St. Charles Consulting Group adds Gabrielle Wallace to Partnership

St. Charles, IL (January 31, 2017) – Phil Davis, Managing Partner of St. Charles Consulting Group (St. Charles), announced that Gabrielle Wallace was admitted to its partnership at the first of the year. “I am delighted to welcome Gabrielle into the partnership. She has been instrumental to our firm’s success over the past six years, and I’m confident her leadership, innovative thinking and deep experience will continue to benefit our clients.”

Gabrielle brings over 24 years’ of experience helping clients solve strategic business needs through learning and development solutions. Gabrielle manages the delivery of our services to several key clients. “I am thrilled to be part of the leadership team at St. Charles where my passion for talent development, team leadership and client service aligns with my firm’s strategy and values.”
Prior to St. Charles, Gabrielle worked with clients in various industries including energy, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, professional services, retail and telecommunications to co-create innovative talent development solutions that yielded measurable business outcomes. Earlier in her career, Gabrielle was the Director of Education for the global Assurance practice at Arthur Andersen. In this role, Gabrielle was responsible for the training and development of 30,000 audit professionals worldwide.

St. Charles Consulting Group, with offices in St. Charles, Illinois and Dallas, Texas, serves a broad and diverse client base by delivering leading solutions in learning and talent development. Given the pace of change in today’s global marketplace and the need for businesses to be in continuous improvement mode, St. Charles’ stated commitment of “preparing your people for your tomorrow” will provide significant support to the success of our clients.

For more information:
Visit or contact:
Phil Davis, Managing Partner630-803-1541 / [email protected]
Gabrielle Wallace, Partner630-918-9210 / [email protected]

Connecting People to Content

February 2015
Issue 37

Shawn Eckertby Shawn Eckert & Rod Mebane

In the current work environment, it is mission-critical that knowledge workers have access to the tools and information that they need. We refer to this as people being connected to content. With the enormous amounts of content being generated by organizations daily, it is critical to organize relevant content so that employees and other stakeholders can quickly find what it important and necessary to be successful.

While providing a robust content-accessible workplace is a demonstrated success factor, many organizations are not strategic in their approach to information and knowledge management. Consequently, many organizations are not providing an environment that enables fast access to the right content, when and where it is needed. This introduces inefficiency, compromises quality, and adversely impacts operating results.

With this context in mind, St. Charles Consulting Group collaborated with the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) to conduct a management research study to better understand the dynamics involved with Connecting People to Content (CP2C) and particularly to identify what would be considered best practices in the industry.

We recently completed the study, and we encourage you to review the Executive Summary of the CP2C Report (available here).

The results of the study are extremely enlightening and could make a meaningful difference to organizations that are committed to make improvements in the knowledge management arena.

In fact, in order to help people understand where their organization may stand relative to their effectiveness in CP2C, we have developed a maturity model that details the spectrum of excellence from the lowest level of maturity – that we call Ad Hoc – to the highest level of maturity – that we call Predictive. In between, there are progressive gradations of excellence by characteristic (see the five-stage Maturity Model).

Along with the five levels of maturity, we have identified five CP2C characteristics, where organizations can concentrate efforts in order to bring improvements in their CP2C environment. These characteristics include:

1. People (as users of information),
2. People (as suppliers of information),
3. Processes,
4. Strategies, and
5. Technology.

Ideally, if an organization can optimize all five of these action areas, they will be connecting their people to content in the most mature stage of the maturity model – the Predictive stage.

In order to help you understand where you organization stands relative to the CP2C Maturity Model, we have prepared a self-assessment diagnostic survey that highlights some of the general areas of strength and opportunities for improvement in your organizations current effort to connect people to content. This is a sample of the tools we use to assess an organization’s current state, identify opportunities for improvement and collaborate to develop a path forward to achieve their goals.

Once you have a had a chance to review the Executive Summary of the report and to take the CP2C self-assessment, we encourage you to Contact Us so that we can do a deeper dive that results in a well-defined Priority Action Plan.

Using the best practices developed in this study, we are confident that your organization can reduce information management costs, increase stakeholder satisfaction, and drive greater levels of success throughout the enterprise.

Next month: Exciting New Partnership

The St. Charles Consulting Group is pleased to announce that is has been selected to partner with the International Association of Internal Management Consultants ( in the design and implementation of the inaugural Certified Internal Management Consultant (CIMC) Program. The AIMC is the premier association dedicated to the needs and development of the Internal Consultant. Details of the program will be covered in next month’s eZine. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the program, please contact Tom O’Rourke ([email protected]).


Meet RapidMapper™!

November 2013
Issue 36

Shawn Eckertby Shawn Eckert

WIIFM… What’s In It For Me? A question that is often on the forefront, or at least in the subconscious, of most people’s minds …

The WIIFM question is not a matter of being selfish or picky, but rather a means of survival in the multi-tasking, do-less-with-more environment we all embrace. The WIIFM question is just about being a better time manager, I think.

So, let’s get right to the WIIFM question about why you should (or shouldn’t) meet RapidMapper, making it easy to help you decide if you should read on now, bookmark this for future consideration, or bounce out of here and move on to other pressing matters. (Don’t worry I won’t take it personally.)

In short, you should get to know RapidMapper if

you are in charge of, or have a significant role in, an important business process – such as recruiting, onboarding, financial auditing, training design, strategic planning, etc. – and your process is not currently very visible, accessible, aligned with content or is not contributing to the development of best practices for its user communities.

you need people to buy in to the process, understand it, and implement it effectively.

you are in need of a simple-to-use, easy-to-configure, process-driven content management toolset to equip workers with policies, tools, training, and best practice examples at their various points of need.

If you’re still reading, great. Here are a few more reasons to get to know RapidMapper.

So what exactly is RapidMapper?

  • It is a process visibility toolset that plugs into SharePoint using a custom “web-part” that takes minimal IT support to install and start using.
  • RapidMapper is a content-mapping and organizational framework tool that brings performance support content into the flow of work.
  • It provides an easy-to-navigate user interface that requires very little training to master, so in just hours, not days or weeks, users can leverage the toolset (with or without a background in process design or knowledge management).
  • RapidMapper can also be used to provide a best-practice design and implementation framework to enable flexible, repeatable, process-driven delivery systems.

Using an artistic metaphor, if SharePoint is a blank canvas, then RapidMapper delivers the paint and brushes and other tools required to organize your gallery, allowing users to access an organization’s painting collection easily and, when required, trace an existing work to jump-start a new masterpiece.

Similar to a blank spreadsheet, the content management possibilities in SharePoint are almost endless. When using business process as an organizing framework in SharePoint, the tasks required to assign or tag content become daunting for someone who is not an information systems professional. With RapidMapper, users simply follow the contextual map to determine where they are and what they are doing in a business process and to find the supporting content easily because it is visible to them and immediately accessible.

rr2-Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.53.41 AM

With RapidMapper you can easily …

  • Define your present process to conduct a “current state” assessment.
  • Capture processes from brainstorming sessions with colleagues to document elements of the new “desired state” process.
  • Copy and modify existing processes to evaluate various alternatives without having to recreate the wheel.
  • Create repeatable process frameworks, such as … one for employee onboarding, embedding content as required to reinforce often overlooked content in areas like career planning, peer reviews, workforce harassment policies, benefits, and more.
  • Package a business process for repeatable rollout to an intended audience, such as … one for a new sales and marketing strategy for account managers, complete with tips, tools, and techniques.

In all of these activities, key repeatable Phases, Activities, Tasks, and Steps can be clearly defined and made visible for others to learn and follow; and relevant information resources can be usefully aligned to the specific context of the work and made accessible at the time of need. RapidMapper resourcefully provides a roadmap, a GPS, and a tool chest for the knowledge resources that already exist in your organization.

What’s In It For You? And more importantly what can RapidMapper do for you? RapidMapper can:

  • Make visible processes and knowledge assets that are currently not easily accessible.
  • Improve the way work that you manage gets done.
  • Improve workers’ understanding of what they do and of how that fits into the bigger picture.
  • Decrease inefficiency, increase productivity, enhance innovation, enrich collaboration and synergy, and accelerate ROI for process-driven projects.
  • Lastly, RapidMapper can augment your leadership tools and contribute to your reputation as a “get-it-done” professional.

To learn more about RapidMapper, check out our recent media release or subscribe to our blogs by visiting our website or by contacting me via email Shawn Eckert or calling 602-284-3855.

Next month: Exposé on the “Mystery Performance Factor” … A Company’s “Secret Sauce”

What is the “mystery performance factor”? You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, and most people can’t define it. But here are some hints: 1) It supports an organization, and it describes an organization. 2) It draws heavily on an organization’s past, and it contributes significantly to the organization’s future. 3) It is the “glue” that connects all of the co-workers. It influences the people who are attracted to an organization, and it helps determine which people stay. 4) While it is perhaps the biggest determinant of an organization’s “brand” identity, most leaders don’t know how to manage it or leverage it effectively.

What is it? Well, we’re talking about ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE. Next month, read performance expert Melissa Noonan’s observations on what leaders can do to influence their companies’ culture in a significant and positive way and turn their “secret sauce” into a “recipe for success.”


Partnering with Clients: Building Internal Consulting Capability

September 2013
Issue 35

Thomas E. O'Rourke by Thomas E. O’Rourke

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Rourke recently joined St. Charles Consulting Group as Managing Director of its Human Capital Services and Transformation Practice. Tom had been President and CEO of Connolly Clarke – a human capital advisory firm, which combined with St. Charles in August 2013.

As our name suggests, St. Charles Consulting Group is a firm known for its consulting capabilities, and we are engaged by many different organizations as external consultants to assist with a variety of significant projects. With this business orientation, it may seem odd that I am a strong proponent of internal consultants.

One might think that, if a company has a team of internal consultants, there is not a compelling need to bring talent in from outside the organization to help drive important projects or initiatives. In fact, I have found in many cases that the opposite is true – organizations that embrace a consulting mindset in general tend to understand more clearly what talents are required to execute effectively and are not hesitant to pull in outside skills to supplement internal resources when needed. More importantly, very often the work of external consultants needs to be sustained after the consulting project is officially concluded, and internal consultants are often best suited to provide this ongoing support.

With this backdrop, I very much encourage companies to build up their internal consulting capabilities, and this article is meant to provide some insights on this important function.

AIMC defines internal consultant

The Association of Internal Management Consulting (AIMC) is the premier organization dedicated to helping its organizational members build their internal consulting functions, offerings, capabilities, and competencies (see AIMC has outlined the key attributes of an “internal consultant” as one who:

  • Brings specialized management consulting expertise to improve the bottom-line performance of the company
  • Works within the corporate structure to resolve business issues and implement solutions in areas that include organizational effectiveness/development, strategic planning, or process improvement
  • Serves as a change agent, coach, educator, or facilitator within the company
  • Supports internal clients in a shared service type organization (such as human resources, training & development, information technology, finance, quality management, health & safety, and environmental services)
  • Faces a continuing challenge to stay up-to-date with new professional developments and practices

In order to bring rigor to defining the knowledge and skill sets that internal consultants need to perform well along these various lines of activity, I have worked closely with AIMC to co-develop an internal consulting competency model, and there is now a well-dimensioned framework for thinking about this important role. It is organized around the following competency cornerstones:

  • Client service focus
  • Change management
  • Management consulting skills
  • Business acumen
  • Professional impact
  • Coaching
  • Project management
  • Business process optimization

Organizations have different points of view on internal consulting competencies, but those shown here tend to be the ones that show up most often in internal consulting competency models (and were validated by members of the AIMC). This high-level framework and the supporting detail establish a great common foundation for capability building among internal consultants.

External consultants transfer knowledge

As organizations commit to grow their internal consulting offerings, a corresponding focus is required on building internal consulting capabilities. One meaningful way to do this is to foster a partnering relationship between external consultants and internal consultants on specific project initiatives.

Internal consultants and external consultants can and do work effectively together – with a common goal of project or initiative success. Internal consultants may lead consulting project teams, or they may act as organizational subject matter experts embedded within the consulting teams. Either way, capable internal resources are often prerequisite to effective project design and implementation.

I believe it is incumbent upon the external consultant who is truly committed to client success to engage and partner with those serving in internal consulting roles. Externals should deliberately transfer knowledge transfer on their tools and methodologies. If desired, they should also provide training on core consulting competencies. In addition, they can often build a distinct stream of work into their project plans that focuses on client capability development and ownership through project goal setting, coaching, and on-the-job training.

In short, I believe that effective external consultants take knowledge transfer to internal consultants very seriously – as a critical component of their client commitment. Essentially, they partner with internal client resources as if they were their own firm members. That is the foundation for true partnering and, ultimately, project success is contingent upon the capability of the collective team. This is the kind of relationship that best serves the client’s short- and long-term interests.

A cautionary word about “Insultants”

It is important to recognize the difference between the “Consultant” and the “Insultant.” A “Consultant” partners with the client, listens, and collaborates with the client to reach the right business solution. The “Insultant,” on the other hand, purports to already have the answers, summarily dismisses the client’s point of view, “checks the box,” and has limited interest in the sustainability of client success or internal consulting capability development. You have all probably had an experience with the “Insultant.” They are not too hard to identify – and typically do not get invited back!

For more information on internal consultants, the relationship between external consultants and internal consultants, and the AIMC competency model for internal consulting, contact Tom O’Rourke.

Next month:

Meet RapidMapper™

For nearly a year, St. Charles Consulting Group has quietly been developing RapidMapper™ – a brand new tool that greatly simplifies the design/redesign of business processes. RapidMapper™ has been built as a plug-in to SharePoint that takes advantage of all the resource sharing power of SharePoint without requiring hands-on SharePoint knowledge, advanced technology skills, or active involvement from the IT department. As such, RapidMapper™ not only simplifies business process design (by those responsible for the process), but it also supports the housing of process-related resources (such as guidance, training, demonstration videos, etc.) in the tool itself, putting knowledge directly into the flow of work. Next month you will have the opportunity to meet RapidMapper™ officially in an article by its co-designers, Bob Hiebeler and Shawn Eckert. Stay tuned to exciting developments in this arena.



Drive ROI Up 4X with ECM (Excellent Change Management) … NK (No Kidding)

June 2013
Issue 34

Kathryn Manningby Kathryn Manning

Readers of the Free-Range Learning News are very familiar with the ROI acronym, but they may not be as familiar with ECM. It’s short for Excellent Change Management, and it’s a concept that I have been promoting and implementing for many years. All three words are important, but the E, for Excellent, is especially significant, because all too often people pay lip service to Change Management (CM without the E) and become frustrated by lackluster results. Our view is that, if you’re going to introduce a meaningful CM workstream into your major new organizational initiatives, you should make sure that the CM work is Excellent – it really makes a difference.

Consider these two data points:

  1. Several years ago, McKinsey and Company conducted a study of 40 large-scale industrial change projects, and they found that projects employing a program of Excellent Change Management (ECM) yielded an average ROI of 143%. In stark contrast, the ROI was only 35% for projects with no CM or poor CM program activities.
  1. More recently, Changefirst – a British consulting firm – conducted a study of 2500 change professionals from 120 companies and found project ROI as high as 650% with excellent change programs. And they concluded: A substantial ECM program may cost up to 10-15% of the total project expenditure, but it will more than pay for itself several times over.

The ROI calculation and the “people impact”

For many years, after Change Management became a well-defined discipline among those working in the organization development arena, clients regularly cherry-picked change management activities from the fully scoped change programs that were proposed. The rest was considered “fluff” in their opinion. This still happens but not nearly with the same frequency. Many seasoned business professionals have come to realize that it is usually not the process changes or the technology changes that derail the successful deployment of a new system. Instead, the ROI-deflating issues come from employees’ failure to understand, accept, and build skills to use the new system effectively and perform their jobs differently.

But, first things first, what do we mean by ROI – return on investment? Let’s take a look at how we measure ROI. Here’s a simple formula:

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 3.38.30 PM

A straightforward way to interpret this is that, the more the project benefits outweigh the costs, the higher the ROI.

Now, if the impact on people is not very significant, the Change Management component of the project costs does not need to be much at all. For example, if you are replacing an outdated piece of manufacturing equipment with a newer, more energy efficient model that is operated pretty much the same way as the old equipment, you can expect a fairly high ROI from, let’s say, a 60% reduction in the monthly cost of powering that equipment, without needing to invest much in Change Management.

On the other hand, if you are implementing a new ERP system that impacts 95% of the organization in a pretty significant way, you will get into ROI trouble if you do not adequately address the people impact. An Excellent Change Management (ECM) program will address the people impact head-on – it will look at all individuals in all jobs impacted by the change, and it will include detailed analysis of who does what, how their jobs will be affected, what their willingness to change is, and what they need to know to do their job in the new and improved way.

ROI drops if people are hesitant, resistant, unaware, unskilled, or unsure how to excel in the new way of doing things because the organization does not realize the dollar benefits that were so optimistically projected. Instead, target objectives are not met, operating costs rise, and the revenue gains or expense savings do not materialize as hoped.

What puts the E, for Excellent, in ECM?

Based on untold hours in the Change Management trenches and informed by numerous studies by thought-leaderly research organizations, I believe that an Excellent Change Management program includes the following nine elements:

  1. An overall, clearly articulated ECM strategy and blueprint
  2. Engaged executive sponsors with an explicit vision and well developed business case
  3. Leadership alignment that surfaces champions and addresses internal politics and sources of resistance
  4. Employee participation in program development and buy-in to the process and outcomes
  5. Honest, timely, cascading, and multi-directional communications
  6. Targeted training in both technical skills and job process impact
  7. Momentum in integrating all development, launch, and adoption activities
  8. Adequate resources, budget, and high performing teams
  9. Metrics and remediation plans to ensure post-launch sustainability

ECM programs are more likely to be successful and to generate attractive ROI, and it is because they focus on preparing all individuals in all impacted jobs prior to launch: 1) to adopt the change quickly through understanding the importance of the new way and feeling motivated to jump into it, and 2) to develop the skills needed to effectively use the new system, process, equipment, tools, and technology. In addition, with Excellent Change Management, attention is paid to monitoring the launch and post-launch implementation to ensure that individuals are given the assistance and positive remediation to embrace the new way … versus the alternative of slipping into “shadow” processes that feel more like the old, comfortable way of doing things but that move the ROI meter in the wrong direction.

If you would like a thought partner to help assess the dimensions of your Change Management activities, please feel free to contact me – Kathryn Manning.

Next month:

That’s a great question. What in the heck is gamification? I’ve heard it in snippets in office conversation, and I think it has something to do with gaming, but who knows?

Well, Kathy Dressel knows. Kathy’s a leading St. Charles thinker on educational technology, and she will enlighten us on how new competitive (game-like) elements are making their way into talent management initiatives, especially new and innovative programs of learning. Be one of the first to be up on this hot new buzzword. Be one of the first to put it to work in your organization. Just tune in next month to the Free-Range Learning News.