Reality Check - Team Business
Our unique reality check uncovers hidden constraints to your business success, how much these problems are costing you and helps you identify the necessary countermeasures.
reality check,operational feedback,SWOT analysis,business improvements,bottom up feedback,
page-template-default,page,page-id-602,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,footer_responsive_adv,qode-theme-ver-12.0,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.4.2,vc_responsive

Reality Check

Can you believe that on average, senior managers are unaware of 96% of the problems facing their staff and customers? Well its true, and the harm to your business can be immense.


Our reality check gives you a fast fix on exactly where you are and where you are (really) heading.


The goal of our unique reality check is to uncover hidden constraints to your business success and gaps in your ‘strategic capability’. Just as importantly the reality check shows you how much these problems are costing and helps you identify the necessary countermeasures. We guarantee that our reality check will save you thousands of pounds.


If you sometimes feel you are lost in a fog, you are not alone by any means. We come across a lot of managers who are oblivious to what is really happening even one rung down the ladder. More worryingly though, they often don’t know that they don’t know what is going wrong. Unfortunately of course not knowing about hidden problems doesn’t make them not exist. And not knowing about problems makes strategy flounder and profits nosedive. As they say, the truth exists with or without your knowledge of it. Our unique reality check can change all that.


Why do senior management get lost in the fog?


Managers only knowing about 4% of what is really going on at operational level may sound improbable at first hearing*. But there are a number of good reasons for this. The type of fog that blinds senior management is due to all kinds of barriers that obscure perception of events. Not least of these is the sheer volume of transactions going on between departments, people and functions at operational level every minute of every day. As a result, quality problems, waste, duplication of effort and customer dissatisfaction are largely hidden from view.


Growth companies can quickly lose touch with reality


We find that management fog is one of the principal reasons why growing companies suffer from low profitability. Not knowing the true picture also starves growing companies of cash. This cash starvation could not happen at a worse time. Ambitious companies particularly need cash to fund their growth curve. So, why do these dual problems arise with growth companies?


The answer is that at some point on the growth trajectory, there emerges a distinct difference between a small firm and a large firm. In the smaller version of your firm, when there was only a handful of staff, you probably found it relatively easy to stay informed. The close connection between staff and management meant your management team were aware of problems and how customers were getting along. But as the business grew, this close connection gradually diminished and with it the clarity you were used to working with.


As you climb up the growth curve, barriers to communication multiply between production staff, sales people, managers and administrators. One immediate effect of growth is that you add a couple of layers of management or a few extra departments. When this change occurs subtle changes take place in the way a business interacts with itself. One unfortunate repercussion is that departmental chiefs get locked into a silo mentality. As a result they lose that holistic view as to what is really going on in the overall business. And the first casualty of this enveloping fog is senior management decision-making.


A reality check cuts through the fog


The quickest way to cut through the fog is to adopt the first stage in our Hoshin Kanri improvement system. We call this stage a ‘reality check’ as it provides relevant, unbiased and accurate feedback as to the real circumstances of the operation. Essentially the reality check is a bottom-up feedback exercise that gives you literally loads of data to work with. After only a week or so you quickly see the extent of your problems and opportunities. In consequence a reality check is always highly rewarding in itself.


Bottom-up feedback generates fierce employee engagement


There is another major benefit to our reality check as well. Extensive bottom-up feedback is one of the secrets to generating fierce employee engagement. The more you ask people about their concerns, the more they feel they are participating in the shaping of their future. As a result they become more enthusiastic and also feel able to take ownership of the solutions. Incidentally this is a key factor in reducing resistance to the changes needed to get the enterprise back on track.


A reality check is always self funding


As a result of these two factors (loads more information to work with and an engaged staff) our reality checks are always self-funding. You will probably make ten times the cost of the exercise in terms of waste reduction or realizing missed opportunities.


You can try out our reality check on a standalone basis. Depending on the results you dig up, you can then decide whether the full Hoshin Kanri programme is for you or not. Our simple guarantee is this.  You will more than recover the costs of a reality check in terms of identifying waste and other problems. Or we give you your money back.


Get in touch


If you’d like to know more about how TBD can give you a better grasp of the hidden problems in your business call Jeremy Old on 0845 0945 819.


Or email [email protected] Remember we guarantee that our Reality Checks are self-funding. You will reap benefits well above the cost of your investment.


You are in safe hands


Jeremy is author of ‘Reinventing Management Thinking; using science to liberate the human spirit’. This groundbreaking management manual focuses on the role stress plays in reducing productivity and profits in the workplace.


Jeremy has twenty-five years experience as an independent management coach to small and mid-sized enterprises and non-profit organisations. His experience has included facilitating 54, strategic change or business improvement assignments across a wide range of industry sectors. On average these techniques yield an estimated 33 : 1 ROI for clients. In addition, Jeremy is qualified to MBA level, with a post-graduate diploma in psychotherapy.


*Research findings from Sidney Yoshida 1989: ‘Quality improvement and TQC management at Calsonic in Japan and overseas’ – Paper presented to 2nd International Quality Symposium Mexico 1989

What our clients say …


“Feedback submitted during the planning process by one of our night shift machine minders saved us £45,000 in one year. Put in perspective, that is about one third of the losses we were experiencing at the time” Ben Crozier Guilder Graphics Ltd


“I was stunned when the information gathering process exposed what had been going on two layers down from me….. We now know why our rejects have been so high and why we have lost customers. Just as important I now know what to do to fix the problem. We will save tens of thousands.” Bram Horth, General Manager LMC Hadrian car parts manufacturer


“The results from just one feedback exercise saved us seven times the fees for the complete three month programme” Steve Crayford Managing Director, Acorn Windows.


“I have to say I didn’t like the criticism at first. But then I saw the advantages of understanding what I needed to do to improve my own performance. It snapped me out of complacency.” Tony Chapel Golz Engineering Ltd




What if you could make these sort of savings?


A factory dispatch department discovered serial overcharging by couriers as well as undercharging of delivery costs to clients. The reality check also detected the reasons why there had been otherwise unaccountable extra costs for express deliveries and a high number of cancellation charges. Estimated savings: One-off courier refund of £50,000 and approximately £125,000 savings and benefits from reduced same-day deliveries, cancellation charges and improved accuracy of client invoicing (total saving 1.5% of turnover).


A window manufacturer exposed the causes of scrap, rework and delays occurring in both the factory and on building sites. The Reality check also helped to identify effective remedies. Estimated savings: £95,000 (19% of turnover) in reduced scrap, rework and delays.


A point of sale manufacturer learned the multiple reasons why so many bottlenecks were happening in their assembly department. Net savings: £300,000 pa in agency workers’ fees (2.3% of turnover).


A night shift worker uncovered the real reason for a high level of scrap, rework and scheduling disruptions at a small print firm. Estimated net savings: £45,000 (33% of the firm’s current losses).


An accountancy firm found where problems were occurring with the computer and software upgrade. Estimated direct improvement: £200,000 (7% of turnover) in fee earning capacity.


A printing firm’s procurement department discovered the underlying reasons for inefficiencies in the buying process. Estimated immediate savings: Cancellation of £25,000 proposed extra salary + £200,000 extra savings from improved buying methods (3% of Cost of Sales).


One car parts manufacturer unearthed the hidden reasons why they were receiving so many rejects from their wholesalers and a consequent attrition in customers. Estimated immediate savings: £53,000 (equivalent to about 30% of current net profit) plus unquantified improvements in customer retention.