7 things every leader should know about strategy!

Posted in Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on June 29th, 2016 by admin

1. Business Strategy = compete to be unique, not to be the best
Strategy is not about being the best, but about being unique. Competing to be the best in business is one of the major misconceptions about strategy.

And if you only remember one tip from this list, it should be this one. Many leaders compare competition in business with the world of sports. There can only be one winner. But competing in business is more complex. There can be several winners. It does not have to be a zero sum game – you win, I lose or vice versa.

Within a single industry, you can have several companies beating the industry average, each with a distinctive, different strategy. They are no direct threat to each other. There can be several winners. So the worst possible approach to strategy is to seek out the biggest player in the industry and try to copy everything they do.

2. Business Strategy = compete for profit

Business is not about having the largest market share or about growing fast. It’s about making money.

‘I want to grow my business’ is not a strategy. ‘I want to grow my business’ is the same as saying, ‘I want to be rich’. Those things (unfortunately) don’t happen by themselves. Growing is not a strategy, it’s a consequence. When someone includes growth in their strategy, there should be an orange light starting to blink.

That does not mean that you cannot use the word ‘growth’. I use it a lot in the analysis phase – for example, when you talk about growth areas of the business or when you look for growth platforms – areas where you can reach potential that will give you additional profit.

3. Know your industry before you develop your business strategy
A company is not an island – it’s part of a larger ecosystem, an industry. Each industry has its own characteristics, its own structure. This structure and the relative position your companystrategy has within the industry determines profitability. Certain industries have a higher return than others. Your thinking about the industry and industry competition will determine your thinking about your strategy – how you are going to compete within the industry.

The better you know and understand the industry, the better you will be able to determine elements that will make you stand out, be unique and reap a higher average return than the industry average.

4. Business Strategy = Choice
In my eyes, this is the most simple strategy definition. You need a clear choice of WHO you are going to serve and a clear choice of HOW you are going to serve those clients. It’s about connecting the outside world – the demand side – with your company – the supply side. Or in fancy terms: you need a value proposition for a specific customer segment and to develop unique activities in the value chain to serve them.

The key word is ‘choice’.

You cannot be everything to everybody. You want to target a limited segment of potential buyers with the same needs. Next, you are going to tailor your activities in such a way that they meet these needs. Or in fancy terms: you want to tailor your value chain – your company’s activities – to your value proposition. Strategic innovation is the process to make those choices – defining a new who and how for the organisation.

5. A good business strategy requires you to say NO often
If you have clearly defined what you go for – a clear value proposition for a specific client segment (who) and a set of distinct, unique activities in your value chain to offer the needs of this client group (what), you will find out that there are lots of things that you are not going to do. There will be customers that you are not going to serve, activities that you are not going to perform and services/products that you will not be offering. In strategy, choosing what not to do is equally important.

Using the words of the founding father of modern strategy thinking, Michael Porter: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do”. Each business strategy should also have a section where it clearly states the noes.

6. A good business strategy requires you to keep moving
Having a good business strategy means that you have arrived. Competitors move, customers’ needs and behaviors change, technology evolves. One crucial element to determine a future path for your company is to predict these evolutions and trends and incorporate this thinking into the business strategy-building process.

If you don’t, you can miss out on new value that is created in the industry or even left behind and get into trouble.

Think about the smart phone and Nokia and you’ll understand.

7. Scenario thinking is an important strategy tool
The last one of the business strategy principles is not the least important. I don’t have to tell you that facts and figures can only go so far. You need to turn data into assumptions that will fuel your reflection process. The standard way to work with assumptions in a structured way is by scenario thinking – fix some parameters and let other vary. This technique helps your reflection process by offering you possible future routes (read: strategic options) for the company.

I believe that scenario thinking is a crucial skill for anyone who wants to deal with business strategy. Every leader should at least master the basics so that they don’t need a strategy consultant for every reflection process or at least to help them challenge the scenario models that the strategy consultant presents.

Source: jeroen-de-flander.com, April 2016
Author: Jeroen de Flander
Link

Focus on keeping up with your customers, not your competitors

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Customer care / Kundvård, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Försäljning / Sales, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on June 28th, 2016 by admin

Every company these days seems to be either contemplating or pursuing digital transformation. Most cite the need to keep up with disruptive and well-established competitors. But perhaps this focus is too narrow. We believe the greatest challenge to companies today is not keeping up with their competitors, but with their own customers.

One reason is that individuals are transforming to digital faster than organizations. Think for a moment about people as tiny enterprises. They’ve redesigned their core processes in the area CF 1of procurement (online shopping), talent acquisition (marketplaces), collaboration (social networking), market research (peer reviews), finance (mobile payments) and travel (room and ride sharing). Have you reinvented your core processes to the same degree?

Customers’ expectations are also more liquid and no longer based on industry boundaries. Customers – whether consumers or business buyers – don’t compare your customer service to that of your competitors, but to the best customer service they receive from anywhere. The same is true for their expectations of your web site, mobile app, loyalty program, branding, and even social responsibility.

So how can you keep up with your customers? You have to start thinking like them.

Customers don’t think in or; they think in and. You have to transcend trade-offs.
The adage used to be that you could pick any two combinations of “cheap, good, or fast.” But today’s customer doesn’t want to make tradeoffs. They want it cheap, good, and fast. As leaders, we are accustomed to thinking of business being about making tough decisions between competing objectives. But we need to think more like our customers. Instead of focusing on how to make tradeoffs, we need to focus on how to transcend them.

Some of the tradeoffs that are most suited to digital transcendence are:
– Big and small: Combine the speed, agility and creativity of being small with the scope, scale and influence associated with being big.
– Complex and simple: Manage the systems and processes to run a global business while creating simple and elegant experiences for customers.
– Global and personal: Achieve universal consistency and reach around the world while delivering relevant, tailored interactions to every customer.

Customers want to be empowered, not controlled. You have to act with empathy.
Business used to be about getting customers to do what you wanted them to do. But customers don’t accept this any more. They don’t like to be told what to do. They want relationships based on reciprocity, transparency and authenticity. If you want to keep up with your customer, you can’t be focused on getting them to do what you want, but instead on helping them do what they want.

This evolution from control to empowerment means a change in the basic building blocks of customer engagement.

– Funnels used to be linear processes that moved customers from one stage to the next. There was no going back until a sale was either won or lost. Now these funnels have become Escherian journeys, fluid, customer-led and multi-dimensional. It’s not about capturing and converting towards a transaction, but connecting and collaborating around a shared purpose.
– Channels used to be pipes connecting you with your customer, carrying carefully crafted messages to passive audiences. Now they are experiences connecting customers to their own desires, and communities connecting customers to each other. It’s not about promoting the features and benefits of your product, but building empathy and understanding of each customer’s intent – and helping them achieve it – as part of an ongoing relationship.

Customers don’t think in straight lines. You need to be non-linear.
To keep up with your customer, you have to let go of linear thinking. Customers today expect you to be where they are, deliver what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. If they’re browsing your website on their laptop, they will expect that when they next come to your site from their mobile device or tablet, or talk to a sales person in your store, branch or call center, you will pick up right where they left off. Business has become like that old game of Twister. You have to be flexible if you are going to win.

This requires rethinking and redesigning core disciplines:CF 2
– Strategy has to go beyond analyzing markets, making plans, and forecasting the future. Strategy also has to build capabilities, transform culture and architect for constant change.
– Campaigns have to be more than one-way communications for one-time responses. They need to initiate and expedite personalized journeys as part of ongoing conversations.
– Personalization needs to go deeper than looking simply at what someone buys. It needs to be based on the subconscious motivations of why someone buys, revealed through real-time analysis of a wide variety of data sources.
– Social can’t be treated merely as a channel for distributing messages. Done right, it’s a context for building genuine relationships that demonstrate how much they really matter.
– Loyalty needs to be more than accumulating points for rewards. To be genuine and enduring, loyalty needs to be reciprocal. If you want their loyalty, you have to be loyal in return.
– Operations need to go beyond the efficiency of the company to the efficiency of the customer. How can you optimize to help customers get more for their time and effort, not just their money?
It’s a significant shift in mindset and practice to reorient from keeping up with competitors to keeping up with customers.

We suggest getting started by assessing where you are.

How does your transformation compare to your customers? In what areas are they moving faster or slower than you are?
Who is setting your customers’ expectations? It’s probably coming from outside your industry.
What kind of relationship do you want to have with your customer? Are you trying to get them to do what you want? Or figuring out how to help them do what they want?
Next, look at where to focus your attention.

Which tradeoffs do you need to transcend? We mentioned a few above. Others include speed and scale, consistent and nimble, high-tech and high-touch.
Where is linear thinking getting in the way? Review the disciplines outlined above and see which ones will have the most impact on your customer experience.
Creating sustainable advantage is more elusive than ever. The new game is designing customer-driven journeys across touch points to help them achieve their intent, and to create more multidimensional relationships. To win this game, stop thinking about just keeping up with your competitors, and start thinking about keeping up with your customers.

Source: HBR.org, 2016
Link
Authors: Mark Bonchek and Gene Cornfield

Var femte chef arbetar varje dag på semestern! Hur gör du?

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on June 23rd, 2016 by admin

Semestern en stressfälla för chefen

Snart dags för semester. För svenska chefer är det lite si och så med vilan under ledigheten, visar tidningen Chefs undersökning. Även om en majoritet tar tre veckors sommarsemester eller mer, väljer sex av tio att jobba under sin lediga tid. En majoritet känner sig också stressade inför semestern och en tredjedel har svårt att gå ner i varv.

Sex av tio chefer jobbar på semestern. Det visar tidningen Chefs undersökning av 1  872 chefers semestervanor. Hälften av cheferna nöjer sig med några sporadiska avstämningar, 29 procent jobbar lite varje vecka medan hela 18 procent faktiskt jobbar lite varje dag.

– Det är inte förvånande, säger Aleksander Perski, docent vid Stressforskningsinstitutet.

– Det optimala vore att stänga av helt och syssla med annat på sin semester, men en del människor behöver en känsla av kontroll och tappar man det mår man inte heller bra, säger han.semester 1

Det var lättare förr när vi höll oss mer inom landets gränser och Sverige mer eller mindre stängde ner i juli månad. I dag upplever många chefer krav på närvaro. Jobbar man internationellt kan det vara ännu svårare att hålla sig borta.

Petra Brask, som är effektivitetskonsult och föreläser mycket på företag, hör ofta sina kursdeltagare prata om semesterskulden – att man är beredd att jobba lite på semestern för att slippa en saftig efterräkning när man väl kommer tillbaka.

– Mejlkorgen svämmar lätt över åt alla håll och kanter under en tids frånvaro. Bara tanken på det kan stressa mer än om man går in och checkar av under tiden, säger hon.

Aleksander Perski poängterar att om man jobbar på semestern är det viktigt att vara systematisk och sätta upp begränsningar.

Men man bör också ifrågasätta sina motiv. Varför väljer man att jobba under sin ledighet? Självklart känner sig många tvungna till det, men det finns även andra bakomliggande faktorer, menar våra två experter.

– Många överdriver sitt engagemang i kontakten med jobbet, säger Aleksander Perski. Petra Brask instämmer:

– Att inte jobbet klarar sig utan oss är en inställning som vi behöver få distans till. När började vi ta oss själva på så stort allvar? Man bör ifrågasätta om det är så mycket som vilar på ens axlar att man inte kan ta semester i lugn och ro. När det är neddragningar och någon är sjuk tvingas organisationer klara sig, säger Petra Brask och jämför det lite kaxigt med att det är som att plocka upp en båt ur vattnet – det blir inget hål.

– Visst, det är inte samma sak när 95 procent går på semester, men då får man se till att göra en organisation för det. Man måste våga skapa en förståelse för att människor behöver vara lediga.

Men Petra Brask menar även att jobbet är ett intresse och en passion, och att mejlen kollas av ren och skär nyfikenhet.

– Många känner också press på sig under semestern, man ska ha så roligt, vädret ska bli så bra – och som man har längtat! Mitt i alla dessa nya krav kan det faktiskt vara skönt att gå in och koppla upp sig mot jobbet. Där finns en tydligt definierad roll att luta sig mot.

Två tredjedelar av deltagarna i Chefs undersökning känner sig stressade inför semestern, och en tredjedel säger att de har svårt att gå ner i varv när semestern väl är påbörjad. Att jobba lite kan också vara ett sätt att trappa ner successivt.

Stressforskaren Aleksander Perskis grundregel för att varva ner är att personer som lever passiva liv behöver aktiv semester, medan den som kör på ordentligt till vardags mår bar av att gå emot tendensen att vara aktiv även på semestern och i stället satsa på att göra så lite som möjligt.

Att en tredjedel av cheferna i undersökningen har svårt att gå ner i varv har även att göra med den stora arbetsbördan inför sin frånvaro. Även om några deltagare berättar om hur de trappar ner i veckorna innan känner nog många igen sig i det accelererande klimax man jobbar sig mot de sista dagarna innan det blåses i semestervisslan.

– Svårast att varva ner är det för personer som är på väg mot något slags utbrändhet. Tillhör man gruppen redan slutkörda tar det mycket lång tid. Men sedan tar det bara tre veckor efter att man är tillbaka från semestern innan man är lika slutkörd som före semestern, säger Aleksander Perski.

Det finns relativt lite forskning om semesterns effekter. Det man har sett är att det är viktigt med regelbunden återhämtning och vila över hela året. Men för många är det ännu svårare att ta ut semester någon annan gång under året. 95 procent av cheferna i undersökningen tar ut merparten av sin semester på sommaren.

Aleksander Perski menar att semestermönstret förändrar sig generellt, från den långa svenska semestern till att vi blir mer som övriga Europa och USA där semestern är kortare och mer upphackad.

– Det är stor skillnad på människor när de kommer tillbaka efter en lite längre semester. Det är nästan som att komma till en ny arbetsplats. Inte bara en gång har jag hört folk berätta hur de fick en idé när de satt på landet. Så ta inte ifrån din organisation den skatt som det är att vara ledig. Det är då som hjärnan blir mer kreativ, säger Petra Brask.

”Många överdriver sitt engagemang i kontakten med jobbet”, säger stressforskaren Aleksander Perski.

Aleksander Perski poängterar att om man jobbar på semestern är det viktigt att vara systematisk och sätta upp begränsningar.

Men man bör också ifrågasätta sina motiv. Varför väljer man att jobba under sin ledighet? Självklart känner sig många tvungna till det, men det finns även andra bakomliggande faktorer, menar våra två experter.

– Många överdriver sitt engagemang i kontakten med jobbet, säger Aleksander Perski. Petra Brask instämmer:

– Att inte jobbet klarar sig utan oss är en inställning som vi behöver få distans till. När började vi ta oss själva på så stort allvar? Man bör ifrågasätta om det är så mycket som vilar på ens axlar att man inte kan ta semester i lugn och ro. När det är neddragningar och någon är sjuk tvingas organisationer klara sig, säger Petra Brask och jämför det lite kaxigt med att det är som att plocka upp en båt ur vattnet – det blir inget hål.

– Visst, det är inte samma sak när 95 procent går på semester, men då får man se till att göra en organisation för det. Man måste våga skapa en förståelse för att människor behöver vara lediga.

Men Petra Brask menar även att jobbet är ett intresse och en passion, och att mejlen kollas av ren och skär nyfikenhet.

– Många känner också press på sig under semestern, man ska ha så roligt, vädret ska bli så bra – och som man har längtat! Mitt i alla dessa nya krav kan det faktiskt vara skönt att gå in och koppla upp sig mot jobbet. Där finns en tydligt definierad roll att luta sig mot.

semester 2Två tredjedelar av deltagarna i Chefs undersökning känner sig stressade inför semestern, och en tredjedel säger att de har svårt att gå ner i varv när semestern väl är påbörjad. Att jobba lite kan också vara ett sätt att trappa ner successivt.

Stressforskaren Aleksander Perskis grundregel för att varva ner är att personer som lever passiva liv behöver aktiv semester, medan den som kör på ordentligt till vardags mår bar av att gå emot tendensen att vara aktiv även på semestern och i stället satsa på att göra så lite som möjligt.

Att en tredjedel av cheferna i undersökningen har svårt att gå ner i varv har även att göra med den stora arbetsbördan inför sin frånvaro. Även om några deltagare berättar om hur de trappar ner i veckorna innan känner nog många igen sig i det accelererande klimax man jobbar sig mot de sista dagarna innan det blåses i semestervisslan.

– Svårast att varva ner är det för personer som är på väg mot något slags utbrändhet. Tillhör man gruppen redan slutkörda tar det mycket lång tid. Men sedan tar det bara tre veckor efter att man är tillbaka från semestern innan man är lika slutkörd som före semestern, säger Aleksander Perski.

Det finns relativt lite forskning om semesterns effekter. Det man har sett är att det är viktigt med regelbunden återhämtning och vila över hela året. Men för många är det ännu svårare att ta ut semester någon annan gång under året. 95 procent av cheferna i undersökningen tar ut merparten av sin semester på sommaren.

Aleksander Perski menar att semestermönstret förändrar sig generellt, från den långa svenska semestern till att vi blir mer som övriga Europa och USA där semestern är kortare och mer upphackad.

– Det är stor skillnad på människor när de kommer tillbaka efter en lite längre semester. Det är nästan som att komma till en ny arbetsplats. Inte bara en gång har jag hört folk berätta hur de fick en idé när de satt på landet. Så ta inte ifrån din organisation den skatt som det är att vara ledig. Det är då som hjärnan blir mer kreativ, säger Petra Brask.

Källa: SvD.se, juni 2016
Länk

The adaptive strategy system

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on June 22nd, 2016 by admin

The strategic hard-turn

The navy officers have a specific term for a large ship making a strong side turn, at high speed: hard turn. This maneuver requires powerful engines and good size rudders (although many modern ships also use other direction-changing systems, besides the traditional rudders). Such maneuver is more spectacular the larger the ship, the higher the speed and the smaller the turn radius are. For smaller or slower ships this is not seen as an extraordinary maneuver, because either the small size or the low speed should allow them to turn quickly enough.

AC 2In the analogy with the business world, the size of the ship is the size of the organization and its speed is the industry clockspeed. The engines’ power and rudders’ efficiency are the organizational capability to quickly and effectively change the Strategy, even when its execution is at mid-course.

So, how to avoid getting locked-in for one or more years in executing our Strategy, finding it difficult to make a ‘strategic hard turn’, in case the Strategy becomes invalid at some point in time (entirely, or partially), along its execution cycle? Or, even more: How to go back to the drawing board, if we discover that some of the hypothesis and assumptions the Strategy was based upon were wrong, and ultimately, how do we know when should we do this?

Some people might say that it’s piece of cake to do all that in small organizations that use simple, intuitive, straightforward strategic choices, plans and execution tools. And they would be right. But more and more strategies and strategic plans tend to become complicated, in an attempt to model the increasingly complex and faster changing business environment, mainly due to the VUCA context (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity).

When a good Strategy becomes wrong
The more frequent phenomenon is that of a well-designed Strategy becoming inappropriate, due to the invalidating effects of the unfolding business reality upon some of its hypothesis and assumptions. But why and where do we need to make these hypothesis and assumptions for our Strategy?

Actually, there is no other way, because the Strategy Formulation and the Strategic Planning processes are all about the future, therefore we need to use certain hypothesis and assumptions within these processes. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to make any judgement about what changes do we believe that will be needed for exploiting what we anticipate to be opportunities and for avoiding what we think that may be future threats.

Let’s look at the Strategy Formulation process. Where, along this process, do we need to use hypothesis and to make assumptions and why?

The quick answer to the question above would be: “Wherever we need to make judgements about what will happen in the future, because we need to turn the randomness of the future into an ordered and logic future evolution construct, on which we can build a Strategy”. At a higher detail level, it would go like this:

1. We have to hypothesize about future opportunities and threats, about their magnitude, probability and timing. Furthermore, we have to estimate the trends of various Influence Factors that have a significant, strategic impact upon our industry or upon our business type & model (think of PESTEL and Porter’s 5 Forces, for instance). Then, we have to assume that they will vary within certain tolerance ranges, within which our strategic hypothesis would remain valid.

2. We have to estimate the future impact of the Influence Factors considered upon our business results, should we select one Strategic Choice or another, from the possible ones. They are regarding both the Competitive Factors (how-to-win) and the Market Boundaries (where-to-play). Based on such analysis, we’ll select a mix of Strategic Choices that will define our Strategic Positioning and allow us to build a new/updated Competitive Advantage.

3. Because we can only employ a viable Business Model, we have to anticipate the financial bottom line of our Strategic Positioning.
– Will the Strategic Choices that we’ve selected support a viable Profit Model (or a Value Model, for public/NGO organizations)?
– Will our target customers prefer our product or service to other propositions existing in the marketplace?
– Will they find it convenient to buy it through the sales channels that we have considered?
– Will they regard our product/service as fit for their ‘Job-to-be-Done’, as Clayton Christensen defined it?
Ultimately, will the customers agree to pay the price that will profitably cover our costs, in order to allow us to meet the Success Aspirations of our Strategy?

4. Our next set of hypothesis regard the set of capabilities, the so-called Capabilities System, that is required to support our Strategic Choices and turn them from declared into fully effective ones, bringing them to life. Our past experience usually helps us here, but in some cases, more specifically for choices that have not been part of our Strategic Positioning before, we can only use our best judgement (based on the experience of others, if available) about what new processes, channels, tools, resources or competencies will be needed and about their levels and configurations.

5. Once our Strategic Choices are evaluated & rated and the required Capabilities System assessed, we have to see if all this is doable/feasible, in other words, will we be able to close/bridge the corresponding Strategic Coherence Gaps/*, with the resources that we’ll have available and within the Strategic Horizon considered? /* download The Coherence Premium, for a more insightful view on the strategic coherence.

6. The next two hypothesis points are looking more into the Strategic Planning process, or at least into the summarized multi-annual Strategic Plan, that we have to build before actually entering the Strategic Planning process. We have to assume that we’ll be able to close/bridge the Strategic Gaps with a certain deliberate, but logical, breakdown on annual cycles and in a certain sequence along the multi-annual horizon. That may be confirmed by reality, when the execution process unfolds. Or not.

7. Further on, we have to look deeper into the projects that we have to plan, in order to make the changes required for closing/bridging the Strategic Gaps. Because they are projects, we can estimate their costs, duration and resources required (people, tools, information, etc.), allowing us to assess their feasibility, with the means that will be available to us and within the time-frame when we need them to produce the desired effects.

An entirely complementary set of hypothesis and assumptions are used further, within the Strategic Planning and Alignment processes, but they are under a closer loop monitoring by the scorecards structure, therefore they can be corrected much faster, if proven invalid, along the execution cycle.

So, why does a good Strategy become a wrong one? We can probably respond more accurately now, after we’ve sliced the strategic hypothesis & assumptions matter, along the Strategy Formulation process.

Any of the Strategy Formulation workflow steps 1-7, mentioned above, may initially produce some credible and valid foresight. But they are also the hidden anti-Strategy mines that are placed along the execution path.

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy” – Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
That is because any of our hypothesis may prove wrong, at the soonest moment in time when we we’ll be able to validate them. Those are the moments when any of our assumptions about certain Influence Factors with strategic significance may not be confirmed by reality, as they may go outside of the tolerance ranges within which our Strategy remains valid, … within which our value proposition will continue to be preferred by our target customers and produce the expected financial results.

So, this is how our initial good Strategy may become wrong, along its execution.

Preventing a good Strategy from getting wrong
Invoking our naval analogy, the question is: How can we effectively make the ‘strategic hard-turns’, when needed, and how can we spot the imminent triggering of the ‘anti-Strategy mines’ that are potentially placed along our path, by every hypothesis we have used and by every assumption we have made?

Many strategy practitioners have learned that we cannot design a Strategy and build the subsequent Strategic Plans that are future-proof, no matter how hard we try. That’s because sooner or later, something will go otherwise than we’ve anticipated and our Strategy may quickly turn from being a good one to being wrong or, at least, no longer good enough for reaching our Success Aspirations.

How to make strategic hard-turns?
We might agree, first of all, that the ‘strategic hard-turns’ are mandatory, because making some sort of ‘soft-turns’ instead may be equivalent to continuing for some time with the same Strategy’s execution beyond the point where we’ve found out that it’s no longer a good one.

The worst thing is to continue executing a Strategy, once we realize that it is
no longer a valid one.

But going again, at mid-course, through the whole Strategy Formulation, Strategic Planning and Alignment processes may take as long as when we’ve initially gone through these processes. So, this will certainly slow-down our intended strategic hard-turn. Well, this is not entirely true. At least, most of the time, because the events that will cause our entire Strategy to be wrong are not that frequent. In most of the cases, only a part of our hypothesis and assumptions are invalidated, or only a few of the Influence Factors trip our preset strategic tolerance ranges.

AC 1There is an important caveat to this. Irrespective of how much of our Strategy we change, we require a fully functional Strategy Management System to be in place, with a clear framework of building blocks, logical correlations and well mastered methodology. One of its core functions is to ensure that all the strategic processes are fully traceable, from hypothesis & assumptions, to all the components and the correlations between them. Within such a system, any changes are affecting only what is strictly necessary and the changes are propagated quickly and accurately throughout the entire organization.

This is like equipping our virtual ship with powerful engines and big rudders, enabling it to make strategic hard-turns as effectively as possible. One example of such a system is the Kaplan-Norton BSC Framework.

When do the strategic hard-turns become necessary?
The fact is that we will eventually realize, sooner or later, that a strategic hard-turn would have been necessary. But if that happens late, we are no longer talking about a strong, quick and accurate change of Strategy. In some cases, it may bee to late, as the damage caused by the slow strategic reaction can be substantial for the organization.

The only thing worse than
bad news, is bad news late.

These words are attributed to an anecdotal army general who had them written on a poster placed on the wall behind his desk. The same concept applies to the Strategy Adaptation process. How can we address this?

Here is where the Strategic Warning System (SMS) comes to the rescue. It is designed to monitor the validity of all hypothesis & assumptions used within the strategic processes and to measure the strategically-relevant Influence Factors, triggering an alarm every time an invalidation occurs or a tolerance limit is tripped by the monitored parameters.

The trace-ability of the hypothesis & assumptions and of the tolerance ranges we have used throughout the strategy processes are entered into two registers, one for validity/invalidation monitoring (the Strategic Assumptions Register – SAR) and one for strategic parameters monitoring, related to their preset tolerance ranges (the Strategic Tolerances Register – STR).

The SWS facilitates the accurate propagation of any changes of the Strategic Choices mix and of the required Capabilities System to the Strategic Plan, through the correlations defined between the Strategic Gaps (on the Strategy Formulation side) and the Strategic Objectives / Measures / Initiatives (on the Strategic Planning & Alignment side).

Furthermore, the SWS is easily correlated with the Strategic Scenarios and the Scenario Planning system, due to the scenario triggers that are linked to the most relevant & probable clusters of associated events monitored by the SWS. But the Strategy Adaptation process is even more comprehensive than that. For instance, the diagram below also illustrates how the Strategy adaptation process is enhanced through Strategy Testing (war-gaming).

Strategy Adaptation is not limited to just a generic concept, or an ad-hoc process. It goes much further than that, becoming instrumental when used as a structured system that keeps track of all major hypothesis & assumptions of the Strategy and of all the strategically-relevant Influence Factors, being equipped with the corresponding validation/invalidation points and tolerance ranges triggers. A system that is tightly integrated with the Scenario Planning process and with other Strategy testing methods and tools.

Source: Linkedin.com, June 2016
Author: Mihai Ionescu
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Så mår svenska chefer

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on June 14th, 2016 by admin

• 43 procent tror sig inte kunna arbeta som idag utan att hälsan på sikt påverkas negativt
• 48 procent uppger att de under det senaste året har jobbat fast de borde ha sjukskrivit sig och vilat
ladda ned (16)
• 24 procent har ofta eller dagligen problem med huvudvärk, värk i axlar eller mage
• 24 procent har sömnproblem ofta eller dagligen
• 20 procent har ofta eller dagligen svårt att minnas och har glömt saker man brukar komma ihåg

Läs hela rapporten från Civilekonomerna här.

An incumbent’s guide to digital disruption

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on June 13th, 2016 by admin

Incumbents needn’t be victims of disruption if they recognize the crucial thresholds in their life cycle, and act in time.

A decade ago, Norwegian media group Schibsted made a courageous decision: to offer classifieds—the main revenue source of its newspaper businesses—online for free. The company had already made significant Internet investments but realized that to establish a pan-European digital stronghold it had to raise the stakes. During a presentation to a prospective French partner, Schibsted executives pointed out that existing European classifieds sites had limited traffic. “The market is up for grabs,” they said, “and we intend to get it.”Today, more than 80 percent of their earnings come from online classifieds.

About that same time, the boards of other leading newspapers were also weighing the prospect of a digital future. No doubt, like Schibsted, they even developed and debated hypothetical scenarios in which Internet start-ups siphoned off the lucrative print classified ads the industry called its “rivers of gold.” Maybe these scenarios appeared insufficiently alarming—or maybe they were too dangerous to even entertain. But very few newspapers followed Schibsted’s path.

DD 1From the vantage point of 2016, when print media lie shattered by a tsunami of digital disruption, it’s easy to talk about who made the “right” decision and who the “wrong.” Things are far murkier when one is actually in the midst of disruption’s uncertain, oft-hyped early stages. In the 1980s, steel giants famously underestimated the potential of mini-mills. In the 1980s and 1990s, the personal computer put a stop to Digital Equipment Corporation, Wang Laboratories, and other minicomputer makers. More recently, web retailers have disrupted physical ones, and Airbnb and Uber Technologies have disrupted lodging and car travel, respectively. The examples run the gamut from database software to boxed beef.

What they have in common is how often incumbents find themselves on the wrong side of a big trend. No matter how strong their ingoing balance sheets and market share—and sometimes because of those very factors—incumbents can’t seem to hold back the tide. The champions of disruption are far more often the attackers than the established incumbent. The good news for incumbents is that many industries are still in the early days of digital disruption. Print media, travel, and lodging provide valuable illustrations of the path increasingly more will follow. For most, it’s early enough to respond. (For a quick guide to assessing your organization’s position in the digital disruption journey, see “Digital disruption: A discussion guide for incumbents.”

What’s the secret of those incumbents that do survive—and sometimes even thrive? One aspect surely relates to the ability to recognize and overcome the typical pattern of response (or lack thereof) that characterizes companies in the incumbent’s position. This most often requires acuity of foresight3 and a willingness to respond boldly before it’s too late, which usually means acting before it is obvious you have to do so. As Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, pointed out (right as his company was making the leap from DVDs to streaming), most successful organizations fail to look for new things their customers want because they’re afraid to hurt their core businesses. Clayton Christensen called this phenomenon the innovator’s dilemma. Hastings simply said, “Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.”4
We are all great strategists in hindsight. The question is what to do when you are in the middle of it all, under the real-world constraints and pressures of running a large, modern company. This article looks at the four stages of disruption from an incumbent’s perspective, the barriers to overcome, and the choices and responses needed at each stage.

Where you are and what you need
It may help to view these stages on an S-curve. At first, young companies struggle with uncertainty but are agile and willing to experiment. At this time, companies prize learning and optionality and work toward creating value based on the expectation of future earnings. The new model then needs to reach some critical mass to become a going concern. As they mature—that is, become incumbents—mind-sets and realities change. The established companies lock in routines and processes. They iron out and standardize variability amid growing organizational complexity. In the quest for efficiency, they weed out strategic options and reward executives for steady results. The measure of success is now delivery of consistent, growing cash flows in the here and now. The option-rich expectancy of future gain is replaced by the treadmill of continually escalating performance expectations.

In a disruption, the company heading toward the top of the old S-curve confronts a new business model at the bottom of a new S-curve. The circle of creative destruction is renewed, but thisDD 2 time the shoe is on the other foot. Two primary challenges emerge. The first is to recognize the new S-curve, which starts with a small slope, and often-unimpressive profitability, and at first does not demand attention. After all, most companies have shown they are very good at dealing with obvious emergencies, rapidly corralling resources and acting decisively. But they struggle to deal with the slow, quiet rise of an uncertain threat that does not announce itself. Second, the same factors that help companies operate strongly toward the top of an S-curve often hinder them at the bottom of a new one. Because different modes of operation are required, it’s hard to do the right thing—even when you think you know what the right thing might be.

This simplified model, of a new S-curve crashing slow motion into an old one, gives us a way to look at the problem from the incumbent’s perspective, and to appreciate the actual challenges each moment presents along the way. In the first stage, the new S-curve is not yet a curve at all. In the second, the new business model gets validated, but its impact is not forceful enough to fundamentally bend the performance trajectory of the incumbent. In the third stage, however, the new model gains a critical mass and its impact is clearly felt. In the fourth, the new model becomes the new normal as it reaches its own maturity.

Let’s step through these stages in sequence and see what is going on.

Stage one: Signals amidst the noise
In the late 1990s, PolyGram was one of the world’s top record labels, with a roster boasting Bob Marley, U2, and top classical artists. But, in 1998, Cornelis Boonstra, CEO of PolyGram’s Dutch parent, Koninklijke Philips, flew to New York, met with Goldman Sachs, and arranged to sell PolyGram to Seagram for $10.6 billion. Why? Because Boonstra had come across research showing that consumers were using the new recordable CD-ROM technology (which Philips coinvented) largely for one purpose: to copy music. In hindsight, this is a good example of how, in the early stages of disruption, demand begins to “purify” and lose the distortions imposed on it by businesses.5
The MP3 format had barely been invented, Napster was a mere gleam in Sean Parker’s eye, and PolyGram was riding at the top of its S-curve—but Boonstra detected the first signs of transformational change and decided to act swiftly and decisively. Within a decade, compact-disc and DVD sales in the United States dropped by more than 80 percent. Similarly, Telecom New Zealand foresaw the deteriorating economics of its Yellow Pages business and sold its directories business in 2007 for $2.2 billion (a nine-time revenue multiple)6 while numerous other telecom companies held on until the businesses were nearly worthless.7
The newspaper industry had no shortage of similar signals. As early as 1964, media theorist Marshall McLuhan observed that the industry’s reliance on classified ads and stock-market quotes made it vulnerable: “Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information be found, the press will fold.” The rise of the Internet created just such a source, and start-ups such as eBay opened a new way for people to list goods for sale without the use of newspaper ads. Schibsted was one of the earliest media companies to both anticipate the threat and act on the opportunity. As early as 1999, the company became convinced that “The Internet is made for classifieds, and classifieds are made for the Internet.”8
It’s not surprising that most others publishers didn’t react. At this early stage of disruption, incumbents feel barely any impact on their core businesses except in the distant periphery. In short, they don’t “need” to act. It takes rare acuity to make a preemptive move, likely in the face of conflicting demands from stakeholders. What’s more, it can be difficult to work out which trends to ignore and which to react to.

Gaining sharper insight, and escaping the myopia of this first stage, requires incumbents to challenge their own “story” and to disrupt long-standing (and sometimes implicit) beliefs about how to make money in a given industry. As our colleagues put it in a recent article, “These governing beliefs reflect widely shared notions about customer preferences, the role of technology, regulation, cost drivers, and the basis of competition and differentiation. They are often considered inviolable—until someone comes along to violate them.”9
The process of reframing these governing beliefs involves identifying an industry’s foremost notion about value creation and then turning it on its head to find new forms and mechanisms for creating value.

Stage two: Change takes hold
The trend is now clear. The core technological and economic drivers have been validated. At this point, it’s essential for established companies to commit to nurturing new initiatives so that they can establish footholds in the new sphere. More important, they need to ensure that new ventures have autonomy from the core business, even if the goals of the two operations conflict. The idea is to act before one has to.

But with disruption’s impact still not big enough to dampen earnings momentum, motivation is often missing. Even as online classifieds for cars and real estate began to take off and Craigslist gained momentum, most newspaper publishers lacked a sense of urgency because their own market share remained largely unaffected. And it’s not like the new players were making millions (yet). There was no performance envy.

But Schibsted did find the necessary motivation. “When the dot-com bubble burst, we continued to invest, in spite of the fact that we didn’t know how we were going to make money online,” recalls then-CEO Kjell Aamot. “We also allowed the new products to compete with the old products.”10 Offering free online classifieds directly cannibalized its newspaper business, but Schibsted was willing to take the risk. The company didn’t just act; it acted radically.

DD 3Now, let’s openly acknowledge how hard it is for a company’s leaders to commit to supporting experimental ventures when the business is climbing the S-curve. When Netflix disrupted itself in 2011 by shifting focus from DVDs to streaming, its share price dropped by 80 percent. Few boards and investors can handle that kind of pain when the near-term need is debatable. The vague longer-term threat just doesn’t seem as dangerous as the immediate hardship. After all, incumbents have existing revenue streams to protect—start-ups only have upside to capture. Additionally, management teams are more comfortable developing strategies for businesses they know how to operate, and are naturally reluctant to enter a new game with rules they don’t understand.

The upshot: most incumbents dabble, making small investments that won’t flatten their current S-curve and guard against cannibalization. Usually, they focus too heavily on finding synergies (always looking for efficiency) rather than fostering radical experimentation. The illusion that this dabbling is getting you into the game is all too tempting to believe. Many newspapers built online add-ons to their classified businesses, but few were willing to risk cannibalizing the traditional revenue streams, which at this point were still far bigger and more profitable. And remember, at this time, Schibsted had not yet been rewarded for its early action: its results looked pretty similar to its peers.

In time, of course, bolder action becomes necessary, and executives must commit to nurturing potentially dilutive and small next-horizon businesses in a pipeline of initiatives. Managing such a portfolio requires high tolerance for ambiguity, and it requires executives to adapt to shifting conditions, both inside and outside the company, even as the aspiration to deliver favorable outcomes for shareholders remains constant.11 The difficulty is the tendency to protect the core at the expense of the periphery. Not only are there strong, short-term financial incentives to protect the core, but it’s also often painful to shift focus from core businesses in which one has, understandably enough, an emotional as well as a financial investment.

No small part of the challenge is to accept that the previous status quo is no longer the baseline. Grocery retailer Aldi has disrupted numerous incumbents globally with its low-price model. Aldi’s future success was visible while Aldi was still nascent in the market. Yet many incumbent supermarkets chose to avoid the near-term pain of sharpening entry price points and improving their private-label brands. In hindsight, those moves would have been highly net-present-value positive with respect to avoided loss—as Aldi has continued its strong growth across three continents.

Stage three: The inevitable transformation
By now, the future is pounding on the door. The new model has proved superior to the old, at least for some critical mass of adopters, and the industry is in motion toward it. At this stage of disruption, to accelerate its own transformation, the incumbent’s challenge lies in aggressively shifting resources to the new self-competing ventures it nurtured in stage two. Think of it as treating new businesses like venture-capital investments that only pay off if they scale rapidly, while the old ones are subject to a private-equity-style workout.

Making this tough shift requires surmounting the inertia that can afflict companies even in the best of times.12 In fact, our experience suggests stage three is the hardest one for incumbents to navigate. As company performance starts to suffer, tightening up budgets, established companies naturally tend to cut back even further on peripheral activities while focusing on the core. The top decision makers, who usually come from the biggest business centers, resist having their still-profitable (though more sluggishly growing) domains starved of resources in favor of unproven upstarts. As a result, leadership often under invests in new initiatives, even as it imposes high performance hurdles on them. Legacy businesses continue to receive the lion’s share of resources instead. By this time, the very forces causing pressure in the core make the business even less willing and able to address those forces. The reflex to conserve resources kicks in just when you most need to aggressively reallocate and invest.

Boards play a significant role in this as well. Far too often, boards are unwilling (or unable) to change their view of baseline performance, further exacerbating the problem. Often a board’s (understandable) reaction to reduced performance is to push management even harder to achieve ambitious goals within the current model, ignoring the need for a more fundamental change. This only worsens problems in the future.

Further complicating matters, incumbents with initially strong positions can take false comfort at this stage, because the weaker players in the industry get hit hardest first. The narrative “it is not happening to us” is all too tempting to believe. The key is to monitor closely the underlying drivers, not just the hindsight of financial outcomes. As the tale goes, “I don’t have to outrun the bear . . . I just have to outrun you.” Except when it comes to disruption, that strategy merely buys time. If the bear keeps running, it will get to you, too.

The typical traditional newspaper operator, likewise, wasn’t blind to a shift taking place, but it rarely managed to mount a response that was sufficiently aggressive. One notable exception was former digital laggard Axel Springer. The German media company was “a mere Internet midget,” according to Financial Times Deutschland, until it leapt into action in 2005. It went on a shopping spree, acquiring 67 digital properties and launching 90 initiatives of its own by 2013.13 Like Schibsted, it saw the value pools moving to online classifieds and made the leap. The lesson is that incumbents can win even with a late start, provided that they throw themselves in wholly. Today, digital media contributes 70 percent of Axel Springer’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. The core has become the periphery.

To generate the acceleration needed at this stage of the game, incumbents must embark on a courageous and unremitting reallocation of resources from the old to the new model—and show a willingness to run new businesses differently (and often separately) from the old ones. Perhaps nothing underlines this point more than Axel Springer’s 2013 divestment of some of its strongest legacy print-media products, which accounted for about 15 percent of its sales, to Germany’s number-three print-media player, Funke Mediengruppe. These products, such as the Berliner Morgenpost, owned by Axel Springer since 1959, were previously a core part of the corporate DNA and emblems of its journalistic culture. But no more. They realized that the future value of the business was not just about the continuation of today’s earnings but rather relied on the creation of a new economic engine.

When incumbents lack the in-house capability to build new businesses, they must look to acquire them instead. Here the challenge is to time acquisitions somewhere between where the business model is proved but valuations have yet to become too high—all while making sure the incumbent is a “natural best owner” of the new businesses it acquires. Examples of this approach in the financial sector include BBVA’s acquisition of Simple and Capital One’s acquisition of the design firm Adaptive Path.

Stage four: Adapting to the new normal
In this late stage, the disruption has reached a point when companies have no choice but to accept reality: the industry has fundamentally changed. For incumbents, their cost base isn’t in line with the new (likely much shallower) profit pools, their earnings are caving in, and they find themselves poorly positioned to take a strong market position.

dd 4This is where print media is now. The classifieds’ “rivers of gold” have dried up, making survival the first priority, and sustainability and growth the second. In 2013, the CEO of Australia media company Fairfax Media told the International News Media Association World Congress, “We know that at some time in the future, we will be predominantly digital or digital-only in our metropolitan markets.”14 True, some legacy mastheads have created powerful online news properties with high traffic, but display advertising and paywalls alone are for the most part not enough to generate a thriving revenue line, and social aggregation sites are continuing to drive unbundling. Typical media firms have had to undertake the multiple painful waves of restructuring and consolidation that may be needed while they seed growth and look for ways to monetize their brands.

For the incumbents who, like Axel Springer and Schibsted, have made the leap, the adaptation phase brings new challenges. Having become majority digital businesses, they’re fully exposed to the volatility and pace that comes with the territory. That is, their adaptation response is less a one-time event than a process of continual self-disruption. Think of Facebook upending its business model to go “mobile first.”15 You can’t be satisfied with the first pivot—you have to be prepared to keep doing it.

In some cases, incumbents’ capabilities are so highly tied to the old business model that rebirth through restructuring is unlikely to work, and an exit is the best way to preserve value. Eastman Kodak Company, for example, may have been better off leaving the photography business much faster, because its numerous strategies all failed to save it. When a business is built on a legacy technology that is categorically different from the new standard, even perfect foresight of the demise of film or CDs would not have solved the core problem that the digital replacement is fundamentally less profitable.

The simple fact is that new profit pools may not be as deep as prior ones (as many newspaper publishers have come to believe). The challenge is to adapt and structurally realign cost bases to the new reality of profit pools, and accept that the “new normal” likely includes far fewer “rivers of gold.”

The reality is, most industries are still in stages one, two, and three. That’s why the early experiences of media, music, and travel companies can prove so valuable. These first industries to transition to a digital reality highlight the social and human challenges that by their nature apply to companies in most every industry and geography.

Source: McKinsey.com, June 2016
By: Chris Bradley and Clayton O’Toole
About the authors: Chris Bradley is a principal in McKinsey’s Sydney office, where Clayton O’Toole is a consultant
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What leaders need to know about generational differences

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on June 1st, 2016 by admin

Work–life balance has long been a credo for those who advocate change in the
workplace. Although the concept has led to a certain amount of reform over the
years, it has failed to meet a universal need. One of the competing values of work–
life balance is that it suggests an artificial dichotomy between work and life. For
many, this means when work ends at 5:00 p.m., life begins. Conversely, life ends at
9:00 a.m. and work begins.
It is no wonder Millennials like Nawal—a bubbly, happy-go-lucky, can-do woman—
seek a different style of work. Nawal is a human resources professional at LinkedIn,
but she’s abandoned that title and instead goes by either LinkedIn cheerleader,
new-hire soccer mom, or sometimes resident morale captain. But just because she’s
moving away from conventions doesn’t mean Nawal isn’t committed to her job,
organization, and—most important—the people she works with and supports. In
fact, it’s the opposite.
So what? She came up with some entertaining titles for her job. Who cares? Well,
what’s really at play here is the psychological mind-set of Millennials and how they
generation
view work as they move forward. As a young professional, Nawal wants options—
flexibility in her role, task variety, and a basket full of autonomy. She’s not interested
in a large fancy office isolated from the energy and life at LinkedIn. In fact, she thrives
on the buzz. With all of the passion and dedication she gives to her job, she does ask
for one specific thing in return: control over her time. And who is more familiar with
Nawal’s time than Nawal? She knows when she works best and wants to put this
knowledge to use.
In a recent survey, 63 percent of respondents stated that working a 9 to 5 schedule is
an “outdated concept.” The 9 to 5 work approach has been around since the industrial
revolution. It was adopted for the United States by President Wilson in 1916 and
popularized by Henry Ford when he introduced the assembly line. This approach is
still in effect today, when almost everything else about the landscape of working
America has changed. We have a late-1800s/early-1900s work-week practice and a
twenty-first-century working society.
One of the biggest challenges for leaders today is integrating Millennials, as well as
younger Gen Xers, into the Baby Boomer-established culture. Boomers make up the
majority of leaders in today’s corporate world. They hold the power, control the
decision making, and generally lead the direction of organizational culture. With 51
percent of working Millennials currently in some sort of leadership position, further
discussion is needed to understand the stark contrast between different generations
in how they view work. The values and experiences later generations can offer are
sometimes viewed as different or even radical—but the younger people simply
desire a work environment that is a good match for how they work.
Millennials aren’t the only group of working professionals looking for more out of
their work experience, though. Their values regarding autonomy are innate among
workers of every age and background. Research in motivation and autonomy shows
that when they feel empowered, employees across all generations appreciate it and
demonstrate improved performance. Millennials are just being more vocal about it.
Some people in earlier generations are encountering change in their workplace and
are more likely to work longer hours. Boomers have the most difficult time balancing
their work and personal life. When surveyed, only 57 percent of Boomers felt that
they “can be successful in (their) company/organization while maintaining a healthy
balance between work and personal life.” This is different from Gen Xers (63 percent)
and Millennials (66 percent). Boomers tend to have a traditional way of looking at
business, having been indoctrinated to the mantra of “be the first one in the office,
work hard, look good, and be the last person to leave.” Due to these different mindsets
between generations, some approaches to leadership need to be flexible to fit
with who is being led.
Millennials have been pushing for a transition in the way work is generally viewed in
the workplace. Instead of a balance between work and life, they simply fuse them
together into life. And they have embraced this change and adapted it to current
working conditions. It’s a flexibility-by-design approach to work. This kind of work
style advocates a fully organic work and life experience: 100 percent work and 100
percent life.
Flexibility and autonomy at its core, this philiosophy trusts individuals to manage
their own time and work, whether it is working a long day to finish a project or
taking off a few hours on a Friday to visit family. There’s no separation between work
and life, between formal and informal; instead, it’s about the needs of the individual.
When an employer embraces this flexible style, it’s as if they are saying, “We hired
you because you are good at what you do, and we’re going to let you keep doing
that.” Workers feel as if they can be themselves whether they’re at work, at home, by
the pool, or with a client. They don’t bring their whole self only to work—they are
able to be themselves always, in all ways.
As an example of an organization that is fully on board with flexible working styles,
Google has become famous for its indoor slide—not just for display, but for people
to actually use. They bring aspects of life into the workplace with nap pods, diner
booths, and free food. Breaking down the 9 to 5 structure also promotes a fun,
positive environment—and who doesn’t like a fun, positive environment? A recent
survey conducted by Accenture says this about Millennials: “A full 60 percent of 2015
graduates and 69 percent of 2013 and 2014 grads (would) rather work for a company
that has a positive social atmosphere, even if it means lower pay.” Understanding the
Millennial philosophy helps recruit, mentor, and keep these bright young people
working for you.
Practically speaking, an intuitive way organizations have been providing flexibility is
by implementing project-based teams. With project-based work, there are clear,
usually longer-term expectations and high accountability: get X amount of work
done by Y time. There’s no short-term “take your lunch at 12:00 sharp,” “get penalized
if you’re two minutes late” type of micromanaging. This provides Millennials and
other generations the autonomy to manage their own time efficiently while they
complete tasks. Some people may take work home or work late into the night, while
others may take a day off here and there. But in the end, if the project goals are
SMART and the vision is clear, they will get the work done on time.
The United States military has been operating with this work-style model for some
time and it has proven to be one of the most efficient and flexible working
approaches ever created. A whole battalion of troops can be set up and ready for
deployment in another country, fully operable and capable of completing any
mission, within 72 hours. However, the flexible work model hasn’t always been a
viable option for organizations. In a classic organizational model, companies were
extremely hierarchical, with much of the information resting at the top and a
mentality of the one who holds the information holds the power. Employees relied
heavily on upper management, acting on direct orders without understanding the
big picture. This ideology still exists in some organizations, and it can still be
profitable and successful. However, younger generations are generally not attracted
to this form. Instead, they are attracted to fast-paced yet relaxed organizations that
provide autonomy and flexibility, viewing them as progressive and forward thinking.
Millennials also prefer a management style of “stay out of my way unless I don’t know
what I’m doing, then I’ll call you repeatedly until I reach you.” Let them work hard on
their own schedule, but don’t leave them hanging when they need support. The
flexible work perspective didn’t happen by accident. It has been formed through
years of pursuing varying methods toward a more positive, productive, peoplecentered
work experience. Strength-based coaching, positive psychology, and virtual
work spaces, among other practices, have created a framework for this approach.
This stems from Millennials’ overwhelming belief that organizations should focus on
people and purpose rather than fixating on profits, office politics, and corporate
agendas. In other words, they have moved from a systems-and-process-based
approach to a very personalized, people-centered approach.
People-centered leadership, a method that applies to all generations, has created a
forum for progress in our current working landscape. It’s more than just an idea or
philosophy—it’s the future of work. The change is already taking place. From
Millennials to Generation X to Boomers to the Silent Generation, understanding the
values of each generation can go a long way toward meeting the needs of every
person in the workforce.

Source: Kenblanchard.com
Author: Gus Jaramillo
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