He started by explaining that “70% of change programmes fail to deliver on their original objectives” …and went on to explain his approach on avoiding failure.
The first step is often a diagnosis or “defining the problem statement”, as Jean-Luc refers to it. This can take the form of a 2 - 4 week period where he and his team will review the current situation, produce a detailed diagnosis or problem statement and make recommendations. This is when the business case is compiled, deliverables identified and delivery plans drawn up.
Jean-Luc expressed the importance of gaining buy-in at the Executive Level and having the business case signed off ready for the delivery phase. Without 100% C-Suite commitment and support, any Programme Director - however qualified and skilled - will struggle to deliver successfully.
I asked Jean-Luc what he believes is the difference between a great Transformation Director and the Also-rans. He said that he can’t speak for the industry, but he believes that there is no place for complacency or a hands-off approach.
During delivery he will read every line of every project update document produced by every project manager.
I asked him if that wasn’t his Programme Manager’s job?
“It is and I am in no way trying to do their job for them, but I cannot in good faith execute my role - and often significant financial responsibility - by assuming a position of blind faith”.
It is clear that he is meticulous in his approach to managing teams, plans and budgets. After all, he has led transformation programmes with budgets in excess of £70M and programme teams numbering over 250 full time staff.
Jean-Luc’s approach and mindset really complements our four-stage “Return on Interim” methodology – definition, identification, measurement and results.
By defining the desired outcome, setting clear milestones and objectives, we map out the best way to achieve success and deliver great outcomes for customers.
As we reached the Cafe of the Towner, we moved onto to the subject of Diversity and Inclusion - an area that Jean-Luc is increasingly championing.
Those of you who have read my article on the gender pay gap, will know that this subject is also close to my heart.
Jean-Luc and co-founder David Alexander recently established a social movement whose vision is to end discrimination in schools, universities and workplaces by 2023. The movement is being launched during a key note speech that he will be delivering at GoodFestival in Lausanne, Switzerland.
GoodFestival is where entrepreneurs, musicians, accelerators, impact investors and researchers go to network, to collaborate and to support each other in scaling up their ventures, with a focus on building a better world. Businesses or NGOs that respect people and nature. Business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, artists and artisans who are inspiring, who are taking the road where struggle is guaranteed but the reward is an uplifted society, with empowered women, safer families, cleaner energy, vibrant startups and thriving communities of artists.
Rajiv Srivastava, co-founder of GoodFestival told me:
"Our focus at GoodFestival is to showcase those who do good by leading projects that address poverty or climate change and are financially sustainable. It does not matter where the Innovators come from or what religion they follow or any personal settings & preferences they may have. The only thing that matters is they care about all humans and the environment. This is about 100% inclusion of all diversity in our world”. #getgooddone
I thought that Jean-Luc was ebullient when he talked transformation, but when we got onto the subject of diversity and inclusion, he was mesmeric. He explained:
“Diversity & Discrimination are flip-sides of the same coin.
Discrimination on grounds of colour, gender, religion or sexual orientation is not harmless. It is not unconscious; it is not victimless but it is still very prevalent, persistent, faceless, and it is incredibly deep-rooted in minds; in schools; in clubs; in universities and in workplaces. We have a choice as a society, we can continue to choose discrimination as our default setting, or we can reboot the whole system and adopt diversity as our new operating system.
S.A.M.E (Society for the Advancement of Minorities and the Economically underprivileged) aims to use every means & platform available to shine a light on discriminatory practices wherever we find them and to highlight the benefits of diversity in equal measure.
Then and only then will we see how diversity qualitatively and quantitively benefits and enriches our teams, our workplaces and our communities.
Then and only then can we set aside abhorrent, irrational and damaging behaviours that have plagued and continue to damage our communities with unintended consequences, that rather perversely impact all of society, not just those discriminated against.
Having a discriminatory mindset is not an illness nor is it an addiction. It is a simple choice. People can and should choose to be better human beings, choose to treat everyone the same”.
He urged me and my readers to follow S.A.M.E #youarethesame
I was genuinely moved by this interview and look forward to hearing more about a movement that follows in the footsteps of Emmeline Pankhurst, Dr Martin Luther King Jr and the Late President Mandela.
Something tells me that with his tenacity, personality and intellect, Jean-Luc may very well succeed in his mission!
Jean-Luc is a Transformation Director, Entrepreneur, Non-Executive Director and Diversity advocate.
S.A.M.E is launching at GoodFestival. For more information watch this space.
Joel Kirkland is the Senior Consultant at Interim Partners specialising in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and technology.
To discuss engaging Jean-Luc, please contact Joel Kirkland on 07768 853744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.