Many organizations struggling with major initiatives look for better means to manage performance. Oversimplification of problems or underestimation of the barriers to change (even the readiness of organizations to absorb change) impedes progress. Executives sponsoring key initiatives, particularly enterprise wide and multi-generational, should seek to understand how its organization executes – what it does and does not do well – and effectively empower change agents and influencers to deliver results.
Wishing Doesn’t Make it So
The dilemma Managers face in making individuals and organizations accountable for success is in integrating the impact of initiatives to individuals, their teams and the organization. Too often, Senior Leadership absolves itself of responsibility for execution and creates an arbitrary systems of penalties without recognition. This trait hallmarks organizations focused on excuse rather than execution. Timely decisions on critical issues, proper resourcing, problem definition and setting realistic expectations are within the domain of Senior Leadership; communication, expectation management and execution are the responsibility of Managers and their Teams. Each needs the other. The skill is in managing initiatives and relationships – both – for the good of the organization. Continue Reading »
Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Transformation, Transparency | Tagged Accountability, Business Transformation, Change Management, Engaged Teams, Execution Culture, Informed Teams, Positive Thinking, Rewards, Transforming Accountability | Leave a Comment »
Andy Grove of Intel fame provides a fascinating read on the effects and potential advantages of technological disruption. Following is the preface to Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Company. Grove speaks to the importance of understanding inflection points and how great organizations exploit crises to advance their own objectives.
Grove’s lasting question to Management is timeless: what would you do differently if you replaced yourself tomorrow? Though dated (1996), the learning lessons remain relevant in developing an understanding of the impact of shifting boundaries and the importance of plotting a course through dark waters. As a leader, crucial to survival is an awareness to evolving market dynamics and seismic technological shifts. It permits a foundation from which to effectively react to conditions not of your making.
A corollary to Grove’s effort is Hal Moore’s Four Basic Principles of Leadership as an execution paradigm in reacting to disruptions and competitive forces. Though Colonel Moore was speaking to battlefield realities and his own experience in the Ia Drang Valley, its application to industry and business is complete.
As you consider what ails (and assails) your organization, consider the lessons of Grove and Moore. From the boardroom to the battlefield, learn to exploit the unexpected to your advantage.
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Posted in Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership, Transformation | Tagged Andy Grove, Crisis, Disruption, Four Basic Principles of Leadership, Hal Moore, Innovation, Only the Paranoid Survive, Transformation | Leave a Comment »
The Product Development Management Association (PDMA) is an organization devoted to enabling companies improve their innovation processes and profitability through best demonstrated practices. It’s been around for awhile now and good research exists on the site (www.pdma.org).
Strong Innovation Drives Superior Organizational Profitability
Primary among the findings of several large studies is that Market Research, i.e. focus groups, sales anecdotal evidence and VoC – proves critical to the success AND profitability of a launch. This actually speeds (rather than delays) innovation from concept through introduction to market. While lauding the rewards of adherence to process and controls, it also warns of rogue mentality as a drain to profitability and causing significant disruptions in development, integrity in design and cost containment efforts.
Consider the following finding from an APQC study in 2003 and corroborated in Improving New Product Development Performance and Practices, by Cooper and Kleinschmidt in the same year: Continue Reading »
Posted in Innovation, Inspiration, Simplicity, Transformation | Tagged APQC, Business Transformation, Don Berwick, Escape Fire, Innovation, RO2I | Leave a Comment »
While packing for our first foray as a family to Disney World, I noted the “irrational exuberance” of my wife and children in advance of blowing thousands of dollars on one of the greatest marketing campaigns ever. Though less enthused at the downstroke required to fund the effort, I remain awed by the organizational devotion to customer experience and the role of Imagineer in continually rejuvenating and extending the brand. Value here greatly exceeds price and has for generations. Organizations across many industries send their Innovation Teams to Disney for the express purpose of understanding this model and the value it creates.
Warren Buffett once stated, “price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Pretty interesting statement, but – out of context – so what? Isdell of Coca-Cola fame referenced this in a 2004 speech before a European industry conference. His take on value was pretty remarkable. He delineated the core considerations of value for his organization as relating to choice, information and goodwill. “So the essential question for us is what consumers want for their health and nutrition today, and what they’re going to want in the future.” One could supplement nutrition for surgical services or quality of life and change the entire context of this sentence to relate to healthcare. Not unique to healthcare, with a bit of thought, it likely applies to any industry. Continue Reading »
Posted in Agility, Innovation, Inspiration, Transformation | Tagged Buffett, Disney, Isdell, Process Innovation, Value | Leave a Comment »
Virtue as a Competitive Advantage
Though dead for nearly 2,400 years, Aristotle remains relevant primarily because of his defining principles in terms of the ethics of leadership and personal choice. Within Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle concludes that the primary role of leadership is creation of an environment in which all members of an organization are provided the opportunity to realize individual potential. Thus, the ethical role of the leader is not to consolidate power, but rather to create an environment where followers may realize the full potential of their unique gifts and abilities. The role, then, of the individual is to employ personal choice in individual interactions arriving at some end we individually consider good for personal growth and collectively so in contribution to organizational performance. This is accomplished through a value system where living “virtuously” determines whether we achieve excellence or mediocrity. Continue Reading »
Posted in Agility, Inspiration, Leadership, Transformation, Transparency | Tagged Aristotle, Ethics, Happiness, Nicomachean, Prudence, Virtue | Leave a Comment »
Attributes of High-Performance Teams
If discipline is the crucible wherein excellence is derived, then passion is the catalyst for that transformation. Passion and discipline are key attributes of any high-performance team. Passion overcomes long odds and obstacles. Passion differentiates; it endures. It remains a tremendously powerful equalizer, particularly if fear of not trying overwhelms fear of failure. But how to instill this in teams or organizations struggling with mediocrity? What implications exist for Leaders whose Teams now drown in sub-average performance or expend valuable resources in a seemingly vain attempt to stay afloat? Continue Reading »
Posted in Inspiration, Leadership, Transformation, Transparency | Tagged Business Transformation, Caesar, Change Management, Discipline, Rubicon | Leave a Comment »
The Secret of Obtaining Wealth: Service to Others
A friend recently read the posting “1899: A Message to Garcia” and afterward suggested I return to the writings of Elbert Hubbard for his treatment on the importance of mental attitude in performance and personal transformation. An imperfect man himself, Hubbard wrote extensively on issues of self-determination and pursuit of excellence. Hubbard believed that fear was eradicated by the employment of one’s intelligence in the relentless pursuit of truth. By doing so, he reasoned one would obtain greater strength and personal satisfaction ultimately yielding true wealth through service to others. A humbling ideal and remarkable legacy for others pursuing transformation to assume.
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Posted in Inspiration, Leadership, Simplicity, Transformation | Tagged Harmony, Individualism, Perseverance, Self Actualization, Transformation | Leave a Comment »