Monday, September 21, 2015

Organizing the Competitive Intelligence Effort

The development of strategies to compete is essential for the survival of every organization. Competition is increasing from everywhere, ranging from small startups to global companies leveraging resources in the shared economy. Understanding this external global environment is now part of how you must strategize. Competitive Intelligence (CI) is the process by which you collect and analyze information to understand the external environment. The product of Competitive Intelligence is knowledge that facilitates decision making, both strategic and operational. Therefore, CI is both a process and a product.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to Use the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Over the last few years, successful entrepreneurs have pointed to the Minimum Viable Product or MVP as a roadmap for creating long-term success. MVP is about creating a product or service with just enough value to make it attractive to a small group of customers. In some cases, the product or service is released on a test basis. This allows you to move incrementally without committing huge resources. A strong development team will be needed to capture feedback and turn out new releases. If you are releasing something very unique, you should validate the offering with a private or internal group well in advance of going to a larger test market.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Appreciating 'Appreciative Inquiry' (Part 2 of 2)

Simple things often work best – easy to design and implement. When it comes to strategic planning and getting the organization to move, Appreciative Inquiry can be the preferred approach because of its simplicity. In an effort to get Appreciative Inquiry working, we can follow the 4 D Model: Discover > Dream > Design > Deliver.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Appreciating 'Appreciative Inquiry' (Part 1 of 2)

In order to plan and look forward in a meaningful way, we need to first look back, appreciating the things we do well. It is those things that we excel at that gives us a strategy for a bright future. In a rapidly changing world, traditional approaches to planning often don't work. We assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, developing strategies to address a multitude of issues, only to have wasted resources and time trying to address issues that are difficult to control. Instead of this long exercise in planning, we need a much more rapid and direct approach to getting the organization and its people mobilized for the future. When we focus on the “positive” things that we do well, not only do we galvanize our resources better, but we also energize our people around things that they can accomplish. This simple and powerful approach to planning and change management is called Appreciative Inquiry.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Everyone Should Have a Dashboard

Distinguishing high and low performance often requires a common set of metrics. Applying standard metrics across different positions can drive exceptionally high levels of performance across a company. This is often found in the world of sports. Examples include a baseball pitcher’s ERA (Earned Run Average), a football quarterback’s passer rating (QPR), or the average per game metrics applied to basketball players – Points per Game, Rebounds per Game, Assists per Game, Steals per Game and Blocks per Game. This standard framework binds the company, allowing managers to quickly size up individual players and identifying those who need coaching.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Want a Superior Workforce? Hire Women

It goes without saying that people make the difference in great companies. Author Jim Collins brought this point home in his book: Good to Great. One reason this can be challenging is that people are different and they may not work well with others. So how do you reduce the selection process and find people who can add the highest value across the entire workforce? Well you may have to be somewhat bias in favor of women.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The ABC's of Competency Models

As you drill down the drivers of performance for most organizations; things like great customer service, efficient processes, and empowering technology, you reach a base level for making these drivers happen. This gets you back to the qualities of your human resources – knowledge, expertise, experience, and those things needed for successful execution. And the combination of skills, expertise, knowledge and other intangibles will vary from job to job, function to function. For example, what we need for executing for securing new customers is not necessarily the same as what we need for efficient processes.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cyber Security 101

One of the most profound challenges facing every company is Cyber Security. Many of us, including myself, are ignorant about the threat. Some of the largest companies are experiencing massive data breaches. Examples include:

·         Target Department Stores - Debit and credit card data stolen impacting 100 million customers
·         J. P. Morgan - Customer data compromised affecting 76 million customers
·         Home Depot – Reported 50 million customer email addresses stolen

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.