Leading to Outcomes

Leading to Outcomes

One of the more successful strategies I have seen managers take in their organizations has been shifting their focus from managing the process to managing for outcomes. In the age of employee empowerment one of the best ways to allow your team to feel like they have a say in the work is to allow them some flexibility in the process and approach provided that they are able to deliver the desired outcomes and meet the organizational targets. The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt I would suggest that the act of simply managing for outcomes isn't enough in the current corporate environment. Setting goals and offering some flexibility in the process and approach is more effective than micro-managing every step of the work and is an improvement over older management science but if you retain the...
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Innovation Requires a Solid Foundation

Innovation Requires a Solid Foundation

Those of you who know me won't be shocked by the fact that I have a serious passion for innovation. I believe you always need to be pushing your organization (and your life) forward, reinventing what you do and how you do it as often as possible to continually drive new value to your customers and your organization. Companies like GE or IBM who have consistently changed their business, sold off core components, reinvented their primary revenue base, and evolved how they execute based on the demands of an evolving market are great examples of companies that do innovation very well. (more…)...
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Connecting Strategy and Execution

Connecting Strategy and Execution

I will be speaking next week at the Bank-IT Conference on the topic of "Building a Full Stack Strategy: Integrating Strategy from Business Vision to Tech Execution" so I felt that I would share some of my thinking more broadly here. While I'm containing my discussion next week specifically to the Technology area the reality is that connecting strategy to execution is critical (and similar) across the organization. Too many organizations build their strategy in a silo, completely separated from the business lines and the supporting organizations that are required to execute the strategy. In many organizations you'll find "Strategic Management" offices or "CEO Strategy Board" functions which operate at the highest level of the organization and focus on the macro issue and strategy and then pass their plans and white papers off to the supporting teams on the assumption that will result in execution of those plans. (more…)...
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What Are You Managing?

What Are You Managing?

As a business owner you know that you are often called upon to wear many hats, working long hours to ensure the job gets done, your customer is satisfied, your staff are paid, next week's marketing is complete, and your taxes and government remittances are taken care of.  After all it's been said many times that being an Entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding career options out there - provided you're willing to work 100 hour weeks. But why don't executives and Senior Managers in big business have to work those types of hours? After all their troubles and commitments are many multiples the size of your own.  How do they manage to better balance their work and non-work lives? The primary difference is that in a traditional "job" career you are given a narrow scope of work that is generally focused on the area of the business you know best and can bring the most focused value to.  In a...
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Appropriate Management Controls for Small Business

Appropriate Management Controls for Small Business

For those that read this blog regularly or who have spoken with me at one of the various networking events that I regularly participate in you know that my passion is in creating growth through value innovation, but I have had a couple of conversations in the past week with colleagues in other businesses about management controls so I thought I'd share my thoughts on specifically management controls and small business. One of my pet peeves (and one of the main reasons I haven't spent a lot of time in larger more bureaucratic organizations) is process for the sake of process, and I truly believe that management controls used poorly constitute exactly this problem.  One of the most innovation stifling innovations is the standard operating procedure, specifically if it implemented before there is a specific need for control or before an organization has grown to a size that would justify requiring that level of control. When speaking with one colleague he demonstrated for...
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