Z/Yen strives to balance risk and reward in all its dealings. A proper balance of risk and reward is achieved when all participants in a venture share proportionately in the potential and realised gains and losses. Our principles are adhered to in all our dealings, but the sine qua non remains "investing in clients". Clients of Z/Yen should be assured of service which delivers enhanced performance and value for money - a service which is effective (on scope), efficient (rewards outweigh risks), economic (without waste) and innovative (appropriately challenging). Each client situation requires specific tailoring, but the following provides a flavour of working with Z/Yen.
Our people and our client's people strive together to develop or improve the client organisation. Account management is handled by a director or senior consultant. The account manager has the authority and responsibility to deliver what the client needs. The account manager is backed up by a team which blends different experiences, different skills and different enthusiasms to arrive at a mix which the account manager feels will deliver the best result for the client. The account manager has the authority to form and re-form his or her team to suit changing situations. Products, e.g. reports, presentations, systems, skills transfer, are subject to an independent quality assurance director's scrutiny and comment. Clients are given summaries of quality assurance director reviews on substantial assignments.
Z/Yen's starting brief is a written proposal agreed with the client covering the background, scope, objectives, approach, staffing, timescales and fees. Z/Yen prepares a joint workplan. As work progresses, Z/Yen ensures the free exchange of views and opinions which is essential to the smooth functioning of an assignment. Progress is tracked, typically weekly, in short progress reports. Subject to quality assurance review, the final products are delivered and followed up with a client satisfaction interview and questionnaire. Following final team de-brief, the experiences and lessons learned take their place in Z/Yen knowledge management systems. Z/Yen work typically takes the form of:
projects - normally quoted as a fixed maximum fee. Clients see the pricing structure of time and materials. Z/Yen staff delivers the project. If the project takes less time or materials than estimated, the client retains the balance. If the project takes more time or materials than estimated, Z/Yen bears the cost. A key element in ensuring that this arrangement works is the clarity of performance measures agreed up front and the control of the project's scope during the assignment by both Z/Yen and the client;
interim management - where Z/Yen staff with appropriate skills and experience work directly for the client. This arrangement works best over periods of rapidly changing objectives, e.g. a turnaround situation, or over periods where project management techniques do not reduce risk sufficiently to justify the cost.
Z/Yen attempts to measure results. The clearest result is satisfying clients by delivering results which are ‘fit for purpose'. Z/Yen monitors all client returns and feedback, but also provides structures which permit more quantitative rewards. For example, risk/reward contract structures may mean Z/Yen taking less direct payment during an assignment and receiving additional income only when the assignment is successful. From time to time Z/Yen has taken venture fees, i.e. capitalised a portion of its fees by taking a stake with a client. Venture fees are not suitable in situations where impartial advice is needed and are not frequently used, but provide the most tangible evidence that Z/Yen invests in clients.
Whatever the assignment, Z/Yen people will work to the solution with zest and enthusiasm.