StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven is dedicated to providing executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results.

We help our clients create and execute a clear, forward-looking strategy – translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members – that’s critical to their realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well executed strategy align individuals to a common purpose, it ensures that purpose best serves the company’s mission.

The StrategyDriven website provides access to a wide array of best practice business planning and execution tools, streamlined process flows, how-to articles, example-rich podcasts, and customizable ready-to-use program management templates. Premium Members receive access to over 200 members-only articles, whitepapers, models, and tools and templates; providing an in-depth look into critical business performance areas; placing specific focus on the alignment of organizational standards, programs, and behaviors to the optimal achievement of mission goals. Sevian Business Program purchasers receive fully implementable business performance improvement processes out-of-the-box, enabling the acceleration of business growth and heightening of operational efficiency needed to significantly improve bottom line results.

Collectively, our products offer business leaders the opportunity to access the knowledge of a highly educated and experienced staff without the associated overhead expense.

At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leaders deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to business leaders who may not otherwise have access to these resources.

Contact StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

Phone: (770) 765-3692

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.strategydriven.com

StrategyDriven Service Provider Network Provider Network Disclaimer

William F. Johnson

Disorganize or Bust

One half of all new organizations will close their doors forever after only five years. Those organizations – started with vision, enthusiasm, and hope for the future – will leave employees, clients, and constituents in limbo. Within sixteen years only twenty five percent will still be viable. There are a number of reasons for failure but some result from their own success.

There is a definite cycle in the life of organizations. It is not chronological but a functional cycle. A simplified pattern might include five phases; Initial Structuring, Formal Organization, Maximum Efficiency, Institutionalization, and Disintegration.


Hi there! This article is available for free. Login or register as a StrategyDriven Personal Business Advisor Self-Guided Client by:

Subscribing to the Self Guided Program - It's Free!


 


About the Author

William F. JohnsonWilliam F. Johnson is an award winning author writing primarily in the field of leadership and personal development. His background includes starting and leading three different business entities and he is currently CEO of a non-profit organization. Bill can be reached at www.wfjohn.blogspot.com.

Bill’s book, Disorganize or Bust (Aslan Press), provides an understanding of organizational development, traces some real life organizations through their life cycle, and is provided as a tool for leaders and entrepreneurs to avoid or slow down the institutionalization process. It will be uncomfortable for some whose main desire is a smooth operation, but growth is not smooth.

StrategyDriven Decision-Making Article

Alexander Throckmorton Comes of Age

StrategyDriven Decision-Making ArticleOn September 25, 2015, Warner Brothers released The Intern: Experience Never Gets Old starring Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway; written, directed, and produced by Nancy Meyers. The September 2015 edition of Chief Learning Officer Magazine featured an article called Don’t Undervalue Older Workers by Lynn Schroeder. Nancy and Lynn must acknowledge that Edgar Lee Masters planted the seeds for appreciating seasoned workers back in 1914 when he wrote the play based on tombstone epitaphs in the western Illinois hamlet of Spoon River.

When Edgar Lee Masters penned his eloquent formula for genius, which he attributed to one fictional – albeit deceased – Alexander Throckmorton in the classic Spoon River Anthology, he bequeathed to all of us an elegant guiding principle for organizational leadership: genius is a composite made of some parts wisdom and some parts youth. Many organizations have exactly what they need for genius; that is seasoned workers and young workers. The problem is that so many organizations see older, experienced workers as problems; blocking the door for younger, less expensive and less experienced talent to enter the building. If we’re to believe Lynn Schroeder, Nancy Meyers, and Alexander Throckmorton, organizations who deliberately integrate wise, experienced team members with young, talented, and energetic team members, eager to destroy barriers and bifurcations, have the potential for genius—not individual genius; but true, organizational genius.

After the meltdown of 2008, there has been a corresponding breakdown in the corporate conveyor belt. At some of the largest and most recognized organizations in North America, senior executives of pension age are refusing to drop off the end of the belt into the retirement bin. Unable to retire with the financial status they had hoped for, older workers are turning around and walking back up the conveyor in the opposite direction, straight into the line of upcoming middle managers.

Rather than a pile-up of junior and senior workers, the traffic jam on the conveyor belt gives the organization a shot at true genius. Assuming the seasoned and still-working managers were retained because of their leadership value, one might conclude that our nation’s companies may have the greatest opportunity to reinvent leadership since the GI Bill; shared leadership.

What will happen if organizational designers deliberately pair more experienced older workers with less experienced younger workers in leadership dyads – pairings of employees – one experienced and capable, and the other relatively youthful, but clearly talented and loaded with potential. These dyads could replace solo, sometimes rouge leadership at the most senior executive and even middle management levels in the public and
private sectors.

Implicit in this model: decision-making and rank are equal and shared among these co-leaders. Because neither has ultimate authority, negotiations (and decision-making) inevitably integrate the untempered optimism, impatience, and master-of-the universe-inspired creative energy of the young mind with the more concrete, real-world experience of the more seasoned manager. The result is practical genius.

The leadership dyads would remain accountable to one another and all constituents, mutually dependent, sharing responsibilities, in continuous tension and continuous refinement. The organizational homeostasis of a shared leadership model, sometimes referred to “distributed leadership,” can be both more invigorating and more stabilizing than a traditional top-down “Great Man” model that endows individuals – and, eventually, a single powerful leader – with ultimate (and sometimes weakly-challenged) institutional authority. When well executed, the end result of shared leadership, if not genius, is certainly greater clarity, better creativity and reduced opportunity for error.

Wisdom and youth are unlikely bedfellows, replete with natural suspicion, impatience, cultural and institutional incompatibilities. But, from the tension can come great innovation. Walt Disney called differences of opinion on his project teams “creative tension” through which a more creative, higher quality, and sustainable product or idea emerges. Notably, shared leadership has long been the naturally balancing preference for leading households and raising children. It is the theoretical underpinning beneath successful self-directed teams and is a sustainable governance model for faith-based organizations.

A Rising Tide of Research and Academic Attention

The concept is gaining no small amount of momentum among thought-leaders in the realm of leadership research. Writing on www.sharedleadership.com, Michael Marlow, former head of the AT&T Learning Center, and Lorri Lizza of the Society for Organizational Learning and former vice president of Human Resources at AT&T, believe that shared leadership is a growing global occurrence:

“Shared leadership is a growing phenomenon around the world. It is a response to thousands of years of an opposite form of leadership—warrior leadership. When we share leadership, we establish relationships so that each member of an organization, team, family, or community can find and bring forward their gifts and lead.”

Shared leadership thought leaders, Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith (2001), write:

“Many writers – especially those looking at management – tend to talk about leadership as a person having a clear vision and the ability to make it real. However, we have begun to discover that leadership rests not so much in one person having a clear vision as in our capacity to work with others in creating one.”

In Rice University’s OpenStax, Angus MacNeil, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Houston, and Alena McClanahan detail requirements for successful shared leadership:

  1. Equal partnership: one person cannot have power and the other not. This balance of power, MacNeil and McClanashan explain, is probably among the hardest aspects of shared leadership.</li.
  2. A shared goal: Despite divergent opinions and differing tactics, each member must recognize the common purpose and be prepared to let go of individual agendas.
  3. Shared responsibility for the work of the group: All the participants share responsibility and accountability for the work of the partnership.
  4. Respect for the person: The partnership must recognize and embrace differences in the full group to build a strong, cohesive unit that can work well together to accomplish a goal.
  5. Partnering in the nitty-gritty: Working together in complex, real-world situations.

As a SVP in a firm that specializes in leadership coaching and organizational consulting for Fortune 50, Fortune 100, and Fortune 500 companies, I can report that executive coaches and consultants at human resources consulting firms and within internal learning organizations are not yet behind the movement to team up senior leaders (many of whom are circling in a self-imposed holding pattern outside the Human Resources Department) with the strong bodies climbing the ladder beneath them.

Successful shared leadership will require the best of wisdom and youth, not reporting to one another, but working with one another. There is true hope at the flashpoint where the seemingly immortal courage of the young, the leavening influence of the wise, and the potential for genius that is in all of us—converge.

This approach is not necessarily suitable to all enterprises. Military battlefield leadership, for example, does not customarily have the luxury of time to incorporate the best thinking of numerous individuals. The same might be true of professions such as emergency medicine. Yet while a military operation in the field might not benefit from shared decision-making, the Pentagon might. Equally, a hospital board might do well to deploy the shared leadership strategy as well. It is important to remember that this approach is directed at the leadership/management level. Individual transactional activities (for example, trading on the floor of a stock exchange) may also benefit from intuition and snap decision-making of a single expediter.

What do organizations need now more than ever? Wings that are strong and tireless guided by wisdom from the high places. That could be Robert De Niro. That could be Alexander Throckmorton. It could be the older person you nearly knocked down as you rushed into the office this morning. Youth is one thing. Wisdom is another thing. Genius is the ultimate thing according to Albert Einstein:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”

Wisdom and Youth can create the wisdom.


About the Author

John HooverJohn Hoover, PhD.

Senior Vice President and Leader of the Executive Coaching practice at Partners in Human Resources International (New York), Dr. John Hoover is a former executive with The Walt Disney Company and McGraw-Hill. He is the bestselling author of a dozen books on leadership and organizational behavior from Amacom, Career Press, Barnes & Noble Publishing, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill, and Saint Martin’s Press.

Dr. Hoover is adjunct faculty at Fielding Graduate University and the American Management Association. He has coached, lectured, or served on the faculties of Amherst, Aquinas College, Cal State Fullerton, College of the Desert, Middle Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, and Yale. As outlined in greater detail below, he is an experienced consultant and executive coach to C-level executives and board members in the private sector, academia, and not-for-profit social service agencies.

Jeffrey Gitomer

What can you do to get better? Follow the masters.

I began this year in retrospect by reading a 60-year-old book on the masters of selling. The book, titled “America’s Twelve Master Salesmen,” was written and published by B.C. Forbes & Sons in 1953.

The book was based on the fact that each one of these master salespeople had one extremely powerful overriding principle or philosophy upon which his or her success was based.

Not that it was their ‘only,’ but rather were the words they stood for. For example: When you think of Martin Luther King – you think of “I Have A Dream.” He stood for those words. When you think of Patrick Henry – you think of, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” When you think of Richard Nixon – you think “I’m Not a Crook.” (and you’d be thinking wrong)

It is amazing how self-truths become self-evident truths after thirty or forty years of exposure – one way or the other.

Back to the book. Suppose you could adopt (or adapt) all of these master’s single best characteristic into your own set of capabilities. That would be power.

And so, to challenge your 2015 thinking, here are the master’s philosophies from 1953. And yes, I have added my own to the list – even though in 1953 I was a mere child.

  1. James A. Farley (corporate executive) Principle: Idlers do not last long. Starting as a door-to-door salesman, raising to Vice President of Sales for Universal Gypsum, and ultimately a board of director for several large companies including Coca-Cola, Farley believed that doing several things at once was the key to accomplishment. His secret was doing new things at the same time he was following up and building relationships. Often sending 100 letters a day, he was renowned for making and keeping friends.
  2. Max Hess, Jr. (retail store chain owner) Principle: Strive for a specific goals. Hess’s father used to say, “There’s no fun or excitement in just running a store. That way it’s drudgery. The fun and excitement come out of always figuring ways to stay ahead of the other fellow.” He believed in the stimulating power of keeping Hess Brothers forever exciting – exciting not only for the people who shop there but for those who work in the store. Hess made a business plan full of goals. And in a small town environment achieved big city results by working his plan every day, and having a happy army of people (his employees) helping him every step of the way.
  3. Conrad N. Hilton (hotel owner) Principle: Make them want to come back. “It is our theory that when a hotel is in the top-glamour category… you just can’t make it too luxurious. You heap it on. You never stop pondering the question, ‘What aren’t guests getting that they might be getting in the way of elegance and personal attention?’” Hilton knew that one hotel is like any other hotel. The difference is in how you treat the guests. All he asked of his employees was to be nice to people so they will want to come back. They have been coming back for nearly 100 years.
  4. Alex M. Lewyt (manufacturer of the Lewyt vacuum cleaner) Principle: Believe in your product and love it. So will the world! He was an engineer that was convinced he had built the world’s best vacuum cleaner. Advertised it before production was finished. Created a demand in the market with no product (a market vacuum if you will pardon the pun). When the cleaner finally emerged on the market, it was swept up (sorry again). Four million sales in four years. Lewyt said that having the best product is not enough. You must believe it’s the best, and share your passion through every marketing and advertising means.
  5. Mary Margaret McBride (radio broadcaster and columnist. Influencer of millions) Principle: Honesty is the best policy. “If I am convinced in my heart and mind that I’m speaking the truth, I approach the job as I would a sale — with zest and interest. And in my heart I know that I am actually performing a service on behalf of my listener — who is in reality, my customer. Honesty breeds loyal customers.” Her values made her a fortune.

Gitomer Note On Honesty: When you hear a corporate message like: “To serve you better…” or an employee says, “We’re doing the best we can…,” no matter how you want to defend those words, they’re lies.

The Orison Swett Marden quote: “No substitute has yet been found for honesty,” is a benchmark that everyone will read and agree with – yet very few will follow.

OK. There’s five of them. Pretty cool so far, huh? Next week in part two, more of the master salespeople of their time, including Red Motley and Elmer Letterman, will reveal sales insights that will take you to the next level.

Stay tuned…


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Article

Doing Business in a Big Data World

StrategyDriven Organizational Performance Measures ArticleThe Internet and cloud computing have revolutionized the nature of data capture and storage, tempting many companies to adopt a new ‘Big Data’ philosophy: collect all the data you can; all the time. But this new world of Big Data is proving to be much more demanding and complex than expected, requiring companies not only to adopt different technologies, but also to make significant changes to their business strategy, internal skillsets, and organizational structures.

Big Data is Not Just More Data: That’s because the nature of the data we can now collect has changed. Big Data involves not just the structured data (customer name and details, products purchased, how much was spent and when, etc.) that every company is used to capturing, but also unstructured data (data scraped from the Internet and social media channels that may come in a wide variety of formats, from video to voice). It may seem an obscure data management distinction, but this shift toward collecting unstructured data – which is a large part of what Big Data is all about – is sending shock waves across traditional organizations.

Why?

New technologies: The consistency and predictability of structured data is what gave rise to today’s centralized IT departments – running SQL/Relational Database Management Systems, and ERP and CRM software. Structured data is clean and predictable; easy to collect, organize and analyze – and is usually securely stored on a company’s internal servers.

Unstructured data is very different. It is messy, variable, and difficult to interpret; captured from a wide variety of sources and usually stored on distributed computing nodes through the Cloud. In order to capture, filter, and analyze huge amounts of unstructured data, an organization needs to leverage the new technologies that include massively parallel processing (MPP) and NoSQL/Hadoop-like (non-relational) database and software frameworks.

But getting access to these Big Data technologies means either buying it and building it into your organization’s current IT enterprise structure, or accessing the tools and data storage through Cloud-based offerings (or a combination of both). Whatever method your organization chooses, it will place a significant strain on your – probably already overwhelmed – central IT department, because they will need to construct a complimentary architecture with these two very different platforms.

New Skills: These new technologies also require very different skills, because in order to convert unstructured, randomly collected data into meaningful intelligence, organizations now need data engineers who understand the new NoSQL/Hadoop-like programming languages, and data scientists (often with PhDs in mathematics or statistics) who can set up the algorithms and correctly interpret the data. Employees with these skills are still expensive and hard to find: nearly 80 percent of companies complain that they’re already finding recruitment for these jobs either ‘challenging’ or ‘extremely difficult.’

New Organizational Structures: And because 80% of Big Data projects cross business lines or functions, surveys show that an alarming one third of Big Data projects are already being pursued without the support of the company’s central IT function, by adventurous departments tempted to access Big Data tools unilaterally over the Cloud – often then running that data through the (unsecured) smartphones of their employees. All of this means that CIOs and centralized IT department staff no longer ‘own’ company data the way they did in the past; giving rise to new concerns about data integrity and security in a more distributed and anarchic company structure.

As a result, Big Data is forcing CIOs to relinquish some of their centralized authority in favor of a power-sharing arrangement – not only with departments (such as Sales and Marketing) who want to run their own customer-focused Big Data projects independently, but with important new C-level rivals: the Chief Marketing Technology Officer, or the Chief Data Officer.

A New Company Data Strategy: This means that a Big Data company strategy requires a good deal of equanimity on the part of these various competing and overlapping roles to create policies that allow for departmental independence, but don’t expose the company to data breaches and misuse of customer data. And that’s why adopting a Big Data strategy also requires senior management to be much more involved in IT and data-related matters – providing clear guidance on what data can be used, in what way, and by whom.

In short, there is a lot more to doing business in the Big Data world than simply collecting and analyzing more data. It is a disruptive paradigm shift that most companies have yet to make.


About the Author

Dale NeefDale Neef is a technology advisor, and author of Digital Exhaust: What Everyone Should Know About Big Data, Digitization and Digitally Driven Innovation (FT Press). A veteran of knowledge management, business intelligence, and large-scale technology implementation projects with more than fifty companies worldwide, he has been a technical consultant for the Asian Development Bank, has worked for IBM and Computer Sciences Corporation, and was a fellow at Ernst & Young’s Center for Business Innovation. A frequent contributor to journals, and a regular speaker at technology conferences, he earned his doctorate from Cambridge University, was a research fellow at Harvard, and has written or edited eight books on the economics of knowledge and data management and the use of information technology to mitigate risk. Learn more at www.daleneef.com.