“The competitive heat has been turned up by new technology. But cool heads are still needed when dealing with disrupters.”
The Economist 11 January 2014
Flourishing enterprises excel at their current activities, spot changes in their operating environment early, develop the agility needed to embrace new threats and opportunities and maintain effective relationships with their stakeholders. Tools and techniques for approaching addressing these three themes are the focus of my new book – Strattomics .
“Process Improvement is aligned around what our customers value, which translates into business objectives that flow from the enterprise through the organization level down to individuals. …. We monitor a handful of key process metrics to ensure that we are making progress toward achieving corporate objectives. …. the ability to embrace change is not only core to continuous improvement but is indeed a foundation for competitive advantage.”
Do you understand who your customers are and what they consider is critical to the quality of the products or services you supply? How do you then engineer the efforts of your enterprise to deliver the product or service so that you achieve a win-win-win of happy customer, profit and the knowledge needed to improve your offering? I believe strongly that enterprises that can “build into” their DNA an unrelenting focus on the quality , the process for achieving this quality and a commitment to continuous improvement of both will be materially more successful then those with the “we have always done it this way” style. Management science has given us a wealth of tools and techniques to help us embed the continuous improvement mindset – including :
- plan, do, check, act cycle as a foundation for continuous improvement,
- “5 Whys”,
- Ishikawa (fishbone) diagrams,
- Force Field Analysis
- Effective / Attainable analysis
- Importance / Performance analysis
Directors and Managers who have at least an awareness of techniques such as these are equipped to sponsor continuous improvement activities that are focused on the highest priority business needs (without creating bureaucracy). My new book “Strattomics – Strategies and Tactics for an Agile World”, was written to provide this awareness and moreover help readers develop actions to refuel continuous improvement so that growth continues up the s curve shown in the graphic above.
“In turbulent markets, organizational agility, which I define as the capacity to identify and capture opportunities more quickly than rivals do, is invaluable. Executives know this: a recent McKinsey survey found that nine out of ten executives ranked organizational agility both as critical to business success and as growing in importance over time.2 The benefits of enhanced agility, according to survey respondents, include higher revenues, more satisfied customers and employees, improved operational efficiency, and a faster time to market.”
McKinsey Quarterly “Competing through Organizational Agility
Those who develop their capability to sense changes in their market place will have more time to develop the capabilities to exploit the changes and ride new waves of opportunity. I believe that Leaders and Managers that think broadly about the future of their enterprise or their department or work group can raise organisational agility to the benefit of both the enterprise and the people on their team. Well-established strategy frameworks and tools have in the past been foundations for extensive work done by Corporate Planning departments in large organisations; however, I believe that frameworks such as Porter 5 Forces and the 7S can to help Leaders and Managers develop insights on changes in the marketplace and the impacts – on a continuous basis. I describe these frameworks and the use of S curves to identify the “As Is” in terms of an enterprise’s position on the growth journey and the distinctiveness of its capabilities.
Moving on to building new capabilities to allow new opportunities to be exploited, I believe that the discretionary behaviour needed to implement changes, is best secured by having a transparent linkage between the overall Core Values, mission and vision for an enterprise and the initiatives people are asked to spend time on. Too often I have heard enterprise managers complain about “death by 100 un-coordinated initiatives” and later see Leaders surprised as “unintended consequences” of initiatives surface. Strattomics therefore includes a technique to help develop an understanding of the implications of changes – the “future wheel”.
Building Stakeholder Commitment
“More companies understand that a broader spectrum of internal and external stakeholders has a direct impact on their core business. Those that have engendered deep levels of engagement – what if I call highly relationship engagement – are far more successful in shaping that impact to their advantage.”
Nadine B Hack – Executive in Residence IMD 2011
The third theme in the book is building stakeholder commitment. Discussion of employee engagement / passion is complemented by a recommendation that plans should be put in place to help the development of engagement of all stakeholders.
A link has been included at the end of each Chapter to additional materials to help individual implement the book’s suggestions.