Products and Services

Manex Products and Services

“In human organisations, working on one part means working on the whole. No part of an organisation is separate. All are interdependent.”


Each Manex product and service described below is a unique, powerful window into how organisations operate, and why.  Each is based upon systems thinking, and fits well with an action learning approach to leadership and organisation.

Used individually or in combination, these products and tools can assist leaders and their teams to develop a rich understanding of what is happening and how best to respond.


Diagnosis of Complex Organisational Issues

  • Purpose. The purpose of a diagnostic is to find the root causes of challenges faced by leaders, and to use that new insight to develop appropriate, sustainable responses that optimise outcomes for the organisation. Diagnostics are not for the faint hearted, since they highlight what is happening warts and all.
  • Scope/Examples. A diagnostic approach can be used in projects, across specialised functions, and across whole organisations of any size. There are no limits or constraints.
  • Method. Each diagnostic is tailored to the need, but all Manex diagnostics share some key characteristics. One of these is that inquiry is a continuing activity right throughout the work. Another is the application of action-learning principles, so that assumptions are identified, challenged and adapted as the work continues. Most diagnostics also involve concept mapping as a basis for a powerful emergent dialogue with the leaders involved.


Design of Organisational Systems

  • Purpose. The effectiveness of organisational systems work depends upon human intangibles such as culture, relationships and emotions. Given this, designing organisational systems is a critical activity that involves much more than just rules and processes. It works on all aspects of organisation at the same time, to ensure that intended outcomes can and do occur.
  • Scope/Examples. Examples include operational (delivery) systems, financial systems, and project management systems. Critical systems such as performance management systems are notoriously difficult to make effective. Usually, this is because the system design is flawed in the first place and does not deal with key leadership or culture issues.
  • Method. The initial work is to ensure that the system context and purpose are well understood from first principles and that assumptions and biases are identified. A focused diagnostic is carried out to ensure that the dynamics driving system performance are well understood. Using a small number of key system design principles, all aspects of the proposed system are then defined. The McKinsey 7S model of organisation is often used as a basis for the work.


Mentoring of Leaders

  • Purpose. The aim of mentoring is to assist leaders to see their challenges from a new perspective, and hence to lift performance to a new level. Underpinning mentoring is a clear set of leadership principles, tools and practices that reflect best practice.
  • Scope/Examples. Mentoring can be effective at any level. However the greatest value arises when working with an executive leader who faces major challenges and who is willing to learn and to adapt how they themselves operate.
  • Method. Mentoring is a highly personal one-on-one activity guided by clear principles and ethics. The role of the mentor is to assist in the difficult work of problem analysis and decision making by providing unique experience, strategic thinking, concepts and tools. Tools such as MBTI may be used to assist personal reflection.


Mentoring of Teams

  • Purpose. The purpose of team mentoring is to enable a significant lift in team performance through improved teamwork and leadership.
  • Scope/Examples. Team mentoring can be effective at any level. However the greatest value arises when working with an executive leader and their team, who are facing major challenges and who have a shared desire to challenge the status quo and to learn by doing.
  • Method. Mentoring a team commences with working together to review and challenge not only the role of the team, but also of the individuals within the team. Once a shared view is established, the emphasis moves to understanding current blockers to robust conversation and how these can be moved through the use and practice of shared skills.


Risk Management Strategy Development

  •  Purpose. A risk management strategy is a risk management approach tailored to best fit the organisation, its purpose and its context. The simplest and most common strategy is to apply a risk management standard such as AS/NZS 4360, but this is invariably sub-optimal. A systemic approach to risk management, tailored to the context, reduces process overheads and significantly lifts the effectiveness of risk management.
  • Scope/Examples. Most often, the aim is to move from an existing conventional risk management approach that is not working well to a more systemic approach with less overheads and that deals better with all kinds of organisational risks. It is also possible to create and implement a systemic risk management strategy and framework from scratch.
  • Method. This work is in essence a system design. However the first part of the work is to conduct a systemic risk analysis. This quickly identifies the key strategic risks faced by the organisation, at the same time as revealing underlying dynamics driving risk management practices, culture and maturity.


Systemic (Root Cause) Risk Analysis

  • Purpose. Manex systemic risk analysis is the systems thinking equivalent of the ISO 31000 process of risk identification, analysis, assessment, and treatment identification. However rather than seeking to identify individual risks and responses, the purpose of systemic risk analysis is to identify those few key focused, systemic responses that are most cost-effective in managing risk as a whole.
  • Scope/Examples. A typical systemic risk analysis can be focused on a single project, on a program of projects, on a Branch or Division, or a whole organisation. Since it requires an investment in time and energy, systemic risk analysis is used when the issues are complex and the stakes are high. The conclusions and responses are invariably strategic in nature, even when the raw data available is tactical or operational in nature.
  • Method. Again, the method used is a form of diagnostic approach. Raw data is gathered on how people in the organisation experience work, rather than directly seeking risk opinions. The analysis process uses pattern analysis, relationships analysis and synthesis to achieve a deep understanding of the key risks and how they are driven. A critical element of the work is the personal involvement of leaders in the analysis itself and in determining the few key responses, to risk as a whole.


Risk Management Capability Development

  • Purpose. Implementing a systemic approach to the management of risk requires open, holistic thinking. In particular, leaders need to be capable of implementing a systemic, first principles approach that they may not previously have experienced. Both leaders and staff benefit greatly from an education in supporting ideas, methods and tools.
  • Scope /Examples. Capability development is usually required at all levels of management, although ideally it commences at the most senior levels. In most organisations, current thinking and practice is constrained by standards such as ISO 31000. In such cases, a significant capability lift is possible (and necessary).
  • Method. The preferred approach is to engage collaboratively with a leadership team to conduct a systemic risk analysis and through this to educate. This can be followed by targeted workshops to introduce and confirm concepts, methods and tools. Learning by doing is always preferred, but formal training is also necessary.


Governance Health Checks

  • Purpose. The purpose of a governance health check is to test from first principles whether current governance arrangements are robust and whether they provide senior leaders and stakeholders with a robust view of the organisation, its performance and its risks.
  • Scope/ Examples. This work is generally carried out at whole of organisation level. It may be sponsored by a CEO, a Board or by an external authority.
  • Method. A full systemic risk analysis is conducted, targeted on strategic and internally generated risk. The conclusions reached are compared with existing reports and understanding, to assess the effectiveness of the current governance system. Root causes are identified in systems, structures and in leadership practices.


Project Review

  • Purpose. The purpose of a project review is to assess the status of a project in order to be able to make effective strategic decisions about its future. It also functions as a governance review, to test the effectiveness of project governance arrangements.
  • Scope /Examples. Project reviews can involve a single project, or a program of projects. By their nature, they also involve the project’s host organisation and draw conclusions about how effectively it manages projects.
  • Method. The approach taken is to use a systemic risk analysis in one or more projects, to identify underlying performance drivers, risks, and opportunities. The conclusions reached are compared with existing reports, to provide evidence of the effectiveness of the governance system. Where gaps are evident, root causes are identified in systems, structures and in leadership practices.