’s context is paramount. Rather than simply identifying individual skills and behaviours, our understanding of your firm’s context defines ‘how’ these skills and behaviours should be learned and developed to achieve your desired strategic position and to embody your desired culture.
Your desired strategic position and culture will also determine how and to what degree you choose to embed, reinforce and monitor certain skills and behaviours across the firm. We will help you to determine a process for non-compliant behaviours and any consequences – remembering that behaviours sustain processes, not the other way around.
Secondly, in professional services, your people’s behaviours and skills are a direct point of differentiation for your firm, in as far as they exemplify and demonstrate the unique values and brand of the firm. We will define the behaviours that illustrate your values and exemplify your brand – including acceptable and non-acceptable behaviours.
Typically, an analysis of performance management data taken from performance metrics, individual interview responses, client feedback data and internal appraisals and reviews matched to the critical skills and behaviours as defined by your strategic objectives will allow the definition of a prioritised firm-wide development plan which demonstrably links to the strategic objectives of the firm.
Once the context for development has been defined, the next stage of The Openside Approach is to design and deliver the content of your programme – to put the diagnosis plan into action.