“the soft stuff is [really] the hard stuff”some thoughts on Strategy, Innovation & more... rodney buitendag created jan 2010 updated nov 2011
strategyparadoxMichaelRaynor The Board should not evaluate the CEO based on the company’s performance, but instead on the firm’s strategic risk profileThe CEO should not drive results, but manage uncertainty Business unit leaders should not focus on execution, but on making strategic choicesLine managers should not worry about strategic risk, but devote themselves to delivering on commitmentsMost strategies are built on specific beliefs about the future.Unfortunately, the future is deeply unpredictable. Worse, the requirements of breakthroughsuccess demand implementing strategy in ways that make it impossible to adapt should thefuture not turn out as expected. The result is the Strategy Paradox: strategies with thegreatest possibility of success also have the greatest possibility of failureResolving this paradox requires a new way of thinking about strategy and uncertainty.
The Future of ManagementGary Hamel with Bill Breen Through history, management innovation has enabled companies to cross new performance thresholds and build enduring advantages. The management paradigm of the last century - centered on control and efficiency - no longer suffices in a world where adaptability and creativity drive business success. To thrive in the future, companies must reinvent management
One of my Honours courses was “To create a pervasive culture ofentrepreneurship. I’ll never innovation you must first create an environmentforget the insightful discovery of performance and motivation. Achievingthat I made doing research for a this is often, paradoxically, the result of lessproject. Almost without fail,successful (and seriously effort rather than harder work. Although goals and performance targets are useful tools, they can alsowealthy) entrepreneurs, did not have a detrimental impact on results. When peopleset out to make money per se... are future fixated, their creativity and overallMoney was not the goal, but to performance diminish. Find the sweet spot ofdo something that they were optimal performance, and you willpassionate about really well. undoubtedly see an increase in employeeThe lesson for me was to focus productivity, creativity, andless on what I want to achieve, satisfaction…all with less effort.”and more on the things that maylead to the outcomes that Idesire.- rodney theperformanceparadox StephenShapiro
priorities!focusTom Peters used to remindexecutives that it mattered littlewhat they proclaimed to be theirtop priorities. Instead, the "InSearch of Excellence" co-authoradvised looking at your calendarto reveal your main concerns,because that is where you arespending your time.For that matter, why not alsolook at your meetings? Analysethe minutes and calculate the %items that are strategic vsoperational.Also consider how many itemsare actually the responsibility ofpeople lower down in theorganisation? No problemgetting one’s hands dirty nowand then, but how do weempower staff if we take ontheir work?
we’re all so very busy... but are weNot only theright things, butat the right doing the rightlevels of work?As individuals, things?and as anorganisation, arewe effective?
putting (some of) the pieces togetherSo you might wonder where What are the burningI’m going with this... issues in our organisation and what are our leadersWhen the pressure’s on, we saying but not all doing...focus on what we know and Mostly People Issues, thewhat we do well. Strategy soft stuff, not so?must be executed, resultsdelivered, shareholders kept After all, it’s the collectivehappy... So we focus on all of the People working forthese things that we need to the organisation who areachieve: our goals and going to make achievingobjectives, bonuses and the goals, the results,incentives. Share Price. possible.Outcomes. All of us are faced withWith all this going on it’s too uncertainty, paradox,easy to forget about the things contradiction, andwe need to do to achieve those complex problems almostoutcomes, the supporting daily.initiatives, the co-producers,the enablers... What are the tools, the capabilities, the “not soThe People. obvious” that we as individuals and us as anThe Change that is invariably organisation need tobeing introduced into the focus on in order to dealsystem. with these issues?
Future Levels Studies of Organisational Work Talent Learning & Management Development Sustainability – social, economic Systems & environmental Thinking Change Management Leadership Performance Innovation Managementa few essential tools/capabilities/concepts to navigate in adisruptive age [not exhaustive, but top of mind for me]
the “outcome-enabler” matrixAfter thinking about the concepts on the previous slide long andhard, it occurred to me that if we make a list of issues, wetypically list everything without necessarily analysing therelationships between the items. In the same list would be ourgoals/outcomes as well as resource issues and possiblyenablers for both of the aforementioned.I came up with the idea of amatrix to plotissues/initiatives/ projectsaccording to the degreewhich the benefits are easyto quantify in financial termsand the degree to whichthey are people related.Resources produce theresults (or outcomes) butare supported by Enablers.
“outcome-enabler” exampleBelow is an example of how this could work, of course this shouldbe the outcome of a group process to identify relevant issues andpotential enablers. This is merely to illustrate the concept,although I do also believe that regardless of the resource issuesand outcomes, the enablers that I’ve listed are “enduring” andfundamental. On the slides that follow I will briefly touch on some of the enablers, but note that each is an extensive discipline in its own right and most of them are inter- dependant at some level. This is but a snippet of the whole story...
sustainabilityit’s more than just theenvironment – alsoeconomic and socialprocurementpractices, employmentpracticesmore than reporting oncarbonfootprint, recycling etcit should be integral tostrategy and intrinsic inwhat we do, personally
!nnovation The IBM Institute for Business Value recently explored the future of insurance: “Insurance 2020: Innovating beyond old models,” provides insight into the question of why insurance appears to be a lethargic industry in the use of innovation. This “Innovation and study shows that insurers focus on the optimization of products and processes and accept it as though it entrepreneurship were innovation. However, the power of innovation does not come simply from the use of a specific have to become technology to overcome a problem, but from the willingness to try something different. an integral, life- It is worth repeating over and over: we believesustaining activity innovation is the key to future success for insurance. In the insurance industry, modifications of existing in our products advertised as “new” were deemed sufficient.organizations, our As we move forward in time toward 2020, this situation will no longer be the case. Customers will economy, our know what they want and do not want – the society.” insurer that does not innovate soon will not be ready in time for Peter F. Drucker, inevitable change. Innovation and Entrepreneurship IBM - Insurance 2020 Now what? Exploring initiatives for innovation
corporateforesightThis a concept that I came across only recently and that requires moreresearch. Z_Punkt defines it as “translating trend and futureresearch into the real world of innovation and strategicmanagement”.This further illustrates my earlier statement about enablers being inter-dependent. We cannot, for example, simply focus on Innovation inisolation – what are the requirements for Innovation to flourish andproduce results, does it form part of some other “bigger picture”?
diversity Tom Peters blogging on the importance of Diversity for Innovation (Nov 2009)Diversity Per Se. Sine Qua Non.• Diversity/Every flavor/Management & Measurement. Diversity with a lower-case "d." Black, white, brown, purple ... tall, short ... North American, Asian ... public school, private school, no school ... etc. ... etc. (Etc.) Decision-making of every sort is far, far better with diverse views of any flavor. Period. I have come to view this as a gamechanger - for a 6- person project team, a 20-person company, a huge enterprise.• Diversity/Hiring. Search every oddball corner of the world for interesting people. Hire dull, get dull results. (Duh.) Diversity is not a (This holds across the board - and irrespective of the size of the enterprise.) race/culture issue,• Diversity/Freak Acquisitions. Im an enemy of 99% of mega-mergers, and a vigorous ally of small acquisitions people are that allow skipping steps in obtaining interesting new pieces of the puzzle for an enterprise. This can be the diverse - purchase of an intriguing 2-person accountancy by a 15- person accountancy, as well as a small-acquisition overall personality, attitude, strategy by the likes of Cisco Systems. thoughts, mental• Diversity/Promoting. Diversity of every stripe at every level, achieved by design. Remember, diversity-qua- models, etc diversity works.
Tom Peters ranting about talent... We pay ever more lip-service to “people-power”, even as we cling to our long-standing penchant for hiring and cultivating obedient “employees”. We say that we take “talent”seriously, while failing to transform our organisations in a way that makes them truly talent-attractants.
concept: Organisational Learning Peter Senge The Five Disciplines of Organizational Learning Personal Mastery | Mental Models Shared Vision | Team Learning Systems Thinking http://www.solonline.org/organizational_overview/Peter Senge speaks about organisation culture (notes from an audio clip)• Practices - define an organisation, visible aspects of org culture• Values -> there’s what we say (espoused) and what we do, “unquestioned deep assumptions”• Learning in order to be a deep phenomena must transform organisational culture, must lead people to recognise their unquestioned assumptions• Learning is about letting culture evolve so that you can achieve what you didn’t before• Learning & cultural change are always connectedTo make Org Effectiveness a “reality”, we need to undergo “transformational change”• Transformational Change a process that shifts us inside as well as out• Inter-twines personal, team & organisation, even industry• It’s about deep, systemic change – what’s most systemic is what’s most personal• The “system” (organisation) evolves as a result of how people think• It’s a process where we have to question taken-for-granted assumptions/mental models• A process of reflection, questioning, of challenging ourselves and challenging the way we do things
systems thinkingMost of us have heard of the Butterfly Effect referred to in Chaos Theory – howa small change in one part of a system can trigger a massive change elsewhere.Business is a complex system and Systems Thinking can help us “learn to betterunderstand interdependency and change, and thereby to deal more effectivelywith the forces that shape the consequences of our actions.”“It is based upon a growing body of theory about the behavior of feedback andcomplexity - the innate tendencies of a system that lead to growth or stabilityover time.”Peter Senge
a sample transformation “system” (based on a “complex project” I was a part of once)Systems thinking in action...
purpose of this presentationOrganisationalEffectiveness demandschange, change depends onlearning, learning dependson challenging our currentstate, and so on...If all I achieve with thispresentation is to raiseawareness of some thingsthat we are either not doingat all, or things that we aredoing but can do better,then I’d feel that I’veachieved something.We need to start intelligentand meaningfulconversations about how wecan “up” the “enablers” toproduce results.