Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Understanding Your Value Proposition

Getting your value proposition right and knowing when and how to tweak it is extremely important. Intense competition and change are forcing many companies to re-visit their original value propositions. The best value propositions are those that solve major pain points for lots of people. Start by looking at how your customers spend their time – what frustrations do they encounter?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Science Explains Creativity

With so much emphasis on creativity and innovation, it helps if we can all cut directly to the chase – namely what's behind creativity? Thanks to various scientific studies and author Jonah Lehrer, we have great insights into where creativity comes from. In his book, Imagine: How Creativity Works , Lehrer highlights some very important research that explains creativity.

For starters, creativity is not one train of thought. It is about how people can switch their thinking from one mode to another. For example, we all get stuck on some problem, struggling to break through and reach a solution. What creative people do is they switch gears from say analytical thinking to day dreaming and imagination. Knowing when and how to make these switches is critical to creative problem solving.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Elevating the HR Function - Part 2 of 2

Part I of this article addressed the issue of elevating the HR Function into a more strategic type function, as opposed to an administrative type function. Part 2 of this article will describe several strategic ideas for moving HR into the strategic function it must become.

In Part I, we mentioned the importance of HR as it relates to core competencies. Organization's need to maintain and build their core competencies since this is the source of competitive advantages in the marketplace. Core competencies have a lot to do with recruiting and retaining the best people. Obviously, HR should play a lead role in this mandate. However, we do not want to stop here since there are numerous other strategic issues related to HR.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Elevating the HR Function - Part 1 of 2

Organizational capabilities are developed primarily through the development of human resources. Despite the enormous importance of human resources, many organizations treat the HR (Human Resource) Function as just another administrative function with high overhead costs. As a result, the HR Function is often targeted for outsourcing and downsizing; crippling it from its real potential for value-creation within the organization.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do You Know Your Vital Few?

Assessing business health is no different than assessing your own personal health. It resides in a set of key metrics or vital few. For example, if you want to size up your personal health, you look at vital indicators such as blood pressure, glucose number, cholesterol, and pulse rate. You continue to monitor theses on a regular basis and if something goes outside the normal range, you take corrective action. So the question is why aren’t you doing this for your business?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Keep on Bootstrapping

Regardless of where your company stands in the growth life cycle, you should always consider some form of bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is the use of little or no money by leveraging available resources. Bootstrapping enables you to control cost by getting things done without committing cash. This approach is viewed favorably by current and potential investors since you are setting priorities around maximizing value.   

Monday, April 27, 2015

Leveraging Knowledge Management

It is ironic that so many companies have an abundance of knowledge, but fail to use it for managing the business. Knowledge is a critical resource that warrants much more attention. If we are serious about managing knowledge, then we need to embrace the concepts associated with knowledge management.

“Businesses, especially large ones, have little choice but to become information-based. To remain competitive, maybe even to survive, businesses will have to convert themselves into organizations of knowledge specialist.” – The Coming of the New Organization by Peter F. Drucker

Monday, April 6, 2015

Find Your Aggregation Points

The world is full of aggregators who can bring enormous value to your business. For example, you may hire great designers in Italy, enlist programmers from India, manufacture your product in China, and manage the business from the United States. Aggregation is the bringing together of different parts to meet important business objectives.  Aggregation often involves broad and global participation. And the use of aggregation results in higher value as opposed to doing everything in-house.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Start Measuring Intellectual Capital

Increasingly, businesses need to pay attention to growing the intellectual capital of the business. Hard assets (facilities, vehicles, equipment) lose value over time and may not provide the highest returns for the business. The soft stuff (talent, leadership, patents, innovation, etc.) creates the most value and return.

A good way to frame this challenge is to think in three’s. Start with the three main types of intellectual capital and the corresponding metrics:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Managing Complexity

You Must Understand Crowds to Manage Complexity
With so much change and uncertainty before us, one way to throw out the noise and traditional viewpoints is to aggressively manage complexity. When you start to manage complexity, you immediately gain some control over the change and uncertainty that you feel you have no control over. For example, “complexity theory” recognizes that crowds are a big factor related to complexity. Knowing something about the psychology of the crowd can be important to how you manage complexity.