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Introducing Halt to Proceed - by Alan Owen

Halt to Proceed is a programme that enables everyone to look at their lives and to change the way they interact with each other. Suitable for everyday life, managers, teams students and self-employed people. It challenges you to analyse you life by halting and using the techniques, helps you re-establish control.

After implementing hundreds of systems over 25 years of working within an IT environment, the idea for the programme came when I was involved in an implementation that changed the way I looked at teams and how they interact.

For many years, we had implemented systems in the same way, developing software for the client with techniques to ensure the client received what they required. It was successful, but there was always resistance to change from the users of the systems, and the environment where we trained, developed and implemented was too regimental.

I was commissioned to provide a Case Management System to provide support for over 300 users in 50 locations across the UK that was intuitive and would reduce duplication of effort.

I started along my normal path of implementation, setting up meetings with the managers and providing an implementation timetable. When the client was presented with this, the director told me she did not want to implement they system as per my plan; she wanted to involve the support workers directly and set up a ‘Thinking Culture’, to allow for input from the users. This was to continue for the life of the project and would enable users to be empowered with the product and ensure the product continued to evolve.

I had always wanted to try out this type of implementation, as users always complained during training that they had never been consulted; the managers never understood what they did and they were never involved, or their opinions asked.

A working group was set up, with representatives from the user community at all levels and from every department in the group. We started by introducing the project and then asked them for their ideas on how they wanted the user interface to be designed, even down to the font size. We ensured that everyone had a chance to contribute, their opinions were documented, and decisions were made based on their input.

Obviously, we needed basic functionality of the software – it had a defined purpose – but how it was implemented and designed was the responsibility of the working group. The software was developed, installed and continues to be enhanced using this model today. Regular meetings with user representatives take place, their ideas and suggestions are all documented and implemented, and the software is in a ‘fluid’ state, with changes made every two weeks.

For anyone who is not in the software development arena, this is not the normal life cycle of a piece of software. Release dates, patches and updates to versions are usually tightly controlled, with release cycles and an ‘end of life’ built into each piece of software.

This software implementation has been the most successful I have been involved in, due to the time and effort put in by everyone involved in its development. And it was this that led to the Halt to Proceed programme being developed. Empowering employees and understanding the team environment and the interaction between people is the key to the programme.

The programme teaches managers, students and teachers to look at how they interact with their team and how they manage meetings and, most importantly, themselves. The combination of steps, which can be used in any aspect of life, whether personal or business, shows that any situation can be managed.

The programme has taken years to develop and draws on knowledge from several sources, including personal experience, input from business leaders and from a board of trustees who have provided the final steps.

Clore Social Leadership enabled Halt to Proceed – both this book and the programme – to be completed. It was an idea that shaped many presentations, training courses and meetings, but had never been recorded. Now, for the first time, organisations and the people who make those organisations successful will be able to implement a thinking culture, empowering better interaction between colleagues.

Halt to Proceed is available from Amazon in paperback and kindle format. It will soon be available as an audio book via iTunes and Audible. Start your journey today.

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