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warehouse1Reducing the fragility of global Supply Chains in the event of disruption through natural or other disasters is a major concern for most senior executives.  This rings true more so now than ever, as the world grapples with COVID-19, the worst human health crisis in 100 years.

The strategies to enhance the effectiveness and readiness level of Supply Chains and to reduce risks associated with disruption come with a price.  These costs are critical to build Supply Chain Resilience across all industries.

However, these expenses are, generally, considered a hindrance in the implementation of risk reduction strategies by many leaders.  This is one of the major factor that precludes them from anticipating and managing Supply Chain Risks.

Able leaders anticipate these risks and invest in building organizational resilience.  They leverage a couple of potent Supply Chain Risk Reduction Strategies that have nominal impact on cost efficiency but offer substantial reduction of disruption risks:

  1. Diversify supply base
  2. Overestimate likelihood of disruptions

Diversify Supply Base

It is vital for organizations to diversify their supplier base to avoid disruption of their Supply Chains in the event of a natural disaster.  Manufacturers have been found to have been using pooling—combining resources, inventory and capacity by maintaining fewer distribution centers—and producing common parts to help reduce costs.  However, too much pooling and commonality can make the Supply Chain vulnerable to disruption.

For instance, relying too much on a single supplier and common parts—in an effort to be as lean and efficient as possible—became a Supply Chain Analysis nightmare and cost Toyota billions of dollars in terms of lost sales and product recalls in 2010.  Back then, the auto manufacturer was counting on a single supplier for a common part for many of its car models, which was effective in curtailing costs, but turned out to be a disaster.

Organizational leadership should evaluate the trade-offs between having a leaner and efficient Supply Chain—with common parts and single suppliers—and preparing for and reducing the risks of disruptions.  Minimizing the number of distribution centers offers diminishing marginal returns for Supply Chain Performance and increases the Supply Chain Fragility.  Creating little bit of commonality presents significant advantages, but when more parts are made common the benefits shrink and it rather becomes detrimental.

The key for senior leaders is to find an optimal balance between resource pooling, creating common parts, and deciding on whether to decentralize or centralize their Supply Chains.  Decentralization (e.g., by having multiple warehouses or plants) increases costs as it requires more inventory, but it does curtail the effect of disruption significantly.  Centralization or pooling of resources, on the other hand, reduces total costs, but the cost again goes up by centralizing beyond a reasonable degree.  Recurrent Supply Chain Risks necessitate focusing more on centralization and pooling of resources and commonality of parts, while rare disruptive risks necessitate decentralization.  Achieving a state of equilibrium between pooling of resources, parts commonality or fewer plants helps keep Supply Chain Risks low.  Ignoring the possibility of disruption can be very expensive in the long term.  Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. always maintain at least two suppliers, no matter if the second supplier supplies only a fraction of the volume.

Overestimate Likelihood of Disruptions

The risk of disruption of supply chains due to any unforeseen event is typically considered a rare possibility and goes unaccounted for during planning by most executives.  A fire break out at a distribution center, defective auto part, or a supplier’s facility closure for a prolonged period of time can happen anywhere, but we tend to underestimate the likelihood of such events.  The reason for this is attributed to the requirement of assigning a significant chunk of investments upfront from the already limited resources and budgets, to prepare for and mitigate likely disruptive risks.

Most of our typical risk assessment measures involve approximating the probability and the likely damage caused by an event.  Estimating the likelihood of disruptive risk to a reliable degree isn’t easy even for large multinationals—even an auto manufacturer like Toyota could not anticipate the occurrence of the part failure issue until the damage had been done.  These risk estimations do not have to be strictly precise.  Rough estimates of disruption risk are fine—any small mis-estimates that occur have negligible consequences.

Senior leadership needs to cautiously contemplate the areas that are likely to get affected the most due to potential disruption.  Building resilience does not cost much for large organizations.  In the long term, doing nothing costs much more than investing in preparing for a probable disruption.  When disruption occurs, the loss incurred greatly exceeds the amount of saving executives save by not investing in risk mitigation strategies.

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Supply Chains often get disrupted by calamities that are beyond human control.  Natural disasters, such as tsunamis and floods, in the last decade have drastically affected major businesses—from automobiles to technology, to travel, to shipments—and exposed critical weaknesses in Supply Chain mechanisms around the globe.  And, now, we are living through a global disruption of an unparalleled nature, COVID-19.

Organizations that rely on single-source suppliers, common parts, and centralized inventories are more susceptible to the risk of disruption.

Management in most cases is aware of its responsibility to prevent their Supply Chains from getting disrupted by ensuring measures such as keeping enhanced stocks, improving capacity at discrete facilities, and choosing multiple sources.  But these measures have a negative effect on Supply Chain cost efficiencies.

However, discerning the effects of costly Supply Chain disruptions is one thing and taking actions to avoid such situations or mitigating their undesirable effects is another.  Managing Supply Chain risks necessitates careful evaluation of the impact that these measures have on Supply Chain cost efficiencies and bottom line.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clearer than ever that Supply Chain Management must also involve this form of Risk Management.

Supply Chain Efficiency entails improving the financial performance of an organization and focusing on improving the way we manage supply and demand.  Demand fluctuations or supply delays are independent and can be typically tackled by having appropriate inventory levels in the right place, better planning and implementation, and improving Supply Chain Cost Efficiency.

Supply Chain Containment

Supply Chains are complex operations encompassing many products or commodities that are sourced, manufactured or stored in multiple locations.  These complexities can slash efficiency, cause delays, suspension of operations, and increased risk of disruption.  Containing complexities brings higher cost efficiencies and reduced risks.

Supply Chain Containment ensures that Supply Chain disruptions caused by internal factors or through natural hazards are contained within a portion of the Supply Chain.  A single Supply Chain for the entire organization seems cost effective in the short term, but even a small issue can trigger a disaster.

Supply Chain Containment Strategies

Supply Chain Containment Strategies are useful for the organizations to design and deploy solutions fairly quickly in the event of disruption through natural disasters.  The objective is to limit the impact of disruption through disasters to a minimum—to just a portion and not the entire Supply Chain.

For instance, in order to reduce the impact of parts shortage, a mechanical parts manufacturer should arrange multiple supply sources for common items or limit the number of common items across different models.  To reduce Supply Chain instability and to improve financial performance, organizations can use the following containment strategies:

  1. Supply Chain Segmentation
  2. Supply Chain Regionalization

Supply Chain Segmentation

The basis for Supply Chain segmentation are volume, product diversity and demand uncertainty.  High margin but low-volume products with high-demand uncertainty warrant keeping Supply Chains flexible, with capacity that is centralized to aggregate demand.  Manufacturing everything in high-cost locations is detrimental to profit margins.  Sourcing responsive suppliers from Europe is a model feasible for trendy high-end items only.  For fast-moving, low margin, basic products it is sensible to source from multiple low-cost suppliers.  Centralization is favorable in case of fewer segments, significant product variety, low sales volumes of individual products, and high demand uncertainty to achieve reasonable levels of performance.  Decentralization is suitable in case of higher sales volumes, less demand uncertainty, and more segments, to help become more responsive to local markets and reduce the risk of disruption.  For instance, utility companies utilize low-cost coal-fired power plants to handle predictable demand, whereas employ higher-cost gas- and oil-fired power plants to handle uncertain peak demand.

Supply Chain Regionalization

Supply Chain Regionalization helps curtail the impact of losing supply from a plant within the region.  For instance, Japanese automakers were badly hit by shortage of parts globally in the event of 2011 tsunami, since most of these parts could be sourced only from storage and distribution facilities in the tsunami-affected regions.  Had they operated with decentralized regional Supply Chains with logistics centers dispersed in various locations they would have significantly contained the impact of disruption.

Supply Chain Regionalization lowers distribution costs while also reducing risks in global Supply Chains.  During periods of low fuel and transportation costs, global Supply Chains minimize costs by locating production where the costs are the lowest.  As transportation costs rise, global Supply Chains may be replaced by regional Supply Chains.  Regionalized Supply Chains with same inventory stored in multiple locations appear wasteful, but are more robust in case one of the logistics centers suffers from a disaster.

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Process FlowUnsuccessful software applications cost organizations significant efforts and resources.  The reasons for these failed ventures are often attributed to technology issues.  However, the real issue is flaws in business processes—the enterprise application deployment environment and the ecosystem which the application targets.

This calls for ensuring the organizational readiness before initiating technology deployment.  It is for this reason the Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM) originated.  BPMM helps achieve uniform standards, identify weaknesses in workflows, and create standardized tailored processes that simplify the requirements for enterprise applications.

BPMM’s roots can be traced back to the Process Maturity Framework (PMF) created by Watts Humphrey and his colleagues at IBM in the late 1980s.  Process Maturity Framework explores the ways to introduce quality practices in software development.  Humphrey and his colleagues introduced incremental stages to adopting best practices in software organization.  The PMF served as the groundwork for the development of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) for software in 1991.  CMM then became the foremost standard for appraising the capability of software development organizations.

BPMM ensures the success of enterprise systems by providing proven methods for system requirements validity; accuracy of use cases, and effectiveness of applications; simplification of requirements for enterprise applications; and providing a reliable standard for appraising the maturity of business process workflows.

The Guiding Principles for BPMM

BPMM considers processes as workflows across organizational boundaries.  The key guiding principles governing BPMM are:

  • A process should be analyzed in terms of its contribution to organizational objectives.
  • It depends on the organizational ability to sustain efficient processes.
  • Process Improvement should be ideally executed as a phased Transformation endeavor that aims to achieve successively more predictable states of organizational capability.
  • Each stage or maturity level works as a groundwork to build future improvements.

BPMM Utility

BPMM has the following 4 primary utilities.

  • To drive business process improvement initiatives
  • To gauge enterprise application deployment risks
  • To ensure selection of capable suppliers
  • To Benchmark

BPMM – Conformance

Evaluating the BPMM conformance is about ensuring that the implemented system meets the needs of the client.  Verification of conformance necessitates an effective appraisal technique to gather multiple forms of evidence to evaluate the performance of the practices contained in the BPMM.

The BPMM conformance appraisal should be headed by an authorized Lead Appraiser—external to the organization, trained in BPMM as well as appraisal methods.  The team under the lead appraiser should include some members internally from the organization.  The BPMM conformance appraisal team gathers and analyzes evidence regarding the implementation of BPMM practices, judges their strengths and weaknesses, and gauges their effectiveness in meeting the goals of the process areas at respective maturity levels.

The following evidence is utilized during BPMM conformance appraisals:

  • Review of outputs produced as a result of a process.
  • Review of objects, documents, products supporting the execution of a process.
  • Interviews with individuals that perform a process and those who support and manage it.
  • Quantitative data that depicts the organizational state, employee behaviors, performance, and results of a process.

BPMM Conformance Appraisals

BPMM Conformance Appraisals help assure the implementation of practices at a level that achieve the intent and goals of the practices and their process areas.  BPMM conformance appraisals are of 4 distinct types:

  • Starter Appraisal:  An inexpensive BPMM conformance appraisal—which takes only a few days—that entails gathering quantitative data by conducting few interviews.
  • Progress Appraisal:  An extensive appraisal that entails quantitative data collection, investigation of all process areas and practices, review of artifacts, and analysis of interviews.
  • Supplier Appraisal:  An appraisal method to select sources and to make informed decisions during procurement contracts.
  • Confirmatory Appraisal:  A rigorous investigation of all process areas / practices where all evidence is accounted for.

BPMM – Maturity Levels

BPMM encompasses 5 maturity levels that signify the transformation of an organization on the basis of improvements in its processes and capabilities.  BPMM Maturity levels 2, 3, 4, and 5 each contain 2 or more process areas, whereas the Maturity level 1 does not contain any process areas.  The 5 successive levels of BPMM are:

  1. Initial

The focus of the BPMM level 1 is on achieving economy of scale, automation, and productivity growth by encouraging people to overcome challenges and complete their tasks.

  1. Managed

The 2nd maturity level aims at developing repeatable practices, minimizing rework, and satisfying commitments — by managing work units and controlling workforce commitments.

  1. Standardized

The focus of the 3rd maturity level of BPMM is to accomplish standardization in terms of business processes, measures, and training for product and service offerings.

  1. Predictable

The 4th maturity level aims at achieving stable processes, knowledge management, reusable practices, and predictable results.  Organizations accomplish these results through standardization and managing processes and results quantitatively.

  1. Innovating

The focus of the organizations operating at the highest maturity level of BPMM is on implementing continuous improvements, developing efficient processes, and inculcating innovation.

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Organizations today are spending money on the latest technologies and working hard to solve problems as they arise. Yet, sad to say, this is simply not enough.

Today, to get on top of today’s fiercely competitive business environment, organizations need to take a strategic move: Develop an Innovation Mindset. What is an Innovation Mindset? What does it take to develop an Innovation Mindset? Often, this can be mindboggling as we get confused as to understanding what is an Innovation Mindset. Developing an Innovation Mindset is never the mere act or intent of investing in technology. It goes beyond spending money on the latest technology.

Developing an Innovation Mindset is to undergo the transformation from an innovation-averse to a forward-thinking organization.

Understanding an Innovation Mindset: What It Takes to Develop One

Developing an Innovation Mindset requires scaling innovations repeatedly and making it grow as fast as others. Companies need to depart from adopting technologies as point solutions to evolving future systems. This can be achieved by cultivating the mindset and methods of the top 10%.

The top 10% are the Leaders in Innovation Management that are already enjoying a considerable head start and are not standing still. The systems they have put in place are specifically designed to not only accommodate innovations but also scale them across the enterprise.

Developing an Innovation Mindset Starts with the Right Tools

To foster than Innovation Mindset, we need to put in place 5 key principles.

These 5 principles can provide organizations the foundation on developing Innovation Mindsets.  There first 2 are defined as:

  1. Adopt technologies that make the organization fast and flexible. Consumers now demand that companies are fast and flexible. The market is getting impatient when there are delays and so structured that it ceases to be an organization with a Customer-centric Design. Principle 1 focuses on making organizations fast and flexible. Achieving this call for efficient use of decoupling data, infrastructure, and applications to achieve greater flexibility and a faster-moving IT culture.
  1. Get grounded in cloud computing. This principle is focused on catalyzing innovation. Adopting this principle will enable organizations to maximize the use of the cloud to successfully utilize other technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and analytics.

There are 3 other principles that organizations must take notice of and focus on. The other 3 principles are recognizing data as being both an asset and a liability, managing technology investments well across the enterprise, and finding creative ways to nurture talent.
Integrating these principles in the organization’s journey towards Digital Transformation will promote the development of an Innovation Mindset. When this happens, we can expect our organization to keep up with the pace and catch up.

What Does It Take to Have an Innovation Mindset

Developing an Innovation Mindset has led leaders to take command and be in-charge of market demands. Leaders are adopting DevOps, automation, and continuous integration/continuous deployment at a faster rate than Laggards. Let us take a look at a Travel Industry disruptor. The company migrated its platform to microservice as part of decoupling initiatives.

As a result of taking this initiative, rapid response to change was achieved. This also enhanced its capability to add new features as the company experiences explosive growth.

Let us take a look at a more internationally recognized company: Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay), the Alibaba Group’s financial arm. The organization embedded cloud services and AI across multiple processes and product lines. Furthermore, AI capabilities were offered to external ecosystem partners.

Today, Ant Financial can instantly assess the credit risks of underserved people who may not have bank accounts and even target them with loan offers. The overall cost was reduced by 50% and the company experienced a 10-fold increase in daily visitors.

Developing an Innovation Mindset is key.

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Post-merger Integration is a highly complex process. It requires swift action as well as running the core business activities simultaneously.  There is no one-size-fits-pic 1 PMI Day One Activitiesall approach to a successful PMI Process. However, careful planning focusing on the strategic objectives of the deal and the identification and capturing of synergies will help maximize deal value.

It is inevitable that some elements of information will be withheld from a Buyer pre-deal. Further, not all the synergy benefits originally identified in the deal will prove to be achievable. The foremost challenge for management at the onset of the PMI process is to identify how value can be captured from the newly combined organization via synergies and cost savings.

Understanding Post-merger Integration

Post-merger Integration is the fundamental stage of realizing the value of an M&A deal.  A highly complex process, it entails bringing together 2 companies experiencing change while ensuring that business continues as usual.  A truly challenging undertaking that must never be underestimated.

When 2 companies agree to undertake a Post-merger Integration, its primary objective is to maximize synergies to ensure that the deal lives up to its predicted value. It is a phase during which the results of the Buyer’s M&A strategy and expectations for the closed deal start to materialize.

In the entire phase, Closing and Day One of change is the most critical. It is the initial starting point towards the change of ownership and where Strategy Development is at its core.

Closing and Day One

During Closing and Day One, Managers must focus on 3 important areas.

  1. Communications. Corporate Communications must be well planned and well implemented. This is to enable managers to lead an M&A project more effectively. Through structured communication, trust is built, motivation developed, and important information shared. In fact, it can prevent the negative impact of rumors and unify the different parts of the joint company.
  1. Operating Structure. New operating structures and systems are made once the joint company’s strategy and goals have been agreed upon. From Day One, it is important that new management and operational structure/reporting procedures are clearly communicated. In the development of the operating structure, it is important that a CEO has been appointed, the key personnel roles decided, and there is already an agreement on operative and statutory structures.
  1. Systems & Controls. A clear and detailed Systems & Controls must be established by Day One. This is essential for management to be able to gain control of the operations of the Target. If operational structures are not finalized at this point, a temporary management system and control need to be established.

The Important Role of a CEO and Key Personnel from Day One

The CEO plays a vital role in the joint business. The CEO or Managing Director is involved in the acquisition process.  Hence, it is important that from Day One, a CEO or Managing Director has already been appointed.

Often the CEO comes from the Buyer or its group or corporate entity.  If an existing CEO of the acquired entity continues the same role, then the Buyer must nominate a controller to ensure financial integration and smooth reporting.

The Key Personnel is also essentially important from Day One.  In fact, there is a need for positions and roles of key personnel during the integration process to be planned in advance and communicated at closing.

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Today’s C-suite is making a significant investment in new technologies.  Yet, it is failing to achieve full value. Technologies are being deployed in pockets or silos pic 1 Innovation Leadership Mindsetwithout a Strategy for scaling the Innovation from these technologies across the enterprise. Unable to scale their Innovation, organizations are not realizing the full benefits of their technology investments.

An Innovation Achievement Gap exists. What is the Innovation Achievement Gap? This is the difference between potential and realized value from technology investments. When new technology does not achieve its full value, the Innovation Achievement Gap exists.

What Companies are Facing Today

The enormous challenge of Innovation Management with legacy systems is facing companies today.  The conventional IT stack is not built or designed for the world of tomorrow. These are our software applications, data, hardware, telecommunications, facilities, and data centers.  Today’s cloud-oriented world is full of analytics.  There are sensors, mobile computing, AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and billions of devices. Digital Transformation is changing the face ob business.

True, companies have started in the cloud. But the systems have not been adopted at the pace of technological change.  As a result, there are distinct Leaders and Laggards when it comes to the adoption and penetration of technologies. Leaders are seeing more than 2X the revenue growth of Laggards. Laggards, on the other hand, often adopt technologies as individual point solutions without a strategy for enabling systems than can achieve enterprise-wide, game-changing innovation. While they might have pockets of brilliance, Laggards cannot maximize the value achieved. To be a Leader is to have an Innovation Leadership Mindset.

Simply said, adopting technologies does not guarantee success. This requires a systematic and sequential strategy in line with Next-gen Enterprise Systems. This needs an Innovation Leadership Mindset.

Doing Things Differently: The Innovation Leadership Mindset

Leaders differ much from Laggards. Embedded within their whole being is the Innovation Leadership Mindset.

Having an Innovation Leadership Mindset is clicking the future into place. There are 4 core pillars of the Innovation Leadership Mindset.  Let’s define the first 2:

  1. Invest in innovation. Leaders invest more in innovation. Organizations with Innovation Leadership Mindset direct a greater percentage of its IT budget toward innovation.  They accelerate investment innovation over the next 5 years. Leaders are far advanced from Laggards when it comes to investing in innovations. Leaders invest 93% on innovation and are expected to increase this to 97% in the next 5 years. On the other hand, laggards invest only 64% on innovation with a planned investment of 74% in the next 5 years.
  1. Develop Innovation Systems. Leaders show a consistently higher rate of technology adoption.  Organizations with Innovation Leadership Mindset adopt new technologies earlier and develop higher levels of expertise. They prioritize and sequence implementation in optimal ways. Leaders have been found to adopt a fundamental general-purpose technology at a rate of 98%. An example of this is Artificial Intelligence. Laggards, on the other hand, have faith in a fast follower approach. They take technology haphazardly leading to patchwork across the organization.

There are 2 other core pillars that are equally important. One is Scale Technology Innovation and the other is Evolve Next-gen Enterprise Systems.  Leaders that set their sights on innovating at scale target 3 times more business processes with technologies. Leaders have also drummed up their resources towards building the Next-gen Enterprise Systems.

Next-gen Enterprise Systems are systems that are capable of repeatable and scalable innovations. It is Boundaryless, Adaptable, and Radically Human. Outpacing others calls for organizations to start envisioning their own version of Boundaryless, Adaptable, and Radically Human Next-gen Enterprise Systems.

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“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwellpic 1 leadership presence

Many people in a position of authority struggle with their Leadership Presence. They have adopted the kind of persona that they assume a leader is supposed to have: a TED Talk cadence, authoritative body language, studied informality, and a package of carefully curated slides. Yet, in adopting this stance it showed that you are not authentic and people will assume your message is not either.

The biggest challenge of leaders and aspiring leaders is to inspire and motivate people to take the right action on behalf of themselves and the group. This is the challenge of Leadership Development today. Leadership Presence has become the face of today’s leadership. An authentic leader does not mean just “winging it” or saying whatever you feel. Being an authentic leader now requires an ability to transform impulse into insights, articulate these insights to fulfill a purpose, and to build the needed relationship. Authentic leadership must be able to build trust. And an authentic leader must have Leadership Presence.

What is Leadership Presence?

Leadership Presence is the ability to communicate what needs to be said in a way that inspires people to join their leaders.

Leaders or aspiring leaders at any level must inspire and motivate people so that they can take the right action on behalf of themselves and their group. Hence, it is important that a leader must have a strong presence and not just at conferences but in every interaction. As a leader, every aspect of your presence – your physical self, your intellect, your voice, and your emotions – is intimately bound up with your message.

Sharpening our Core: The 10 Core Principles of Leadership Presence

To have Leadership Presence, a leader needs to inculcate within themselves the 10 Core Principles of Leadership Presence. These are the principles that will enable the authentic leader to raise the bar of excellence when it comes to inspiring and motivating people to reach their greatest potential.

There are 10 Core Principles. Let us take a look at 2 of the 10 Core Principles.

  1. Communicate in a holistic manner. Principle 1 is focused on forming a single impression of the leader and their message. To communicate in a holistic manner, one needs to think of the intellect, emotions, and body as one. Often, people evaluate integrity and veracity together with the person’s posture, tone of voice, and mood. Never has it happened that people gauge a person only on one specific aspect; often, it is the entirety of the whole being. This is why there is a need to emphasize the importance of communicating in a holistic manner. When a leader communicates in a holistic manner, this will increase the recognition of emotions, reasoning, and actions. It will also lead to more honesty and authenticity. You can just imagine the impact it will have on your people.
  1. Focus on what matters most. The second principle is focusing on what matters most. It is speaking only what is important. Focusing on what is important means focusing on what needs to be accomplished and what the listeners care about. When leaders start focusing on what matters most, there will be a clearer conviction, willingness to invest time and resources, and greater aspiration for others.

Achieving Leadership Presence: Putting the Principles into Action

Achieving Leadership Presence takes a conscious effort to change and take command of what is important. Leadership Presence is achieved once we start putting the 10 Core Principles into action. Principle 1 requires recognizing connections among our emotions, reasoning, and actions. We need to work out these elements to be able to improve the overall impact. Getting a coach to help us go through the process will help a lot.

Adapting Principle 2 requires figuring out what we care about and why. We need to think about its connection to our purpose and our listeners. And once we do this, we need to commit to it wholeheartedly.

Once we learn Principles 3 to 10, this will further sharpen our leadership capability and build within us the ability to establish a unique sense of Leadership that is unique, authentic, and inspiring.

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Time for change

Business environment has transformed drastically from what it was a century ago.  It has become immensely challenging due to competition, disruptive technologies, laws, and globalization.  These challenges warrant better performance to address customer needs and to survive—and outpace—intense competition.  Consequently, organizations have become complex.

The work that individuals perform in an organization has also shifted from manual labor and clerical jobs to knowledge-based experiential tasks.  Traditional workforce was required to adhere to commands and stick to routines, whereas today’s workforce needs to be more empowered, innovative, able to adapt to varying circumstances, and render sound judgment.

Adapting with the constantly changing business environment is essential for organizations aspiring to succeed in today’s competitive markets.  In order to stay competitive, more and more organizations across the globe are undertaking Business Transformation programs to reorganize their businesses.  However, a large percentage of such programs fail to achieve the desired outcomes.

For the Organizational Design to be successful, leaders need to be mindful of the revolutionized work settings and business environment of this age.  One of the major factors attributed to these failure rates is utilizing traditional approaches to reorganization, which are proving ineffective in this digital age.  These traditional approaches appreciate “level of control” and power, and underestimate the significance of employee autonomy and innovation. 

The Smart Design Approach to Organization Design

Today’s Knowledge Economy necessitates the employees to be more empowered to decide on their own than merely following commands.  People act in ways that are best for their own interests.  The new approach to reorganization—termed Smart Organizational Design—aligns the workforce’s best interests with the organizational mission rather than seeking control over the employees.  The focus is on changing the environment (context) and mindsets of employees willingly and instilling team work and cooperation, thereby enhancing organizational performance considerably.

The Smart Organizational Design approach entails classifying the existing workforce behaviors, ascertaining the desired behaviors critical to improve performance, and providing environment (context) favorable to develop new behaviors.  The approach encompasses 3 main steps:

  1. Define why reorganization is necessary (objective)
  2. Determine the behaviors critical to support reorganization
  3. How to execute the Smart Organizational Design

Let’s dig deeper into the second step.

Determine the behaviors critical to support reorganization

The next step involves the leadership to determine the “what” element of the Smart Organizational Design approach—i.e., definition of certain behaviors critical to achieve the transformation purpose.  Determining the desired behaviors necessitates thinking through the following 4 critical Smart Organizational Design aspects.  These 4 design aspects work in tandem to shift the environment (context) for the workforce and motivate them to embrace the new behaviors crucial for improved performance:

  • The Organizational Structure aspect—pertains to management reporting lines, spans of control, and layers of hierarchy.
  • The Roles and Responsibilities aspect interprets individual and shared accountabilities to cultivate teamwork and cooperation.
  • The Individual Talent aspect specifies the right skill set and motivation to perform responsibilities of each role effectively.
  • The Organizational Enablers aspect outlines the elements necessary for creating the right context (environment) for embracing the desired behaviors, i.e., decision processes, performance management, and talent management.

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No free lunch was ever served quickly. Traditional supply chain cannot offer both low prices and fast delivery.pic 1 Agility in Supply Chain Delivery Design

Online retailing has changed. Before, we see e-commerce companies fulfilling consumer demand from a small number of large-scale warehouses that carried a similar catalog of items. Inventory for low-volume products was maintained in a few locations as possible while maintaining service levels that met customer expectations.

Today, consumers are demanding more than just low prices. Consumers are also demanding that products ordered be delivered quickly. As a result, the demand for quick day delivery is now pushing retailers to experiment with new Strategy Development and operation models. Notably, known retailers such as Amazon.com, Nordstrom, and Macy’s are redesigning their distribution networks. Retailers today have recognized that the terms of competition have changed.

The Shift from Traditional Online Retailing to Fourth Industrial Revolution: Why the Need for Agility in Supply Chain Network Design

The early days of online retailing were not as competitive as today. Inventory costs were kept low and economies of scale that large fulfillment centers provide are taken advantage of. Consumers were willing to wait for deliveries as proximity and speed were less important than cost savings.

But today, customer expectations go beyond lower prices. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has changed the terms of competition in online retailing.

Achieving same-day delivery has moved retailers to use third parties (local city-specific delivery services) and crowdsourcing (paying individuals by the task to shop for and deliver groceries). Retailers are also looking at setting up physical lockers where customers can retrieve their packages or use of physical store networks to fulfill online orders. Others are adding warehouses near major urban markets and IT solutions are now being used to access real-time sales data and inventory information.

The chain in the online retailing landscape has changed and there is now an increasing need to achieve Agility in Supply Chain Network Design.

Understanding Agility in Supply Chain Network Design

What is putting Agility in Supply Chain Network Design or Distribution Agility? It is the ability to invest in real-time sales and inventory information, coupled with advanced analytics to accommodate fluctuations and changes in the business environment quickly. This is Agility in Supply Chain Network Design.

Putting Agility in Supply Chain Network Design requires a 3-phase process. Let us take a look at one of the 3 phases: The First Phase.

The First Phase is to Reinvent Network Design Thinking. This phase has an important implication on cost performance as they relate to customers. It requires redesigning the physical distribution network and the information network for it to be able to support the Supply Chain Network Design. The first phase ensures that the real-time information system is in place that incorporates data on sales by time and location.

Once the first phase is undertaken, this will facilitate an immediate response to agile and traditional systems. This is what Amazon.com Inc. did. Amazon opened 43 small-scale delivery stations and 53 hubs to augment a distribution network of 101 fulfillment centers and 29 sorting centers. They applied real-time stock visibility across the network and intelligent product replenishment and fulfillment to mitigate the cost of trade-off. As a result, it allowed them to effectively and immediately respond to changing consumer demands. While not all online retailers can be like Amazon, yet all can have an Agile Supply Chain Network to make them competitive in today’s digital era of Business Transformation.

Putting the other 2 phases in place will complete the entire process of ensuring an Agile Supply Chain Network Design. Why is agility important? Agility in Supply Chain addresses the outmoded conflict between low prices and fast delivery. It enables organizations to build strategies that can make adjustments both at the planning and operation levels.

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In today’s digital age, organizations are faced with the changing nature of the demand curve and the element of uncertainty in the supply chain. For operations pic 1 Digital Supply Chain Strategyteams, the challenge and competitive advantage have become: How well do you respond and execute against ongoing uncertainty.

With the world being so unpredictable, chaos is now the new normal. Timetables and priorities have shifted. A supplier fails to deliver. Demands on supply chains are increasing exponentially. A few years ago, supply chain performance was all about batch quantities, timetables, and lead times. Today, millions of packages are shipped in a day, with many with just only a few items.

In the face of this upheaval, supply chains try to predict what will happen, then optimize performance against plan. Most often, those plans are not met. The path forward demands a bold leap in supply chain performance.

Business in the Midst of the Digital Age.

Chaos is the new normal. This is the central challenge companies have to contend with today. Demand on the Supply Chain is increasing exponentially whereas Supply Chain performance before used to be all about batch quantities, timetables, and lead times. Today, times have changed.

Business Transformation has become pertinent. Timetables and priorities have shifted and, in fact, suppliers are now finding themselves unable to deliver at the required time demanded by the market. Whereas before deliveries were in batch quantities, today millions of packages are shipped every day with many having just a few items. Customers are now encouraged to order multiple sizes and colors of the same items, choose what they like best and return the rest.

In this upheaval, Supply Chains must respond accordingly. There have been attempts to predict what will happen with performance being optimized against the plan. Companies are increasingly investing in Supply Chain capabilities. Yet, these have triggered nonproductive finger-pointing and disappointing results.

Something is missing. A Supply Chain Strategy, as part of Strategy Development, is now essential to be able to pursue a bold leap in Supply Chain performance.

The Digital Supply Chain Strategy

The Digital Supply Chain Strategy is the new approach to Supply Chain resilience. This is best undertaken using a 2-prong approach.

  1.  Sense and Pivot. A Supply Chain Strategy, Sense and Pivot focuses on building adaptability of Supply Chains. When this is undertaken, it will allow organizations to create greater flexibility across the Supply Chains. New processes, governance, and ways of working will be developed that will leverage technological capabilities being advanced. Significantly, it will make planning, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics more adaptive toward demand volatility, customer expectations for personalization, and an increasingly unpredictable operation environment.
  2. Digitize and Automate. Digitize and Automate is another Digital Supply Chain Strategy that is focused on building the capability of the Supply Chain to execute against the plan. When this is undertaken and effectively executed and implemented, organizations can expect a better informed, more frictionless, more cost-efficient, and capable Supply Chain. Further, it will enable organizations to undertake more informed Strategic Planning as more accurate forecasts are achieved.

The Digital Age calls for a new approach to Supply Chain Resilience.

The Importance of Supply Chain Resilience

Why is Supply Chain Resilience important today? In today’s digital age, companies can expect to encounter potential disruptions. These potential disruptions can effectively be addressed using the best strategy. Automation and smart software are effective tools for minimizing disruptions on business operations. Embracing digital advancements will provide organizations real-time data for a more reliable supply value chain. Definitely, there will be integration challenges. But the use of Digital Age Supply Chain Strategies will guide companies to counter these potential disruptions and challenges.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Digital Supply Chain Strategy? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Digital Supply Chain Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.