Creating Customer Value

The marketplace is noisy, filled with commodities of all sorts, pitched to the masses, often using low price as the seductive hook. When the objective is to get orders, as many as possible, quickly and easily, then offering a low price can attract the crowd. Low price is obvious, direct and easy to evaluate for these buyers; its benefit is the same for everyone. If your growth strategy is to market your offering as a …

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Leadership is a People Business

Leaders learn by leading, and they learn best by leading in the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. ~ Warren G. Bennis   The pace of change challenges leaders to be bold. But the unpredictability of bold actions can cause fear and anxiety within a leader’s team, inhibiting them and potentially compromising the expected outcome. For such actions to be successful, it becomes a leader’s priority to minimize the team’s stress, to help them become …

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Overcoming Obstacles to Improvement

Leaders are expected to improve results, which means something must change. People often see change as risky, so they resist it until they are convinced that the expected improvement will outweigh the risk of the change. Surviving in a competitive world demands that improvements continue, so motivating people to change, to improve a product or process, consumes much of a leader’s time. Leaders may launch an improvement effort by explaining why the change is necessary, …

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Relying on Feedback

All automated systems rely on feedback loops to sustain accuracy and repeatability. These loops compare results against system settings, and adjust variables to ensure alignment and expected performance.   Then, when change compels a system’s performance to improve, there’s a ready baseline of consistent data against which to measure and generate improved results. It’s a logical, unemotional process that delivers higher performance.  The performance of people is similarly subject to unrelenting change that disrupts their status quo. And because the …

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Why Purpose Matters

Human beings are designed for more than mere survival. Once our basic needs are met, and we’re feeling reasonably secure, we begin to ask why we survive, for what? Why do we exist?  Purpose is the answer to these questions. It’s that yearning to be part of something bigger than ourselves, something that motivates us to connect and contribute for a better future, something that makes our lives meaningful and fulfilling. Purpose creates satisfaction and happiness.  Businesses are living …

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Building Organizational Resilience

Organizational resilience is the proportion of energy that an organization consumes in productive activities. An agile organization relies on resilience to adapt in reaction to significant change or challenge. The combination of 4 elements enables organizational resilience: Personal Alignment: Individuals in the business, particularly the leaders, walk the talk – their behaviors are aligned with the company’s values, demonstrating credibility and integrity that builds trust. Structural Alignment: Teams within the business act in accordance with the company values …

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Precedents vs. Possibilities

Two components define a company’s culture:  1.      Its perspective towards people interactions and coordination (codependence vs. independence).  A codependent culture emphasizes collaboration, managing relationships, and generating team success. Independent cultures value autonomy, individual action, and competition.  2.      Its response to change (stability vs. agility).  Cultures that favor stability prioritize consistency, predictability, and preservation of the status quo to drive efficiency and risk aversion. Those that value agility stress flexibility, adaptability, and receptiveness to change, prioritizing innovation, openness and a …

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Agile Productivity

People are often a company’s most expensive resource. So, optimizing people’s productivity often means keeping everyone busy on their functional duties, increasing the likelihood that every employee, of every skill type, will be fully utilized.   The downside? No department’s workers know how their labor affects other departments in the operation of the business. One department’s productivity may be high, but the company as a whole may not be moving faster or with more flexibility.  In this age of agility, in which businesses need to respond faster, leaders …

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Cultural Capital – the New Frontier of Competitive Advantage

We’ve begun returning to the office, emerging from months of virtual-only connectivity. Many leaders are discovering that the lack of in-person interaction has caused their company’s culture to fray.  Businesses are living entities, communities with cultures built and nurtured by all those whose energy and commitment have produced the company’s progress. Their culture binds them to one another, enabling the execution of strategy and achievement of goals, creating value for customers, the business and each other. Culture is how things get done.  Leaders have increasingly …

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Who Are You Competing Against?

In this dynamic market, the most agile, growing businesses compete more against themselves than against any competitor. Competing companies, offering comparable solutions, struggle to differentiate themselves over time, resulting in declining prices and margins which impede sustainable growth. Your customers care only about the value you produce for them, and however you accomplished this last time, they will expect more next time. Producing more value than last time, without just reacting to what your competition is …

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