As part of my preliminary market research several years ago, I asked a focus group of CEOs whether they would appreciate having online access to a complete set of detailed instructions and support tools for DIY implementation of Business Excellence. (It should be noted that every one of these CEOs was already familiar with my advocated approach for SMEs / SMBs.)
Pacemaker Role: A concept whose time has come
Their response was uniformly positive – but with one major reservation. Several CEOs declared that they would not commit to a full DIY course of action unless some experienced third party / consultant was available to facilitate the larger workshops, plus “keep us on track” throughout the implementation – at least for the critical first 1-2 years. They indicated that they personally would not have time to delve into the detail necessary to ‘get down and dirty’ when required.
Others present felt that they would have an internal staff member with the capability to perform this same role – assuming that detailed ‘How To’ instructions together with suitable coaching / support for the Pacemaker would be included in an online DIY offering.
Your Choice for Pacemaker – internal or external
Collectively on that day, the focus group came up with the term “Pacemaker” for this role. And so the My Business Excellence website and subscription Portal now incorporates the role of Pacemaker. The subscriber may choose whether their Pacemaker is an internal employee (prepared to learn under instruction from the online resources provided) or an external consultant familiar with the methodology and its demands.
The program has been designed to minimise the amount of external Pacemaker involvement (assuming the external Pacemaker option is chosen). The net result is that the costs involved amount to about 20% of the costs of a traditional consultant-led implementation.
The idea is that the CEO (Excellence leader) and the Pacemaker work ‘hand in glove’ in driving the overall implementation and keeping it on track from the very first week. The CEO relies on the Pacemaker for everything technical at every step along the way. The Pacemaker reports directly to the CEO and relies on the CEO for direct support. The Pacemaker also coaches the organisation’s employees in what is required of them in applying the various tools and techniques. This leaves the CEO free to focus on the ‘big picture’.