Focus on what matters most.

People-centered organisational development,
to work smarter in high-stress & high-conflict environments.

Focus on what matters most.

Management consulting to help you work smarter in the world’s toughest environments.
Strategy | Major change initiatives | M&E systems

Welcome. I’m an independent consultant and writer who has spent the last fifteen years helping international institutions adapt to meet emerging challenges.

That time has been divided equally between starting up and scaling pilot initiatives, and re-design of global policies and processes.

My approach is defined by trusted collaboration and co-design with staff, end-users, and core partners. The end-goal is simple: to find a way forward that the key people want, need, and get excited about.

Summary of my approach | Case studies with previous clients

One Step Forward is an oral history of public service in the hardest times.

In each episode I talk with a practitioner about meaning, motivation and career learning, over decades engaging with highly marginalised communities.

Listen via:  Web  |  iTunes  |  Spotify

Summary of my approach

Generic change management models don’t work very well in high-stress environments.

I use design thinking to work with those closest to the issues, to develop a practical way forward and to test feasibility in the real world.

For virtually all of my clients, the stakeholder environment is complex and contested, and implementation requires constant collaboration across traditional ministry portfolios and sectoral “silos”.

With this in mind I help develop politically smart and best-fit approaches that are robust for the context.

In practice this means adopting two complementary perspectives:

Finding a shared narrative:  Working with key stakeholders inside and outside the organisation to draw out perceived benefits and barriers, and to identify pragmatic ways forward. This may involve tools & methodologies such as:

  • structured change models, e.g. the ADKAR model (awareness-desire-knowledge-ability-reinforcement);
  • oral history and narrative approaches, including cultural diagnostics;
  • mixed-methods tools for gathering the perspectives of key population groups;
  • formal stakeholder engagement processes (where needed for highly politicised environments); and
  • mentoring, coaching, and trouble-shooting with key staff.

Aligning systems & processes:  Mapping out necessary changes for policy & strategy tools; core business processes; human resources; and financing / resources. This may involve tools and methodologies such as:

  • process mapping & re-engineering;
  • activity-based costing and zero-budgeting;
  • benchmarking against comparable organisations (in confidence);
  • organisational capacity assessment tools, e.g. European Foundation for Quality Management, or McKinsey 7-S.

Unstable & conflictual environments require flexible approaches, and the ability to learn while doing.

I equip clients to set pragmatic goals, to generate real-time and relevant feedback on progress, and to ensure decision-makers respond quickly.

The most challenging environments tend to frustrate traditional approaches to monitoring, evaluation and learning.

There’s a good deal of uncertainty around the baseline situation; “what works” requires a certain amount of experimentation to find out; and facts on the ground tend to evolve quickly and invalidate key assumptions.

Even when the data is clear, large organisations often struggle to respond quickly. Major initiatives are under-pinned by complex funding arrangements and stakeholder relationships, and it takes time and patience to “turn the ship”.

With all this in mind, I help build M&E processes that can drive better decision-making in real-time. This means that decision-makers get the inputs that they need, when they need them.

Key services:

  • Strategy / program design: Clarification of logic models, including conflict analysis and political economy analysis. Evaluability assessments for major initiatives, and re-design of M&E frameworks.
  • Adaptive management: Ensuring that senior staff have access to real-time feedback via “dashboard” tools. Supporting more effective decision meetings through process re-engineering and targeted capacity building.
  • Inter-agency challenges: Designing M&E approaches and metrics at the strategic level; developing shared processes and common standards; and finding resources and capacities for issues that exceed the remit of any one agency.

I work on a freelance basis — either on retainer for a flexible number of days, or on a lump sum basis for major projects. This includes consulting firms (prime contractors) who need either confidential advice, or a client-facing technical lead, on large projects.

If you would like to discuss a specific challenge, or check availability, please do get in touch. No job is too short, as there are always gaps in schedule!

Contacts:

The best option is email: ian@iandquick.com.

You can also find me on LinkedIn, or Twitter, if you’d just like to keep the lines open.

One Step Forward is an oral history of public service in the hardest times.

In each episode I talk with a practitioner about meaning, motivation and career learning, over decades engaging with highly marginalised communities.

Listen via:  Web  |  iTunes  |  Spotify