Monday, December 22, 2008
On January 27, Gary will be visiting Austin, TX at the Hyatt Regency Austin, and on January 28, he will be bringing the speaking tour to San Antonio, at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio.
"Only 3 percent of Austin's and San Antonio's businesses are considered to be high-impact. Why does it only have to be 3 percent? More importantly, what are we going to do to accelerate growth for the other 97 percent of businesses? That's specifically what I'll be revealing during the Economic Acceleration events on January 27 and 28," said Harpst.
The Economic Acceleration Tour continues in February, as Harpst will be speaking in Dallas and Houston.
For a detailed agenda and registration intructions, visit www.GaryHarpst.com/tour/.
2008 was a great year for books on business, management, and learning.
Six Disciplines Execution Revolution by Gary Harpst.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
According to the memo, your first objective is to become as strong as possible, as fast as possible, with these five main lines of action.
- Focus on your future.
- Prepare to weather the storm.
- Anticipate the future industry structure.
- Resolve your game plan.
- Prepare to take intelligent risks.
BOTTOMLINE: "The current economy will not get better immediately. We are in for more rough seas. But we are also entering a period during which the value of being able to act strategically and decisively for the long term will increase enormously. Preparing for this moment of opportunity is of paramount importance for your businesses’ position for years to come."
Excerpt of Dan's review:
"If you are a business leader or if you run a business unit, you will be impressed with Gary Harpst's down-to-earth, practical, and very workable solutions. This book is number one on my list for several reasons. First, it's aimed directly at small and mid-sized companies - the majority of businesses. Second, Harpst emphasizes the need for a balance between execution and strategy, and never have I seen it explained so well.
Using clear instructions with easy-to-understand examples, Harpst shows that achieving excellence is not enough. Many companies reach what they define as excellence, but then fall out of it, usually floating back and forth between strategy and execution. Harpst explains how to avoid that and create enduring excellence. Also, the book has well-thought out diagrams that help readers "see" what to do."
Read the entire review here.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
After Gary’s presentation, Six Disciplines North Carolina surveyed this elite group of executives about the business climate and their plans for the upcoming year. To summarize, business owners were generally upbeat despite the economic situation. Most expect revenues this year to be higher than last, and they project that 2009 revenues will top those of 2008. More than 50 percent expect to add employees in 2009.
Below are the results from the survey:
1. How will your 2008 revenues (this fiscal year) compare to 2007?
36 percent said lower, and 64 percent said higher.
2. How do you expect 2009 revenues to compare with 2008?
36 percent said lower, and 64 percent said higher.
3. How will your employment change in 2009?
7 percent expected lower employment, 36 percent said about the same, and 57 percent said higher.
4. What will be your organization's top priorities for 2009?
(Respondents were asked to check all that apply.)
- 64 percent responded sustainable execution (improving team capability)
- 57 percent responded top line growth (investing in sales and/or marketing)
- 36 percent responded profitability/cost reduction commensurate with expected sales
- 14 percent responded stabilization of the organization (hunker down; avoid big risks)
5. Which of the following topics would be of most value to you in Q1 2009? (Respondents were asked to check all that apply.)
- 79 percent responded enhancing execution and performance
- 43 percent responded effective strategic planning
- 36 percent responded mining the customer's unspoken needs
- 14 percent chose stimulating and focusing on innovation
- 14 percent said marketing in a down economy
- 14 percent selected succession planning
Friday, November 14, 2008
Myth No. 1: “We’re too small of an organization to need strategic planning.”
Myth No. 2: “Strategic planning should only be done once a year.”
Myth No. 3: “We don’t need a strategic plan! Plans are too restrictive; we are entrepreneurial!” Myth No. 4: “We can do it ourselves — without any help.”
Myth No. 5: “Strategic planning interferes with our real jobs; we don’t have time.”
Myth No. 6: “Strategic planning is done when the retreat is over.”
Read the entire article here.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
To assist budding entrepreneurs, Gaebler interviews successful entrepreneurs and posts dozens of their stories here.
Recently, Gaebler interviewed serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Gary Harpst. You can read their interview, "Starting a Business Strategy Firm" here.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Why is that only 3% of businesses drive the overwhelming majority of economic growth and job creation in any given community? Why does it have to be only 3%? Can’t we do any better?
Perhaps more importantly, what are we going to do about accelerating growth for the other 97% of businesses?
Well, these issues frustrate CEO and best-selling author, Gary Harpst, but he has a plan, and wants to share it with you.
That’s why he's kicking off the 50-city “Economic Acceleration Tour: Breaking the 3% Speed Limit”, sponsored by Six Disciplines, in Columbus on December 10, 2008 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, from 8:00 – 10:30 AM. This event is co-sponsored by TechColumbus.Org.
Consider these facts about Columbus:
- Columbus ranks 7th in the nation among large metropolitan areas for its number of “high-impact” companies, those that produce both significant revenue growth and expanding employment.
- Yet only 3% (2.43 percent) of Columbus’ 82,810 businesses are considered to be high-impact.
- On average, it takes a company almost 20 years to enter this high-impact stage. Yet, three out of four companies cease to be high-impact after just four years.
On December 10, Gary will be sharing this new vision and a specific plan for changing the economic development equation with business and community leaders in the capital of his home state of Ohio.
To register for this event, visit: www.GaryHarpst.com/Tour/Columbus.
In attendance at the Columbus Economic Acceleration Tour event will be CEOs of small and midsized businesses, chamber of commerce executives, economic development executives, civic leaders, business incubator professionals, college and university business program chairs and faculty, quality program professionals, venture capitalists, private equity and angel investors, business coaches, management consultants, and professional service firm partners.
You're also invited to join Gary at an intensive private workshop (after the event) where he'll be coaching a select group of Columbus CEOs on how to craft a powerful strategic position – one that produces breakthrough results. Gary personally guarantees the return you’ll get by attending this workshop, as many of our clients would testify.
Hurry - space is limited to the first 7 participants! Register today at www.GaryHarpst.com/Tour/Columbus.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The entire list of the top 100 thought leaders can be found at http://www.eep.com/Merchant/newsite/best_100.html.
“Those who make our Excellence 100 list possess a rare combination of traits and abilities,” says Ken Shelton, founding editor of Leadership Excellence. “They display both depth and breadth, local and global awareness, conceptual originality and practical experience with application, implementation and execution.”
The annual ranking of thought leaders who make the Excellence 100 list today possess a rare combination of traits and abilities. Here are the eight criteria:
- Preparation: academic and professional.
- Character: values, ethics, beliefs, purpose, mission, integrity, walk the talk.
- Principles: big message, point of view, tenets, main points.
- Personality: charisma, style, originality, authenticity, one of a kind.
- Performance: inspiring action, real-world performance, work ethic.
- Experience: beyond local and regional, more national and international.
- Expression: substance and style in writing, speaking, coaching, consulting, mentoring, training, or teaching.
- Influence: difference, results, change, transformation.
The economic acceleration plan comes from Harpst’s newest book, Six Disciplines Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier,which has been named a nationwide bestseller by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and BusinessWeek, and was named a finalist in the Entrepreneurship & Small Business category of the National “Best Books” 2008 Awards by USABookNews.com. The book details the elements of a complete strategy execution program, clarifies why it could only have happened now, and explains why such a program will soon become a mainstream requirement for all successful businesses in the future.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The review begins:
"There’s an old saying that once identified, a problem is already half-solved.The challenge is diagnosing and treating the right disease and not the symptoms.In today’s convulsive economic environment, that effort is growing increasingly difficult as business leaders confront challenges literally screaming for their attention. If asked, these leaders likely would describe their biggest problem as the issue they’re facing right at the moment.
While, on the surface, you can make a compelling case to tackle immediate issues,they are not the primary focus of running a business.
“No matter what the problems are today, they’ll be different tomorrow, and they will be bigger. There is onebusiness problem that, ifsolved, makes solving all other problems easier,” says Gary Harpst in his new book,“Six Disciplines Execution Revolution.”.....
Read the entire review here.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
- Act now. Act with speed. Raise money. Get a loan, secure financing. Focus, cut or sell.
- Protect the vital core of the business. But use a scalpel not an ax. Be surgical. Protect the vital core of the company. Cut once, deeper than you think.
- Make sure you have at least 18 months of cash. Or more — on a conservative revenue forecast.
- Defer facility expansions. Don’t spend money on tech infrastructure, such as new software or computers.
- Reevaluate your R&D priorities.
- Renegotiate any contracts that you can. Everything is negotiable.
- Remember, everyone in the organization should be selling, from the receptionist to the engineers.
- Offer people equity instead of cash e.g. in place of bonuses. (You can do this with outside vendors as well).
- Secure your cash. Treasuries, or treasury backed securities, are more secure than money market funds.
- For your revenue plan, develop and obsess on leading indicators — e.g. bookings, unique visitors, conversions.
- Over-communicate with everyone – employees, investors, partners and particularly customers. Don’t sugar coat things, communicate your resolve
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Their findings suggest that the next battleground for companies will be around innovation sustainability -- building a “machine” to institutionalize and formalize innovation processes and outcomes in a more structured way
The biggest problem? They may be overly invested in the creation phase and significantly short-changing the implementation (execution) phase.
- 44% of survey respondents felt their company was not good at moving quickly from idea to implementation outpaced slightly the percentage (42%) who felt their companies did this well.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So begins a recent article in BusinessWeek, which details a five-step framework for implementing innovation projects successfully, by offering "radical service innovation".
The five steps for radical service innovation:
- Develop insight about the market
- Create radical value propositions
- Explore creative service models
- Bend the rules of delivery
- Iteratively pilot and refine the new service
BOTTOMLINE: "The market landscape for services is evolving constantly and rapidly. Both the market and customers expect nimbleness when it comes to innovative services. Frequent and radical innovations are key to being relevant in such a landscape. "
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
“It’s an honor to receive the award and to know the Execution Revolution content and concept has been so well received,” said author and Six Disciplines CEO Gary Harpst. “Business owners across America are desperate for ways to rise to the top of their industry and stay there through consistent execution. Economic development can be accelerated, and sustainability is achieveable -- with the right process and support network to encourage accountability.”
Based on breakthrough research, field testing and proven best-practices, the thought-leading vision described by Harpst in Six Disciplines Execution Revolution sets a new course for how small and midsized businesses can finally confront the never-ending challenge of executing strategy.
Six Disciplines Execution Revolution details the elements of a complete strategy execution program, clarifies how it could only have happened now, and explains why such a program will soon become a mainstream requirement for all businesses.
In addition to this award, Six Disciplines Execution Revolution has been named a nationwide bestseller by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and BusinessWeek.
This year, Harpst has addressed industry leaders on business sustainability and the importance of small businesses in economic development at events including the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Association of Small Business Development Centers.
Harpst’s first book, Six Disciplines for Excellence, published in 2007, was previously named a Finalist in the National “Best Books” 2007 Awards, by USABookNews.com, in two Business categories: Entrepreneurship & Small Business, and Management & Leadership.
Six Disciplines Execution Revolution are available from Six DisciplinesPublishing.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, 800-CEO-Read, or from any bookstore nationwide. Hardcover, 208 pages, $12.95, ISBN 978-0-9816411-0-2.
About Gary Harpst
About Six Disciplines
Six Disciplines, founded in 2000, has developed the first complete strategy execution program, specifically for small- and midsized businesses. The Six Disciplines program integrates a repeatable methodology to drive organizational learning, ongoing external coaching to ensure accountability, an execution software system to align daily activities of every stakeholder, and community learning to accelerate and sustain business excellence. The program is offered exclusively through a growing national network of locally-owned Six Disciplines Centers. Businesses that have implemented the Six Disciplines program include those from the Inc. 500, ISO-9000 certified companies, and a 2007 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award recipient. Visit http://www.sixdisciplines.com/.
About the National Best Books Awards
USABookNews.com, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE NATIONAL “BEST BOOKS” 2008 AWARDS (NBBA) on October 20, 2008. Over 500 winners and finalists were announced in over 140 categories covering print and audio books. Visit http://www.usabooknews.com/.
Friday, October 10, 2008
- Be a leader. Leaders don’t have to have all the answers. Tell employees what you know and what you don’t. Explain the steps the organization is taking to identify issues and resolve problems. Knowing senior executives are there to lead through uncertain economic times is crucial to your people.
- Show your strengths. Reinforce the core competencies and values that make your organization successful. Talk about how they will help the organization thrive in the future.
- Be visible. Credibility, conviction and passion are important messages that only actual presence can convey. Employees can benefit from seeing engaged and informed senior leaders through Webcasts or other interactive vehicles.
- Use your team. Make sure the management team knows how and what to communicate, and that no one is a bystander. Limit potential damage from leaders’ informal conversations that are overheard and ripple through every organization.
- Be coordinated. Coordinate your internal and external messages. Employees should hear company news from the company first.
- Share responsibility. Be clear about what you want your managers and your workforce to do. People want to help — tell them how. It’s never a bad time to reinforce customer focus.
- Give up the myth of message control. Find ways to listen to what is on employees’ minds. Monitor the press and social media for what is being said about your company and your industry. Have a process for quickly developing and distributing answers to rumors and for clarifying inaccurate statements, such as possible layoffs.
- Be humane. Some employees are experiencing personal trauma from falling 401(k) account balances and home prices. Acknowledge their pain.
Monday, October 06, 2008
- Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
- Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
- Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
- Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
- More than 180,000 books available, including more than 98 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers
More about the Amazon Kindle - here.
You can listen to the conversation here.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Harpst talks about how he built his business, Six Disciplines, in this podcast by Central Valley Business Times.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Some findings from their research:
- 62% of employed adults use the internet or email at their job, and many have cell phones and Blackberries that keep them connected even when they are not at work
- 45% of employed Americans report doing at least some work from home
- 18% of working Americans say they do job-related tasks at home almost daily
- 70% of device owners check work-related emails on the weekend
- 55% check work-related email on vacation
- 70% check work-related email when they’re taking a sick day
- 43% check work-related email when they’re shopping or commuting
- 49% of workers say that technology has made their lives more stressful.
- 71% said it has increased their flexibility.
Suprising? Not anymore.
It's a Digital Life - and there's no going back!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Our research shows the top most commonly mentioned attributes of an admired Leader:
Monday, September 15, 2008
The podcasts cover the following topics:
- Setting Business Strategies
- Execution Revolution and the Challenge
- Surviving Slow Down Times
- Sometimes It Is Time To Fire Your Client
- Motivating the Workforce
Listen to these podcasts here.
Friday, September 12, 2008
In fact, about 28 million American workers do at least part of their jobs from home offices, telework centers, or other remote locations, according to a recent survey by the International Telework Association and Council.
Sometimes referred to as telecommuting or remote working, the benefits of being able to work from anywhere is just one more tool organizations are using to attract, motivate and retain talent and to foster a healthy work-life balance.
Fortunately for savvy managers, there's actually little difference between managing the performance of a teleworker and managing the employee who works at the main office.
Here are some guidelines for managing teleworkers:
- Break employee work into objectives, projects, tasks, and action items. Assigning, tracking, evaluating, and rewarding work output using these specifics dramatically improves your knowledge of work activities, and helps with consistency in establishing expectations.
- Telework needs to be performance-based - not activity-based. Just because you can't see an employee doesn't mean he's not hard at work. Tasks and projects must have clear goals, deadlines, and outcomes - they must be measureable. Results are more important than the activities themselves. Focus on the results of work performed not where it is performed.
- Keep connected through technology. Phone, email, instant messaging - all driven by the Internet - are enabling teleworkers to be connected - and stay connected.
- Establish a regular means of communications. Status updates and progress reporting needs to be done regularly and consistently.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
offers suggestions on how to introduce lean into your manufacturing operations. Flichbaugh's suggestions have broader implications for all organizations.
- Employees are naturally resistant to change. That's why when companies first introduce lean into their operations, it's often necessary to gain buy-in from the staff to facilitate real change.
- Plan a common 90-second to three-minute standard communication message that will leave a lasting impression with workers
- Use the informal time to explain what will change and why it's necessary rather than as a teaching session.
- Make these messages consistent to build understanding and support from employees.
- Ensure the staff understands that lean is being implemented because the process is flawed; not the employees doing the work.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
After surveying almost 1,500 HR professionals and more than 12,000 leaders from 76 countries, DDI's survey (as featured in Management Issues) reveals what it described as "major shortfalls in leadership development initiatives around the world".
- Although 75% of the executives surveyed said that improving leadership talent was a top business priority, just 40% were satisfied with what their organizations were actually doing to help them.
- Amost 60% of executives said that they and their manager had not agreed on a formal written plan for their development.
- Just 25% of organizations monitor their leadership development programs or formally measure their results.
- Another problem area seems to be succession planning, with only 50% of organizations globally have succession plans for their leadership team -- and US organizations even lower than the global sample.
Reason for the dissatisfaction? While executives want more opportunities to learn on the job, such as special projects or moving to a new assignment, their senior management seldom takes responsibility for making this happen.
BOTTOMLINE: According to DDI's president: "When times get tough, leadership skills are really put to the test and organizations with the right quality and quantity of leaders will weather the storm better than those less well- prepared. In the face of pressure to reduce costs, organizations must remain firm in their commitment to invest in leader assessment and development."
Monday, August 18, 2008
A new study conducted jointly by IBM's Institute for Business Value and Washington-based think tank Human Capital Institute (HCI) has yielded promising answers to those questions.
Respondents scored their companies in 30 specific competencies, which fell into six key practices of talent management: strategy development, attracting and retaining, motivating and developing, deploying and managing, connecting and enabling, and transforming and sustaining.
Some of the key findings:
- Companies with high scores across the board were more likely to have strong financial performance.
- Organizational size was a main difference-maker between companies that did well on the survey and those that did poorly.
- Organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees were 4% better than the total sample at collaboration and sharing knowledge, 6% better at promoting virtual working, and 4% better at identifying relevant skills.
- Surprisingly, medium-size companies—between 1,000 and 10,000 employees—were less likely to have implemented five out of the six talent management practices in the study.
- Knowledge-intensive businesses tended to focus on development and collaboration, while service-intensive ones emphasized employee attraction and retention.
BOTTOMLINE: According to their research, "The best way to invest in talent management depends greatly on the size and industry of a company. And there's no easy fix for the human resources woes that are becoming more common in all business.
But for those looking to link talent to profits, there were two competencies that a majority of the best-performing companies had in common: understanding and addressing workforce attitudes and engagement levels; and aligning employee incentives with appropriate business goals."
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Yet, according to Harvard professor Amy Edmonson, placing value only on "getting things right the first time", organizations are unable to take the risks necessary to improve and evolve.
However, firms that put a premium on what Edmondson calls execution-as-learning focus not so much on how a process should be carried out as on how it should evolve.
Organizations that foster execution-as-learning provide employees with psychological safety. No one is penalized for asking for help or making a mistake. These companies also employ four distinct approaches to day-to-day work:
- They use the best available knowledge (which is understood to be a moving target) to inform the design of specific process guidelines.
- They encourage employee collaboration by making information available when and where it’s needed.
- They routinely capture data on processes to discover how work really happens.
- Finally, they study these data in an effort to find ways to improve execution.
Taken together, these practices form the basis of a learning infrastructure that makes continual learning part of business as usual.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"In business, words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality."
The quote originated from Harold S. Geneen, former president and CEO of ITT, but, in sports, it's the same.
Enjoy the Olympics - truly the ultimate inspiration in performance excellence!
In the July/August issue of The American, CEO Carl Schramm and researcher Robert Litan from the Kauffman Foundation offer their take in "The Growth Solution."
In the article, they lay out a seven step plan for achieving a high-growth, entrepreneurial economy through “radical innovation.”
Here's a quick summary:
- Create a skilled work force.
- Embrace high-skilled immigrants.
- Rethink the intellectual property system.
- Embrace global trade.
- Reform health insurance.
- Reduce poverty.
- Address climate change.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
- A crippled global financial system.
- Endemic underinvestment in innovation.
- Accelerating disequilibrium.
- Shallow strategy.
"Business hasn't changed much, but today's array of tectonic global shocks demands a different, radically better kind of business. Yesterday's corporations visibly cannot meet today's economic challenges."
BOTTOMLINE: I'd argue that there are many challenges for today's and tomorrow's CEOs, but NONE is more vital or critical than the ability to execute strategy. It's what the Execution Revolution is all about!
Monday, August 04, 2008
The review begins:
"The latest book by Gary Harpst, "Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier" is a follow-up for his successful previous book, "Six Disciplines for Excellence". In a high-tech world, executing stategy is not only mind-boggling but seems to be set only for high level businesses. Harpst's book sets the course for small and mid-sized businesses instead, detailing the entire strategy program and how important it is for a business as a mainstream requirement."
Read the entire review here.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
to Take the Execution Revolution Challenge
Interactive Tool Provides CEOs with Deeper Insight into the Biggest Challenge in Business
“The purpose of the Execution Revolution Challenge is to prove whether everyone in your organization is on the ‘same page’ or not, in terms of the strategy execution capability of the organization,” said Gary Harpst, founder and CEO of Six Disciplines. “Businesses are not alone in their struggle to grow predictably and profitably. Very few businesses have this mastered. Taking the Execution Revolution Challenge is the first step in understanding what you need to do differently to solve the biggest challenge in business.”
Harpst encourages every person within an organization to take the Challenge. When completed, the tool provides CEOs with a crystal clear view into the level of strategy and execution alignment within their organization.
“After an organization takes the Challenge, most CEOs come away with a sense of urgency that something needs to be done differently, in order to execute strategy more consistently and predictably,” said Harpst.
“I thought we were doing well, but by having our leadership team take the Challenge, I quickly realized we weren't on the same page -- at all,” said Todd Roberts, CEO of Total Fleet Solutions, a 150-person services firm in Toledo, Ohio. “The results helped change how I think and act about executing strategy in our company. Six Disciplines has started a movement, a real revolution in the way we approach getting things done.”
The idea behind the Execution Revolution Challenge comes from the new book Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution – Solving the One Business Problem that Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier, by CEO and award-winning author, Gary Harpst. The Challenge brings the Six Disciplines Business Excellence Model™ to life. The model illustrates that every organization, during its life cycle, moves around on a four-quadrant matrix, characterized by weak and strong strategy and execution, which indicates consistent operations and profit potential.
“The Execution Revolution Challenge illustrates that there is a revolutionary new way for businesses to move to the upper right hand quadrant, where strategy and execution are balanced and predictable, indicated by profitable growth, ” said Harpst. “Every CEO aspires to perform profitably and consistently and the Challenge helps CEOs start the baseline to begin.”
The new book, Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution is available from http://www.sixdisciplinespublishing.com/ and is also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, 800-CEO-Read, and wherever books are sold.
Any individual can initiate the Execution Revolution Challenge for their organization by visiting www.SixDisciplines.com/Challenge, and answering five simple questions. This individual can then plot where they think their company is on the strategy execution matrix. Doing so generates an email which includes a Challenge ID unique for the rest of their organization. By forwarding this email to every person in the organization, each employee gets to plot where they think their company is relative to executing strategy. Once everyone has taken the Challenge, team members can return to the interactive tool, and collectively see how each person rates the organization’s overall ability to execute strategy.
As more companies have their employees take the Execution Revolution Challenge, Six Disciplines will enhance the interactive tool to help companies understand how to better balance strategy and execution. A number of differing views of the results will be supported soon, including: your company vs. other companies in the same industry; your company vs. others of the same size (number of employees); and comparison of responses by role vs. others.
To sign up and take the Execution Revolution Challenge for your organization, visit www.SixDisciplines.com/Challenge.
Some of their key findings:
- Coaching is used by only about half of today’s companies. 52% of US companies report having such programs in place, compared to 56% of international companies sampled.
- Coaching continues to gain in popularity. Among respondentswho say their organizations don’t yet have coaching programs, a sizable proportion (37% in the North American sample and 56% in the international sample) say such programs will be implemented in the future.
- Coaching is associated with higher performance, reporting two kinds of advantages: 1. They’re more likely to report that their organizations have higher levels of success in the area of coaching. 2. They’re more likely to say that their organizations are performing well in the market, as determined by self-reports in the combined areas of revenue growth, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
- Coaching is primarily aimed at boosting individual performance.
- The more a company has a clear reason for using a coach, the more likely that its coaching process will be viewed as successful.
- External training (coaching) seems to work best. Externally based methods of providing training on coaching are most strongly correlated with overall coaching success, though they are less often used.
Some of their findings:
- More than a fifth said that, even though they had succession planning in place, it was valueless because, as often as not, they ended up recruiting someone externally anyway.
- Another quarter admitted that, while there was work done on succession planning, it was only done in "fits and starts".
- 46% said that they updated their succession plans regularly, an absolutely critical requirement in a fast-changing, fluctuating business environment.
- 7% of firms admitted to having no succession planning in place at all.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Here's Warren Buffet's seven secrets for living a happy and simple life.
Secret # 1: Happiness comes from within.
Secret # 2: Find happiness in simple pleasures.
Secret # 3: Live a simple life.
Secret # 4: Think simply.
Secret # 5: Invest simply.
Secret # 6: Have a mentor in life.
Secret # 7 :Making money isn’t the backbone of our guiding purpose; making money is the by-product of our guiding purpose.
(Hat tip to Shilpan Patel at SuccessSoul)
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
"Too many people think of performance management as an exercise in scorecarding,” says Richard T. Roth, formerly chief research officer of The Hackett Group, an Atlanta-based consulting firm. “World-class organizations focus less on performance metrics than on instilling company-wide accountability.”
How can companies overcome those obstacles and develop winning attributes? Researcher's found the following attributes:
- “Organizations achieve a competitive advantage when they develop a culture that fosters improved performance—one that holds a high respect for facts, is customer-centric, competes from a common playbook, makes data-driven decisions, and promotes cross-group collaboration, alignment, and execution.”
- "Firms that possess a performance discipline align objectives with shareholder value and radiate that message from the top through every part of the organization."
- "Performance management is not a big-bang process. It is a continuous improvement process. You are constantly tweaking, so it has to be something that you do in the normal course of business.”
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Julien Dionne, editor at Incentive, Compensation and Sales Performance Management, has published his review of the new book by Gary Harpst, Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution.
An excerpt of his review:
"I was particularly interested by this book because not only does it talk about how a business can achieve excellence, it also focuses a lot on performance management. Throughout the book Gary acknowledges the importance of performance measurement, performance measurement, business intelligence and analytics, and performance management systems. Overall, this book is straight to the point, well-organized, and as the title suggests, focused on execution."
Read the entire review here.
Six Disciplines, developers of the first complete strategy execution program for small and midsized businesses, is developing a free, interactive tool that enables organizations to rate how well they execute their strategies.
The Execution Revolution Challenge only takes one minute to complete, but the results will cause you to begin thinking and acting differently about how you address the biggest challenge in business: execution.
“The purpose of the Execution Revolution Challenge is to prove whether everyone in your organization is on the “same page” or not, in terms of the strategy execution capability of the organization,” said Gary Harpst, founder and CEO of Six Disciplines. “Businesses are not alone in their struggle to grow predictably and profitably. Very few businesses have this mastered. Taking the Execution Revolution Challenge is the first step in understanding what you need to do differently to solve the biggest challenge in business.”
“We’re encouraging every person within an organization to take the Challenge. When completed, the tool provides the CEO with a crystal clear view into the level of alignment within their organization. Most come away with a sense of urgency that something needs to be done differently, in order to execute strategy more consistently and predictably,” added Harpst.
The Idea Behind The Execution Revolution Challenge
The idea behind the Execution Revolution Challenge comes from Chapter 1 of the new book Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution – Solving the One Business Problem that Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier,” by CEO and award-winning author, Gary Harpst.
“The Challenge brings the Six Disciplines Business Excellence Model™ to life,” said Harpst. “The model reveals that every organization, during its life cycle, moves around on a four-quadrant matrix, characterized by weak and strong strategy and execution. The breakthrough idea is there is a revolutionary new way for businesses to move to the upper right hand quadrant, where strategy and execution are balanced and predictable, indicated by profitable growth,” added Harpst.
(Check back here soon - we'll let you know when the Execution Revolution Challenge is "live"!)
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
"Economic indicators suggest that growth of the world economy is slowing. High commodity prices and fear about future conditions are driving investors and customers out of the market. What would it take to restore us to sensible growth?"
His answer? "Probably many things. But among these would certainly be good general management."
Recent research at Darden reinforces this notion in the context of the growing firm. Ed Hess, professor at Darden has been studying the role of general managers in producing long stretches of organic growth within companies.
Hess's research confirms that: ...building a stretch of strong internal growth depends on creating “a seamless, consistent, self-reinforcing alignment across strategy, execution processes, structure, leadership, culture, HR policies, accountability, technology, measurement and rewards. In other words, good growth leaders are able to think in a systems integrative mindset across functions."
Bruner's research shows that "...to be a consistent high performance company, strategy is not enough- you must be a great execution company. And to be a great execution company you need a deep bench of good servant leaders, high employee engagement, customer centricity, and a good technology platform across your company-especially your supply chain."
BOTTOMLINE: "This is the power of integration and alignment. General management is a way of thinking - a mindset which appreciates the integrative complexity of human behavior.”
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So begins the Ivey Business Journal article "The New Leadership Challenge: Removing The Emotional Barriers To Sustainable Performance in a Flat World," by Paul Wieand, Jan Birchfield and M. Carl Johnson III.
Pulling from disparate works such as Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat" and Jim Collins' "Good To Great", the authors summarize effective leadership in a five-step model:
Step 1: Overcoming the Personality: Removing barriers to self-knowledge and authenticity
Step 2: Authentic Leadership: Developing an authentic leadership style and applying it for effective decision-making
Step 3: Collaboration: Communicating to create unity without consensus
Step 4: Culture: Helping the leader create an environment that enhances openness, candor and dissent as essential characteristics of communication
Step 5: Commitment: Committing to a Level 5 environment for sustainably good results
BOTTOMLINE: "We would encourage CEOs and their executive staffs to embrace the 5-step model we describe above and commit to achieving a highly collaborative culture founded on authenticity. With this achievement, we believe that organizations will raise their success odds for delivering sustainably good performance."
Friday, June 20, 2008
With that in mind, try boiling your strategic position down to two words (or at least two key concepts.)
The two words you choose need to answer the following two questions:
- What business are you in?
- What makes you different?
Long-term business success is rooted in your ability to build and sustain a product or service that is different than your competition - different in ways that are important to customers.
BOTTOMLINE: Getting to this level of clarity is not easy. But, simplifying your strategic position to two words:
- Forces you to make tough choices (you can be all things to all markets)
- Strengthens your focus and direction (use the strength of competitors against them)
- Ensures clarity (so everyone in the organization understands it and aligns activities to it)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
- Happy employees make successful companies. How employees feel about working in a place is a significant driver of success. A key discovery, driven home in our visits to one breakthrough company after another, was that the task of building a great place to work wasn't delegated to the human resources department alone. The top people in the company thought about it every day.
- Money doesn't solve everything. You don't always need other people's money. We've all heard the professional investor's elevator pitch, "Sure, you can grow your business, but you can grow it faster with our money." We were shocked by the fact that not one of nine breakthrough companies was funded by venture capital in their start-up years.
- Many paths lead to success. It's not about where (or even whether) you went to school. The diversity of the people who established and/or are running the nine breakthrough companies is simply astounding.
- Talent is contagious. Don't look for extraordinary people; build a place where ordinary people can do extraordinary things. While they certainly obsessed about each individual hiring decision, breakthrough companies also focused on creating systems that helped their people grow along with the business.
- Change matters. Sticking to the knitting won't always get you there. Just as the breakthrough companies ignored the so-called experts when it came to the prospects for their industry, they also kept redefining their businesses.
- Breakthrough companies are found in unexpected places. The most interesting companies may not operate in the markets that Wall Street and the business press consider interesting or "cool." Many of the breakthrough companies began in market segments experts considered unattractive at the time.
Watch this short video as President Jill Kegler talks about how Six Disciplines helped them to optimize operating efficiencies and to get its workforce to become more engaged and accountable. See how she overcame barriers to drive positive change with this unique strategy execution program.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
As our way of thanking all of the Be Excellent readers, we're offering a complimentary* copy of the new book "Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution" by CEO and award-winning author Gary Harpst.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Lafley and Charan took on the challenge and came up with a seven-step routine for innovation.
The steps include:
- Select the Strategy (Look for an underserved market)
- Connect to Customers (Use social networks as an idea collector)
- Generate Ideas (Brainstorm the right way)
- Select an Idea (Separate the good ideas from the great)
- Prototype and Test (Bring on the customers)
- Go to Market (Even half-baked product ideas can work)
- Adjust for Growth (Devote resources to innovation)
Friday, May 30, 2008
In Managing change successfully (March-April 2008), sponsored by Celerant Consulting, the researchers found that business leaders are responding to the economic slowdown by launching more change programs and spending more money on them.
Although change programs in the last year have had cost reduction as their primary goal, the survey found that, over the next year, the goal will be organizational flexibility for operational efficiency -- 57% of companies surveyed put this at the top of their agenda.
- In spite of this enthusiasm for change, few companies are consistently successful at it. Although change management, as a business discipline, has been around since the 1940s, most companies still struggle to put theory into practice.
- Of the 607 senior executives polled for this survey, 58% say that, over the past five years, half or fewer of their change initiatives have been successful. The U.S. fares a lot worse, with 75% of respondents stating that half or fewer of their change initiatives have been successful.
Why is change so hard?
- The element of change management that companies have the most difficulty with is "winning hearts and minds" (51%). This was followed, in second place, by "lack of management buy-in" (31%).
- When change management initiatives fail, companies' blame "lack of clearly defined or achievable milestones" (24%). Next on the blame-list is "lack of commitment by senior management" and "poor communication" (both with 19%). In other words, the ingredients that are required to convince people of the case for change.
Read Chapter 3, What Is It So Hard? - from the new book by Gary Harpst, Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution, for insights into why change is so hard, and a breakthrough way to overcome this ongoing challenge.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
New, current clients keep the recession where it belongs: external to business operations
Six Disciplines, headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, is empowering their clients to manage and build their business for success, no matter what the economic environment holds.
New customers, including Blue & Co., an Indianapolis-based regional CPA firm providing consulting and certified public accounting services, are being taught to build their business from the inside out with the aid of Six Disciplines.
The Six Disciplines® strategy execution program integrates a repeatable methodology to drive organizational learning, ongoing external coaching to ensure accountability, an execution software system to align daily activities of every person, every day, and community learning to accelerate and sustain business excellence.
“While many small businesses tend to pull back, spend less, and wait things out in an uncertain economy, this approach disrupts current business initiatives and profits, as well as the culture and long-term financial success of the company,” said Gary Harpst, CEO and founder of Six Disciplines. “In times of economic uncertainty leaders must focus on what they can control – their internal business’ strategy and overall execution.”
Entrepreneurs remain unmoved by the current economic climate and refuse to be another negative statistic. Nine out of 10 U.S. small business owners reported seeing opportunities for their businesses in the current recession, and more than 75 percent expect growth, based on Intuit's recent "Get Back to Business" survey. Six Disciplines’ customers, as an entrepreneurial segment, are better equipped to deal with an economic downturn or external pressures.
“Incorporating Six Disciplines into our business allowed us to increase our focus and refine our strategy, regardless of outside economic factors,” said Paul Kramer, CEO Kramer Enterprises and two-year Six Disciplines client. “We’re growing and using the supposed economic slowdown as an opportunity to make sure every employee is on the same page and that our goals are well-defined.”
For businesses to stay one step ahead of the economy and successfully build and manage an internally stable business that can withstand external hardship, Six Disciplines leverages the following framework:
- Better understand the competitive landscape. Take the time to research how competitors shift strategies and benchmark the activities for key learnings and to identify areas of opportunity to reach new customers.
- Evaluate the corporate mission and goals. Unexpected and uncontrollable forces will always impact short-term business results. It is important to stay focused on the company’s ultimate mission and goals, regardless of external factors. Outside forces may change, but the mission and goals should remain steadfast.
- Expand your business/revenue stream. Based on the competitive research and corporate mission/goals, identify new ways to reach a broader client base– while everyone else is tightening their business’ belts, leverage the opportunity to expand into new
- Invest in technologies that serve long-term purposes of the organization.
Because of the cost to integrate any technology, the decision to buy shouldn’t be based on a short-term fix. Look ahead several years to ensure that all technologies purchased complement one another for maximum efficiency and productivity.
Harpst created the Six Disciplines program based on personal experience, in addition to research resulting from professionals with more than 50 years combined business experience. His first company, Solomon Software, went through a recession and Harpst was forced to lay off staff.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “The worst part was I knew it was preventable if I had only planned and demanded more internally of our operations; I needed to run my business tighter from the inside out and keep environmental forces out of my business.”
After running the business for 20 years, Harpst sold his business to Microsoft, which implemented more than 60,000 business management systems in small and midsized businesses. Upon the sale, he vowed to create a methodology to aid businesses in achieving business success consistently at less cost to the business and staff while providing more value to customers. He founded Six Disciplines in 2000 to help small- and midsize businesses create ongoing strategy and success.
Harpst is the author of the top-rated book, Six Disciplines for Excellence: Building Small Businesses That Learn, Lead and Last and, scheduled for a July release, Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving The One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier.
About Six Disciplines
Six Disciplines, founded in 2000, has developed the first complete strategy execution program, specifically for small and midsized businesses. The Six Disciplines program integrates a repeatable methodology to drive organizational learning, ongoing external coaching to ensure accountability, an execution software system to align daily activities of every stakeholder, and community learning to accelerate and sustain business excellence. The program is offered exclusively through a growing national network of locally-owned Six Disciplines Centers. Businesses that have implemented the Six Disciplines program include those from the Inc. 500, ISO-9000 certified companies, and a 2007 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award recipient. Visit http://www.sixdisciplines.com/ or http://www.garyharpst.com/
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
According to Bill, "Six Disciplines offers more than just how to use the new technology, but the concept is the same. There is a significant mind set transformation in play."
Read the entire article here.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"There are thousands of small business and entrepreneurship blogs in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, many of them are not at all useful to the experienced or aspiring entrepreneur. We've all seen them. The great majority of which are e-commerce "pros" masquerading as entrepreneurship experts. This makes finding solid, useful information for the traditional small business owner very difficult. Therefore in my frustration, I have decided to create what I like to think of as "The A-List" of entrepreneurship and small business blogs."
At Be Excellent, we're humbled to have made Ben's list.
Check out The 41 Absolute Best Blogs about Entrepreneurship and Small Business.
Monday, May 19, 2008
“A revolution is about to start that will provide a leapfrog opportunity for small and midsized businesses in the way they execute their strategy,” said Harpst. “Knowing how to plan and execute, while overcoming today’s inevitable surprises, is the most foundational capability any successful organization can learn. To accelerate this revolution, we’ve established a publishing division and supporting websites designed to educate business leaders on how they transform their businesses and maximize their ability to execute strategy,” added Harpst.
Harpst’s newest book, Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving The One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier, is scheduled to be published in July 2008. In Six Disciplines Execution Revolution, Harpst details the elements of a complete strategy execution program, explains why it could only have happened now, and clarifies why such a program will become a mainstream requirement for successful small and midsized businesses. The new book is now available for pre-order from http://www.sixdisciplinespublishing.com/.
Harpst’s first book, the highly-rated Six Disciplines for Excellence, received the 2007 USA Book News Best Books finalist award, and was rated the No. 1 business book for 2007 by The Center for Workplace Excellence. Six Disciplines for Excellence is also consistently ranked in the top ten books of the Organizational Learning category on Amazon, and is also available from Six Disciplines Publishing.
In addition, Harpst’s new website, http://www.garyharpst.com/, offers insights into Gary’s successful background, his companies, his books, videos, podcasts, his newsletter on strategy execution, speaking engagement calendar, and his personal blog on business excellence topics.
About Gary Harpst
Gary Harpst, a highly successful entrepreneur and CEO, spent twenty years as leader of Solomon Software, which implemented more than 60,000 businesses management systems in small and midsized businesses, before it was eventually sold to Microsoft. Today, as founder and CEO of Six Disciplines, Harpst and his team have developed the first complete strategy execution program for small and midsized businesses, which includes a repeatable business-building methodology, local accountability coaching, an innovative execution management software system, and the accelerated advantages of community learning.
Harpst is also the author of two highly-respected business improvement books, Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution and Six Disciplines for Excellence. A highly-regarded speaker, Harpst uses his 30 years of business leadership and entrepreneurial experience to provide a fertile inventory of hard-hitting, real-world examples that pepper his presentations and engage his audiences. Visit http://www.garyharpst.com/ and http://www.sixdisciplines.com/.
About Six Disciplines Publishing
Six Disciplines® Publishing, a division of Six Disciplines, LLC, is responsible for the creation and distribution of materials and media covering the broad topic of strategy execution. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, Six Disciplines Publishing develops content across a wide variety of media: printed books, audio books, blogs, whitepapers, web sites, podcasts, speeches, presentations, and videos. With integrity, excellence and respect for lasting relationships, Six Disciplines Publishing, in conjunction with its Partners, creates a winning combination of design, publishing, production, distribution, publicity, public relations and marketing services. Visit http://www.sixdisciplinespublishing.com/.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
The six strategies:
- Have a vivid vision: A clear and well-thought-out vision of what you are trying to create that is exceptionally well communicated to everyone involved.
- Hire the best people: Superior talents who are also masters of collaboration.
- Create a performance-oriented culture: One that demands flawless operational execution, encourages constant improvement and innovation, and completely refuses to tolerate mediocrity or lack of accountability.
- Encourage robust communication: Open, honest, frank and courageous, both internally and externally.
- Create a sense of urgency: The strong desire to get the important things done while never wasting time on the trivial.
- Encourage extreme customer focus: Owning the voice of the customer and delivering what customers consider truly valuable.
Download the Achieving Business Excellence pdf here.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Consider what you think is your biggest business challenge. Is it growth? Competition? Innovation? Cost containment?
We'd like to challenge how you think about your biggest business challenge. In fact, what you think is your biggest business problem, isn't.
The foundational challenge - one that transcends all other business problems - is executing strategy. In other words, building an organization that has the ability to plan and execute, while at the same time, overcoming the inevitable surprises - is the biggest and toughest challenge in business.
The good news? This one problem, if solved, will make solving all other problems easier.
That's what the Execution Revolution....is all about!
Monday, May 05, 2008
Listen to this MP3 as author and CEO Gary Harpst speaks with Jim Blasingame at the Small Business Advocate, with some thoughts on what he thinks is the main characteristic of successful organizations, execution.
Harpst was interviewed by Brian McCormick, and the MP3 podcast is available for downloading here.
The written transcript of the interview can be viewed here.