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A. Introduction D. Objectifying Observations
B. Competing Factors E. An On-going Tool
C. Assessment

A. Introduction and Abstract

The consultant, through the entire process of Knowledge Engineering, Knowledge Groups™, Interface Management, and Knowledge Marketing™ assumes a strategic approach. A significant aspect of the strategic methodology involves conducting an ongoing assessment regarding a number of factors that will enhance or impede the consulting process. Business decision-making becomes more efficient as the corporations are reengineered from the perspective of Knowledge Engineering and Interface Management Science. However, the reality is that an entire corporation does not often undertake such a change. In our experience, only smaller companies have been prepared for such a comprehensive undertaking. Larger corporations, instead, implement Knowledge Engineering and Interface Management and Knowledge Marketing for only a single division or sometimes for a large project within a department.

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B. Competing Factors

In most cases there will, therefore, often be competing corporate goals, conflicting cultural momentum, different management styles, personnel changes, departmental competition, changes in product or service development, changes in funding, and external pressures. These changing resources continually alter the chances for maximal outcome in any consulting project. In each corporation informing our client about the best prognosis for a win-win-win success requires that we realistically acknowledge to what degree we have confidence that our consultation will achieve, in their unique environment, the goals of satisfaction, profit, or time to market for which it is intended.

In corporate contexts, we respond to the initial assessment of goals and resources with a Coefficient of Confidence™ rating - that is, a percent of confidence that a win-win-win situation will be brought about by the Interface Management methodology, with Knowledge Engineering, Knowledge Groups™, and other programs. This is an actual rating calculated from the most comprehensive assessment we can make of the various factors contributing to desired goals. In the event of a low Coefficient of Confidence™ rating, the company or division is not seen as having a "goodness of fit" condition between the existing practices or resources and the outcome desired which can be met by means of the anticipated program. It is possible to engage problem solving consultation at that point to improve any areas which are thought by the company or division to be problematic and contributing to the lack of "fit".

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C. Assessment

The Coefficient of Confidence™ is developed only after assessment at both supra-structure and infra-structure levels. The supra-structure assessment includes an understanding of the corporate culture, technical resources, financial support of the project, time factors related to goals, current assessment, and desired state. Infrastructure ingredients also involve current assessment and desired state, but also look at management practices and resources, personnel resources, document trails, decision points, and reputation for change. Such features as adaptability, plasticity, fault tolerance, and self-organization influence this. Each corporate context is unique, just as individuals and family systems are, and these unique features must be taken into account in designing and tailor fitting any implementation plan.

In some companies, where there is a strong charismatic CEO, it is absolutely imperative that he or she be involved. In other more egalitarian companies, it may be more important that representatives of executive and upper management be involved in the Knowledge Engineering projects. In all companies, factors including financing, order of products released, activities of competitors, etc., contribute to the equation. We rank each factor and thereby assign a multiplier, then rate all important factors and finally calculate the final coefficient rating. After this is discussed with the client, an informed decision is made to proceed with the project or do some remedial reworking of the important factors which lead to a low rating of confidence. For convenience, the complete formula is as follows:

Priority rating Multiplier * percent = Weighted Score
Total Weighted Score * average % = Working Score
Working Score / 2100 = Coefficient of Confidence Rating (CCR)

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D. Objectifying Observations

For example the unique priority of 10 items with their rating may be displayed in the below spreadsheet. In this example the department is rated with an average percentile of 80% and a weighted score of 1712 (by multiplying each percentage number by the weighted score and totaling the products). When the average percentage is multiplied by the total weighted score, they reveal a working score of 1369. The Coefficient of Confidence Rating (CCR) is a percent calculated by dividing this working score by the highest possible score (2100). That is, 1369/2100 = .65.

In this example, the company scores CCR = .65 or 65% Coefficient of Confidence rating that the project will bring the desired outcome. We recommend that no project proceed with a CCR score less than 65%. The decision to proceed with the project is left to the client who will be given options as to how to improve the areas contributing to low rated areas if desired. For instance, we can pinpoint the importance of having executive management become more involved and the time frame for the scheduled project to be improved. Either or both of these changes would yield a higher confidence rating for the project. In other cases the Coefficient of Confidence™ rating becomes a tool to educate a highly charismatic CEO about the importance of adopting an egalitarian relationship with the management team in order to raise the confidence rating. The rating objectified observations about each corporation make it possible to convey honest information that is often previously unarticulated. Indeed, the CCR becomes an interface to convey vital knowledge about how to succeed with those who need clear-sightedness, solid data, and sound reasoning.

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E. An On-going Tool

Even with a low rating of confidence, companies may choose to continue the project due to their own fervor or they may choose to walk away from the opportunity. At other times changing within an organization during a project requires a reassessment of the rating and helps clarify priorities and make vital changes to keep a project on a high level of confidence toward the intended goals. In either case, the Coefficient of Confidence Rating allows everyone involved in a project to proceed with a high degree of openness and accountability about the expectations at every stage of development.

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© Stephen R. Lankton, 1995, 1996.