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Hunting Treasure

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Pause for a moment and imagine a treasure hunt.


Whether it be visions of an Indiana Jones type adventure, buried pirate loot or shipwrecks and sunken treasure-- adventure… fabulous treasure and the possibility of untold riches… hidden in our everyday world, and otherwise ready to be harvested. What a captivating notion.


Consider, then, what is needed to find these hidden riches. What comes to mind? A map? A story? Tips from a credible source? Dumb luck? All of the above?


As one who is fascinated by the premise of treasure hunting, I’ve noticed that successful treasure hunts share definite common elements.

· Context: An overarching story that establishes purpose for the hunt, answering questions of plausibility (why should we believe there is something to find), and substance (is it a type and quantity that warrants attention)

· A Map: A means to narrow and direct focus and effort (as it is not feasible to thoroughly search everywhere)

· Specialized Tools: A means to baseline ‘normal’ and tease out specific areas of interest (think metal detector)

· Conviction: Unshakeable belief that the effort will be worthwhile


When all components exist, the hunt is galvanized. When one or more of these are missing, dumb luck becomes a critical ingredient for any success.


As I sat on the beach, daydreaming a bit and imagining what it must be like to find sunken treasure, the realization set in. I AM A TREASURE HUNTER IN MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE.


My treasure hunts aren’t predicated on stories of catastrophe, abject failure or ruin. I work with clients as they navigate and prepare for change. New strategies… changing business models… key projects… powering continuous improvement efforts… building a better tomorrow.


The treasure I hunt for isn’t diamonds, rubies or gold. I seek and find the elements and components which increase the odds of success for my clients. The treasure unearthed powers better tomorrows.


I work tirelessly to ensure key ingredients of a successful treasure hunt are well entrenched:

· Context: The context for my treasure hunts is my client’s strategies, goals and plans

· Maps: The Maps I create and use are representations of the client’s business as opposed to models of the physical world. That said, they are equally valuable in defining, and ultimately narrowing and directing focus and effort

· Specialized Tools: Much like a metal detector identifies areas of interest containing hidden metallic objects, the tools I use highlight areas of focus across the business which warrant attention

· Conviction: the conviction that we operate under isn’t just that the effort is worthwhile. I help my clients to make sense of it all – goals, areas of focus, specific changes, measures -- providing a solid foundation to manage the resulting organizational change


If you want to increase the odds of successfully transforming your organization – and you aren’t willing to pin your hopes on dumb luck – ensure each of the components is well understood and firmly entrenched.


· Context: Fully know your why. This seems an obvious step, but I’ve seen many efforts stumble hard on this first hurdle. Ensure clarity of purpose – what change is needed? What is the expected business impact? How does this impact contribute to a better tomorrow? The answers to these questions are not “we need a tool so that…”. Neither are they the expected benefit model. The context should instead be a well-constructed hypothesis.

· Maps: There is only so much change that can be introduced. Create representations of your business that breathe life into your quest. View it from as many different angles as possible. Use these representations to build your hypotheses as to the areas that will be examined (and why). Reference models which are central to my hunts include business capability models, customer journeys, and business model canvas.

· Specialized Tools: Your task here is to evaluate the areas found on your maps, establishing expectations for what is normal or expected. The identification of areas which exhibit ‘other than normal’ traits or qualities will become the areas of focus. Beyond the identification of high-value targets, value mapping (especially when used in conjunction with the business capability model from your Maps) is a tool that I find integral to a successful quest.

· Conviction: For any successful transformation, your teams will need to behave differently in order to create value. The leader’s conviction as to the need for change, coupled with the belief in the specifics of your change are obviously crucial. That said, to drive different behavior by your teams, this is just the beginning. Organizational Change Management needs to be a crucial concern if your quest is to succeed.


Referencing the ADKAR model for change management; conviction powers Awareness, and sets the stage to affect the Desire of the individuals on your teams. The behavior changes that your success will depend upon, however, will require the personalization of the changes at the individual contributor level.


Awareness. Desire. Knowledge. Ability. These are essential for each individual contributor to drive consistent and regular change, at scale and on a timely basis. Reinforcement, then, is needed by your management teams in order to monitor and encourage the desired new behaviors.


I love what I get to do, professionally. I love the chance to join a client in their expeditions – helping to ensure that they are well poised for success. I love finding treasure. If you are going to lead your Organization through its own treasure hunt, I wish you great success.


Should you find yourself in need of a guide…we can help.


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