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Posts Tagged ‘Management System’

What President Obama Can Learn From Steve Jobs

We just had to repost this article. Leadership is complicated. Managing in the NOW requires a thorough understanding of the Social Ecosystem. Take a look and thank you Business Insider.

The sunlight of summer has begun it’s annual transition to equinox, and we are all reviving the pulse of the work-year.

The President has returned from Martha’s Vineyard to face what will surely be a challenging fall.  It’s mid-term election season and the mood of the voting public is downright ornery.

ODS (Obama Disappointment Syndrome) a growing wave of depression, has created a huge anti-incumbent wave.  ”Throw ‘em all out!” seems to be the mantra of the season.

In the last couple of weeks the number of negative op-eds on the President from both sides of the aisle have grown considerably.  The mildest theme seems to be “he is too smart to be in touch with the people,” or “we just don’t know who you are or what you really are about Mr. President.”  The really challenging ones drift into the inevitable issues of racism.

I have long held that the most qualified people to be in government are business folk.  Not just Billionaires like Mayor Bloomberg, but anyone who has successfully run anything, been responsible for making payrolls, paying back loans, paying bills on time, navigating through good times and bad.  Most important: balancing a budget.  But the reality is most people who have these credentials are too smart to get sucked into the dysfunction of the public sector. Nor will they submit themselves to the relentless intrusion and scrutiny of the press.  So what’s the next best thing for the “beleaguered” President?  Take some lessons from the guys who know how to really get things done. And who better than the best CEO in the Universe: Steve Jobs.

So Mr. President, in an effort to help you succeed, herewith is a new playbook for your consideration:

1. You have to make other people cool. Being cool got you elected because it made people feel cool electing you. But then nothing much else happened. You thought healthcare would be the cool thing but dramatically misread your audience.  Steve makes millions of people cool, it is his most amazing talent.  Buy an iPhone and you are cool.  But if you don’t have a job, you have no chance of being cool.  And the Healthcare plan? No one is cool with it (outside of DC).

2. Get citizens to voluntarily pay more taxes.
Apple has been doing this for years.  Customers happily fork over a big premium for their products. They will even camp overnight outside an Apple store to have the privilege of doing it first.  We have a huge debt problem. In Europe everyone pays a VAT (Value Added Tax). Apple has a CAT (Coolness Added Tax).  Watch and learn Barack.  You just have to figure out what it is the Federal Government does that’s cool, or useful, or is of particular benefit to anyone.

3. Replace Congress with a Genius Bar. The current spin is that the Republicans are obstructionist.  But if there are Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, how could that possibly prevent you from bringing “Change we can believe in?”  The answer is that Congress just isn’t smart enough.  Sure these are fine, well-intentioned people but we need really super-smart folks to fix our dysfunctional system.  Steve Jobs figured out that even people savvy enough to buy Apple products were going to have problems now and then, and he wasn’t going to subject them to someone you’d find working at the Division of Motor Vehicles.  He recruited an army of Geniuses.  So why not forget about political party affiliations and just support the election of Geniuses.

4. Wear the same outfit every day. I know it sounds trite but you probably have figured out it takes a lot of brain cycles to be POTUS.  Why waste any time trying to pick out a slick Armani and matching tie (or arguing with the First Lady about HER selection).  Steve’s turtleneck and jeans thing has worked for 30 years now because it sends a simple clear message “all I care about is making insanely great products.” You could be transmitting “all I care about is improving your life, making a better America.”

5. You can’t be afraid of pissing people off. Probably your biggest Freshman error has been to try and make everyone happy.  Yes you passed a Healthcare bill but it didn’t take on the tough issues (Tort reform, insurance rate controls).  You decided we needed to “surge” in Afghanistan but also announced we’d only do it for a little while, so as not to over-irritate all of the antiwar constituency who voted you into office.  Steve Jobs takes on the tough issues. He decided that Adobe’s Flash, one of the most widely used media formats on the Internet, sucks and that was that. iPhone and iPad don’t support it.  So I can’t view half of the stuff on the WWW on my iPad; but I still have one.  Take a real stand on something President Obama and live with the fact that to be effective you are going to make some people angry.  As long as there are more happy people then angry people you’ll have a second term.

6. Vision without execution is nothing. We elected you because you understood how frustrated we were with DC Dysfunction.  You had a vision for “not a Red America or Blue America but a United States of America.”  You said you would bring change to Washington.  True you never said you’d make DC “Insanely Great” or “Magical” but you presented your campaign vision with compelling Jobsian conviction.  Yet, the partisan aisles are wider than ever.  No one seems to want to solve problems, they are just obsessed with maintaining or regaining their majority.  Steve Jobs has a saying: “there are two types of people in the world: those who have shipped products and those who haven’t.”  Steve has shipped more Innovative products over the last 30 years than any other tech executive.  The lesson here?  Get rid of all of the professors, policy wonks, career bureaucrats, and Chicago thugs and convince some real capitalist operational executives to come work for you (even if you hate the way we smell).

7. Build a little intrigue. Tell us something big is coming.  Set a date for a big presentation.  Leak a little here and there to tease.  Cut all the deals behind the scenes so Congress backs you. Then get on stage and tell us all about our shiny new Healthcare Widget.  We won’t mind what’s missing because we’ll know it’s just 1.0 and your bound to have a bunch of improvements next year and it will be much cheaper too.

8. Make us USA Fanboys.
Right after the election it was fun to be an American again, especially while traveling abroad.  Europeans in particular were not Bush fans and we took a big hit in our image.  Electing you made the World feel good.  But the bloom has quickly faded. No one can figure out what you really stand for.  We are straddled with debt, and seem to be losing our innovative edge. We can’t even give our kids a decent education.  Apple went through bad times prior to Steve Job’s comeback.  It lost it’s Mojo.  But Steve returned with laser like focus. The company’s back was against the wall and he put forth a simple proposition. He said they would only do two things and had to make them spectacular to survive.  He thew away all of the previously bloated, PC-like Macs and introduced the first iMac and iBook. They were a hit.  That led to iPod.  Which led to iPhone.  Which led to legions of proud Apple Fans. And most important huge financial success.  All due respect President Obama, we need to focus on innovation and education.  If we are not giving our children the best and nurturing our innate Yankee ingenuity, we will never create jobs and return to prosperity. It’s hard to feel patriotic pride when your house is being repossessed.

9. When all else fails. Blame it on us stupid Americans.  We just don’t get it.  We don’t need to access our iTunes library on more than five computers.  Calls dropping on our brand new iPhone4?  We are holding it the wrong way!  Go to the Genius bar and Apple will give you a rubber and show you how to practice safe iPhone4.  Mr. President, Yes you can to bring change to Washington, but everyone else is going to have to want to change too.  If they won’t play ball, make it crystal clear that they are the morons and send them to a Genius Bar for help.  Well actually looks like the voters are going to do that for you in November.

The final lesson is that passion and persistence against all adversity will pay off.  After all of the adoration bestowed during the campaign, it must be horrible to have to endure the current spate of negative press.  But hey, Steve was summarily thrown out of his own company, thrashed around for a bunch of years trying to get NeXT to be something. Perhaps it was a dose of humility that helped polish his edges a bit but he never lost his passion or focus.  His return and turnaround of Apple is now epic.  And the story is really just beginning.  So President Barack Obama, can you turn it around and become an epic President? One for the history books? Take a lesson from Apple. It’s all about Jobs.


NOW: The Mother Of All Processes

We live in a complex world and we work in complex organizations. Whether your organization is small, medium, large or huge, understanding how it all works is no small task. Regardless of its size, the simple reality is the performance of any organization is largely driven by its management system. Ironically, it is rare to see an organization even acknowledge it has a management system. However, this is the “mother of all processes” and until an organization takes conscious control of that system, it will have little control over its performance.

A management system is a collection of processes understood by every employee that focuses the organization and drives it to achieve specific desired results. It creates the priorities, establishes targets, clarifies accountability, allocates and aligns all resources, reviews progress, initiates adjustments and interventions when performance is below target, and drives improvement in all routine work. An effective and disciplined management system ensures the routine work of the organization is delivered with increasing quality and decreasing costs, and that strategic initiatives are effectively executed so they deliver the expected results.

Download the full article, The Mother of All Processes: Part One to learn more about this important key to the NOW System of Management.


Why Are Your Employees So Disengaged?

It may strike you as odd that the one resource we all talk about as being our most valued is the one we seem least able to use effectively–our people. Long called the most valuable asset, our workforce remains shockingly disengaged, according to research by The Gallup Organization. Why when asked do 69 percent of workers in this country categorize themselves as disengaged—which we could easily expand into disinterested and perhaps disheartened?  And of those disenfranchised workers, according to Gallup, what is even more unnerving is 29 percent go further and are actually categorized as “actively disengaged.” That means they cause trouble.

So, let me slow down a minute.

An engaged worker is an employee who takes initiative without being asked to help, initiative that helps advance the organization toward its goals. Sounds like a good thing, right? That’s an understatement! According to Gallup, organizations with high levels of engagement out-earn their competitive peers by as much as 30 percent.

So why are these engaged characters so rare? And, where do we get ‘em?

Is it just human nature for people to go to work and not care about their organization’s success, or is there something else going on? If you believe, as do I, that it IS human nature to want to make a difference, to want to be part of something bigger than we are, to be creative and clever and helpful, then you know blaming the people who work for us is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. Our people come to work excited by the possibilities and slowly but surely they disengage. We all know the optimism that fuels our energy in a new job; we think, “this could be the thing I have been looking for, a job where I can make a difference.”

Why do people disengage? Let me know what you think!

If you would like the full text of this article please drop me a note.


The NOW System of Management

Welcome back to The Periscope Group! We’ve been heads for the last couple of weeks working on the system of management now called … wait for it … NOW. Why NOW? Because everything we do is happening NOW. So, for the foreseeable future we will be talking about managing in the NOW and how that relates to customers, employees, leadership, growth and a host of business concerns.

The convergence of social media, cloud computing and the millennial workforce is creating a revolution that will redefine how we compete for the next decade. The new standard for action is instantaneous; everything is happening in a time called NOW. Every opportunity and every problem that is not resolved in the NOW is lost.

Additionally, we will continue to syndicate with John Moore and The Lab. John is moving forward with the Social Ecosystem, a concept we support and need as part of the NOW system of management. Here’s what John says about the Social Ecosystem: (via John Moore) “The Social Ecosystem provides a structure within which all types of organizations live and interact.  This ecosystem is open and inclusive of both public and private organizations and remains independent of geography and language.”

Stay tuned!


Social Organization (#2 via John Moore’s Weblog)

This article was posted by John Moore a few days ago. It is an important article in the series on Social Ecosystem and all of us at Periscope are excited to see this conversation evolve. Take a look and let us know what you think. Join the discussion!

via John Moore’s weblog: As you may recall, in part one of defining the Social Organization we discussed a few reasons why we need a new view of the world.  We also took time to define The Social Organization in very simple terms:

The Social Organization will use standard approaches that make it easy for customers/citizens to find and buy products and services while enabling the organization to meet their goals.

This easy to understand definition enables us to begin to define the attributes of the Social Organization:

  • Social Organizations use standard approaches.  They follow a well-defined framework for successfully achieving their goals. We will define this framework as we go, but understand that 75-80% of the framework applies across all types of organizations in The Social Ecosystem.  The remaining percentage takes into account the uniqueness of your organization.
  • Social Organizations focus on delivering value in an equitable way.  We do not live in a utopian world, we live in a world where services are delivered in a way where, ideally, customers feel they have received value while allowing organizations to meet their goals (for businesses, making money).  For example:
    • When a customer buys an iPhone they are not focused on the amount of profit made by Apple, they are only concerned with the value received for their money.  If they feel they received the value expected they are happy.  If Apple, as the Social Organization in this example, is able to meet its goals as well, both sides have “won”, equity is achieved.

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The Social Ecosystem (via John Moore’s Weblog)

John  Moore’s recent article (The Social Ecosystem) is of great interest to all of us at The Periscope Group. Is a concept such as a “social ecosystem”  ready for prime time? In our opinion the answer is yes. Here’s an excerpt from John’s article:

“Organizations of all types have struggled to come to grips with terms like Government 2.0, Social Business, Social Media, and a long list of others that are floating around book stores, universities, and blogs.

I have spent a lot of time speaking with businesses and government agencies, exploring what is working, what is failing, and seeking to understand where confusion and hype are preventing these organizations from achieving full value from their efforts. The Social Ecosystem is the result of these efforts and is meant to reduce confusion and offer guidance for organizations across the world.

Lofty goals? Perhaps, but the Social Ecosystem is not being defined in a vacuum, it will fully leverage many ideas that are already available and will evolve, as needed, as we continue to learn more.

For this post I will discuss, at a high level, the major components of the Social Ecosystem as well as some key definitions. Over time I plan to create a table of contents, a section for terms, and break this down into a book-like format. Please be patient as it will take time and we’ll all work through this together.”  Read More

John, thank you for getting the conversation rolling. We very much like the “social ecosystem” concept and the 3 key components. Over the last 2 years we’ve talked to a lot of leaders in private and public sectors. To a person they have asked for clarification and some sort of threaded language to wrap their heads (and strategies and budgets) around. Trying to explain things in an unthreaded system was and continues to be very difficult. It steals cycles that need to be focused on development. A “social ecosystem” would have made a huge difference in achieving clarity of purpose, alignment of strategies and ultimately allocation of resources. We’re looking forward to the evolution of these conversations and the “social ecosystem.” We will bring several people who are building a “system of management” into this conversation as well. Ultimately, that system and this ecosystem will be closely tied together.

via The Social Ecosystem


Is It A Winning Combination?!

Beware the shiny object. The appeal of the bright new toy is impossible to resist.

Managers have longed searched for that one thing they need to do that will engage their people, transforming the business and creating the ultimate sustainable competitive advantage. We’ve all read the endless stream of books and through them dreamed of a better way. Who hasn’t tried process improvement, scorecards, lean, six sigma, teamwork, personality styles testing, change management and, of course, the power of the new twist on leadership? Well executed, all of these ideas contribute to better performance. With the plethora of information available, our successes in the world of management and leadership should be clear. Right?

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“Engage To Win” … It’s Mass Ingenuity!

As the name implies, the focus is on creating business ingenuity on a large scale, through a visual system called the Mass Ingenuity System of Management. It creates a sustainable performance edge for organizations by tapping into human nature and creativity.

As businesses are starting to recover from the largest economic crisis of our lifetime, their leaders are struggling to achieve stability, growth and a competitive edge. To achieve these goals, leaders must tap every available resource. The greatest under-utilized resource is their employees. To make matters worse, employee engagement is at an all time low and the loss of key talent is likely to increase. Unless these conditions change, businesses will not be competitive and they will not grow.

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Visual Learning, Part Seven: ROI

When investing time and money in the development of visual business solutions, returns are achieved in three primary categories: cultural, operational and financial. Cultural benefits include increased commitment and accountability. Operational benefits include increased productivity, reduced cycle time, increased efficiency, reduced waste, and improved quality. Financial benefits include reduced operating costs, reduction in FTEs, increased profit margins and improved use of assets.

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Managing Without Thinking

Our human bodies have many systems that function without our conscious control—they are autonomic. Our autonomic nervous system supplies impulses to the body’s heart, muscles, and glands which drive much of our underlying functioning as humans without our direct awareness. Our cardio vascular system does its work without our intervention, as does our digestive system and our nervous system. These systems all operate without our direct involvement or conscious knowledge; they are part of the many autonomic systems of the human body.

Mass production management logic is the autonomic management system of our age; we’ve all adopted it without knowing it was optional. We have grown up in this system; its constructs and rules permeate our institutions to their core. And yet, the vast majority of leaders and managers have no idea that beneath what they do and how they think every day lays a foundation poured by Henry Ford 100 years ago. We work this system because it is the system we all grew up in and we have come to see it as the way the world works—not as the artificial construct it really is.