Archive for the ‘Employees’ Category

Transformation and Employee Performance

Most of the organizations that we work with agree that employees are their most important asset (not resource) and need to be treated accordingly. In a recent book by Simon Head, entitled Mindless, a picture is painted of several well known organizations where employees are treated quite the opposite. They are treated as expendable resources and not as assets to be developed. He paints a picture of these two well known organizations as examples of sweat shop mentality applied with the control factor of computer assisted networks, processes and surveillance. It is a grim picture as history repeats itself in an automated way. These are not transformed but rather dehumanized organizations. They certainly do not embrace our goal of win/ win for transformed companies. They are not good and do not add redeeming value as they do not respect the human being as better than whatever physical labor one might extract from them. In this way they demean themselves while blaming their actions on ‘human nature’. As uniformed tyrants they don’t understand that a win/win scenario is to their benefit and to that of the overall economy. Ironically both organizations are in the retail business while at the same time penalizing their own consumers. It reminds me of a talk I gave several years ago. I was speaking on the subject of ‘gainsharing’ to an Industrial Park Association. I had just described how a ‘gainsharing plan worked when a hand flew up from the back of the room. The gentleman stood up and said that while he understood how gainsharing worked he did not have to consider it. He would simply instill ‘fear’ in his employees and they would do whatever he wanted. His cronies laughed. Not a very bright fellow but neither are those who take the same attitude on a grander scale as depicted in Mr. Head’s book.

Transforming an organization takes courage and energy. It takes a Leader. Fear is simply the strategy of the weak and lame. The Bullies.…

Transform, Sell Out or Fail

One of the biggest organizational issues today is deciding the future of your organization. To a large degree the future is set and one only has to determine the pathway to be taken. There are three basic pathways. One is to transform your organization and its strategic and operating models. The second is to sell out to someone who will transform it for you. The third is to fail. As consultants we prefer to work with those that want to transform. This means that they understand that they may need to do so 4, 5 or more times in their lifetime in order to prosper. Remember that transformation requires reinventing your business model and not just incrementally improving the old one. It is a commitment to creatively take the organization to the next level. The companies that we work with are committed to this path. An alternative path is to sell out and let someone else take it to the next level. This is best done when the current business model has reached its maximum return level and not when it is on a downward spiral. We have helped some clients in the past who did not have the resources to transform to select this option and merge with an organization that could benefit both. This creates a win/ win scenario. The third option and the one taken by most organizations is to hold on and do too little to change and move forward. These organizations are doomed from the start. So it comes down to leadership and decision making. The leader, or leaders, must understand these pathways and select the first or second pathway whichever best fits their goals and capabilities. The third pathway is to be avoided at all costs because it destroys value.…

Good and Bad Things – Transforming the Economy

As with everything under heaven there are good and bad things when we speak of their impact on the economy. it is easy to determine if they are good or bad based on their impact on all stakeholders. Good things benefit all stakeholders and bad things do not. Good things are win/win and bad things are win/ lose. The problem with most economies is that they are set up to do more bad things than good. Things that create the zero sum game results( winners and losers) are not conducive to progress and a strong and functional economy. While the zero sum game works for sports it does not fit the needs of an economy. Lets look at two strategies that exemplify both sides of this coin.

Private Equity is a win/ lose strategy. The investors (one of the stakeholders), and possibly a few top executives, are the only possible winners. It is a strategy of forced short term results that usually end up stripping resources from and to other stakeholders so that the investors will always win. This is therefore a zero sum game with specific structures in place to insure that the investors win. They win at the expense of all other stakeholders so this is not a strategy that is ‘fit’ for a vibrant economy. It is almost too predictable which means that many will inevitably lose. It is a fear based form of economic suicide.

Gainsharing is a win/ win strategy. Gainsharing was developed during the depression as a method for providing some hope of wage increases based on productivity increases. As productivity increases the gains are shared by both the owners of the resources(the investors) and labor. It is a win/ win as both stakeholders and the general economy benefit as progress is made. It is therefore a true partnership where the parties share equally in the creation of the gain and the results of the performance increase. It creates trust and strength instead of fear.

To transform the economy we need to seek strategies that pass the win/ win criteria. It is as simple as that. If strategies pass this test then they can add value. If not they will strip value and trust out of the equation leading to lack of motivation and hope. We can use this simple criteria to transform our economy to reach the next level of the American Dream.

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Strategic Planning Transformational Criteria

Strategic Plans should be created with five elements in mind.

1. Resource Optimization – does the plan address the optimization of the resources by management?

2. Change – Does the plan address the three types of change (incremental, reform and transformational)?

3. Focus – Does the plan focus the resources on a few things that can be leveraged?

4. Vision – Is the plan focused on attaining a vision(future orientation) vs. repeating the past?

5. Progress – Does the plan provide quarterly action plans as steps toward progress?

If these five elements are not present then the plan is crippled from the beginning. You can use this criteria to measure the effectiveness of your plan and discover any weak areas that need to be strengthened. Future blogs will use this criteria to assess the effectiveness of the strategic plans of several governmental organizations whose plans are posted on the web. This will give you some examples of how you can use this structure of elements for your benefit.  Transform your plans and you will transform the performance of your organization!

 

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Personal Transformation and Job Hunting

Job Hunting is a process. If someone looking for a job was to view it as a process they would see that there are inputs and the obvious output(the ideal job). In between they have to figure out how they will add value to the process inputs to create the output. Will they follow the traditional process steps(headhunter, internet sites, networking etc.) or will they improve the process by adding new steps of more value? This latter area is where transformation can occur in this process. First they could identify the industry they wanted to enter. Next they could research and identify specific organizational targets. Then, and this is the key, they could decide what they could do to increase growth, productivity or both. It matters not if there is a job available if they can convince the prospective organization that they can affect one or the other of these two key value drivers. They then make a proposal for employment instead of going on a job interview. It is a totally different and transformed way of improving the odds that they will end up with a position of value that fills their desire for meaning and purpose in their lives. This is the advice I give today to individuals seeking direction on how to approach a job market that is unpredictable.…

Transformational Structures and Behavior

Most business owners that I have had the pleasure to work with over the years have expressed their frustration with the ’employee’ side of the business. They do fine with the ‘things’ but employees always present a constant and on going challenge that they struggle to manage. I have found that where this is the case a lack of structure(systems, processes, audits and accountability reports and goals) is a major cause of the issue. It is an issue and not a problem as it is an opportunity for the owner to create a structure and manage through it for more consistent and sustainable results. This structure includes the one process that provides them with total process control over human asset development. This is the performance review process. It is also the process that most owners neglect and never fully implement. This is their most important process in asset development and performance. It is a way to develop better behavior and increase asset value. It is the transformational window.…

Transformation and Failure

In my years as a consultant, working with individuals and organizations in pursuit of transformation, I have found that failure is a most misunderstood concept. Most will not be able to transform because they are mentally not willing to fail. This means that they avoid rather than trying. This leads to many missed opportunities to transform. Trying as many times as the opportunities arise is one of the keys to a transformational mind set. Until that point is reached real transformation and progress are impossible.…

Extraordinary Growth Through Transformation

Most businesses that I consult with today are interested in a fast paced growth process. They want to grow fast but their approach is too traditional. Growing fast is not hard but absorbing the growth profitably is difficult. This requires a reframing of what seems as the most logical way to approach fast growth. When the issue is reframed it becomes apparent that growth by itself is meaningless. It is the ASSIMILATION PROCESS that brings meaning to it and this means that internal operations must be agile and productive. The ability to add capacity without losing profit and value is the key to fast growth.…

Performance Based Compensation Transformed

For the past 30 years I have worked with clients who wanted to create a way to ‘pay for performance’. Basic wages, or salaries are paid for achieving expected results using resources present. Extraordinary performance is using current resources to create new levels of performance. It is this level of performance, that most business owners want their employees to achieve. In order to raise the level of performance to the extraordinary level the business owner needs to reframe the context within which the employees operate. The employees need to change the way they think and work. The reframed opportunity is to change the employees minds about their job. They have to decide that optimizing the resources at hand is a part of their job. Until this happens any formal  ‘pay for performance’ model or formula will probably fail.…

Family Business Model Transformation – Built to Sell

Most family business clients today are not thinking as much about the longevity of their company as to its potential  value as an asset for sale. The idea of creating a company that can be passed on to heirs, and perpetuated for decades, has gone away and the new strategy is  ‘Build it to Sell’.  This is antithetical in terms of the famous book by Collins and Porras, ‘Built to Last’ and reflects the sensibilities of today. No longer are we interested in the long term. Rather most are looking for short term gains in niche businesses that can be staged, packaged and sold to the ‘money’ that is looking for high returns. There is nothing wrong with this but it represents a major reframing of the traditional business model for a family business. This new direction follows closely the models run by the private equity investment groups. When you have a concentration of money chasing above average sustainable returns, as we do today, the lure of wealth can overcome the sentimentality of perpetuating the business on behalf and through the family. It is also not a ‘given’ that the children will grow up with a good work ethic and responsibility for taking charge and moving the firm to the next level. So building a company to sell has a lot of attractive elements that make it the new way to think in terms of business models and ownership.…

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