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Tag Archives: Leadership

Corporate Functional Strategy

26 Feb

Change1

The role of corporate functions, traditionally, has been to conduct the various service-oriented specialized tasks necessary to run the business.  Corporate functions are of strategic significance in achieving organizational objectives yet their role at most enterprises is kind of contractual at best.  These units assist in routine operations, facilitate other business units, and manage conflicts and relevant pressing matters.  For instance, the Human Resources (HR) function is typically responsible for staffing people, administering their benefits, managing performance appraisals, and career advancement procedures.

Constant pressure on businesses to compete in this age of disruption has forced them to rethink the role of their Corporate Functions.  Lately, the expectations from corporate functions have evolved to the degree where the Leadership anticipates the support functions to be of more value for the company.  These corporate functions are now required to align more strategically and directly with the Corporate Functional Strategy.

To undergo Transformation, businesses should act quickly to tap value offered by these 4 key opportunities:

  1. Change in Market Environments
  2. Increased Focus on Discretionary Activities
  3. Increased Pressure on Process Improvement
  4. Development of Distinctive Capabilities

Let’s delve deeper into these key opportunities.

Change in Market Environments

Markets are becoming more and more volatile, uncertain, and rife with innovative rivals.  In addition, the constantly shifting customer demands are forcing organizations to put more pressure on strategic as well as support functions.  This demands from these functions to develop expertise in order to deliver on more complex tasks than in the past.  For instance, IT needs to be able to now design applications capable of unearthing vast data lakes to reveal valuable insights in real-time.

Increased Focus on Discretionary Activities

Traditional corporate functions were more occupied with routine operational activities—resolving financial errors, emailing, overseeing employee compensation, and managing IT assets.  However, now, thanks to Process Optimization and Outsourcing, Corporate Functions have become efficient to the point that they have slashed the requirement for resources to deal with routine activities significantly.  This has freed immense resources, leaders’ time and effort to be spent on discretionary strategic initiatives that have the potential to bring more value for the organization.

Increased Pressure on Process Improvement

Changing market dynamics and intensifying rivalry has strained the organizations to ensure seamless implementation of strategic initiatives, boost effectiveness, and bring on Operational Excellence.  This competitive landscape has forced the functional leadership to reduce expenditures, find new avenues of operational improvement, and enhance value.

Development of Distinctive Capabilities

The changing market dynamics have made the companies realize the significance of creating unique capabilities—differential edge acquired due to the ability to do things remarkably and inimitably. Organizations are now more focused on empowering their global corporate employees.  The Corporate Functions have now become more and more important for the organization’s Corporate Strategy.  Rather than just assessing fulfillment of requests from the team members, rewards and recognition of functional leaders is now being tied more with their efficiency, judgment, ability to create key differentiators for the organization, and finding efficient ways of doing business.

Organizations are now more focused on empowering their global corporate employees.  Rather than just assessing fulfillment of requests from the team members, rewards and recognition of functional leaders is now being tied more with their efficiency, judgment, ability to create key differentiators for the organization, and finding efficient ways of doing business.

Interested in learning more about Corporate Functional Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Functional Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

3 Strategic Thinking Games for Decision Makers

10 Feb

Str Games2

Organizational leadership can draw on 3 Strategic Thinking Games to master Business Strategy and apply in varied scenarios and organizational structures.  The Strategic Thinking Games provide Decision Making models for senior executives to choose from and use as per the situation.

The Strategic Thinking Games are based on mathematics and statistics, particularly Probability Theory, and exhaustive research into the Business Strategy realm.  Probability Theory is actually a branch of mathematics that deals with analysis of random phenomena.  The basic element of Probability Theory is an experiment that can be at least hypothetically repeated under identical conditions, but may lead to different outcomes on different trials.

Each of the Strategic Thinking Games warrants employing a different mindset and decision-making approach to confront the challenges presented by a particular problem.  Executives can apply these Strategic Thinking Models to control their future:

  1. Planning as Positioning
  2. Organization Learning
  3. Constructive Transformation

Let’s discuss these Strategic Thinking Models in detail.

Planning as Positioning

The 1st Strategy game allows the players to make 40 blind draws from a pot holding 25 black and 75 red balls.  It costs $10 per draw—which has to be paid beforehand—and it allows the players the opportunity to win $20 on drawing a red ball but naught on drawing a black ball.  The game imitates a scenario where managers make informed bets about the future based on data and insights into the level of uncertainty encountered.

The Planning as Positioning Model enables the executives to learn about their industry and competition, gauge ambiguities and uncertainties, and select markets that have the potential to generate a positive Return on Investment (ROI).

A classic example of a company operating on the Planning & Positioning Model was the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT).  For 17 years, the company was led by Harold Geneen (from 1960 to 1977).   Harold Geneen was unrestricted by any company mission.  He expanded in multiple industries, acquired around 350 enterprises from varied industries, including auto parts, cosmetics, hospitality, insurance, and technology.  As a formal accountant, Harold considered facts as indisputable, final, and a foundation for making strategic decisions.  He would travel to far-flung regions to meet his business unit managers, who were free to make their own strategic decisions but were responsible for their unit’s performance and objectives’ achievement.

Organization Learning

The 2nd Strategy game allows the players to blind draw from a pot containing an unknown mix of red and black balls.  This time it costs $5 per draw.  Players have to bet on either color before each draw.  They can draw up to 50 times, or stop whenever they want, and win $20 if they draw the right ball.  This game imitates a scenario for training managers to dynamically respond to upcoming events with unpredictable degree of uncertainty.

Through the pot filled with balls experiment, it was revealed that when people are given complicated choices, they behave in manners conflicting with their beliefs.  In his famous Ellsberg Paradox, Ellsberg hypothesized that people make illogical preferences in order to avoid ambiguity.  The Organizational Learning Model underlines that in a world full of uncertainties instead of spending too much time predicting the future, planning and positioning, organizations should devise and implement an evolving strategy, take one step at a time, search for viable patterns, and then adjust the course based on results.

An example of successful implementation of the 2nd Strategic Thinking Model is Corning Inc. that embraced Organizational Learning to develop a healthy product pipeline.  The company developed Pyrex, TV tubes…..

Interested in learning more about the 3 Strategic Thinking Games?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Strategic Thinking Games here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

3 Principles to Design a Leadership Operating Model

31 Jan

OM1

Most people believe that the value and impact of the C-level leadership originates from the number of meetings conducted, having the ability to plan for long term, and make key strategic decisions collectively.  However, in reality, the C-level seldom works in unanimity to make collective decisions.  They often have animosities with each other and lack collaboration and mutual trust.

The real impact and success of the top team emanates from the informal and social networks of its members, their resolve to capitalize on those connections for strategic decision making, and their competency to perform well in subgroups created to solve pressing concerns.

Effective C-level leadership is conscious of the value of their informal / social networks and their ability to deal with serious issues.  They organize themselves in a way to work as the nucleus of the organization, which gives them the leverage to promptly act on adversities or opportunities.

Leadership’s Social Network Analysis

C-level’s informal social network enables an organization to draw combined capabilities—in-house as well as the extended network.  Top leadership needs to evaluate the strengths of their social network by mapping their informal associations.  This can be done by conducting surveys, analyzing meetings, phone calls, and emails.

The social network analysis reveals that 90% actionable information comes from this informal leadership network rather than through internal reports and datasets.  These linkages aren’t distributed evenly; some members may be highly networked commanding a major chunk of two-way interactions across the organization whereas others may have a smaller network and lesser influence accordingly.  The analysis also suggests that poor leadership connections lead to failed decisions—whereas enriched networks cause advancement in Innovation and Organizational Efficiency.

To design—or redesign—an effective Leadership Operating Model, organizations need to incorporate 3 key principles in their operations:

  1. Leverage Focused Subgroups
  2. Improve Networking Effectiveness
  3. Manage Conflicts at the Constituent Level

These 3 principles aren’t simple to implement.  It warrants evolving the very nature of how the senior leadership team functions and design a more poised and assimilated Operating Model.

Let’s discuss these principles in detail.

Leverage Focused Subgroups

Senior leadership’s performance cannot be judged solely by its ability to revamp the enterprise’s organogram.  Effective top leadership demands from the team a capability to form peer-to-peer, top-down, and bottom-up relationships; and work in discrete yet linked groups, each of which is focused on solving a unique problem or tapping an opportunity.

Depending upon the circumstances, leaders should adopt any of these modes when dealing with networks.  Focused subgroups work best in 3 discrete modes:

  • Discussion Groups – These groups focus on information flow, comparing notes, and updating each other on progress. The mode does not cater strategic decisions or active leadership.
  • Single Leader Units – In this mode, every executive of the group has clear responsibilities and is accountable to one boss who has the authority over the others to enable speed and efficiency.
  • Real Teams – This subgroup includes executives possessing similar capabilities, who are committed under an accommodating leader to achieve shared objectives.

Networking Effectiveness

It is culturally acceptable at many organizations to utilize time on trivial matters—e.g. unnecessary e-mailing, lengthy approval cycles, long-drawn-out meetings, or to schedule events.  These matters cannot be eliminated altogether however, meticulously planned informal networking between the top team enhances efficiency of leaders to a great extent.

Each member of the C-level should connect the right people together, lead and support subgroups, and maintain associations.  Gaps in informal communication between leaders damage the implementation of organizational strategic plans.  Interaction between top executives is often limited to participation in senior level meetings for information sharing purposes only, lacking collaboration to pursue shared objectives.  To make matters worse, they spend too little a time with their direct reports, employees, or customers.  This detachment creates widespread unease and skepticism.

Interested in learning more about the 3 key principles necessary to design a Leadership Operating Model?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 3 principles key to design a Leadership Operating Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

10 Hidden Strategic Opportunities

25 Dec

opportunity 2

Potential opportunities always surround leaders.  It is up to them to pounce on those or regret overlooking them, when someone else takes advantage of them.

Leaders’ personal beliefs and assumptions often clash reality.  The trait is categorized as “confirmation bias” in Psychology, where individuals pick the data that supports their existing opinions and approaches and doubt information which defies their mindsets.  Leadership needs to develop themselves to the level to consider the slight hints of the opportunities surrounding them.

There are 10 hidden strategic opportunities that—exist in all businesses and geographies but—are often overlooked by the leadership due to personal biases.  These opportunities go unnoticed because they are often disguised in the form of anomalies and contradictions to leaders’ existing beliefs and assumptions.  It’s up to the leaders to control personal bias; explore anomalies; and develop capabilities to uncover and seize these 10 Hidden Strategic Opportunities before rivals do.

In this article, we will discuss the first 3 strategic opportunities.

Opportunity 1: Assuming a product already exists, but actually it doesn’t.

Most people assume that a certain product already exists.  Its only when an organization ventures into that segment—with a new value proposition—that people realize that there was a void there.  Such gaps are there in almost all industries, but only visionaries are able to recognize and capitalize on them—through innovation and creative product development.  A number of well-known inventions—e.g., tablet computers—were thought to have already existed, but actually didn’t.

For instance, Kate Brosnahan, accessories editor for Mademoiselle magazine, realized in the 1990s that the handbag market lacked stylish yet economical functional bags.  The market at the time was replete with expensive but impractical bags from top designers and functional bags deficient in style.  Kate left her job and founded Kate Spade LLC, with her partner Andy Spade.  Together they began creating fabric handbags which were practical as well as trendy.  Soon, their products started getting appreciation from customers, including media icons.

Opportunity 2: Customer Experience should be anything but strenuous, costly, or irritating (but most of the time it is).

Fragmented and delayed customer experience results in customer churn.  Annoyance caused by poor Customer Experience presents potential strategic opportunity to win customers by fixing it.  They are able to see the bigger picture and strive hard to relieve customers’ aggravation and offer exemplary Customer Experience.

For instance, creation of Netflix Inc. was the result of Reed Hastings having to pay a fine of $40 as late fee for a rented video cassette he had lost.  Leading organizations, such as Netflix, offer quality offerings and provide their customers seamless, quick, and pleasing experiences.

Opportunity 3. An item is often priced low only because not many people know about it.

Hidden merits of a location offers an opportunity for sharp people to invest in for future appreciation.  One of the reasons for inexpensive resources or items is the lack of their awareness and cognizance of their true potential among people.  When people recognize the potential of a property or resource, its price rises steeply.

Interested in learning more about the other hidden strategic opportunities?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 10 Hidden Strategic Opportunities here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

3 Pillars of Business Globalization

17 Dec

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Early 2000s saw a change of mind regarding the Globalization of commerce by members of the political and economic arenas.  This change of mind was instigated by myths perpetuated against commerce Globalization because of the dichotomy that appeared between existing Operating Models of companies and needs of the emerging markets.

These perceived trade-offs that were myths included ideas like choosing between centrally-controlled Operating Model and local responsiveness model.

Proponents of the central model had the view that intellectual power and Innovation capability had to be centralized, all products and services brought in line everywhere, foregoing catering to diverse needs and demands of customers in every emerging market.

The converse view was that in order to have locally applicable distribution systems, proactive Supply Chains, and reduced costs of emerging-market management, it was necessary to devolve the company and operation as a loose federation.

This trade-off incompatibility was addressed by the Hub Strategy where, in place of a single center, companies set up principal office “hubs” in as many of the 20 gateway countries of the world as required—a global corporate structure with no headquarters.

These 20 gateway countries represent 70% of the world population and generate 80% of the world income.  The gateway countries include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States from the developed economies.  Rest of the 10 are emerging markets of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey.

This new Business Model covers both the recognized advantages of developed markets and the possibilities of emerging economies.  A model that handles decentralization, centralization, existing practices, and possible disruptions not as trade-offs, but as complements.

It is, however, important to understand that for the model to have its full impact, 3 core pillars have to be integrated and pursued simultaneously.  The 3 Pillars of Globalization are:

  1. Customization
  2. Unity
  3. Arbitrage

Only business leadership that has taught itself and its teams to be very careful about where to customize, how to develop capabilities, and what to arbitrage are the ones reaping benefits from this model.

Let us delve a little deeper into the details of the 3-pillar Business Model.

Customization

Variation in needs, wants, and cultures of consumers makes it impossible to customize centrally.  Providing products and services in a locally competitive manner is therefore central to become a global enterprise.

Customization entails fulfilling the requirements and wants of varied consumers, in areas such as product or service features, affordability, and cultural alignment.  Hub Strategy provides the leverage to fulfill this demand by enabling companies to customize only in the 20 gateway countries.

Unity

Unity entails worldwide alignment of the company with, a unified central purpose, a body of exclusive first-rate knowledge, and capabilities that differentiate the company from all others.

Core purpose must be understood in the same manner by all functions of the company, in every geographical location.

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a methodical initiative that consists of increasing effectiveness and Cost Reduction by discovering materials, manufacturing methods, logistics practices, funds sourcing, or infrastructure that are less expensive.

Interested in learning more about the 3 Pillars of Globalization and its Case examples?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 3 Pillars of Globalization here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

4 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

9 Oct

Evaluation and onboarding of outstanding leaders is anything but straightforward.  Almost all organizations have set up testing mechanisms or assessment centers to distinguish senior leadership candidates having traits that make up for Exceptional Leaders.  These assessment centers shortlist leaders based on certain indicators and criteria.

However, these assessments are not always accurate in predicting the best leaders.  At times, the entire evaluation exercise results in drafting mediocre leaders and fails to select top influencers and role models for the organization.  The traditional methods of gauging senior leaders prove inadequate based, typically, on 3 common flaws:

  • Granularity – Gauging the candidates for leadership positions using the profiles of successful leaders from the past. Those profiles are not meaningful considering the pace of change today and the future needs of the organization.
  • Long-term Focus – Assessment of candidates based on the traits required to reap the fruits of Business Strategy in 5 years’ time is another ground for not identifying the right leaders.
  • Emphasis on finding typical leadership traits – Instead of looking for traits that separate exceptional leaders from the pack, most assessments are geared towards finding typical leadership traits.

Research by PwC—spanning over a period of 10 years with a sample size of 2500 senior executives, who remained a part of C-suite successions in large organizations—reveals that the common flaws in leadership assessment methods can be confronted methodically.  To find the best C-level executives, leadership evaluations should focus on identifying candidates possessing the following 4 key traits that are typical only of the top C-level executives:

  1. Simplification & Operationalization of Complexity
  2. Drive Enterprise-wide Ambition & Change
  3. Strong Teamwork
  4. Leader Building

Let’s dive deeper into these traits.

Simplification & Operationalization of Complexity

In today’s world of disruption, organizations face new challenges on a day-to-day basis.  Exceptional leaders have the ability to process tremendous volumes of information and simplify things fairly easily.  Leaders who truly standout are well-versed in tackling confusion and learn promptly.  They are great at:

  • Interpreting complexities and creating simplified operational descriptions around them for others’ understanding.
  • Developing visions to influence people and rally them around the shared objectives.
  • Developing & implementing actionable plans to achieve objectives.
  • Developing functional and dynamic storylines encompassing the agenda that demonstrates how the company will execute its strategy. These storylines consistently remind the people to concentrate on the things that matter most to the company (e.g. customers, products).
  • Creating and disseminating robust communication plans—highlighting how their company is best suited to face the challenges of disruption—that are consistently analyzed and improved upon.

Drive Enterprise-wide Ambition & Change

People in an organization often operate in groups.  These groups consider people outside their circle as competitors or “outsiders.”  This tribal mentality is detrimental for an organization and inculcates individual thinking—focusing only on personal / group targets—and debilitates the ability to operate outside one’s comfort zone.  Exceptional leaders have the skills to:

  • Make people come out of this tribal or siloed mentality and think collectively in terms of realizing organizational objectives.
  • Understand different mindsets and know how to influence them constructively.
  • Make people realize their contribution towards the bigger, organizational perspective and work towards achieving their business unit targets rather than personal performance objectives.

Strong Teamwork

Nobody can undermine or deny the importance of teamwork.  Much has been written on the subject. However, in reality, most teams do not quite understand the spirit and commitment fundamental to develop teamwork.

Exceptional leaders:

  • Are aware of the importance of teamwork and collective leadership. They consistently challenge their people to ponder over ways to achieve not only personal but also the strategic organizational objectives.
  • Work with teams to uncover prioritized initiatives critical for organizational growth.
  • Lead their teams and make informed strategic decisions.
  • Focus more on the strategic planning front than tactical way before they reach the C level.
  • Emphasize to the teams the significance of spending time discussing / developing strategy and devising plans.
  • Focus on maximizing the effectiveness of each individual to benefit the organization.

Interested in learning more about the traits of outstanding leaders?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Exceptional Leadership here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

3 Conditions for Sustainable Change

4 Sep

Change4

With most Transformation initiatives people gradually revert back to their old habits of doing things.  Sustainable Change Management necessitates 4 key processes:

  • Chartering—defining the scope, rationale, and team for the change initiative.
  • Learning—testing and refining ideas before a full-blown execution of the initiative.
  • Mobilizing—using symbols and metaphors to engage people and gain their buy-in for the change program.
  • Realigning—redefining the roles and responsibilities and managing performance of the initiative and the people driving it.

These processes are critical to enable an Organizational Culture which encourages execution of lasting change.

In addition to these key processes, for the change to entrench into the organizational fabric, Leadership needs to put in place the environment necessary for the people to embrace and own the new processes, systems, and desired behaviors.

The 4 critical processes aid in creating the enabling conditions necessary for institutionalizing change in the organization.  These enabling conditions for sustainable Change take place in 3 settings:

  1. Structural Context
  2. Procedural Context
  3. Emotional Context

The environment for sustainable change must be put in place way before the actual execution of the Transformation initiative.  These enabling conditions encompass making changes to the organization’s structure, procedures, and sentiments / behaviors.

Let’s dive deeper into the 3 conditions critical to enable sustainable change in the institution.

Structural Context

The first element of the enabling environment requires the change leadership to work on reshaping the organizational structure.  The 4 key processes have a direct bearing on the organization’s structure.  Their effect pervades over:

  • The organization’s hierarchy and reporting lines.
  • Compensations, benefits, and rewards systems.
  • Monitoring and control systems.

The Structural Context significantly affects the way employees’ work and expend their time and their interest in certain types of projects.

The structural context is altered during the Realigning process of Transformation in the way new personnel practices are employed.  The Learning process informs the redefinition of linkage between the leadership and field staff.  The Mobilizing process informs the changes to be made in the roles and responsibilities of the management and front-line people—through storytelling and metaphors.  Whereas, the Chartering process helps instill a reformed, team-building culture in the organization.  Together, these changes in the structural context cascade down across the organization.

Procedural Context

The Procedural context pertains to a feeling of objectivity and authenticity of new processes and systems.  The Procedural environment involves the perception of people that their views are taken seriously and acted upon while designing and implementing a new initiative.

Procedural authenticity is critical in gaining commitment from the employees on initiatives that were not validated by them earlier.   It involves belief of the people that the change initiative integrates well with the philosophies of the organization and the way business should be done.  It makes the people feel heard, ensures trustworthiness of the change leadership through positive track records and effective decision making abilities, and alignment of the change initiative with the core values of the organization.

Interested in learning more about the other enabling conditions mandatory for institutionalizing change?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Conditions for Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

4 Processes of Sustainable Change

25 Aug

Initiatives aimed at improving performance are often launched with great uproar, costing an organization significant investments.  Such initiatives necessitate extensive changes in the Organizational Culture and the way the enterprise systems and processes function.

However, most initiatives fall short of realizing success.  Decades of scholarly research on Change Management reveals that the issues that contribute the most to the failure of strategic initiatives are:

  • Incompetence in sustaining process improvement.
  • Lack of trust on senior leadership.
  • Failure to embrace new ways of doing business.
  • Performance relapse.
  • Inability of the initiative to produce any positive financial returns.
  • Skepticism towards the desired behaviors and return of impractical employee behaviors.

Researchers have carried out scores of studies to isolate the drivers of lasting change.  Research published in MIT SMR in 2005 discusses how leadership can design and execute Transformation initiatives that bring lasting changes in the organization.The study entailed in-depth analysis of the strategic Customer Service Enhancement (CSE) initiative undertaken by a large clothing retailer, having franchises in multiple geographic locations.

The researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders, in-store operations and support function managers.  Detailed notes of the interviews were shared amongst the researchers alongside an exhaustive literature review.  A case study of the initiative was prepared using independent research to have an unprejudiced viewpoint, free from any bias.  Feedback from the organization’s management was gathered and incorporated throughout the study to seek clarifications or corrections.  Data analysis was carried out employing a coding scheme developed using Atlas.ti tool.  Comparative analysis was conducted and similarities and differences in conclusions were discussed.

The study brought to light 4 key processes necessary for change to stick in an organization.   These key processes assist in laying the foundation for successful institutionalization of change initiatives by creating a company-wide culture that encourages enduring change:

  1. Chartering
  2. Learning
  3. Mobilizing
  4. Realigning

Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 processes.

Chartering

Chartering is a process through which an enterprise classifies the purpose, scope, and the way people interact with each other on a strategic initiative.  Clear delineation of project boundaries, resources, responsibilities, and reporting lines are the elements integral for the success of a change initiative.

The Chartering process entails 2 critical components:

  • Boundary Setting
  • Team Design

Boundary Setting involves the key steps a team takes for accurate definition of change initiative’s scope.

The project team should clearly outline the problem(s) that the project is, and isn’t, going to tackle.  Ideally, while designing and executing a change initiative, the focus of the engagement should be on confronting the most crucial problem area.  The leadership should ensure not to confuse the core team by eyeing too many priorities to deal with through the strategic initiative.

The Team Design element of Chartering involves ascertaining the roles, accountabilities, and guiding principles for team’s collaboration.  Team design entails creating ground rules for team members to interact, devising mechanisms to manage conflicts.  The leadership needs to not only maintain diversity of the project team’s expertise, but also ensure they complement each other, and inculcate a standardized approach to decision making in project teams.  There needs to be fostered a culture of positive discourse and testing ideas amongst the team members.  Incorporating these guidelines helps spark thinking, learning, and decision making.

Learning

Learning aids in anticipating and dealing with hurdles during implementation of Transformation initiatives.  Learning enables the managers to improve the quality of the new processes.  it is a process through which managers develop, test, and refine ideas before full-scale implementation.  The process entails 2 critical components:

  • Discovery
  • Experimentation

For more information on Learning and Development and how to elevate your organization into a Learning Organization, check out the frameworks and tools on Flevy here: https://flevy.com/business-toolkit/learning-organization

The discovery element involves gathering data to identify the objectives of the change initiative and outlining ways to achieve those objectives.  Before rolling out a complete implementation of a change initiative, testing and refining the individual elements of the initiative immensely assists in the success of the initiative.  Gathering adequate information relevant to the initiative, setting up baseline metrics to measure performance, and identifying issues hampering customer satisfactions are the key aspects of this phase.  The team should learn from the failures of prior initiatives, introduce change in a systemic fashion rather than piecemeal, and encourage people to change rationally as well as emotionally.

Interested in learning more about the other processes critical for change to stick?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 4 Processes of Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Lean Product Development: Talent Development

19 Aug

Top products are the creation of top designers and developers. Lean Product Development helps in developing expert designers and developers, who are excellent problem solvers and are adept at creating innovative solutions.  Developing Key Talent for Product Management accelerates Innovation and time to market while lowering costs.

Managers responsible for developing creative products and solutions need to take 5 key steps, in order to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector:

  1. Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organization DNA
  2. Create and Implement Design Standards
  3. Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews
  4. Evaluate Organization’s Product Development Process
  5. Revisit Organizational Leadership Culture to Focus on Learning

Let’s dive deeper into the steps to effective Talent Management.

STEP-1 Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organizational DNA

Technical mastery needs to be at the heart of everyday work practices and the guiding principle for manufacturing concerns.  Incentives, recognition, and rewards should be created based on technical competence, and it should be incorporated into routine business practices.  Likewise, training programs need to be geared towards enhancing the engineers’ technical capabilities.

For instance, technical competence is an integral element of training new engineers at Toyota.  One of the main requirements for qualifying for an engineering leadership position at the company is mentoring of young engineers.  Similarly, Ford Motor Co. has a technical maturity model in place for each department in the engineering function.  The giant automaker reinforces this when creating roles and responsibilities, conducting design reviews, and remunerating its engineers.  These measures help curb attrition and motivate people to stay longer.

STEP-2 Create and Implement Design Standards

The next step is to develop design standards and execute them.  Design standards should be set in place and implemented by using the existing organizational knowledge.  Design leaders should hold regular sessions with developers on a smart board and solicit their views on the layout of a certain system and training an apprentice in design principles.  These design guiding principles should be compiled into user-friendly handbooks for future design and development programs.  Lessons learnt from each project should be incorporated into the design standards with regular updates to the handbooks.

Toyota reserves 10-15 days out of the development project time period for the development team to ponder over the lessons learned from an ongoing project.  The development team incorporates these lessons into the design standards and updates the design manuals with these newer experiences.

STEP-3 Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews

The 3rd step involves holding frequent technical design reviews to nurture people via action learning and collaboration. The product design and development units should organize weekly technical design assessments.  The assessments need to be conducted at the design and development facilities—factory premises, test lab, or prototype shop—instead of a conference room.  This helps in gaining practical knowledge and skills.  Regular assessments assist in developing design and engineering teams through on-the-job experiences and cross-unit cooperation.

Interested in learning more about the other steps to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development: Talent Development here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Lean Product Development & Innovation

8 Aug

Improving Product Development competencies in designers and developers is a concern for senior leaders in the manufacturing sector.

The approach most organizations take in developing Human Resources does not go beyond staffing the cream of the crop from leading global educational institutes.  Talent Development to them is, typically, sending their people to attend workshops and keeping up with employee annual training hours’ goals, and that’s it.  Companies usually spend more on acquiring latest manufacturing equipment or modern collaboration tools than they do to develop their greatest asset—their people.

Research on manufacturing practices unequivocally suggests that it’s primarily the inspiration to adopt a culture of Continuous Improvement in people that results in operational excellence.  This Continuous Improvement Culture has more significance than implementing Lean practices across all processes.

The “Lean Product Development” concept isn’t a new notion.  The practice has been around since the 1980s.  An MIT study in the 1980s revealed that manufacturing practices in Japanese automakers were totally opposed to those of auto manufacturers in the rest of the world.  These approaches were referred to as “Lean” practices.  Research into manufacturing practices of Toyota has spread the knowledge about Lean Product Development globally.

Lean concept is strikingly opposing to the philosophy that emphasizes on delegating the responsibility of developing the designers’ / developers’ capabilities to the Human Resources Department.  In order to develop and deliver superior products, Lean Product Development focuses on enabling the developers build “personal dexterity” as the key element of success.  The concept necessitates technical training and collaboration between developers.

Before embarking on the Lean Product Development and Innovation journey, organizational leadership should work on finding answers to these 3 fundamental questions:

  1. In order to design better products, which critical insights do we need to develop regarding customers, products, and processes?
  2. Which mediums, organizational knowledge, and tools are required to develop these insights?
  3. Which organizational structures and ways of doing businesses are ideally suited to develop these valuable insights and improving the expertise of developers?

Pondering over these critical questions and answering them facilitates in creating a pool of skilled Product Designers and developers.

Let’s dive deeper into these questions.

Question 1

Lean Product Development emphasizes on developing a steady stream of products at an even pace—referred to as “Takt.”   iPhone 1 and iPhone 2 are examples of a steady stream of products released at regular intervals in Apple’s iPhone value stream.

Takt has evolved the way products are designed.  An initial product is developed as a means to validate an idea.  Products are progressed from the initial product based on stakeholders’ feedback.  The purpose of a value stream of products is to improve the current product offerings, inspire the existing customers to upgrade, and tempt potential customers to try the product.  In these evolving value streams, every product release serves as an opportunity to gain insights into the market.

The value enhancement through Takt has 2 broad objectives:

  • Fixing problems in existing products and creating offerings meeting the customer needs.
  • Lowering manufacturing costs and improving quality.

Question 2 

Lean Product Development underscores the significance of the medium through which developers should learn in order to create superior products.  Developers’ capabilities in technical Problem Solving and learning what the others are doing helps enhance the quality of each new release.  Development teams should have quick access to accumulating a thorough knowledge of the entire supply chain and the effect of their decisions on manufacturing.  This assists in improving the efficiency of the developers.

Instead of learning and gaining knowledge through traditional ways, Lean Product Development encourages the developers to learn through Action Learning—the process where teams are continuously mentored and encouraged to learn collectively on the job, solve problems creatively, and test models to cope with real-life issues.

Interested in learning more about the key elements to consider before enabling Lean Product Development & Innovation, and the phases of the Lean process?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development & Innovation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

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