Posts from the “Organization” Category

Continuity

Posted on July 14, 2017

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Most organizations have routines, either formal or informal, to introduce changes into the environment. This if often cyclical with some form of stimulus, incubation, and strategic acceptance followed by tactical realization and new (or refined) activities in ongoing operations. Challenges arise when something breaks the continuity of the cycle. A critical leader leaves, the organization is overly insular, strategic decisions aren’t clearly cascaded to execution, incentives aren’t aligned, etc. When (not if) the cycle is interrupted, the key to exceptional performance is how quickly the cycle can pick back up. The longer the cycle stagnates, the more fuel it needs to restart. *

The Pixar Process

Posted on June 30, 2017

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The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in NYC had a fascinating Pixar exhibit in 2016. Getting a small peek into the work within the studio gives a real appreciation for the concepts (like simplexity) that are applied in the Pixar process: And how research, collaboration, and iteration wrap around Pixar’s story wheel: “…You are sure right about the importance of a good story in movies. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of work (and rework, and rework and rework) to get it right. And even then quite often we’re not 100% pleased. As John Lasseter likes to say, our films don’t get finished, they just get released.” –Pete Docter While they’re no slackers when it comes to research,…

Culture is Controllable

Posted on April 14, 2017

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“Isn’t culture a byproduct of everything else we do?” a client asked this past week. “Won’t it just present itself?” My coaching: it’s not so fatalistic. Yes, it’s impacted by what you do. But what you do should be impacted by your intentional cultural choices. What you talk about, how punctual you are, what you react to (what you don’t), what you measure, frequency of routines, etc. Let your culture infuse everything else, don’t let it just happen. *

Decoupling

Posted on October 21, 2016

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Some drive-through restaurants utilize off-site locations to receive orders – the speaker by the menu board is run through a call center team, and orders are routed electronically to a screen in the restaurant. You don’t actually interact with someone at the restaurant location until you get to the pick-up window. The ability to distribute process activities across physical locations has been convincingly demonstrated. You can decouple activities and geography, people from organization reporting lines, processes from technology, and products from sales channels. It’s an opportunity and a challenge to appropriately balance the dimensions. I once had a social conversation with a business executive who could not understand the difference between television content (shows) and television networks (channels). It’s no wonder some companies go…

Alignment versus Consensus

Posted on August 5, 2016

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There’s a subtle but important difference between consensus and alignment in organizations. Consensus feels safe, but it can take herculean efforts to reach outliers, sway resistors and convince skeptics on the way to agreement. Alignment is more about arrangement and positioning. Sometimes you don’t need people to agree, you need them to align…just enough to move forward. *