Archives For alignment

Google… On Steroids

September 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

When my daughter, Savannah, was in elementary school she was quite the know it all and acquired the nickname “Google” because she would start nearly every sentence with, “Did you know…” followed by whatever fact fell from her rather significant brain and out of her very pretty, little mouth. Still today, she is not so different… if occasionally more contained.

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As I think about our world today, how we are made up, and the rapidly expanding global marketplace, perhaps we (a little like Savannah) have become Google incarnate:

Google is a vast pool of knowledge – broader and deeper than most of us can even begin to fathom – while, as humans, we are a vast pool of diversity and complexity that spans the globe. We take in information, aggregate it… and determine how we will present it (or not). That is not to say we necessarily understand it…

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As we look forward, it is helpful to also look back and gain perspective. Today’s supply chain is even more global than two years ago… It is more aligned and proactive than it was five years ago. We are making progress, but there are still critical challenges to address.  It is still not working well… experience tells me we can do better.

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Typically, even though organizations may be consolidating for cost management and scalability purposes, the walls of the individual functions, channels and regions have become even thicker. As a direct result, it is harder for you, as a leader, to build end-to-end supply chain functionality in an ever-changing global marketplace. It has become increasingly difficult for you to gain agreement on specific, customer focused initiatives or broader organizational change.

This is not a technology, process or policy problem – it is a people problem:

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Today, quality in products and services is a given. Customers are increasingly aware of their choices, and as a result quality has become assumed if an organization seeks to survive. Quality performance has peaked globally, resulting in the face of quality shifting from the front-line employee to the corporate leader.

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As quality continues to evolve, the question becomes, “how do we shift the ‘definition’ of quality to reflect quality leadership?” If we refer to Deming’s quality methods, there are some clear indicators as to how we can connect quality principles to leadership principles. Deming’s Quality System is based on what he called “Profound Knowledge” – calling out four interrelated and inseparable aspects of quality that act as a critical foundation: Continue Reading…

At The Root Of It All

October 29, 2013 — 2 Comments

Here is an under-recognized, under-utilized truth:

PEOPLE make the company, the company does not make the people. 

Often leaders are preoccupied with who they are going to hire.  Agreed – hiring is a critically important decision.  Who you hire, as a leader, will ultimately determine your level of success… or will it?  It seems logical enough. After all, if you hire great people you’re laying the foundation for building great teams, units, and organizations… as well as great overall business results, right?

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On the surface, you are absolutely right. However, if you dig down deep to the root of many organizational issues, you find a much darker problem: “A” Players are hired for their talent, innovation and potential to take the organization to new heights, and then they are treated no different than the “B” and “C” Players in the organization that make no real day to day impact. The reality is that without great people that make real impact, you cannot sustainably build great products or provide great services. Continue Reading…

I have frequently done business in Japan throughout my career. It is interesting how the country and the culture have changed over time, but beneath its surface lies an extremely productive and effective society.

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To the outsider – or gaijin, as we are known to the locals – Japanese business customs appear to be so deeply entrenched in culture and tradition that they couldn’t possibly be applicable to the rest of the world. But don’t be too quick to write off the value that Japanese business practices offer the rest of the world… Continue Reading…

Last week we discussed the basics of organizational politics – this week we’ll talk about some intentional strategies that you can leverage to facilitate your success. Whether your perception of organizational politics is positive or negative (I don’t know many who are neutral), you need to have the tools available to expedite your career growth, as well as to enable corporate growth and development.

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It is important for you to take both a strategic and an intentional approach to politics. Unfortunately, there are few useful resources available to assist you in navigating your way through the turbulent sea of corporate politics. Below are some strategies that I have employed myself for many years, as well as consistently deploying them with my clients: Continue Reading…