Special Issue: Announcing Vanguard’s new website
We have spent the last two years developing a new web site. It took so long because it is designed to be an educational site, perhaps better described as a re-educational site, the first phase of which is un-learning; and there is a lot to unlearn about conventional management!

We’ve been helping clients achieve astonishing levels of improvement in their service operations for many years, but this work finds a natural enemy in conventional thinkers. No amount of evidence can shift a mind-set.

Anyone who has been through the Vanguard Method discovers for themselves that the ‘performance problem’ is the way they think about performance; they learn, through studying the ‘what and why’ of performance as a system that they need to change the way they think about management.

That doesn’t happen easily in a classroom, a meeting or a training course, because what you have to ‘get’ is hard to get without being there. But the premise of the new site is that you can help people ‘get it’ by allowing them to be in control of how they use the site, so that they can follow things that interest them, reflect on their theories of management, and follow that up by beginning to study their own organisations. The site design is heuristic, learning by discovery, hopefully helping people to discover things from the starting-place of what matters to them.

The url is: http://www.01handshake01.com

The new site needs you! Well, some of you anyway…

While the first two years of the new site’s development have been focused on basic re-educational content, the next phase of development is focussing on implementation: how to study service organisations and then re-design them to manage services on the basis of an entirely different and better theory of management.

As you will see if you visit the site, we have what we call a ‘subscriber area’. Right now the site has no subscribers, because we can’t ask people to subscribe to a web site that hasn’t been proven to work! So here’s the thing: we know the Vanguard Method works profoundly well when we help people do it; can they do as well with advice and guidance that is only provided over the internet, over an e-learning system?

To answer this question we are making the ‘subscriber area’ available to people in local authorities, housing organisations and voluntary services for free; many people have already signed up. We could have chosen many other applications, but, as regular readers know, I am appalled at the waste of public money on what has laughably been called public-sector reform. So while we could describe how to study and redesign services of many types, you have to start somewhere and there is no better place than the public sector.

In keeping with what we have to do, there are criteria for those who are being given access to the subscriber area:

You have to be a group of leaders/managers who want to use the site to change a specified service.
You have to have someone in that group who can make changes to everything – measures, structure roles etc – without reference to anyone else.
And, of course, you have to be up for using this site to change that service; it has to be your top priority.

If you can meet those criteria, and you want to be involved in the next stage of development, please contact Emma Ashton: emma@vanguardconsult.co.uk

If you can’t meet those criteria but you have an interest in the subscriber area, please be patient. When we are confident the site can achieve its purpose we will let you know.

That’s all this month!

While I have a load of the usual newsletter content that gets my blood boiling, I would like you to devote your ‘newsletter reading time’ to exploring the new web site and, if you feel so inclined, please give us feedback as to how it strikes you. Thanks!

Normal service will be resumed in January.

Season’s greetings!

John Seddon