Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Implementing CRM Successfully – Find Out How the CSP did it on 4th November

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Holy GrailIt has been said that implementing CRM successfully in the Membership sector is the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail! But it needn’t be – find out how the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy did it at the 2015 MemberWise ‘Harnessing the Web’ conference in London on 4th November.

Stuart DeBoos, CSP Finance Director, and myself will be there to take delegates through CSP’s CRM journey. A journey that not only resulted in the successful implementation of a complex CRM system, on time and within budget, but also did much to change the culture of the organisation. With more collaborative and cross functional working, and with better management tools and processes available, the CSP has hugely increased its capacity and capability to deliver projects and change successfully in the future.

You can find out more and book your place at the conference here.

‘Holding the Line: The long and the short of a successful CRM implementation’ is happening in Break-Out Room 2 at 2:40 p.m. Look forward to seeing you there!

If you can’t make the conference but want to find out more about how your organisation can successfully deliver complex projects and change – then contact me at or ring on 07941 711 338.   Or visit our website

Talking about E AND H’s work with the CSP, Karen Middleton, Chief Executive, said: “I just wanted to acknowledge your significant contribution to the work of the CSP, both in terms of the actual work you have delivered and also the way you have delivered it. The latter might be even more important and significant in terms of our journey on Good to Great.

Planning Successful Strategic Change – using Appreciative Inquiry

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Last week we ran a very successful workshop for the Membership and Association sector on planning strategic change, with a particular focus on using the Appreciative Inquiry technique.

Why do our strategies for change so often fail to achieve everything they set out to do? How often have we seen change consultants who seem to ‘float above’ the organisation, delivering a strategy that impresses the Board, but which just doesn’t seem to land at grass-roots level and perhaps even ends up in the bin?

rainbow-92342_640-softMany of us are familiar with the traditional change management approaches where a ‘vision’ is developed by the Board or CEO and we attempt to bring the rest of the organisation along with us through a range of engagement and communication initiatives – often driven ‘top-down’.

Our work with not-for-profit organisations in recent years has shown us that other approaches are needed if change initiatives are to be more effective in our sector – approaches that build on the energy and potential we already have.   Discovering and working with techniques like Viral Change™, NLP and Appreciative Inquiry has made a real difference to organisations planning and delivering successful change. It’s not that the traditional change-management approaches are wrong – the principles of vision, coherence and planning are critical – but in using additional tools such as Appreciative Inquiry we can be much more effective in ensuring the approach we take is the right one for us, and that our change strategies are both effective and sustainable.

Our workshop last week, with around 30 managers and leaders in the Association sector, focused on using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a tool to address some of the significant issues facing us today. Abby Parkes-Wright of Optimist Consulting challenged participants around what the key issues for the sector are and Jane Royden (AI specialist from E AND H) facilitated the AI discovery and creation sessions.

The AI approach is deceptively simple – comprising just five steps, of which we worked through the first four in the workshop:

  1. Decide what’s on the agenda
  2. Discover best of ‘what is’
  3. Imagine and co-create ‘what might be’
  4. Pragmatic implementation of ‘what can be’
  5. Making it happen.

The discovery phase helps us to identify and focus on the positive things we already have, and the things our organisation feels good about – we look at what people were doing, thinking and saying to make it as good as it was. With an understanding of the best of what is, the AI approach then asks to think about what might be – not in a conventional way, but through placing ourselves at a point in the future where we have achieved something great, and thinking about what it feels like, what people are now doing and saying, and looking back at what we did to achieve it.

From the imagining of what might be we now start to think about what can be – how can we do what we imagined and make that kind of success a reality? In Appreciative Inquiry, this is done through the development of what are called ‘provocative propositions’ – grounded in the understanding and reality of our organisation, these are statements that describe the future as if it were already happening and form a basis from which we can prepare for, plan and deliver sustainable change. The provocative propositions developed in our short session last week showed the power of the approach, with one organisation having a new ‘successful individual membership option that generates income’ and another being ‘able to make all decisions in a good way within 2 weeks’. Participants found the event and the AI method really valuable.

The AI approach has proved effective in engaging staff in contributing, co-creating and delivering sustainable change in a wide range of organisations, from the Association that needed to find ways of delivering member services more effectively, to the group of forty social-workers who needed to make financial savings whilst maintaining service standards. If you think this approach might be helpful for your organisation, or just want to know more, then contact Jane Royden at, or phone her on 07815 886 864.

The ‘Holy Grail’ of CRM?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

At an event we delivered last week it was suggested that a successful CRM project is the ‘holy grail’ for Membership organisations.  Why should this be the case?  After all, there are plenty of systems suppliers out there who claim to be able to provide CRM for the sector, and we know all the fundamentals now about how to deliver successful projects – don’t we?  Or perhaps it’s the concept of CRM itself – do we really know what we are trying to achieve?

In our work with organisations we’ve seen several CRM projects, some successful, others perhaps not as successful, and it might be useful to share some thoughts and observations around what gives the best opportunity of actually achieving that ‘holy grail’ outcome.

So, what do we know about CRM projects?

Firstly, we know they usually involve the implementation of a new IT system, and IT projects are notorious for their high failure rate.  However, the reasons for failure are well-known and with the appropriate expertise and the right approach the risks can be minimised.  Then there are the suppliers – several experienced CRM system suppliers provide solutions for the sector and all (or at least most) know how to implement them. However, the reality is that the supplier will deliver a system that works in accordance with an agreed functional specification – but they won’t be able to deliver your CRM objectives for you.

Secondly we know that CRM is more about people and culture than it is about technology, which is why just procuring a system from an IT supplier won’t deliver CRM.  CRM is about a different approach to your members or customers – aiming to improve relationships and services through better use of information and data.  However, improvement involves change, and change doesn’t happen until people do things differently.  A core component of any successful CRM project is people and culture change – improving skills, knowledge and capability, and often changing attitudes and behaviours to enable a new way of working.  CRM is cross-cutting.  A CRM focus puts the member or customer in the centre, rather than our organisational structures, management or processes.  To be successful we may need to take a radically different view of how we do things, perhaps with significant organisational implications.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we know that there needs to be a clear understanding of what the organisation expects from CRM (you will note that I’m saying these in reverse order – probably because many organisations implementing CRM start by looking for an IT system, which is a fatal mistake and the cause of many failed projects).  What problem are we trying to solve through CRM?  What are our strategic objectives and what benefits do we need to realise from CRM?  Implementing CRM is a significant undertaking and it needs to be clearly aligned within wider organisational strategy and business planning, with a commonly understood and accepted set of objectives.

The other key factor we need to recognise is that the organisational environment into which we are implementing this CRM is complex.  Our organisations are constantly changing – strategies and plans change, external factors and environment changes influence our priorities and investment decisions, staff change (especially CEOs!) and the needs and aspirations of our members and customers change.  Even in a relatively stable environment there are a myriad of things going on – formal and informal – around people, process and culture that may impact our project.  To be successful we need to see CRM within a whole organisation systems context.  Otherwise, implementing CRM is likely to have unintended consequences, and factors external to the project may impact its success.

When you look at all these things together I suppose it isn’t surprising that a successful CRM project is often seen as being as elusive as the Holy Grail.  However, this needn’t necessarily be the case and with the right expertise, the adoption modern management tools and techniques, and the right approach, significant benefits can be realised from a successful CRM implementation.  Critical areas any organisation embarking on CRM needs to get right include:

  • Aligning strategy, the top team and then the wider organisation around what we are doing and why – confirming and articulating the objectives and the benefits needed to demonstrate success. This high-level strategic work must be organisation-wide – and is best achieved from an interactive approach that includes the use of soft-systems methods (such as benefits dependency mapping) to engage all the key players. The outcome provides a framework that will guide the whole project.
  • Adopt a structured, robust and appropriate approach to initiation, governance, procurement, contracts etc. – choosing suppliers who will take a collaborative approach and work with you. Define and plan what needs to be delivered – the people/cultural aspects as much as the technical areas – ensuring plans, timescales and budget are aligned, realistic and sufficient.
  • Invest in enabling your best people to be involved in the project.
  • Adopt delivery management approaches, methods and controls that are appropriate for your organisation and the context – don’t just adopt the current fashion (PRINCE2, Agile etc… all have their place but none are a panacea).
  • Bring in appropriate expertise to help identify and manage the technical challenges (CRM system suppliers alone are often unable to do this effectively).
  • Keep the organisation engaged and involved throughout.
  • Plan for the implementation in the post-project world. Make sure you understand how CRM will be used and what difference it will make. The organisation must be capable of taking on the new systems and ways of working to allow the project team to disband. Change performance measures to reflect and reinforce the new CRM approach.
  • Celebrate success!

If you want to know more email us – – or visit our website.

We will be presenting at the Memberwise ‘Harnessing the Web 2015’ conference in London on 4th November.  Hopefully we’ll see you there.