Four Thoughts to Chart Your Course in 2015

Soundview Author Insight Interviews are great additions to many Soundview Executive Book Summaries. In each interview, authors have the opportunity to reveal new interpretations or insights on their material. Soundview subscribers are often provided with exclusive insights drawn from the author’s direct application of his or her work with global companies.

Here are four great thoughts to consider as you chart your organization’s course for this year:

“If someone says ‘You’ve got to close the deal more efficiently,’ that could mean completely different things. The first task when you’re receiving feedback is to notice how general a lot of the feedback is. If someone says ‘close the deal more efficiently’ or ‘be more assertive,” rather than filling it in on your own, you’ve got to ask. You have to follow up and say, ‘Okay, so, you’re noticing that I’m not being as assertive as you think I could be. Can you go into some more detail? Give me a sense of what you’ve noticed me doing. What could I do that would be better from your point of view?’” – Douglas Stone, co-author (with Sheila Heen) of Thanks for the Feedback.

“What happens is that many successful people fall into the success trap. The trap is they believe success is a permanent condition, as if you’ve arrived and you’ll always be there. The reality is that success happens in the context of many external factors. Today, those factors are changing at a rate like none other in history. What happens is that if we believe that we’ve arrived and we can simply cling to the previous ideas and maintain the status quo and expect to enjoy the same level of success, we’re only kidding ourselves and setting ourselves up for disaster. The best of the best, the companies and the individuals that sustain success over time, are the ones that reinvent early and often.” – Josh Linkner, author of The Road to Reinvention.

“If you think of your organization as a funnel where time and talent and money are poured, they come together through processes and behavior, and the choke point in that funnel is emotion. Certainly, I experienced it when I was running divisions of companies and then later on as an owner of my own business, often because we had not been clear about our purpose. We had not been clear with others about what we expected of them. Because of that lack of clarity, combined with the emotion, that creates a real choke point for organizations.” – Greg Bustin, author of Accountability.

“One of the ways we [break the cycle of constant feature updates] is to get back in touch with the needs or jobs to be done for our customers. Oftentimes, there’s new product line extensions and new bells and whistles added to products which only usually increases the complexity of the product. It doesn’t serve the customer’s true need. The common core of both strategy and innovation is insight. The insight for most businesspeople is what’s going to drive the most value for customers.” – Rich Howarth, author of Elevate.

Turning Around the Troubled Company

Turning around floundering companies requires effective management at all levels of the organization. But how is this achieved? What must management do to be effective?

Jim Burkett knows something about making the right things happen. He has turned around twenty-eight underperforming and troubled companies, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller public and private companies, throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Burkett has come up with a tool kit for turning around companies that includes:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Measuring performance
  • Executing
  • Following-up
  • Real-time reporting
  • Problem solving

If you are facing the daunting task of helping to turn around your company, then you’ll want to join us for our Soundview Live webinar The Learned Disciplines of Management, coming up on July 29th. You’ll hear more about his tool kit along with practical examples of how turnarounds can happen.

Join us and invite your whole management team. And make sure to bring your questions to post for Jim to answer during the webinar.

Reinventing Organizations

REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS

Go for the Teal

A recently hired financial analyst from Pakistan named Shazad Qasim once approached Dennis Bakke, the co-founder of global energy provider Applied Energy Services (AES), and said he was going to investigate opportunities for AES in his country. Bakke was skeptical, but the decision was up to the analyst: under Bakke, AES used the “advice process” for decision-making, which meant that superiors had to be asked for their advice, but the decision remained at the lower rungs of the organization. AES is one of the “Teal” companies featured in a new book called Reinventing Organizations by Belgian consultant Frederic Laloux.

As Laloux explains, researchers in history and developmental theory have created a general framework that describes how humans have evolved through history in leaps of human consciousness. In Reinventing Organizations, Laloux shows how we are on the cusp of the next stage in human consciousness. The Evolutionary-Teal stage (all stages have assigned colors) — will bring its own changes to our organizations. In exhaustive detail and using pioneer companies that have already moved into the next stage, Laloux describes the structures, practices and cultures of Teal organizations and how they will emerge.

With each leap or new paradigm shift in the consciousness underpinnings of society, there is a corresponding leap in how humans collaborate, Laloux writes. For example, the Impulsive-Red period in human development, which started with chiefdom-led tribes 10,000 years ago, represented organizations that were ruled by iron-fisted leaders controlling their people through fear.

The Conformist-Amber consciousness, which followed with the shift from chiefdom to states and civilizations — as in Mesopotamia in 4,000 BC — included a deeper awareness of other people’s feelings and perceptions, Laloux writes. Today’s Amber organizations, he writes, are those with stable hierarchies and processes focused on the long term — organizations such as governmental agencies, the military and public school systems.

The Achievement-Orange paradigm emerged in the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, when the universe began to be viewed as a machine that could be investigated and explained. In organizations, innovation is a major goal. Multinational companies are usually Orange.

The more recent Pluralistic-Green paradigm is uneasy with power; in this stage of human consciousness, the idea is the destruction of hierarchies. Green organizations focus on empowerment and values-driven culture — companies such as Ben & Jerry’s and Southwest Airlines.

The Evolutionary-Teal stage leads to three organizational breakthroughs: self-management, operating on a basis of peer relationships rather than hierarchy; wholeness, which means the whole person and not just the professional self comes to the workplace; and evolutionary purpose, in essence, the organization itself having a direction and a reason for living.

Using 11 companies as examples, from a family-owned foundry in France to the iconoclastic Patagonia Company, Laloux explores how they operate through self-management structures and processes, strive for wholeness through their general practices and HR processes, and listen to their evolutionary purpose. This practical book will help leaders dissect their organization and find the opportunity to bring their company into the new Teal paradigm.

New Summaries to Make the Most of a Moment

A single moment can be a turning point for you and your organization. What leaders often don’t realize is that every day is filled with dozens of these potential moments. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you leverage your abilities and make the most of each moment.

Now available for download:

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

Flex by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee. Executive coaches and global leadership strategists Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee present lessons on “flexing,” which is the art of switching leadership styles to more effectively lead people who are different from you. Flex offers a proactive strategy for managers to navigate and leverage diversity effectively. Lessons from the authors will help managers of multicultural workers to bridge the gap with more effective communication, feedback tools, building healthy teams and closing the gap with clients, customers and partners to create innovative solutions.

 

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

A Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff. With emphasis on the design of a team, A Team of Leaders offers a new way to energize groups of employees and improve performance. Authors Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff present the Five-Stage Team Development Model, which outlines a set of characteristics of traditional teams and the progression to creating teams of people who think and act like leaders. By improving the core design components – the systems, processes, knowledge, management and visual management – teams will take responsibility for delivering better results.

 

by Lisa Kay Solomon and Chris Ertel

by Lisa Kay Solomon and Chris Ertel

Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon. Innovation strategists Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon share what it takes to design creative, collaborative problem-solving sessions using strategic conversations. Strategic conversations combine the best ideas of people with different backgrounds, which ultimately delivers breakthrough insights. Moments of Impact provides a creative process by which leaders can make good strategic choices while engaging more people with different perspectives more effectively.

How Leaders Achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time

Laura Stack makes an amazing claim in her book Execution IS the Strategy. She states that strategy must emerge out of execution, and she provides four premises for this approach.

  1.  Interdependency – strategy and tactics are part of the same over-arching process, with an inherent relationship.
  2. Fluidity – strategy must be more flexible in its tactics now than in the past.
  3. Speed – strategy must be executed more quickly than ever before to be effective.
  4. Validity – strategy must still be appropriate and strong, or none of the first three premises matters.

Laura then provide the 4 keys to efficient strategic execution, which she calls the L-E-A-D Formula:

Leverage – do you have the right people in place to achieve your strategic priorities?

Environment – do you have the organizational atmosphere, practices, and culture that will allow employees to easily support your strategic priorities?

Alignment – do your team members’ daily activities move them toward the accomplishment of the organization’s ultimate goals?

Drive – are your organization’s leaders, teams, and employees agile enough to move quickly once the first three pieces of this list are in place?

To learn more about how execution and strategy interact, and how to apply the L-E-A-D formula to your organization, join us on May 30th for our Soundview Live webinar How Leaders Achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time with Laura Stack. Bring your questions and fill the room with your team members.