Use a powerful framework and proven process disciplines to sharply focus enterprise strategy on accelerating value creation. Avoid warm and fuzzy objectives ("higher purposes" and "noble goals").
Accelerating value creation uniquely positions any enterprise to finance its other worthy pursuits.
Value creation both requires and rewards employees, customers and capital providers. Therefore, the processes and the outcomes of value creation should serve these most important enterprise constituencies very well.
There's no conflict between making money (creating value) and doing the right things, well. Indeed, making money in a sustainable manner requires doing many of the right things, very well, from the outset. Moreover, the winnings from value creation make it much easier to do other worthy things, subject to stakeholder concurrence.
Businesses already have, at their disposal, all the tools and techniques necessary to dramatically increase their levels of value creation and their rates of growth in value creation. Only through dramatic and relentless value creation can our increasingly interconnected global society, generate the means to address our greatest issues and opportunities, going forward.
We must do well in order to do good. Tempus fugit.
Together, one powerful “strategic framework” and four proven “process disciplines” enable any authentic leadership team to dramatically and sustainably improve their firm’s value creation.
The four process disciplines systematically address talent, innovation, system performance and thinking ability – as essential business foundations and as performance levers, for accelerating value creation.
The strategic framework engages the entire organization in the formulation, validation, documentation and execution of comprehensive enterprise strategy, with the ultimate objective of accelerating value creation.
The strategic framework uses necessity and sufficiency logic to identify and validate all the essential elements of a winning value creation strategy and connects those elements within one comprehensive alignment.
Employees at every level already know how to use the framework to contribute to enterprise strategy; and a very low-cost, PC-based software package automates the entire process of rigorously creating, monitoring and maintaining robust enterprise strategies with multi-tier drill-down capability.
The entire organization shares the same strategic framework. Middle managers can see precisely what they need to accomplish within their span of control and sphere of influence. Employees have a clear line of sight between their contributions and the ultimate enterprise objective. Senior managers, business leaders and company directors can share unambiguous real-time views of strategic objectives and strategic execution.
The strategic framework can readily accommodate time and distance dimensions of corporate strategy, allowing enterprises to synchronously operate on horizons beyond today’s core business.
Both the strategic framework and the four process disciplines reside in the public domain – practically free for the taking – with extensive documentation available to guide application. Both the framework and the disciplines have a wealth of associated success stories to confirm their exceptional performance.
That eBook should be written and promoted to become an "ideavirus" (reference Seth Godin), spreading rapidly (contagiously) among company directors, CEOs and the rest of the C-suite.
Once the idea goes viral, interested parties can glean much more information, direction and assistance from a variety of well established sources. Each firm's C-suite and senior managers can "enlarge the frame of management education" by reading several excellent reference books, among them (in no particular order): "The Goal", "Blue Ocean Strategy", "The Logical Thinking Process", "Lateral Thinking", "Throughput Accounting", "Six Thinking Hats", "The Ultimate Improvement Cycle" and "Change by Design".
Business leaders ought to commission talent searches within their own organizations to identify current employees with operational knowledge of the various process disciplines. Champions with subject matter expertise, actionable connnections to the business and a passion for enterprise strategy can help business leaders and the rest of the organization move rapidly up the learning curve.
After they have done some reading and identified some in-house capability, a core group of leaders and practitioners should start using the framework as a way to integrate their new-found knowledge to accelerate value creation within their business context. They might first use the framework to develop the first three tiers of a "new and improved" enterprise strategy and start thinking about the tier-four steps that will underwrite their tier-three objectives. All of this can be done as a "pencil & paper" (or MS Office) exercise, following a one-page set of conventions. Experiential learning should give everyone involved a firm grasp of their newly acquired capability, along with a strong urge to take the next steps and a clear view of the rewarding paths forward.
In parallel, the firm should buy one or two seats ($149 per) of the PC-based software (Flying Logic) that facilitates the development and administration of the strategic framework and other logic trees. Flying Logic software was developed in collaboration with Northrop Grumman, which co-owns the Flying Logic copyright and uses the software extensively in its own business.
Anyone familiar with a PC and sufficiency and necessity logic (i.e. "if ___, then ___." and "In order to ____ we must ____.") can use Flying Logic to create a "living document" that captures all the essentials elements and relationships of a comprehensive enterprise strategy. Moreover, the software organizes those elements in ways that facilitate examination, analysis and presentation at any level of detail.
So, for chump change, any business can fathom the profound significance of adopting the framework and collateral disciplines.
From there, the organization can start applying the framework and developing proficiency with all the various elements of the complementary disciplines. The discipline elements present experiential learning opportunities that can have an immediate and profoundly positive impact on organizational capability and performance. So the organization can pursue learning by doing, knowing that the associated efforts will pay for themselves in many ways and many times over. There's no downside, whatsoever.
A few (2-4) months down the road, business leaders and in-house practitioners should return to their three-tiered strategy, make revisions and updates as they deem appropriate and then proceed to formulate all of the necessary and sufficient tier-four steps. By now, in-house proficiency with the Flying Logic software should facilitate the whole process. In-house practitioners of the process disciplines should be making important contributions. And whenever the process of properly formulating or validating the tier-four steps bogs down, the working group will be able to call upon those in the organization who have the necessary content and process knowledge to provide essential inputs.
Because the strategic framework is rigorous, logical and unambiguous in its documentation (communication) of enterprise strategy, the working group can readily email their "work-in-progress" to an expert for review and comment. It always helps to have an independent subject matter expert (SME) review the steps and the interconnections, from time to time. Because of the purposeful nature of the framework conventions and the utility of the Flying Logic software, an SME can generally complete a thorough review of a four-tier strategy presentation in less than an hour.
W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne advanced the discipline of Value Innovation (VI) in 1997, based on their extensive research. The VI recipe for success is both straightforward and effective -- i.e. deliver unprecedented utility to a mass of buyers at an accessible price and with a profitable business model. In their 2005 international bestseller "Blue Ocean Strategy", Kim and Mauborgne expanded and refined their Value Innovation discipline and added to the tools and techniques available to VI practitioners.
Dr. Edward de Bono developed Lateral Thinking and Parallel Thinking disciplines to enable individuals and groups to move beyond traditional thinking -- i.e. to think more, to think better and to think differently and thereby gain tremendous advantage. Dr. de Bono's contributions provide the means for companies to systematically develop employee and organizational thinking abilty -- the ultimate business resource. Thinking skills can be taught, learned and practiced to proficiency. Developing enterprise thinking ability presents a win/win scenario. While augmented thinking ability can deliver huge benefits to the company, the ability, itself, clearly belongs to individual employees, to use as they see fit, throughout their lives, in all of their pursuits.
Many individuals and organizations have contributed to our collective capabilities in the field of Talent Mangement and our knowledge about the value of pre-screened, job-matched, highly engaged talent. Advanced psychometrics, expert systems, PCs and the Internet have made it possible for businesses to use high-performance assessments and surveys to gather the kind of actionable information necessary to make people decisions that consistently earn three- and four-digit ROIs.
Bob Sproull's book "The Ultimate Improvement Cycle" harmonizes the Operational Excellence disciplines of Theory of Constraints (TOC), Lean and Six Sigma in a way that dramatically accelerates results (improvements). In their book, "Velocity", Dee Jacob, Suzan Bergland and Jeff Cox approach the same subject (i.e. Combining Lean, Six Sigma and the Theory of Constraints to Achieve Breakthrough Performance) in the form of a business novel.
The U.S. Government deserves some credit, on the talent management front. The U.S. Department of Labor's "Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures" (promulgated in 1978) show employers precisely how to always hire the best available person for the job, while maintaining full legal and regulatory compliance. The answer is surprisingly straightforward: analyze the job to determine what it takes to perform well. Then use valid, job-related measurements to determine the extent to which applicants (candidates) have what it takes. Evaluate all applicants (candidates) in the same manner. The recipe for success in employee selection is exactly the same in every other country.
Vision21 founder, DIck Melrose, a former international industrial CEO, has applied his multi-disciplinary subject matter expertise to develop a straightforward strategic framework that any business can use with extreme effectiveness. The Vision21 approach provides an open environment for applying proven practices to accelerate value creation, while maintaining complete strategic alignment.