How does a 32-year old company like Kiefer stay relevant?
How does Kiefer shed “old ways” in favor of a “better way”?
These are great questions.
We are an organization that is packed to the gills with change management practitioners, process improvement advocates and technology enthusiasts. So, we are open to making change when there is a clear benefit. This unique dynamic may have a lot to do with our resilience and adaptability.
Over the past several months, Kiefer has spent a significant amount of time talking with executives and business leaders about the implications of a global pandemic. Many organizations have been forced into having to make changes in how they do business, operate internally and how they support their customers. For some organizations, these shifts have not been easy.
Kiefer’s culture is certainly unique. We practice what we promote. We recognize change is important to improvement and we approach the idea of change with an open mind. Since we often help clients make changes to legacy processes, introduce new technology and make recommendations that may present challenges for those that support the status quo, we are careful to consider both the positive and negative impact of making a change and build a change management plan that aligns with an organization’s appetite and capacity to change. We also consider the impact to individuals within the organization.
“Can we do better?”
This is a question we ask a lot at Kiefer. We have refined processes and leveraged technology when we’ve acknowledged that there is an opportunity to improve how we do business.
Our team takes a proven and a very much accepted approach to improving processes. The team refers to it as MVP (Minimum Viable Product)…
Here’s the example:
Our challenge or objective is this. Get to the grocery store.
So, let’s assume that we have to “build” our solution.
Well, the dream solution is a “car”. We must build that car. So, even though it feels like we are making progress (the wheels, the wheels + chassis, etc.), we can’t get to the store until we drop the engine in and drive it. Too much time to solve for the challenge/objective.
We approach problems and objectives by determining the minimum requirements to achieve the goal. So, in this example, we started with a skateboard. It gets us to the store but it is not the most practical solution when you have to carry groceries. Now, we work toward a better solution. We landed on a bicycle with a basket. This works! Now, we iterate and see if we can do a bit better, and we did, with a motorcycle!
The goal is to improve, iterate, and make more improvements.
Many organizations struggle to get started on the improvement journey. This is what we have found.
- The client may be focused on only one solution
- The organization is trying to re-engineer a process from end-to-end rather than addressing the most significant gaps in their process
- The requirements and current process are not clearly articulated or documented
- The goal is not clearly defined
We believe that the MVP approach has been valuable in helping Kiefer make internal improvements.
Asking the right questions
Adapting and improving requires that key stakeholders ask the right questions. Greg Kiefer, our CEO, is an “idea man”. He also is a problem solver that is looking for ways to “do better”. Greg likes to look at processes and he challenges the team to make the required changes to improve processes. He expects that we will ask the right questions and attempt to see the challenge from many angles, consider the implications of making changes and discover the barriers to better outcomes.
When working with clients, we dedicate a significant amount of time to asking questions and gathering requirements. This is an important part of the Kiefer process. Gathering client requirements is critical to get a clear understanding of the challenges and desired outcomes. Making improvements requires that you ask the right questions. The answers to those questions will tell you a lot about client expectations, ability to change and the willingness to make a change.
How Kiefer can help
Change is not always easy, but an organizational culture that recognizes the importance of “doing better” is important to staying competitive. We can help your organization “do better”. Let’s talk technology, processes, and the things that you want to improve upon. We can help you make the changes.