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The Interventionist


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Many organizations have the desire to possess organizational and strategic alignment, but guard ancient ineffective policies and procedures preventing it from happening. Anyone assigned the Change Agent position is fighting an uphill battle in such an organizational environment. Real Change requires a Scholar-Practitioner who knows how to apply the best known practices in practical ways. The CEO and Board of Directors must give their full support to the Change Agent. The need for change must outweigh any Resistance to Change…

The struggle between Managers whom have completed their education and those whom did not attend college, focuses on the ability to do the job in practical ways. The uneducated use their experience as leverage against their educated counterparts. The educated use their knowledge of theory as leverage to shorten the actual learning curve. I suggest Human Resources focus on employing those with demonstrated Scholar-Practitioner Skills.

Strategic Alignment requires the identification of people, policies and processes which cause the organization to move in alternate directions. Identification of the adversarial mindset is most difficult to detect. The common denominator to detect the adversarial mindset is a competing goal. Human Resources must ensure all compensation packages are based on the current strategic goals. We must remove conflicting interest.

Organizations must assess their performance and ask these critical questions: “Are We Accomplishing The Mission Statement?”. “Do We Have Alignment?” “Do We Have Operational Efficiency?” “Where Do We Go From Here?”. The answer to these questions must be supported by the data. You need a qualified researcher with the ability to perform Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Research. Research. You must have the appropriate data, and the ability to analyze the data, to design “An Intervention”

The Interventionist is a person whom understands how to implementOrganizational Behavior Modification. Studies have shown people are naturally resistant to change. If the truth be known, most people forget over 70% what they have learned in college. The Interventionist is a Scholar-Practitioner whom applies theory to Real World issues in the workplace. The Interventionist makes no assumptions. The data must speak for itself. The data is used to design an Intervention that will change the organizational behavior from undesired to desired behavior. The everyone willingly participates. The Organizational Culture is shaped to facilitate the Strategy; Real Change Happens…….

The Interventionist must understand Organizational Behavior. The knowledge of Human Motivation Theories is essential. Emotional, Social, Cultural and Relational Intelligence are required to listen to the employees with attentive ears.Statistical Analysis is required to identify significance and correlation. These advanced skills cannot be substituted by practical experience; they require prior introduction to scholarly information. You must be both a Scholar and a Practitioner.You need “Phronesis”, Practical Wisdom. This is why we suggest Human Resources hire managers with demonstrated Scholar-Practitioner Skills.

Here is What An Interventionist Does:

  1. Identify the Strategic Goals.
  2. Isolate Conflict of Interest
  3. Identify Unresolved Issues
  4. Gather Information
  5. Analyze the data
  6. Identify Emerging Themes, Significance and Correllation
  7. Design The Intervention
  8. Implement a Pilot Program
  9. Measure Results
  10. Implement Full Scale Intervention, or return to Step 3.

For more information on Consulting, Leadership Training, or Workshop Facilitation Contact Dr. Rivers at 310-962-9408 or

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When Should You Hire A Consultant?

We Specialize In Leadership DevelopmentMost people believe they have the drive and talent to be successful in business. They focus on ensuring the product/service is high quality. They study the market to make sure there is a need for the business model. They look for a great location from
which to perform the best customer service. While these are great strategic moves; it is not enough to ensure success. Most businesses fail because they lack a sound business plan which includes all of the components needed to manage the business. The business plan is designed to blueprint the success of business operations and financial performance. Most entrepreneurs develop a business plan focused to act as a sales pitch for the company. It list all of the qualitative aspects of the product or service, while omitting pertinent financial management tools designed to evaluate performance. The Executive Summary must include financial ratios designed to exhibit the financial health probabilities of the business operation. The Business Plan is designed to be an early detection system used to mitigate risk. It is filled with Best Practices and Standard Operating Procedures essential to success.

A Consultant should be hired at the early stages of the business. Most businesses fail because they do not understand how Leadership, Strategic Development, Economics, Finance, Operations Management, Cost Accounting, and other areas affect business success. Failure is not a requirement to hire a consultant. A Feasibility Study could prevent millions of dollars being wasted. Some companies invest in the latest software/hardware and eventually return to the old system because of the related problems with the new system. Project Management can enable a smooth transition from legacy software/hardware to a new system.

The Organizational Culture and Behavior Modification are two of the most powerful stealth offenders to business success. How do your customers feel about your staff? How informed are your employees? Do you ask your employees what the customer concerns are? Do you empower the employees to make decisions which satisfy customer issues outside the scope of normal business procedures? These issues are most often under the radar of the entrepreneur focus. Hiring a Consultant will save you more money than what you pay for the service.

Contact: Melvin J. Rivers, DBA(c), MBA  310-717-1178

Email: melvin.rivers@phronesisconsulting

Operational Efficiency and Customer Service

Everyone has had an experience with a customer service agent who was not able to solve a specific customer concern. Most often the issue is outside the scope of their legitimate authority. A common response is to inform the customer on the policies and procedures currently in place. As a Leadership and Organizational Strategy Consultant; I would like to address this issue.

It is always in the best interest of the customer and the organization to identify and address these gray areas which were not considered in the original planning phase. As mentioned in my previous post; when employees identify areas of oversight, it is most often labeled as resistance to change. How do you classify customer concerns? Should they be labeled as disgruntled customers? What about resistant to policy and procedure customers? I always advise organizations to incorporate and encourage employees to document these type of legitimate customer concerns. The Director of Customer Service must understand the importance of this information. When organizations promote the suppression of legitimate customer concerns outside the scope of SOP’s; there remains an opportunity for competitors to implement a classical Judo Strategy against them. Organizational Efficiency is not limited to production. The Operational Efficiency of Customer Service is their ability to efficiently satisfy the customer service issues.

I am always perplexed when customer service agents respond defensively to the obvious oversight. I recently purchased a new phone. I previously had an unlimited data plan which was grandfathered into my new contract. My new phone has a mobile hot spot capability not previously an option in the existing data plan. The customer service agents advised me I would have to agree with a plan which decreased my data usage tremendously. I informed them of the oversight because I had a plan which superseded their current SOP. I suggested the information be escalated to a supervisor. The agent got defensive and insisted I accepted his explanation which defended the current SOP.

Upon reaching a supervisor, we discovered a concession which would actually reduce my telephone bill. The answer to my customer service dilemma is an example of how organizations must identify these issues and train the CSA on how to handle these type of issues. There was a huge potential for me to become a dissatisfied customer due to their inability to respond to my specific needs. Operational Efficiency and Customer Service are synonymous terms which impact ROI, Market share and Brand Loyalty. We cannot solve problems with the same thinking used to create them (Einstein). We must train CSA’s to think outside the box, document customer issues outside of SOP’s, and escalate the issues ASAP. Organizational Agility is essential to Success…..


Melvin J. Rivers, DBA(c), MBA


Leadership vs Management



One of the agWe Specialize In Leadership Developmente-old myths is “Managers Make Good Leaders”. This my friend could not be further from the truth. Managers often operate under the “Theory X” and “Theory Y” of Management. Theory “X” believes employees are lazy and must be managed upwards and motivated to perform their required task. Theory “Y” believes employees want to do a good job; but it takes management to enable them to perform their task. Both Theory “X” and “Y” are appropriate from a management perspective because the focus is on proper use of Behavior Modification to ensure the task are performed. They do not focus on employees as an essential element to success. Managers Plan, Organize, and Control under these theories but they do not Lead……

Leaders operate in the Theory “Z” of Management. They believe the employees want to do a great job; can do a great job; and will do a great job if exposed to Great Leadership. The emphasis  is on the ability to have followers whom choose to follow. Leaders inspire the people. They delegate responsibility to people with passion and internal motivation. Leaders recognize potential and nurture it to maturity. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not understand the solution, you call for the Manager. If you are seeking opportunities to grow, you look towards Leadership….

Melvin J. Rivers, D.B.A.(c), MBA


Organizational Change Requires Structural Support

We Specialize In Leadership DevelopmentEveryone knows the Functions of Management are Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. This works well in Theory. The problems occur when you attempt to add people with hidden agendas and compensation packages which are not aligned with the “Strategic Initiatives”. Executives must understand the importance of cross-divisional support for projects not directly related to their division. Project Managers must be given the legitimate authority to manage resources assigned to their individual projects.

When senior level management understands the Mission, Vision and Goals of the organization in concert with the strategic plan; they must empower the people. Human Resources must detect and re-align compensation packages with the strategic initiatives. Policies and procedures must be well written. Job descriptions must be revised in specific terms. Employee Complaints cannot be disregarded as “Resistance To Change”.  Behavior Modification must be used proactively instead of reactively to empower the employees. Trust me, the employees are not stupid. They understand when the organization has their act together. They see all of the flaws. They know exactly where the problems are.

When we allow employee feedback to fine tune our operations, there is a consensus to perfection. “Operational Efficiency” improves. The customer complaints  are used to increase the utility of our consumer products and services. Employees must be provided the same support; enabling them to grow as the operation grows. Continuing Education allows them the ability to sharpen their skills. Here are a few suggestions:

Be Transparent

The Leadership of the organization must understand the importance of having an organizational culture supported by honesty and integrity. Be transparent when real problems occur. Most organizations share the good and hide all of the bad news. They use every opportunity to cover-up things which are unethical or potentially negative. Let the employees know when bad decisions have been made. Apologize when necessary. People will always forgive those who do not attempt to cover up mess…..

Welcome Feedback

If you want to fully engage everyone in the organization, we must increase internal communication. The synchronization of effort will enable the organization to move forward faster. We must detect where the message is being distorted or disconnected from the central intelligence system. We must always maintain the early detection warning signs, in the form of employee feedback are delivered. It must be used in the controlling function to ensure we are on course.


Make sure you celebrate every milestone. It is very important to have a public recognition of success. Make it relevant. Identify key players. Make sure you reinforce desired behavior with comparable reward and recognition systems. Make sure the success is attainable and coach the team forward towards the specific goals…..

Melvin J. Rivers, D.B.A.(c), MBA

Leadership Humility

Effective leadership in the 21st Century is required to deal with variables and technologies in an unprecedented way. The ability to assess the daily financial performance of the company provides both blessings and challenges. Competition, economics, global issues, and politics have the ability to define success of failure. The current issues in regards to labor actually undermine the internal employee relations. Strategic Development is the key to successfully maneuver around the landmines. Leadership must understand the importance of focusing on the human side of management.

In previous articles I mentioned “Strategic Intent”. It is the ability to implement a strategy utilizing a stealth approach to business industry leadership. It incorporates the passion of the employee to engage a synergistic approach to great “Idea Generation”. It builds a strategic distribution infrastructure which is established under the radar.

The Secret to Strategic Intent is “Humility”. Leadership must understand the value of developing strategy from the bottom up. When a person understands their limitations, and weaknesses; people relate with them. The effective leader understands “Facilitation”. The goal is to provide vision, hire competent managers, passionate employees; and let them do what you hired them to do. “Humility” enables the leader to listen to the great ideas which challenge his/her original intent. It provides wisdom to accept truth; no matter who is the messenger. Intuition is activated on humility. Conventional wisdom most often is a rival to humility. I am very supportive of education. It is very important to making sound business decisions. But humility, also enables the leader to receive the conventional wisdom of subject matter experts.

When a leader can admit the extent of his/her ignorance, the next step is WISDOM……

Respectfully Submitted;

Melvin J. Rivers

Bureaucracy Is A Waste Of Time

Strong leadership surrounds itself with strong leaders who possess rival perspectives on the proper course of action. This is better known as a “Team of Rivals”, The Lincoln Model. I am always amazed when leaders surround themselves with persons of like-mindedness. This style of leadership seeks to utilize the conventional wisdom of their perspective. This subliminal persuasive approach is most often used in Bureaucratic Organizations. When a manager is not given legitimate authority to make sound business decisions; very little progress is made. A Bureaucratic decision-making process is designed to have all major decisions to flow from the top down. High performance organizations understand the benefit of engaging the passion and wisdom of key stakeholders. Employees are allowed to provide feedback. Managers are provided a scope of legitimate authority; and a realistic budget to benchmark financial decisions.

Most leaders do not understand how they affect the organization. Scholars are increasingly focusing on the benefits of emotional intelligence. The truth of the matter is: “The Secret Is Out”. If you want to transform the organization, the leader must become transformative. The trickle-down theory works best in leadership. Real organizational transformation starts with a change in thinking. Humility is the key to understanding the importance of listening to rival theories/explanations. When the leader understands the benefits of subject matter experts operating with legitimate authority. Things Get Done……..

Melvin J. Rivers, D.B.A.(c), MBA

Characteristics Of A High Performance Organization

Most organizations are only operating at half of ther potential. The workforce is most often composed of people who work about 4 hours a day and procrastinate the remaining hours in their workday. Although this does not cover all cultures, for the most part the shoe fits. Lets take a look at some of the common stereotypes. The “STOWAWAY” is the person who does not want to be noticed. This person will not volunteer for anything. You will not even know what their job title is. Whenever there is a party, this person is first in line. The “BYSTANDER” will not initiate any projects on his/her own. They usually have a “wait and see” position. They will wait until someone else makes a move to see what the results will be. They will agree with everything you say, give you a committment to support you, but will then stand back and watch. Whenever the recognitions go forth, They seek to be acknowledged in some form. If the project fails, they will be first to criticize the leader.The “ROBOT” will only do what you tell thim/her to do. Make sure your directions are clear. This person will follow your instructions to the best of their ability. If the issue requires analytical thinking, they will refer the problem to someone else. The “ACTIVIST” is the person who will rally behind the leader to get the job done. They are persons whom require little or no supervision.They operate in a spirit of excellence. They are proactive to solve problems and will perform at a higher level than what is required. The “DIEHARD” is the aggressive worker seeking to become a manager. This person will take ownership of the project. If the manager seems to be inferior, the “Diehard” will replaced this person because of their inability to lead.

Organizations must learn how to select and retain the best and the brightest. Here are some things they can do:

1. Selective Hiring

2. Competitive Wages

3. Comprehensive Healthcare Package

4. Career Development Programs

5. Share Information

6. Tear Down Hierarchy Structures

7. Minimize Beuracracy

8. Feeback Loop

9. Positive Work Environment

10. Build Trust

It is most important for employees to be passionately engaged in the business affairs of the organization. When the employees understand they are valued, respected and trusted to deliver high performance; they do. Anything else comes up peanuts……