Monday, February 24, 2014

The organization that renews itself: Lasting value from lean management
Applying lean principles to management, rather than just operations, can help large organizations reimagine how they work and unlock value through continuous improvement.
February 2014 | byDavid Jacquemont

Very insightful!!

In working with large organizations, we have found that those that renew themselves all seek to execute four essential management disciplines exceptionally well. Every organization already follows these disciplines in one form or another. Accordingly, they are not a formula; they do not represent the whole universe of “good management.” But when leaders design systems that enforce these disciplines effectively—and when they ensure they’re followed every day, at every level of the organization—the disciplines reinforce one another to create what lean has long envisioned: an adaptive organization that consistently generates the most value possible for all stakeholders from all of the resources it can bring to bear….
…. The more the organization learns regarding each of the four disciplines, the more it can achieve and the faster it gets at learning and improving itself.
  • Delivering value efficiently to the customer. The organization must start by understanding what customers truly value—and where, when, how, and why as well
  • Enabling people to lead and contribute to their fullest potential. The organizations that get the most from their people provide them with support mechanisms so that they can truly master their work, whether at the front line or in the boardroom.  
  • Discovering better ways of working. As customers, competitors, and the broader economic and social context change, the whole enterprise must continually think about how today’s ways of working and managing could improve.  
  • Connecting strategy, goals, and meaningful purpose. Organizations that endure operate from a clear direction—a vision of what the organization is for, which in turn shapes their strategy and objectives in ways that give meaning to daily work

Monday, February 17, 2014

Remaking the industrial economy
A regenerative economic model—the circular economy—is starting to help companies create more value while reducing their dependence on scarce resources.
February 2014 | byHanh Nguyen, Martin Stuchtey, and Markus Zils

Very thought provoking! There is a great visual in the article that you should loomk at if interested—it focuses on B to B and B to C situations.

Visualize, for a moment, the industrial economy as a massive system of conveyor belts—one that directs materials and energy from resource-rich countries to manufacturing powerhouses, such as China, and then spirits the resulting products onward to the United States, Europe, and other destinations, where they are used, discarded, and replaced. While this image is an exaggeration, it does capture the essence of the linear, one-way production model that has dominated global manufacturing since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. 

Increasingly, however, the linear approach to industrialization has come under strain. Some three billion consumers from the developing world will enter the middle class by 2030. The unprecedented size and impact of this shift is squeezing companies between rising and less predictable commodity prices, on the one hand, and blistering competition and unpredictable demand, on the other. The turn of the millennium marked the point when a rise in the real prices of natural resources began erasing a century’s worth of real-price declines…
…..A circular economy replaces one assumption—disposability—with another: restoration. At the core, it aims to move away from the “take, make, and dispose” system by designing and optimizing products for multiple cycles of disassembly and reuse.2 This effort starts with materials, which are viewed as valuable stock to be used again, not as elements that flow through the economy once. For a sense of the scale involved, consider the fast-moving consumer-goods industry: about 80 percent of the $3.2 trillion worth of materials it uses each year is not recovered.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence
Before senior executives try to spread best practices, they should use seven techniques to clear out the negative behavior that stands in the way.
February 2014 | byHuggy Rao and Robert I. Sutton

Very, very insightful article and a great read!

Efforts to scale up excellence stall when bad behavior crowds out good. Scaling is one of the toughest challenges that senior leaders face. Executives can always point to places where a company is doing a great job. What drives them, keeps them up at night, and devours their workdays is the difficulty of spreading excellence to more people and more places. This “problem of more” is tough to crack. Scaling requires pressing each person, team, group, division, or organization to change what they believe, feel, or do. 
Eliminating destructive behavior and beliefs clears the way for excellence to spread—particularly when these impediments clash with the mind-set that propels your organization’s performance. When it comes to mind-sets, however, one size does not fit all; what is good for another company may be bad for yours.  
…Negative actions and beliefs also come in different flavors. Whatever their exact characteristics, bad behavior undermines scaling efforts by introducing confusion, destructive conflict, distrust, and dead ends. To spread and sustain something good, you’ve first got to take out the bad. Seven methods can help leaders who are bent on:“breaking bad.” 
 Nip it in the bud
Plumbing before poetry Getting people to focus on small, mundane, and gritty details is effective for eliminating negativity
Adequacy before excellence
Use the ‘cool kids’ (and adults) to define and squelch bad behavior: The people you recruit for a scaling effort have a big impact on its success.
Kill the thrill (of bad behavior)
Try time shifting: From current to future selves You can sometimes break bad patterns by getting people to think about who they hope to be, not just who they are
Focus on the best times, the worst times, and the end 
no matter how good or bad an experience is or how long it lasts, judgments about it are shaped most strongly by the best and worst moments and by how it ended

Monday, February 03, 2014

I chose the leadership category since this must
be driven top down
A Better Way to Cut Costs
An organizational approach will reduce spending and—more important—reinforce your strategy.
Published: January 7, 2014
Josh Peters

Driving organic growth is not only accomplished by driving profitable revenue but also by smart cost reductions that not only bring immediate results but set the organization up for future revenue growth.

"Given the competitive pressures that companies face today, many are seeking to cut costs and improve margins. Unfortunately, cost-cutting without organizational change won’t create a lasting cost advantage. Standard, across-the-board efforts—the kind typically applied when a recession or some other external force threatens profits—affect only the amount you spend, not what you spend it on. Costs almost always creep up again after the threat passes, because resource-allocation policies haven’t changed.
Instead, the right approach should reinforce a capabilities-driven strategy, which entails shifting resources toward activities that support your differentiating capabilities and away from others that don’t. 
Key points are:

1. Information. Implementing a capabilities-driven strategy requires clear choices about which capabilities should get more resources and which should get less...Once those decisions are made, leaders must make them clear to everyone at the company. A few pronouncements from on high won’t do the trick.
2. Structure. Traditional organizational structures can thwart the cross-functional collaboration needed to focus resources on differentiating capabilities. Departmental silos breed redundancy, duplicated efforts, and low-value activities. Each group pursues its own agenda, often to the detriment of broader corporate goals.
3. Mind-sets. Throughout your organization, employees make thousands of decisions every day about how to spend time, attention, and money. Collectively, these decisions will determine whether your key capabilities get enough resources to become real competitive differentiators. Longstanding assumptions, biases, habits, and unwritten expectations have at least as much influence as C-suite edicts on these choices. If you don’t align mind-sets with strategic priorities, people will keep making resource choices that don’t prioritize differentiating capabilities. (THE DECISION CRITERIA APPROACH WE DISCUSS IN OUR DRIVING ORGANIC GROWTH CLASS THROUGH INNOVATION CAN HELP DRIVE THIS MIND-SET FOCUS)
4. Decision rights. A capabilities-driven strategy depends on timely, well-informed decision making. The right choices will strengthen your capabilities and advance your strategy. The wrong ones can undermine the strengths you’re trying to build. The odds of making good choices will improve if the right people have authority to allocate resources. In general, decision rights should reside as close as possible to your differentiating capabilities"