(Note: this post originally appeared at the Management Excellence blog. Copyright 2015 by Art Petty.) My one disappointment with much of the current business writing about change is that it is short on the “what to do about it,” content, in part because the notion of all this change makes for fascinating reading, and in part, because it’s not clear what exactly we should be doing in many cases. Here are 5 big starter ideas to help you and your team learn to thrive in this new world of uncertainty and ambiguity:
As managers, it’s our sacred responsibility to create and continuously improve an environment that allows our people to do their best work. Few managers would disagree with their responsibility and accountability for creating this effective environment. Like breathing, it’s a good idea to invest time and energy in practices that promote a healthy, efficient and effective system. In reality, many firms do a good job on this in stable markets. However, when faced with the need to adapt or change due to market disruptions, too many firms struggle to change their system to support the pursuit of new. Here are 7 ideas to help managers avoid the most common mistakes as they venture forward into uncharted territory:
Welcome to The Saturday Serial! This new series reflects my intent and attempt to share and cultivate management and leadership lessons beyond the format of a stale blog post and endless lists of "10 ideas to... ." While I love writing the Management Excellence blog and the first 1,025 posts are testament to my commitment, I've wanted to experiment with the serial and management fable format here for a long time. Beginning with my first episode, "Welcome to ACME John Anderson," you will meet a growing cast of characters facing a series of very real management, leadership and career challenges in this fictional high-tech, global conglomerate and its various units and divisions. Enjoy!
The business and management equivalent of The Quest of mythology and story is the pursuit of the secret ingredients…the behaviors, actions and approaches that if adopted, will allow one firm to outperform (measured by one or more of: growth, profitability, innovation, share price, market capitalization) a peer group for an extended period of time. Here are 7 core behaviors for successful management teams to adopt that will help them survive with their quest to sustain success:
Businesses of all sizes, shapes and ages run into rough patches. Rapid growth, disruptive competitors or technologies, regulatory changes or the end of the road for well-worn strategies are all potential culprits in the move from success to struggle. It’s critical at this point for a firm’s leaders and managers to react carefully and appropriately in this unfamiliar terrain or they risk moving quickly from flail to fail. They invite flailure. Here are 5 ideas to stem the tide when the flailing starts:
Successful companies in my experience operate with a set of clearly understood, actionable values. These values transcend behavior and point to purpose, direction and approach. Most of the time, they are codified or articulated however, in the case of some smaller or start-up organizations, they are present in the environment even if they are missing from the framed artwork on the wall. If your values aren't working incredibly hard to support your firm every day, it's time to consider a refresh.
Resolving the failure to execute problem is much more like a long-term fitness program than a quick weight-loss diet. It involves changing the thinking about what’s most important for organizational health and success and doing the hard work of developing new habits that support continuous improvement. Here are 7 ideas to help you begin developing some healthy new habits:
Too few managers and management teams talk about what it means to promote a culture of business performance excellence in and across their organizations. Even fewer work on it.
For some reason, the work of management and of managers often is positioned as a poor second cousin to the richer, nobler tasks of leading. That's a false perspective. Good managers with good leadership skills are incredibly valuable to today's organizations. Here are a few reasons why you should be proud of your important role as a manager:
Strategy is one of those difficult topics that dog most management teams and most firms. The real work of strategy is challenging, time consuming and filled with hard-to-answer questions. Given the challenges of managing an effective, on-going strategy process, it’s no surprise “Strategy in a Box” approaches are often adopted by management teams looking to add a check mark to the strategy task on their annual goals. Here are some key reasons why there are no shortcuts when it comes to strategy: