PEAK Management is a combination of three ingredients: an immutable drive to seek constant improvement, a leap-first attitude, and a passion for sharing what we've learned. We spent years working on project teams succeeding, failing, and somewhere-in-the-middle-ing. The one thing all our projects had in common was that each subsequent project got better, and the confidence we built through honest reflection and adaptation snowballed over time into fearlessness. Fearlessness gets good projects off the ground, honest reflection makes them successful, and sharing what we learn spreads success like a virus.
Those ingredients by themselves are nothing ground-breaking, but we found they were particularly effective when applied around data and technology projects. Leaders at all levels are under tremendous pressure to apply the latest tools in their work, but rarely do they have the time needed to learn the new stuff, implement it, and then change everything about how their teams work to actually use it. As a result, even the best leaders put off good projects because the summit seems so far away.
Many leaders hire managed service firms who come in with the knowledge and experience to save the day, but this is risky. Leaders can easily become disconnected from the tools that power their organizations, staff skills stagnate and limit competitive ability, and projects stall or fail when challenges arise without fully engaged stakeholders. Hiring a managed services firm is indeed a viable path forward with a committed, well-oiled internal project team and represents a high-water mark in the team building life cycle. Our experience is that most teams are somewhere in the middle, so our approach is designed to help these teams make a quantum leap in executing projects independently.
We believe a better approach is to keep projects in-house, hire a few highly motivated and skilled experts to augment the team, and treat the project like a learning opportunity for both the team and leadership. Learning together with the experts in a real project environment with open and honest feedback creates a sense of common purpose, a feeling of real impact, a sense of motivation, and ultimately builds a culture of growth. That's the PEAK difference.
Andrew Keller created PEAK Management to infect others with the attitudes and practices that stimulate growth, particularly when it comes to adoption of data and technology. Prior to PEAK, Andrew was a director at a national management consulting firm, leading project teams working to bring data standards and systems interoperability to state departments of education and large urban school districts. The hallmark of his methodology is collaborative learning, engaging diverse stakeholder teams to build momentum, generate excitement, and finally make progress on difficult technology projects.
This methodology grew from the disconnect Andrew witnessed between leadership and staff, where projects consistently failed or stalled without full leadership engagement. Adjusting his team’s approach to focus on empowering leaders early on to embrace technical projects at a deeper level, clients began seeing long-dormant projects awaken with new momentum. Engaging leadership had many secondary benefits: it accelerated requests, advanced timelines, trimmed staff time requests, and facilitated greater collaboration across technical and program staff. Stakeholder participation rates increased, optimism replaced pessimism around new ideas, and new opportunities arose left and right. Most critically, pessimistic team members became key contributors and even began evangelizing the project vision within their organizations. The PEAK approach was born.
Andrew's expertise as a data and technology advisor was forged through roles in management consulting, business analysis, public policy, legislative advocacy, business development, marketing, e-publishing, and web development. He is an Air Force veteran with a B.S. in Communication from Cornell and an Ed.M in Education Policy and Management from Harvard. In his free time, Andrew maintains leadership roles on two Sacramento County advisory boards, and alternates between snowboarding boots in winter and hiking boots in the summer.
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