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Samer el Barakeh was born in Lebanon, 1973. He completed his Bachelor in Engineering-CCE at Beirut Arab University-Lebanon in 1996 with honours. Samer was granted Masters Degree in Project Management (MPM) from the University of Sydney-Australia with honours. He also gained the Project Management Professional (PMP) Credential from The Project Management Institute (PMI). Samer is a member of the Order of Architects and Engineers in Lebanon since 1996, The Project Management Institute (PMI), Arabian Gulf Chapter (AGC-PMI) and Lebanon Chapter-PMI. During his 13 years of professional experience in Lebanon, Australia and Saudi Arabia, Samer held many positions among them: Telecommunication Site Engineer, Site Manager, Low Current Service Head, and he is currently Senior Systems Analyst at the General Project Construction Division. Samer is a Project Management Consultant and Training Provider for universal organizations like Business Management Consultants (USA) and PMCTQuest (Canada) Samer is a Registered Training Provider for Project Management Professional (PMP), and he provides training in Program Management, Portfolio Management,PMO...
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February 21, 2008

The Partnering Change Process

Upon building trust, partnering uses group based processes focusing on Deming’s 80-20 rule to:
• Focus all stakeholders on shared values and objectives
• Focus on identifying the dominant problems and opportunities
• Establish benchmarks
• Develop action plans for problems and opportunities
• Develop performance feedback system to measure performance against objectives.
• Provide feedback to all and adjust accordingly.
Stakeholders gather and establish their vision of a perfect project; their objectives for the particular project, problems that will stop the project from achieving its goals, and finally develop their own processes to manage the project (as shown in figure below). All stakeholders are respected and it’s the project processes that hinder achieving the objectives.

Six-Phase Model for Partnering Integration
A six-phase model is used to integrate partnering as a strategy and implement it, these are:
Phase 1: Owner’s internal alignment
Phase 2: Partner Selection
Phase 3: Partnering relationship Alignment
Phase 4: Project Stakeholder Alignment
Phase 5: Transition
Phase 6: Development.
Symbols for Others to Follow
Adopting the above approach will enable using successful projects to create symbols for new values that afterwards form the new organizational cultural values. Culture is here used to drive organizational change until partnering values become at the deepest level of the organizational culture.
Cultural Change Process
Uses Propaganda and symbols that affects emotions rather than traditional training.
Organizational cultures are formed through four phases these are Vision, Proof, Confirmation and Internalization.
There are also four rules for adding to organizational existing culture(Gagliardi, 1986) which should be considered:
1. No conflict with old values
2. Organization experience success collectively
3. Leadership promotes success and symbolizes it
4. Structured hierarchy of values
Gagliardi’s Approach- Slow Incremental change to Organizational Culture
Addressing the cultural issues should start with the fact that culture is held behaviorally (not logically) in the primitive part of our brain and are exceptionally difficult to change. Gagliardi presents culture as consisting of two distinct levels (values upon which practices are based). As shown in fig. below, changes will be incremental; we slowly introduce new practices that can -after some time- shift the deeply values. A Directly proportional relation exists between change difficulty on one hand and culture strength, level of change and misalignment with existing values on the other.

Kotter and Heskett research suggested that culture’s resistance to change results from four characteristics of organizational culture:
1. Interdependencies between the two cultural levels;
2. The strong connection of values to human emotions (should feel the need for change);
3. Interdependence between culture and pluralism (powerful defend their power);
4. Normative actions based on past successes (lost cause and effect relationship).

Fasilitator in Partnering, A Coincise Shot

The Role of Facilitator in Partnering:
The process has to be owned by stakeholders; the facilitator should be neutral and mutually agreed upon. He/she manages the meeting process only not the content.
Facilitator needs to be:
• ethical
• respect individual
• believes in process consulting
• respects the personal aspect of stakeholders
• respects confidentiality.

There are three Facilitator roles:
• Internal Facilitator: To reduce cost; Only used if stakeholders have previous experience with partnering; should be a small stakeholder to be considered neutral; should work on establishing shared objectives, problem identification and develop action plans and NOT team building activities.
• External Facilitator-Single Project: when stakeholders are new to partnering, the emphasis is on establishing trust and team building, and the ongoing partnering process. When they become experienced, emphasis shifts to continuous improvement of both the project and partnering process.
• External Facilitator-Strategic Partnering: for organizational change projects and contracting out-performance measurement projects.

Key Skills Required:
Interpersonal skills
Cross-cultural skills
Team building
Organizational design and change management
Project management

February 19, 2008

Thinking about change needed? Maybe you should be more ‘worried’ about how to make it real!

Change in Chunks
Other postings in this website have presented strategies to “Change”. In this section we are going to explore how to overcome “Resistance to Change” that resides in mindsets of organizational members. Roger et al. (1994) offer six suggestions on how to avoid, and when necessary overcome resistance in order to realize lasting fundamental changes.
Previously, there were two choices for change: incremental (too minor to cope with environmental change- stable environments) or revolutionary processes (too devastating- crisis situations) (Roger, 1994). However, the optimal dominant solution is the “process tectonic to evoke a seismic metaphor” fig. below

Figure: Chunky changes' environmental impact adopted from Roger, 1994

The set of beliefs (mental models) members hold about the identity of the organization represent the “organizational identity”, a basic part of organizational culture. Organizational identity is considered as central, distinctive and enduring about the organization. It is embedded within members’ cultural values and limits organizational change (Albert et al, 1995).
Two specific Mental Barriers hinder fundamental change as shown in fig. below

Figure: mental barriers and handling strategies adopted from Port et al, 1991

Using ideal organizational identity to change current identity: Identify current identity: “Who we are” and Ideal identity: “Who we want to be” then identity the gap between them (Thomas et al, 1991)
The Earthquake Metaphor: change should be large enough to overcome the inertia that plagues large organizations while avoiding catastrophic side effects of massive revolution. As shown in fig. below.

Figure: the earthquake metaphor adopted from Albert et al, 1995

The Six steps for implementing change as described by Roger et al (1994) are as follows:

Best regards,

February 18, 2008

Organizational Advantages from Partnering

It is recommended to read the posting titled: "Why Partnering in Organizations" to get an overview about Partnering general benefits, then read onwards for a deeper analysis of specific "Organizational Advantages from Partnering":

First: Learning Flexible Organization:
The environmental changes of organizational environments have forced a shift in the high leverage points of high performance from Bureaucratic to Flexible organizations.

Bureaucratic organizations perform structural changes to adapt to the changing environment. If these changes don’t fit with the existing culture, they will not be successfully implemented. Emphasizing on the great influence that culture has on both short and long term organizational performance; Flexible Organizations ensure that CULTURAL change must precede STRUCTURAL change. Fig. below list changes according to their depth in the cultural hierarchy.

Figure: changes and their depth in hierarchy
On the long run, the organization will be able to learn from all stakeholders (involved in partnering process) and evolve into a Learning Organization (LO) Fig. below. Strategy developments / initiatives will then emerge at all organizational levels not only the highest levels.

Figure: partnering leading to Learning Organization

Second: Higher Empowerment Levels
When partnering calls all stakeholders to develop shared objectives, trust and open communication, this will encourage more involvement at all levels and among all stakeholders. The overall power of the organization (the sum of power of people within the organization) increases also due to the increased number of “active” powers compared to traditional bureaucratic organizations.
Third: The Target Model
Target Culture (‘Adaptive Culture’ characterized by the virtuous cycle in fig. below) will enable target “Organic Organization” That uses key competencies to bring together other organizations in temporary configurations for particular projects (Fit with the environment and make economic sense).


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