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Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:56

Tenet #5 - Ten Tenets of Change Management

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #5: Over-communicate. Be consistent. Make it simple.

No matter how many times you think you have given the same message during a significant organizational change, give it again, and again, and again! Remember that while the future is crystal clear in your mind and in the mind of your guiding coalition, most of the organization is entrenched in their current paradigm. Even if you have given the single most eloquent speech of your life, once, the impact on the average worker has a short “half-life of decay”. As they walk out of your turning-point meeting and go back to their day jobs, the message is fading away with every step. The tyranny of the urgent takes over. Most of the people in your organization are worried about fulfilling the daily expectations of the firm using current processes, tools, roles and responsibilities. They are living in the present day, being mindful of what they must do to complete existing customer or administrative needs. What is to come, the vapor-ware you offer, the future you are presenting will be believed when it impacts them. But sooner or later it will impact them. You need to prepare them for that time. Give your message over and over again.

Published in Leadership
by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #4: Break it down into phases.

Your plans are grand. You can see the future and it’s bright for your organization. But it’s very different from what you see today. You know it will take a lot of work and dedication, but you are confident you can get there, and you are anxious to achieve these goals. You may even have significant pressure from your sponsors to reach new heights, and to reach them fast. You are charged up and motivated, and if you have done your job right, you also have a highly motivated and cognizant guiding coalition, as discussed in Tenet #3. Your people are behind you 100%. 

So why do they seem so worried? Why are they groaning at the thought of all of the hard work?

Published in Leadership
by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #3: Create a guiding coalition.

Even the most capable of leaders seldom achieve significant goals alone. No matter how bright our ideas, those ideas fall flat without a group of people to help implement them. Leaders drive change through other people and, for many of the leaders reading this tenet, change is driven through other leaders. Along with the first two tenets (“Fully understand and respect the current situation first” and “Learn together why change is necessary”) leaders need to enlist the help of influential and respected people that will refine, guide and execute the plan. A leader banging the cadence drum alone, without the clear support and involvement of other key personnel from around the organization will lose impact, sounding detached from the reality of day-to-day business. A leader driving change must gather and charter a powerful guiding coalition. A properly selected group will add vitality and validity, and extend the reach of the leader into all corners of the organization. Depending on the size of your organization, this may or may not be the same group of people who have jointly diagnosed the issues with you.

Published in Leadership
by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Reference: Please see the Introduction and Tenet #1 here.

Tenet #2: Learn together why change is necessary.

If you are brought in to be a change agent in a new company or a new job within the same company, the chances are good that you are not well-known by the new people with whom you work. You have not yet earned their trust, but they will follow you because you have the position power. The CEO disease[1] starts right away, on day one, as you receive positive feedback from your teams even while they question your wisdom, your capability, and your right to be in your position. In this circumstance, going off into a dark room alone or with a single chosen confidant to analyze the organization’s problem and to come out with a set of stone tablets in proclamation of a new vision will not engender a strong followership. It is often a mistake to hide your decision-making process when it requires others to implement it. But in this case, it could spell the difference between success and failure in your change management process.

Published in Leadership
Thursday, 28 February 2013 18:56

Tenet #1 - Ten Tenets of Change Management

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal 

Introduction

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher from the 4th century BCE was known for his doctrine of change. He taught that change was central to the universe. In “Lives of the Philosophers” by Diogenes Laertius, Heraclitus is quoted as saying “There is nothing permanent except change.” Change is not only a fact of business; it’s a fact of life. But it undervalues change to say that it is just a necessary evil, one to be tolerated as an obstacle, as a distraction from our intended path. Change is important to wake us up, to invigorate us, to give us a fresh purpose. With change comes new life and new opportunity.

As Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

People face change differently, and some changes are more welcome than others. Many people have set out their life and work plans, and they don’t include yielding control to someone else. Some people feel that the changes imposed on them take the control out of their hands. I remember a subordinate engineer from many years ago that proudly told me “I have always chosen my own boss, not the other way around.” And he was happy to announce “I have decided to let you manage me.” Even though it’s a fallacy, some people seem to need a feeling of complete control of the events around them.

Published in Leadership
Thursday, 06 December 2012 16:45

Tenet #10 - Ten Tenets of Strategy

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #10: Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.

In this, my 10th and final blog on Ten Tenets of Strategy, I posit a last thought: the savvy business person will put in place people and processes to scan the industry and market, to generate awareness and then respond in a timely way to these changes to keep their strategy effective.

These ten tenets were gained through years of personal experience and discussions with key thought leaders and are offered as guidance for the development of your strategy.

  1. Your core competency is not your strategy.
  2. Compete on core capabilities, your set of business processes integrated throughout your value chain.
  3. Make hard choices. Decide what you will not do.
  4. Focus on customer outcomes. Design your strategy through the customers’ eyes.
  5. Analyze and design for the industry forces.
  6. Understand and analyze the landscape of possible customer outcomes.
  7. Know your competitors and their strategies profoundly.
  8. Diversify around your core capabilities.
  9. Balance the stakeholders.
  10. Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.
For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. 

-John F. Kennedy
Published in Strategy
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 00:00

Tenet #9 - Ten Tenets of Strategy

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #9: Balance the stakeholders.

In my opinion, if you wish to build a company for the long term, you must balance the stakeholders; I like the term maximizing stakeholder value. I see 5 stakeholders: your shareholders, your customers, your employees, your suppliers and the society in which you do business. Any one of these can shut down your business, and any one of them can make a powerful partner to create a long term differentiated and defensible business.

In this blog, I discuss the ninth of my Ten Tenets of Strategy. These tenets were gained through years of personal experience and discussions with key thought leaders and are offered as guidance for the development of your strategy.

  1. Your core competency is not your strategy.
  2. Compete on core capabilities, your set of business processes integrated throughout your value chain.
  3. Make hard choices. Decide what you will not do.
  4. Focus on customer outcomes. Design your strategy through the customers’ eyes.
  5. Analyze and design for the industry forces.
  6. Understand and analyze the landscape of possible customer outcomes.
  7. Know your competitors and their strategies profoundly.
  8. Diversify around your core capabilities.
  9. Balance the stakeholders.
  10. Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.

Balancing the stakeholders may seem more tactical than strategic, but the reason this tenet is on the list is the vital impact it has on your strategy, and how crucial it is to weave throughout your entire core capability.

The term “shareholder value” is relatively new, having been attributed to both Alfred Rappaport (Professor Emeritus at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, in 1986) and to Jack Welsh (former CEO of General Electric). Of course, the concept of the responsibility of management and the board of directors toward increased returns to investors is certainly as old as civilization. But the obsession of corporations on increasing shareholder value is said to have begun with Jack Welsh in a speech he made in 1981 called “Growing fast in a slow-growth economy”. Other business historians point to contemporaries of Jack Welsh and Alfred Rappaport, such as T. Boone Pickens as the source of today’s fixation on shareholder value as the sole responsibility of management and the board.

Published in Strategy
Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:42

Tenet #8 - Ten Tenets of Strategy

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #8: Diversify around your core capabilities. 

In this blog, I have offered Ten Tenets of Strategy. These tenets were gained through years of personal experience and discussions with key thought leaders and are offered as guidance for the development of your strategy.

  1. Your core competency is not your strategy.
  2. Compete on core capabilities, your set of business processes integrated throughout your value chain.
  3. Make hard choices. Decide what you will not do.
  4. Focus on customer outcomes. Design your strategy through the customers’ eyes.
  5. Analyze and design for the industry forces.
  6. Understand and analyze the landscape of possible customer outcomes.
  7. Know your competitors and their strategies profoundly.
  8. Diversify around your core capabilities.
  9. Balance the stakeholders.
  10. Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.

Let’s turn now to the eighth of these Tenets:

Published in Strategy
Thursday, 25 October 2012 15:43

Tenet #7 - Ten Tenets of Strategy

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #7: Know your competition and their strategy… well.

My last blog entry, Ten Tenets of Strategy –Tenet #6, I espoused the value of fully understanding the landscape of possible customer outcomes. There is a wide array of possible customer outcomes that will produce a successful strategy. Of course, this situation is dynamic as industry forces change, as new competitors emerge and as customer demands increase. The landscape of possible customer outcomes will shift, and as a result, market share shifts to those firms that have accurately assessed these changes and their ability to respond to them. You need to be vigilant in watching the changing landscape of possible customer outcomes. And yet, the core of what you deliver to your customer, the core that results in your business processes and corporate strategy will need to be relatively stable. So much of what you build in your value chain will be based on this competitive picture. Large investments will be made and will be difficult to change.

This idea is part of the Ten Tenets of Strategy I have presented in the Blog space. These tenets were gained through years of personal experience and discussions with key thought leaders and are offered as guidance for the development of your strategy.

  1. Your core competency is not your strategy.
  2. Compete on core capabilities, your set of business processes integrated throughout your value chain.
  3. Make hard choices. Decide what you will not do.
  4. Focus on customer outcomes. Design your strategy through the customers’ eyes.
  5. Analyze and design for the industry forces.
  6. Understand and analyze the landscape of possible customer outcomes.
  7. Know your competitors and their strategies profoundly.
  8. Diversify around your core capabilities.
  9. Balance the stakeholders.
  10. Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.

It is probably appropriate at this point to make a distinction between corporate and product strategy. Although much of what I have discussed in my recent blogs can be applied to both corporate and product strategy, your product strategy (which may vary from one product line to the next) will need to be more agile than your corporate strategy. This need for agility is especially important in technology industries, in which technology inflection point can change the whole game and market share can change hands essentially overnight. Your product strategy will need to move with these inflection points, where as your corporate strategy may not.

Published in Strategy
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 14:48

Tenet #6 - Ten Tenets of Strategy

by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

In my last blog entry, Ten Tenets of Strategy –Tenet #5, I advised company leaders to look first at the industry forces when designing their strategy. Depending upon those forces, they may decide to design their core capabilities (the integrated set of processes throughout the value chain that deliver a unique and valued customer outcome) in very different ways. For example, for a consumer electronics supplier, the power of the customer (the retail store owner controlling shelf space) may be dominant. This situation needs to be addressed in any strategy. Addressing it may require setting up processes, relationships and deals to assure excellent shelf space access for products. Alternatively, a higher-risk strategy may be to attempt to deliver only exciting new products that the retail store owner must have. Apple’s iPhone strategy is a famous example of the latter. This strategy takes the typical power out of the hands of the store owner and places it back in the hands of the product provide, changing the forces, changing the game. In any case, addressing these industry forces needs to result in conscious decisions about the strategy.

Recently through this blog, I have offered Ten Tenets of Strategy. These tenets were gained through years of personal experience and discussions with key thought leaders and are offered as guidance for the development of your strategy.

  1. Your core competency is not your strategy.
  2. Compete on core capabilities, your set of business processes integrated throughout your value chain.
  3. Make hard choices. Decide what you will not do.
  4. Focus on customer outcomes. Design your strategy through the customers’ eyes.
  5. Analyze and design for the industry forces.
  6. Understand and analyze the landscape of possible customer outcomes.
  7. Know your competitors and their strategies profoundly.
  8. Diversify around your core capabilities.
  9. Balance the stakeholders.
  10. Strategy is dynamic. Adjust as necessary, but with caution.
Published in Strategy
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Telephone: +1.415.830.5520
Email: scott.elliott@techzecs.com
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