POPPA: helping organisations be more decisive, not divisive

POPPA: helping organisations be more decisive, not divisive

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020 but the country will remain in a transition period during which time aspects of the relationship need to be agreed. Since the referendum vote in 2016, Rialto has witnessed an upsurge in SME leaders, in particular, being impacted by a paralysis in their decision-making processes. Some two thirds of SMEs report that they have either scaled back or are holding off making future investment plans. But businesses cannot stand still forever and must make decisions about their future, in spite of Brexit-related factors being difficult to quantify.

A reluctance to invest in employees and innovation when it comes to goods, services and operations that would deliver competitive edge, leads to a real risk of SME businesses losing the momentum that is crucial to future success.

Rialto is working with many leadership teams to help circumvent these issues in their decision-making, using our POPPA methodology. By providing critical insights and facilitating valid responses through productive discussions, we overcome the roadblocks teams encounter, helping them to regain momentum in faster timeframes.

What is POPPA?

POPPA is a framework that Rialto can deploy as part of its Augmented Intelligent Consulting (AI-C) programme to help groups more effectively deal with uncertainty in decision-making and enable them to  naturally converge on a course of direction that is endorsed by everyone.

It stands for Pessimistic, Optimistic, Probable, Planning Assumption and Action. The most effective way to implement it is to head for the whiteboard in the training room and write down the strategic priority that is troubling the group, along with the letters, P,O,P,P,A across the top like column headings.

Step 1: Ask the group for the most Pessimistic outcome; what could A do that would have the worst impact on B and the overall topic you are working on? The group should be as negative as they can about the outcome but should be clear why this would happen. Write it below the first P.

Step 2: What is the best, most Optimistic outcome that could transpire, what path could A take that would be best for the topic and B, not damage but possibly help it? Write it under the O.

Step 3: Ask the group, where along the Pessimistic-Optimistic spectrum, based upon the group’s current knowledge, do they think is the most probable outcome to transpire? Allow the group several minutes to converge naturally on what is most probable, and write that under the second P. If they don’t naturally converge, based on their dialogue, suggest they assume one of the more negative scenarios as the probable, to be conservative. Write it under the second P.

Step 4: Ask the group: “Is the path you think A will most probably take, and therefore the outcome that transpires, out of your control?” If so, the Planning Assumption should be the Probable. If they feel they can do something to improve the outcome, intervene in or around A’s Probable action.

Step 5: Write the better-than-the probable outcome under Planning, and write the required action(s) under the Action.

It is important that the group checks with the person who originally raised the priority to ensure they concur with the logic in each step. Assuming so, they can conclude: “We started with the uncertainty of what A would do related to B, and are moving forward on the assumption that A is most likely to…”.

Typically, the group’s first POPPA might take five to 10 minutes but can be expected to accelerate when they become familiar with the protocol. When using POPPA to help develop a client’s digital strategy, the process surfaced 23 uncertainties and each of them were ‘POPPA’d’ into Planning Assumptions.

Not only did this allow the strategy discussions to keep momentum, taking the uncertainties in its stride, everyone felt that their voice had been heard and supported the planning agreements.

Rialto has found that by using POPPA “in-the-moment”, whether during strategy development, decision-making, innovation ideation or building business relationships, organisations are far more able and confident with issues that typically cause delay, meeting swirl, frustration – and afterward, uncoordinated action having been surfaced and resolved.

To learn more about POPPA and the Rialto AI-C methodologies, call Rialto on 0203 043 8640.

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