足球宝贝人体彩绘A blog of news, research, and trends on operational excellence and Lean enterprise


The "Blendification" of Your Organization's Culture, Strategy, and Execution

Early in June, Dan Bruder published an exciting new book entitled, The Blendification System: Activating Potential by Connecting Culture, Strategy, and ExecutionBy focusing on the unifying purpose within each organization, this book promotes alignment between leadership and employees setting a clear, strong foundation in which every individual can thrive.

During a recent conversation with Dan, I asked him a series of questions about the book and the connection between employees, customers, and communities. Here are the important questions followed by Dan's answers:

What is the connection betweenculture, strategy, and execution and why are most companies not embracing it?”

Companies are at the forefront of fostering growth withinsociety and communities. In the US, adults spend over 50% of their waking timein work- or work-related activities. Work is where people come together on a regular basis with the primarypurpose of identifying and satisfying society’s needs.  For companies to realize their potential,they must break away from the model of oversimplification and internal silos. Humanbeings can accomplish tremendous outcomes when motivated, challenged, andconnected.  Unfortunately, business hasdiminished employee motivation by relegating people to functional silos andmeaningless task-oriented behaviors.

"Why aren’t companies embracing the connection betweenculture, strategy, and execution?"

There are three primary components that are critical for organizationsto realize their potential.  They areculture, strategy, and execution. Historically, there has been little intentionality around designing anexceptional culture while strategy has been something the executive elite doevery year or two and it typically is not cascaded through the organization.  Similarly, execution has not been embedded inthe culture or aligned with the strategy and employees do not see how theirjobs make a difference. Generally, there has been little focus on deliberatelydesigning culture, strategy, and execution as a connected system where eachcomplement and complete the other.  Thisis primarily related to executive leaders and founders not fully grasping thepotential of a united team and their ability to truly make a difference.  Essentially, it is easier to pursue profitthan potential.

"Why should companies embrace the connection betweenculture, strategy, and execution?"

Culture, strategy, and execution are seamlessly designed andimplemented together in The Blendification® System.   When these three business components arepurposefully created and connected, companies experience substantial growth inengagement, innovation, and outcomes.  Asthe entire company aligns on a common cultural cause, the strategic platformbecomes the path for employees to realize their human potential.  Finally, the execution of the strategicplatform enables employees to align their work with making a positive impact ontheir communities.  Thus, the systematic blendingof culture, strategy, and execution enables companies to be at the forefront ofadvancing society through their employees, customers, and communities.

What do you think of Dan's ideas? Does your company suffer from disconnects among the culture, strategy, and execution platform? 


Can Lean and Agile Techniques Be Applied to Sales?

In April, I had the opportunity to speakwith Brad Jeavons shortly before the publication of his new book, Agile Sales: Delivering Customer Journeys of Value and Delight. Brad's book is the first to address incorporating enterprise excellence (Agile/Lean)into sales. Organizational excellence journeys have not included sales teams upuntil now. Brad's book provides a proven step-by-step approach for integrating Agile/Leanpractices into sales to amplify customer experience and sales-team performance.The book contains many case examples from companies achieving amazing resultsfrom integrating agile into their sales teams.

During our conversation, I asked Brad whatresults have been achieved by applying Agile/Lean techniques for sales. Here is his response:

The best example I have seen is a retailerrocketing from 0% sales growth year on year to a growth of 70% year on year.I have seen sales teams in a highly commoditized market elevate their approachand bring value back into their dealings with customers. They went from 2%growth year on year to over 15% year on year with a 10% elevation ingross margin. The results are amazing and speak for themselves. My book Agile Sales provides good detail to help an organization bring agile into theirsales team and optimize their results.

In addition, I followed up with: Why does Agile/Lean work wellin sales teams similarly to operational teams? 

Agile and Lean philosophies share manycommon beliefs, tools and techniques. They both help people to collaborate,innovate, and amplify performance. The role that people are working in does notmatter; people are people in operations as they are in sales. The Agile andLean approaches to excellence are proven to help in sales as much as operations.Agile lends itself to sales as it evolved through major global technologyorganizations adopting more office-based practices. I made this connection severalyears ago after initially learning and applying Lean practices. I moved into an executive role within the organization I was working and started to work withmy sales leaders and team members to apply Agile/Lean techniques. The resultswe saw were amazing. I genuinely believe that Agile can help a sales team optimize their results.

Throughout the book, I give this evidence -- analyzing many successful organizations that have applied Agile/Lean techniques to theirsales teams and customer engagement approaches. I describe how all levels of anorganisation can sustain their energy and effort on their key customers, howthey can focus on what is most important and establish a culture of continuousimprovement, innovation, and ultimately, performance.  Agile Sales provides many practical examplesof how agile concepts have amplified customer experience and sales teamperformance. I have worked to make it easy for the reader to take the learningsand apply them to their organization.

The current environment requires us to thinkdifferently and pivot for future success. Agile Sales is a must-read foranyone directly involved in or leading sales teams. It provides ideas to helpsales teams get back in the game, deliver greater value and delight and amplifyperformance and results.

Sales improvements will help organizationssurvive and thrive for the future, which may prove more vital than purely operationalimprovements.

What do you think of Brad's perspective? Have your sales teams applied any Agile or Lean techniques? What have the results been? 


Why is Lean Needed in Higher Education?

A few days before William Balzer published the second edition of his groundbreaking book Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes, I had a chat with him about the successful applications of Lean concepts at major universities. During the conversation, I asked him directly: "Whyis Lean needed in higher education?” Here is his complete answer:

Lean provides a proven problem-solving framework to addresschallenges in any organization or business sector, and higher education is noexception. Universities must be more responsive, efficient, and effective toaddress the growing number of external challenges disrupting higher educationincluding: 

  • Eroding financial support from the government coupled with freezesor caps on cost increases.
  • Rising costs at universities to maintain theireducational mission coupled to the growing price sensitivity of students andfamilies worried about the long-term burden of student loan debt.
  • Attractingand retaining the best faculty and staff in a labor-intensive operations where wehave not resolved how equitable compensation increases can be offset with gainsin productivity.
  • Greater competition such as online universities and freeMassively Open Online Courses that compete for a shrinking demographic ofcollege-aged students and employers who question whether a college education isreally the best preparation. 

As we speak, COVID-19 is already sending shockwaves through the higher education community.

The application of Lean to improve processes in highereducation, grounded in the principles of continuous improvement and respect forpeople, offers a way forward, as documented in my book by 16 exemplar universitiesfrom around the world that are using Lean. When correctly implemented, practiced,and sustained, Lean Higher Education (LHE) will meet – and even exceed – theexpectations of those served by these processes, engage and develop universityfaculty and staff who deliver critical academic and support processes(including teaching, curriculum development, and research), and enhance theefficiency and effectiveness of the university through cost avoidance, costreduction, and greater revenue generation. 

The potential of LHE is great at anyuniversity regardless of mission, size, and resources; in the 10 years sincethe publication of the first edition of Lean Higher Education, LHE hasdemonstrated that it can help universities reinvent themselves to earn or growtheir reputations as preeminent institutions that should be valued andsupported. 

Are any readers affiliated with universities or colleges that have implemented some type of Lean initiative?  Have you experienced the benefits that William Balzer described? 


Why are Leadership-Development Efforts Relatively Ineffective?

Michael Couch and Richard Citrin recently published an important newbook entitled Strategy-Driven Leadership:The Playbook for Developing Your Next Generation of Leaders. This book places business strategy first andmaintains an emphasis on building leadership programs around what it will taketo make the business successful as opposed to implementing a program in thehopes that it will benefit the strategy.

I spoke with Michael andRichard this month and asked them: “Giventhat most organizations spend significant resources on developing theirleaders, why are most leadership-development efforts relatively ineffective inthe long run?”

Here is their complete answer:

In Strategy-Driven Leadership, we cite several factors related to the ineffectiveness of mostleadership development initiatives. Let’s discuss three of the most criticalfactors.

First of all, many approaches to leadership developmentignore context. By this we mean that any development initiative must be builtfrom a strong and clear strategic or business case. Designing effectivedevelopment starts with the question, “Why exactly are we doing this?” -- so thatthe intended business impact of any investment in development is established atthe get go. We call this “framing” the development.

Related to context, a second factor that is important to theeffectiveness of leadership development is to have learners understand andfocus on leadership competencies that are directly linked to the strategy ofthe business.  Strategies vary acrossorganizations and the strategy of an individual business can change over time.For development to make a difference, strategy must be translated into theunique skills required of leaders to execute the strategy.

Third, organizations often take a one-size-fits-all approachto developing their leaders by buying an off-the-shelf program and requiringall leaders to attend the training. You’ll see this kind of program somethinglike “these 5 factors are essential for every leader to possess.” This approachis seldom effective because it ignores the fact that the development needs ofindividual leaders vary greatly. There’s just no way that a single program canaddress those diverse needs. In addition, and probably more importantly,critical leadership competencies cannot be learned in a classroom. Realleadership skill-building occurs through navigating and learning from achallenging job or assignment. Our model for developing strategy-criticalleadership skills, called Intentional Leadership Development, capitalizes onlearning from experience so that development is built into everyday work andnot bolted on as something extra to do.

What do you think of Michael and Richard's views on leadership development? Has leadership development been successful in your company?


Creative Problem Solving and Lean Thinking

There haslong been a debate in the Lean community about creativity. Clearly, a Leanorganization thrives on standard work, and it is easy to assume that followingstandard work means that creativity must be curtailed. In her new book, Creatively Lean: How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Drive Innovation throughout Your Organization, Bella Englebach argues that creative thinking isfundamental to Lean thinking, and that using tools and approaches from theadjacent field of Creative Problem Solving makes for better Lean thinking, andbetter Lean thinkers. Recently, I asked her: "What is Creative Problem Solving and how it can be applied to Lean thinking?" Here is what she explained:

In my book, Itell a story that many of us in Lean have heard, or even experienced. A Leanlearner proudly presents their countermeasure to their coach or sensei, only tobe told, “Go back. Think deeper.” Thatcan be very frustrating. What does itmean to think deeper?

Creativity Has a Natural Rhythm
I believe “thinking deeper” means to takeadvantage of the natural rhythm of creativity, which requires developing skillsin both thinking broadly (divergent thinking) as well as thinking convergently,which is to select and strengthen ideas.

CreativeProblem Solving
CreativeProblem Solving (CPS) is a proven method for approaching a problem or challengein an imaginative and innovative way, and it explicitly teaches convergent anddivergent thinking. Like Lean, the CPS approach has distinct steps for solvinga problem. Each CPS step deliberately uses divergent and convergent thinking.In my work I have found that paying attention to the divergentthinking/convergent thinking creative rhythm and using CPS tools with Leanapproaches like the A3 and the improvement kata drives deeper thinking, andmore innovative countermeasures.  And whodoesn’t need more innovation?

What havebeen your experiences with creativity and Lean? When you need an innovativeimprovement, what approaches, and tools have you used?