Friday, August 31, 2007
Their book, "Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies" tells how to see alignment as a management process.
"The alignment process, much like budgeting, should be part of the annual governance cycle. Whenever plans are changed at the enterprise or business unit level, executives likely need to realign the organization with the new direction."
"Using these eight checkpoints as a point of reference, an organization can measure and manage the degree of alignment, and hence the synergy, being achieved across the enterprise. Organizations that master this process can create competitive advantages that are difficult to dislodge."
BOTTOMLINE: In Six Disciplines for Excellence, Discipline III. Align Systems is all about continual alignment. Achieving alignment is not a event. It is an on-going battle that's part of what it means to pursue enduring business excellence. If we, as business leaders don't learn how to align resources with company goals, the free market...will.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
It's interesting to me how in-synch his recommendations are, relative to the methodology outlined in Gary Harpst's top-rated organizational learning book "Six Disciplines for Excellence."
Read Kawaski's entire article here.
Monday, August 27, 2007
In this special double issue, they discussed how we will master technology, manage companies, and build careers in the era of the global 24-7 workforce.
This special report also discusses “The Five Faces of the 21st Century Chief.” It predicts that the “generalist” CEO will give way to the “specialist” CEO, and predicts five specialist CEO types that will be in the greatest demand:
- The BRAIN … May be algorithm geniuses, coding prodigies, or merely credentialed scientists or designers. CEOs in touch with their inner geeks will be a much sought-after breed.
- The AMBASSADOR … CEOs with explicit business experience in emerging markets of China, India, Russia, Brazil and Dubai.
- The DEALMAKER … Those able to both sell off non-core assets and go toe-to-toe with private equity players on big acquisitions will be in heavy demand.
- The CONDUCTOR … Future companies will have to form alliances with outsiders and turn to networks of innovators for new ideas. More cooperation and creativity across divisions will also be necessary. This CEO will have to orchestrate everyone to play in the same key.
- The CASTING AGENT … As Boomers retire, the talent wars will become fierce. CEOs who can retain the best people and deploy them adeptly will be hot commodities.
BOTTOMLINE: As our future workforce changes, so too will the skills required by company leadership. A systematic approach to addressing an ever-changing and increasing series of challenges is what is needed. An enduring business excellence program such as Six Disciplines could be the answer for organizations that have such intentions.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Categories of podcasting sites include:
- Leadership and Management
- Marketing and Sales
- Operating a Small Business
- Tax and Finance
- Startups and Starting a Business
- Home Based Business
- Small Business Technology
- Business Opportunities and Franchises
- “All around” Small Business Podcasts
- Business News and The Big Picture
- Non-active Podcasts
The article highlights Gary's thought leadership behind the top-rated book "Six Disciplines for Excellence."
...Imagine working in an environment where all employees are fully engaged in what they do, excited about their work, accept personal responsibility for their performance and are committed to the organization.
...Envision your colleagues connected to the vision of the company, looking forward to coming to work and actually wanting to provide customers and the community with exceptional service.
In recent years, the Gallup Organization has stepped up its research efforts, particularly in organizational culture, management effectiveness and employee engagement.
The research has revealed three types of employees: engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged.
Their key recommendation? Companies need to build a culture based on trust, freedom, responsibility and accountability within a framework — a culture where people are willing to go the extra mile and perhaps to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibilities.
How to build accountability into your own organization?
- Set the challenge, create and communicate a vision or goal that compels others
- Engage people in the possibilities and speak those possibilities in a clear, concise and consistent fashion.
- Create trust by leading by example, setting a positive tone by never doubting people and getting others to do versus being asked to do.
- Distribute power by sharing decision making, giving credit where credit is due and valuing innovation.
- Understand strengths and areas for development and looking for the shining eyes in the organization.
- Celebrate successes by recognizing performance and rewarding the results.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Working smarter, not harder.
When each team member spends 1-2 hours per quarter developing their own Individual Plan (IP) that reflects how their activities aligns with company goals, the process becomes more clear.
The actual creation of quarterly IPs force team members and their team leaders to communicate with each others about their priorities. It builds and teaches accountability. (Sounds obvious - but it happens a lot less than we imagine.)
BOTTOMLINE: Developing written IPs every quarter for every team member helps people to understand how they improve company performance and improves team member satisfaction. In essence, this single step is at the core of the process for achieving enduring business excellence.
Monday, August 20, 2007
- Underperforming and disengaged employees impact and infect the entire organization and many of those within it in a variety of ways, all of them negative.
- When an employee performs and produces and the organization fails to do so, employees become disillusioned and tend to settle for a less-is-more mindset when it comes to work and working. Disengagement results.
So, what can managers actually do on a day-to-day basis to build a more engaged workforce?
- Show mutual respect
- Hold one another accountable
- Contribute and participate
- Recognize and reward effort
- Live the values of the organization
Read the entire article here.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
An executive or management team discovers or formulates a new initiative. They devise, and then implement the idea thinking, “wow…is this a great strategy.”
When it is finally introduced, they wonder why it is not welcomed or enthusiastically accepted.
Why? Here's a typical process that many organizations use to conceive and introduce new ideas:
- Decide a change is needed
- Make plans behind closed doors
- Draw up charts
- Call a meeting
- Surprise! I have come up with a grand new organizational plan
- See where each of you fit in my plan
- Now get to work making it happen
- Tell those who resist that they are not “team players”
- Take all the credit for any success
BOTTOMLINE: Sadly, this is a typical process in an autocratic organization. The resulting loss of talent, resources and effectiveness are enormous. The bad news is that everyday this process is repeated over and over again and in some organizations from generation to generation. The good news is that everyday a few souls are changing their attitude and embracing a servant-leader approach.
“Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.” —Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/ Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
"The result...is an organization that has developed the most vital core competence of them all - the ability to execute its strategy." Gary Harpst, CEO and Founder, Six Disciplines Corporation
For those of you not involved in the blogging community, being "tagged" involves the following:
- Post these rules before you give your facts.
- List 8 random facts about yourself.
- At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them.
- Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged.
Most of you probably realize that I work for Six Disciplines LLC as the Director of Public Relations. What most probably don't know about me is that:
1. I’m a Music Fanatic. After the Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan, things have never been the same (except for my hairline.) Since then, I’ve seen hundreds of concerts over the years. I’ve played guitar since I was 9, and can also carry a tune. Prized possession is an Eric Clapton “Blackie” signature Strat. Prized memorabilia are an autographed copy of the Beatles “She Loves You,” an autographed stage photo of Eric Clapton, and most recently, an autographed photo from all members of Cream. Along the way, I’ve played in a few bands, and even fronted for Chubby Checker in Cleveland back in 2000. Test me on my music trivia, but be prepared to go down in flames.
2. Cooking is a Passion. Have cooked for 1 to over 100 people. I’m particularly intrigued with combinations of colors, textures and tastes. Favorites include pastas, Cajun/Creole, seafood dishes. Fresh herbs and summer vegetables are the only way to go. The results get rave reviews about 98% of the time. Of course, a good bottle of Merlot to go with whatever - goes without question.
3. Sports Nut. Playing, participating, coaching - you name it. Basketball, football, baseball – and most recently, hockey. Was the 2nd fastest sprinter in high school - still hold my high school record for pushups (127 consecutive) – and pull-ups (119 consecutive). Only TV I watch is sports (OK, maybe a few good documentaries…). I’m also nuts about sports trivia – I’m no “Schwab” – but I can hold my own.
4. Computer Geek. I truly believe that software can do almost anything. I’ve worked for a small software vendor (Solomon Software) – that became very successful over a 20 year time span, merged with our biggest competitor, and was acquired by Microsoft. I worked for Microsoft for 4 years as manager of industry analyst relations, also doing competitive intelligence and public relations work. I have been coding websites since 1994 (before most people even knew what the web was!). And, I'm connected to the Internet more hours per day than I want to admit.
5. Passionate About Seeking Deeper Meaning. Knowledge, news, music, information -- I need it 24 x 7. It’s all about deeper meaning: understanding, appreciating talent and excellence in all its forms, giving more than receiving.
There you have it. It was fun and provided a little chance to stroll down memory lane. Thanks for opportunity.
(And now....back to our regularly scheduled programming)
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The trends are based on results from CCL's groundbreaking research on "The Changing Nature of Leadership" as well as on data collected from 247 senior executives who attended CCL's Leadership at the Peak program from July 2006 to April 2007.
- The Rise of Complex Challenges. Most executives (91 percent) believe the challenges their organizations face are more complex than they were just five years ago. According to the executives, the top factors that contribute to the increasing complexity of business are internal changes to the organization, market dynamics, a shortage of talent and globalization. "It appears that organizations and individuals will have to keep doing more with less while responding even faster to changes in their industry and economy."
- The Innovation Revolution. Everyone is looking for the next big thing, but how are they going about finding it? The executives report that they promote innovation in their organizations primarily through overt innovation efforts, such things as ideation processes, task forces, cross functional innovation teams, off-site innovation programs, reward/recognition programs and research/external best practices.
- The Art of Virtual Leadership. Organizations are continually asked to bridge cross-cultural, geographical and functional boundaries. Eighty-five percent of 129 leaders surveyed believe that virtual leadership is a necessary skill for senior leaders in their organization. Further, 92 percent of 115 executives believe virtual leadership requires a different skill set from face-to-face leadership. According to the executives surveyed, communication is the central skill for effective virtual leadership.
- Collaboration Nation. Collaboration is becoming a central part of our work as leaders. Over 97 percent of executives surveyed believe that leaders in their organization must collaborate to succeed. However, only 47 percent of 115 executives believe leaders in their organization are highly skilled in collaboration. To fill this gap between the need and the skill set, leaders and organizations need to develop the mindset, culture and competencies that support collaboration.
- The World of Interruption. Research from Gloria Marks (reported in New York Magazine 2007, The Science of Interruption) states that the average worker is interrupted every 11 minutes on the job. Further, it takes those same workers about 25 minutes on average to return to the original task. CCL's study of senior executives shows that they are interrupted about every 30 to 40 minutes (note that the CCL data is self reported whereas Marks' is by observation). The difference in the two studies begs the question, do people even recognize interruptions or are they accustomed to it? Regardless, the pattern is clear that focused, long periods of work are rare in today's organizations.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
- Identify the what and why of the change. Spell out the change in specific terms. How will employees’ daily routine be affected? What will they have to do differently? Explain the reasoning behind the change thoroughly. People will accept change more readily if they understand why it’s necessary—even if they don’t like it.
- Target specific results. The change is intended to produce specific concrete results. Your communication efforts should do so as well. Do you want to retain a certain
percentage of employees after a merger? Hold productivity at the same level after a cutback? Clear goals will make your communication strategy easier to plan.
- Don’t dump information on people. Too much communication is rarely a bad thing, but it can be unproductive if you don’t put some thought into the quality of the information you expect people to process. Take some time to think about what you’re telling people and whether you’re doing it in the most effective way.
- Welcome questions and feedback. Your workforce will feel more secure during the upheaval if they have lots of opportunities to ask questions and voice their opinions.
Do your best to take their sentiments into account as you make decisions; when you can’t, explain the situation so people don’t think you’re asking for feedback only to ignore it.
BOTTOMLINE: When welcoming feedback, rely on a mixture of group presentations and one-on-one meetings. Gathering feedback one-on-one shows respect for the individual, allowing for interaction and feedback with less intimidation. Interaction moves people from compliance to enrollment, and from enrollment to commitment. (See Step II-D, Engage the Team, from Six Disciplines for Excellence.)
Get all key decision makers to the table—same time, every day.
It's a deceptively simple name for an intricately ritualized event that has delivered significant payoffs to the organizations that have put it into practice:
- Backbiting and turf protection are dramatically reduced.
- Tough problems are addressed while they are still manageable.
- Issues cannot be covered over, and people can no longer hide.
- Ownership increases.
BOTTOMLINE: The Morning Meeting (TMM) is about communication, but imbedded within it are norms and values that are critical for organizations that must deal with difficult issues and adapt nimbly to new situations: an openness to considering multiple perspectives, a willingness to share responsibility for finding creative solutions, and the discipline to move consistently from strategy to execution.
Excerpted with permission from "The Morning Meeting: Best-Practice Communication for Executive Teams," Harvard Management Communication Letter, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2006
- The company’s past and habits (with 35% of respondents thinking their past and habits will likely derail strategy.)
- Financial factors, with both budget and economic climate being mentioned by 29% of the respondents.
- Company culure and the way employees work together (two variables that are functions of the company’s habits and past.)
Six Disciplines enables new habits to be learned for organizational change and strategy execution.
Bud's Five Keys to Effective Execution
- Focus on what's really important.
- Develop meaningul measures.
- Create SMART goals.
- Measure progress regularly.
- Reinforce good performance. Redirect poor performance
Thursday, August 09, 2007
The execution of strategy is dependent upon team members on the front line being clear about the organization’s priorities and how they must act to achieve the stated objectives. It sounds simple but is highly complex.
In their Harvard Business Review article from last summer, Mankins & Steele reported on their research into why most organizations fail to turn “great strategy into great performance.”
The data showed that the average gap between performance and strategic plan objectives was greater than 35% among the companies that they studied.
The typical scenario was that the approved strategies were poorly communicated, which made it difficult for those at lower levels in the company to translate strategic objectives into specific actions and resource planning.
BOTTOMLINE: "Do not expect the organization to perform well if the senior team is not performing well as a unit. Time spent on building effective team process is time well spent!"
At Six Disciplines, our research found that leadership teams of top-performing organizations rated 155% higher than the lower performers. Two factors here: 1.) The ability of leadership to define a clear vision, and 2.) Appropriate involvement of leadership in leading and supporting projects that are strategic to the organization.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Todd's top five:
- "Competitive Strategy" by Michael Porter
- "Execution" by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck
- "In Search of Excellence" by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman
- "Good to Great" by Jim Collins
- "The Effective Executive" by Peter Drucker
BOTTOMLINE: Each of these books deals with the toughest aspects of business: strategy formulation, execution and business excellence. It is no coincidence then that each of the top-rated books listed above is either referenced or quoted in Gary Harpst's top-rated book "Six Disciplines for Excellence."
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
An article published by Dr. Paul Ward, Vice President and Principal Consultant at Quest Worldwide, is based on the booklet, Strategy execution: Executing your strategy and delivering results (ISBN 1899682368) is now available at CEO Refresher.
According to Ward:
- Strategy plus Execution equals Sustained Results
- Strategy = Focus + Balance + Stretch
- Execution = Alignment + Engagement + Discipline
Monday, August 06, 2007
Elizabeth's key comments:
- Amid the turbulence of the 21st century, Drucker rightly saw CEOs as more important than ever. They had to provide leadership--strategic leadership, moral leadership, human leadership--and strike a balance.
- If I were to distill into one word Peter's thoughts on what makes a truly great CEO, I would choose courage; courage to do what is right, courage to trailblaze change, ourage to break the rules in an industry still in its infancy
Drucker defined three traits unique to a CEO:
- A broad field of vision combined with the ability to ask and answer what needs to be done.
- Accountability for the CEO's own imprint on the organization's character, values, and personality.
- The influence the CEO has on people--individually and collectively.
Read the entire article here at Leader to Leader.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Redstone has already driven his son from the business, a conflict that was settled in 2007 when he paid his offspring $240 million to relinquish his claims.
With the recent news that he is reportedly asking his daughter and longtime heir apparent, Shari, to leave Viacom, it seems that even the famously shrewd Redstone has once again been outdone by the demands of succession planning.
There are good reasons why succession planning is one of the most challenging to-dos on a family business owner's checklist. To begin with, the stakes are high—so high in fact, that most family businesses fail to negotiate the transition and are sold either to pay taxes or because no one in the family is willing or able to take over.
BOTTOMLINE: "To adequately prepare for succession, you should evaluate the skills and attitudes of everyone in the organization who is a candidate for a leadership position. Everyone? Yes, because the CEO isn't the only position that requires succession planning."
Unlike Sumner Redstone, you may never preside over an $8 billion empire. But still, seek outside help. Even if you would never use an outside adviser for any other decision, consider the value that an experienced professional can bring to this important event. In case you balk at the possible expense or the distraction on top of your other duties, consider that poor succession planning is more likely to sink your company than any other risk. And just by doing it you'll place yourself in an elite group. Unlike the vast majority of those who ignore succession planning, you'll be working to reap the rewards of succession in a different and smarter way.
Six Disciplines offers a unique program that encompasses four elements for long-term success: a business-building methodology; continuous accountability coaching; activity alignment software that inspires individual and team accountability; and the competitive advantages of a shared learning community.
The program is delivered to small and mid-sized businesses through Six Disciplines Centers, a nationwide network of accountability coaches who provide ongoing support, mentoring and training for continual improvement.
“While CEOs vary in their definitions of excellence, most agree that business excellence is a never-ending pursuit, in a world of increasing challenges,” said Gary Harpst, CEO and founder of Six Disciplines. “Therefore, a business excellence program must be able to build an organization’s capability to execute, and it must do so in an enduring way. We challenge CEOs to realize that a specific current issue is a symptom of a deeper need that all growing organizations have: the need to systematically improve their organization’s ability to manage their next challenge,” said Harpst.
Read the entire release here.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
In the collection, Craig Landwehr, Managing Partner of Six Disciplines North Carolina has an article about "Six Disciplines: Tools & Templates for Manufacturing Entrepreneurs."
Read the entire article here.
In the collection, Brian D. Roth President and CEO, TruFast, LLC (a Six Disciplines client in Ohio) offers an article entitled "Six Disciplines™: A New Focus on Performance"
Read the entire article here.
Summary: What can growing manufacturing companies do to compete effectively in today’s global economy? One answer is to apply the quality and efficiency techniques previously associated only with large corporations. Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and, more recently, Six Disciplines are proven ways to reduce costs, improve quality, and maintain margins. Small to medium-sized growth manufacturers are now successfully employing these processes to stay competitive. This eVenturing collection offers insight into efficient manufacturing strategies that smaller companies can use not only to produce products sold directly to consumers but also those that meet the needs of larger clients requiring use of such strategies. Stories of individual manufacturers that have implemented “Lean”—Buck Knives, for example—illustrate the challenges and rewards. Tools and templates provide a look at specifics of the process.
In the collection, Craig Landwehr, Managing Partner of Six Disciplines North Carolina describes "What is Six Disciplines?"
Read the entire article here.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
- Just take some time to yourself and look at the things you're responsible for in the business.
- From there take the 3 or 4 most important things that you can give yourself to which will produce the greatest results.
- Once you have them in mind, then make sure you prioritize them.
- Even within your priorities, you must have priorities.
BOTTOMLINE: "All of this sounds simple, but in studies of top executives in companies, this is one of the major things that they all have in common. They understand their priorities and religiously follow them (execute on them) in the order they occur, as they occur. Do it and you'll see great results in your business."
Remember, you need to focus on results, not activities!
But if you ask small and mid-sized business leaders today - they'll tell you straight up:
"We don't need any more good ideas! What we need is to take one approach to improving our business - and STICK WITH IT."
BOTTOMLINE: The shortcoming with most business improvement efforts is that for one reason or another, they don’t last. They don’t stick around long enough to deal with both your current and future challenges. Our program, Six Disciplines, is different. It’s designed to be implemented, and embraced, by your organization in an enduring way.
Six Disciplines™ is the first enduring business excellence program optimized for small and mid-sized businesses. The program is based on four key elements:
- A REPEATABLE METHODOLOGY to drive organizational learning.
- ONGOING EXTERNAL COACHING to keep employees accountable and the organization focused on achieving its goals.
- A PROACTIVE ORGANIZATIONAL ALIGNMENT system to align the activities of every team member, every day.
- A SHARED LEARNING COMMUNITY of like-minded people – you, your employees, your business peers, Six Disciplines coaches – exchanging best practices to accelerate learning and continuous performance improvement.