How We Work
We work as a partner with you to address your business issues. We have established the following practices to help us do that.
Contracting to Meet Your Needs
Upon receiving an inquiry Cathy Perme will establish a meeting or conference call with you. During this time she will ask about issues, background information, and goals for the organization and the initiative.
Sometimes the issues that an organization faces are complex, and a single informational meeting is not enough to create a work plan. In those cases, Cathy will recommend a short assessment (lasting no longer than a month) to get a better idea about what the underlying issues are. This allows us to work better with you in focusing effort and resources to address the important issues.
Next, Cathy will work with you to identify the appropriate people to involve, build a team and develop a work plan that identifies objectives, tasks, services and costs. This serves as a tool for discussion, refinement and the beginning of a working relationship. When you and Cathy agree to a work plan, the project begins.
Creating a Unique Service Design
Every process is unique. We pride ourselves on providing customized services based on a client’s needs, learning styles, budget and time constraints. Our designs are:
Work-Related and Goal-Directed
The starting point is a visible, tangible goal that is important to members of each operational work unit. We find that a time-bound goal is most effective.
Adult to Adult
As teams are developing, individuals need to know what is expected of them; what authority they have; and for what they will be accountable. Cathy ensures that projects make expectations, boundaries and choices explicit.
We know that any alternatives that are selected for a project must be congruent with the beliefs and values of your organization, and congruent with its culture for any project to be a success.
To help people try new approaches and learn from their experiences, support is needed from managers, resource people and consultants. We build support from a variety of sources into our project designs.
Preparing and Delivering Services
After the contract and design are refined and agreed with you, we proceed to develop, prepare and deliver our services.
- We create detailed agendas for training and planning sessions, and review them with you to make necessary adjustments.
- We prepare and provide handout materials (we will charge you for copying costs or provide a master copy for you to duplicate).
- We arrive early to set up and greet participants as they arrive for a meeting.
- We start and end on time (unless otherwise agreed).
- We provide meeting notes within three business days.
“Cathy understood our environment very quickly and got down to work.”-- Recent Client
Skilled Project Management
We take pride in the fact that we achieve results without going over budget. Fifty percent of the time we return money to the client at the end of the contract. Achieving this means that we must keep in close contact with you throughout a project. This is how we do it:
Cathy Perme is a skilled project manager and works with you to monitor the day-to-day progress of the project. She returns phone calls promptly, and will often meet with you informally to discuss appropriate issues.
For projects of three months or longer, Cathy holds special kickoff meetings to finalize objectives, create schedules and determine roles and responsibilities.
For projects of three months or longer, Cathy holds a formal checkpoint meeting every 6-8 weeks with you or a steering committee. The purpose of the meeting is to address issues and provide two-way feedback about how the project is going.
Monthly Financial Report
You will receive a financial report with each monthly invoice. This report summarizes actual expenditures to date—compared to the budget—and projects future expenditures.
Fixed Price Projects
When we create a work plan, we estimate our preparation and delivery time, and multiply that by our hourly rate. When the work plan is finalized, that price becomes our promise to you. If our preparation takes more time, we incur the costs. We will only ask you to recontract if the scope or objectives of the project change.
If the work plan calls for a type of service that does not lend itself easily to a project approach we will create a contract “ceiling.” When the “ceiling” is nearly reached, we will work with you to assess progress and determine whether recontracting is necessary or desirable.