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9253825882?profile=RESIZE_400xDo people always follow a rational linear process to come to a decision?  Studies have suggested that a combination of Decision Making Models are used by people to reach quality decisions.

Strategic Decision Making is a complex process with a lot riding on those decisions.  Eliminating risk from Decision Making is unthinkable but radically enhancing chances of success is a realistic goal.

In making Strategic Decisions, executives tend to rely only on those Decision Support Tools they know best.  The usage of non-optimal Decision Support Tools is, in part, due to lack of knowledge about which tools work best in a particular scenario and, in part, due to lack of information regarding what tools are available out there.

Having access to a variety of Decision Support Tools increases the likelihood of making a successful decision provided the decision maker has knowledge of which tool to employ or a combination thereof in various scenarios.

The following 5 Decision Support Tools or their combination is applicable in a variety of Decision Making scenarios:

  1. Conventional Capital-Budgeting Tools
  2. Quantitative Multiple Scenario Tools
  3. Qualitative Scenario Analysis
  4. Case-based Decision Analysis
  5. Information Aggregation Tools

In some cases, just one tool is needed while in others an assortment of tools makes for the best combination.

Let us delve a little deeper into some of these tools.

Conventional Capital Budgeting Tools

Projected Incremental Cash Flows are used from likely investments to ascertain whether a project merits being funded through the firm’s Capitalization Structure.  Included in it are Discounted Cash Flow, Expected Rate of Return, and Net Present Value models. 

Quantitative Multiple Scenario Tools

Decisions are analyzed by completely specifying possible outcomes and their probabilities. Mathematical, Statistical, and Simulation methods are employed to distinguish the Risk and Return properties of prospective choices.  The tools include:

>  Monte Carlo Methods

>  Decision Analysis

>  Real Options

Qualitative Scenario Analysis

These techniques are beneficial to decision makers who encounter excessive levels of uncertainty about outcomes because the techniques do not assume a conclusive and entirely specified set of possible outcomes.

Real-life business Decision Making often comprises of judgments that are based on incomplete and uncertain information.  This can be mitigated by using appropriate Decision Support Tools.  However, which tools are appropriate will depend on the answer to the following critical questions:

  1. Do I know what it will take to succeed?
  2. Can I predict the range of possible outcomes?

The Causal Model question—combination of Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and economic conditions leading to success—needs settling before we can proceed to answer the 2nd question regarding Outcome Prediction.

Managers need to ask the following in order to clarify the state of the Causal Model hence the answer to the question:

  1. Do I comprehend what combination of Critical Success Factors will decide if my decision leads to a successful outcome?
  2. Do I recognize what metrics need to be met to guarantee success?
  3. Do I have an accurate understanding of how to attain success?

The other question to answer is: Can I predict the range of possible outcomes?

Managers should ask the following in scenarios predicting various outcomes and probabilities:

  1. Can I outline the range of outcomes that may result as a consequence of my decision, both as a whole and for each Critical Success Factor?
  2. Can I measure the probability of each outcome?

Even where the CSFs and Model for Success are understood, it sometimes becomes difficult to predict range of outcomes and their probabilities due to uncertain conditions.

Interested in learning more about Decision Support Tools?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Decision Support Tools here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Organizational Leadership (OL)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Organizational Leadership (OL).  Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts.  Click here for full details.

For both the current executives and leaders of tomorrow, our frameworks address 2 facets of Leadership:

1. How to elevate your management skills to becoming a Leader in your organization.

2. How to elevate your organization to becoming the Leader in your Industry.

Learn about our Organizational Leadership (OL) Best Practice Frameworks here.

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– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

9223435882?profile=RESIZE_400xBusiness and technology resources are aligned using Enterprise Architecture (EA) in order to achieve strategic results, make organizational performance better, achieve Cost Optimization, and guide departments to fulfill their central missions more efficaciously through Operational Excellence.

Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) does that for any U.S. federal agency and helps systems transcend interagency boundaries.  FEAF offers a shared approach for the consolidation of strategic, business, and technology management as a component of Organization Design and Performance Management.  The Enterprise Architecture methodology introduced under FEAF transcended several interagency boundaries.

The FEAF comprises of 6 interconnected Reference Models, linked through Consolidated Reference Model (CRM), each relating to a sub-architectural domain of the framework.

These Reference Models convey word-based abstractions of original architectural data and deliver a structure for relating significant elements of the FEA in a collective and uniform manner:

  1. Strategy Domain -> Performance Reference Model (PRM)
  2. Business Domain -> Business Reference Model (BRM)
  3. Data Domain -> Data Reference Model (DRM)
  4. Applications Domain -> Application Reference Model (ARM)
  5. Infrastructure Domain -> Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM)
  6. Security Domain -> Security Reference Model (SRM)

Discussed here is 1 of the 6 reference models of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework—the Business Reference Model (BRM), its structure, framework, touchpoints with other reference models, and BRM Taxonomy.

Slide-Deck-image-FEAF-BRM.png?profile=RESIZE_710x

BRM is employed to explain the type of business functions at the system, segment, agency, sector, Federal, national, or international levels rather than giving an organizational vantage point.

Cross-government cooperation between the Executive departments and subsidiary agencies—as well as external partners—is promoted by describing the Federal government in this manner enabling:

  • Uncovering of possibilities for cost reduction.
  • Collaboration.
  • Shared services.
  • Solution reuse in agency IT portfolios and collaboration between and within agency.

BRM elucidates the “what we do” of the organization via the delineation of outcome-oriented and measurable functions and services.

BRM’s real usefulness and worth is gained when it is put to use effectively in business analysis, design, and decision support that aids in improving the working of an agency, bureau, or program.

BRM classification is organized as a 3-layer order, embodying Executive Branch Mission Sectors, Business Functions, and Services.

  • Mission Sector – Pinpoints 10 business functions of the Federal government in the Common Approach to Enterprise Architecture.
  • Business Function – Defines the Federal government functioning at high level, by means of budget function classification codes.
  • Service – Elaborates further what the Federal government does at a subsidiary or section level.

Mission Sector is exclusive to the executive branch of the Federal government.  This layer should be used appropriately for other organizations.

The 3 layers allow arrangement and analysis of IT investments and applications for an assortment of purposes.

All reference models are envisioned to work jointly.  BRM’s further mappings to other reference models contribute added context for the investment or activity.  Input for BRM is through Performance Reference Model (PRM) enabling BRM to feed other reference models.

BRM is intended to deliver agencies with a uniform means to classify their capital investments, detect areas for collaboration and reuse, centered on delivery of business capability.

BRM also aids in refining the general IT architecture to further improve mission outcomes. It extends decision-support abilities to stakeholders and various levels of staff, within and outside an agency, and across the Federal government.  From a Federal viewpoint, BRM permits discovery of prospects for joint effort and reuse of shared services, government-wide.  This collaboration takes 2 forms:

  1. Inter-agency
  2. Intra-agency

BRM is usable in combination with several architecture, development, or analysis methods to deliver all-inclusive standardized design, development, and governance abilities.  There are 3 primary types of BRM methods:

  • Business Architecture for Decision Support
  • Business Process Modeling
  • Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 

Interested in learning more about the FEAF Business Reference Model?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on FEAF: Business Reference Model here and FEAF associated series PowerPoint presentations on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

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“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

9209039874?profile=RESIZE_400xEnterprise Architecture (EA) denotes management best practices for lining up business and technology resources to realize strategic results, expand upon Organizational Performance, achieve Cost Optimization, and steer departments to achieve their core missions through Operational Excellence.

Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) was first introduced in September 1999 by the Federal CIO Council for evolving an EA within any U.S. federal agency.  FEAF assists through documentation and information that conveys a summarized outlook of an enterprise at various tiers of scope and detail.

FEAF offers a shared approach for the consolidation of strategic, business, and technology management as a component of Organization Design and Performance Management.  FEAF introduced a methodology for an Enterprise Architecture that transcended several interagency boundaries.

The Collaborative Planning Methodology suggested along with FEAF is envisioned as a complete planning and implementation lifecycle, for employment down all tiers of scope defined in the Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture—i.e., International, National, Federal, Sector, Agency, Segment, System, and Application.

May 2012 saw a full new guide, called the “Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture.”  The guide offers an overall approach to establishing and employing Enterprise Architecture in the Federal Government for expanding joint approaches to IT service delivery.  The Common Approach homogenizes the expansion and employment of architectures within and between Federal Agencies.

A 2nd version of FEAF was published in January 2013, meeting the criteria set forth by the Common Approach.  It underscores the importance of Strategic Planning and Strategic Goals as the source for driving business services, which consequentially provides the requirements for enabling technologies.  At the heart of it is the Consolidated Reference Model (CRM), which links 6 reference models and equips all departments with a shared language and framework to explain and evaluate investments.

The FEAF comprises of 6 interconnected Reference Models, linked through Consolidated Reference Model (CRM), each relating to a sub-architectural domain of the framework.

These Reference Models convey word-based abstractions of original architectural data and deliver a structure for relating significant elements of the FEA in a collective and uniform manner:

  1. Strategy Domain -> Performance Reference Model (PRM)
  2. Business Domain -> Business Reference Model (BRM)
  3. Data Domain -> Data Reference Model (DRM)
  4. Applications Domain -> Application Reference Model (ARM)
  5. Infrastructure Domain -> Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM)
  6. Security Domain -> Security Reference Model (SRM)

CRM is intended to permit inter-agency evaluation and detection of overlapping investments, disparities and prospects for cooperation within and across agencies.

By means of the collection of reference models a common nomenclature and system is cultivated for describing IT resources.  Making use of this standard framework and terminology, IT portfolios can be managed more suitably and taken advantage of throughout the Federal Government.

A brief description of the reference models is as follows:

Performance Reference Model (PRM)

PRM relates agency strategy, internal business factors, and investments, presenting a way to measure the influence of those investments on strategic outcomes.

Business Reference Model (BRM)

BRM depicts an organization through arrangement of common mission and support service segments rather than through vertical lines of control, thus encouraging cooperation within and across agencies.

Data Reference Model (DRM)

DRM assists in detection of existing data assets located in solitary storages and aids in comprehending the meaning of that data, ways of accessing it, and means for leveraging it for supporting performance outcomes.

Application Reference Model (ARM)

ARM classifies the standards and technologies involving systems and applications that support the delivery of service capabilities, allowing agencies to share and reuse common solutions and benefit from economies of scale.

The Infrastructure Reference Model (IRM)

IRM sorts the standards and technologies relating to network/cloud to aid and facilitate the provision of voice, data, video, and mobile service components and facilities.

The Security Reference Model (SRM)

SRM offers a mutual language and approach for deliberating on security and privacy in connection with Federal agencies’ business and performance goals.

Interested in learning more about Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) and its reference models?”  “You can download an editable PowerPoint on Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) Primer here and FEAF associated PowerPoint series presentations on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Organizations have, in recent times, become more aware of the worth of regulating their Organizational Knowledge.  Extensive studies in academia have been conducted on the subject, because of its importance.

Organizations learn with time and experience.  The cause-and-effect relationship is gathered in the collective memory of the organization in the form of:

  • Shared mental models
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Rules and routines
  • Assets

This learning, in some cases, becomes a source of Competitive Advantage for the organization.

New learning, in organizations, is possible when redundant knowledge and bad habits are effectively erased from the organizational memory.  Managing Organizational Forgetting has to be part of Strategic Planning because of:

  1. Wasted resources—Knowledge forgotten, that should not have been, has to be re-acquired by diverting resources that could have been used elsewhere or for acquiring new knowledge.
  2. Opportunity cost—Required knowledge not available (because it was forgotten) at the time an opportunity arose.

Effective Organizational Forgetting should be an Organizational Culture so as to keep organizations on their toes and maybe preserve or gain Competitive Advantage.

Organizations that intend to manage their Organizational Forgetting effectively, need to comprehend 2 dimensions of Forgetting and the relationship between them:

Dimension 1:  Accidental Forgetting vs. Intentional Forgetting

The 1st element pertains to loss of valuable knowledge; the 2nd to increased competitiveness as a result of Forgetting.

Dimension 2: Entrenched Knowledge vs. New Knowledge

The 1st element relates to knowledge embedded in relatively durable objects like machines, databases, taken-for-granted routines; the 2nd to a transient setup like individual minds, association among small teams, makeshift organizational groups.

The process of Forgetting is altered depending on the interaction of the elements of the 2 dimensions.

Interaction of the above 2 dimensions results in 4 processes that constitute the Forms of Organizational Forgetting:

  1. Memory Decay
  2. Failure to Capture
  3. Unlearning
  4. Avoiding Bad Habits

The interaction of the 4 processes has been conveyed in the form of a matrix dubbed the Organizational Forgetting Matrix.  These processes explain an array of Organizational Forgetting that may occur.  Each of the 4 processes need distinct management approaches because each process is connected with a disparate set of challenges.

Let us delve a little deeper into some of the processes.

Memory Decay

Memory Decay occurs when concepts, practices, values are lost because of non-use or key personnel leaving the organization.  Organizations can forget elements long ingrained in their collective memory triggering costly and harmful consequences, like spending large sums to regain knowledge that was a source of Competitive Advantage.

Memory Decay is exacerbated in the process of downsizing.  Extremely valuable pieces of knowledge and skills can be lost if proper retention measures are not put in place.

Failure to Capture

Failure to capture new knowledge and disseminate it throughout the organization, results in loss when individuals bearing that knowledge leave.  Knowledge Articulation and Knowledge Institutionalization are 2 processes that can prevent such loss. 

Unlearning

Intentional Forgetting enhances organizational capability.  Intentional Forgetting can be achieved in 2 ways.  The 1st is strategic removal of knowledge.

Interested in learning more about Organizational Forgetting?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Organizational Forgetting here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8971202493?profile=RESIZE_400xHow do people make decisions?  Do they always follow a rational linear process to come to a conclusion? 

Studies have suggested that the traditional Decision Making model—commonly known as the Rational Decision Making Model—does not explain the whole ambit of Decision Making.

People, including managers of organizations, arrive at decisions using a variety of routes.  Experts suggest that there are at least 3 Decision Making Models that work in consonance to make the best decisions.  The 3 Decision Making Models are:

  1. Thinking First – Rational Decision Making
  2. Seeing First – Insight-driven Decision Making
  3. Doing First – Experimentation-based Decision Making

The latter 2 models need to supplement the 1st in order, for people in general and managers in particular, to improve the quality of Decision Making.  Developing a strong understanding of these foundational Decision Making models is recommended for any Business Leader who seeks to make better, more informed, more rational decisions.

Experts have suggested that people have the capacity to use all 3 models for arriving at a decision and so do organizations.

The 3 approaches to Decision Making draw a parallel from science, art, and craft.  People who are partial to Thinking are more into facts, those who favor Seeing appreciate ideas, and people who prefer Doing always value experiences.

Let us delve a little deeper into the details of the 3 Decision Making Models—Thinking, Seeing, Doing. 

Thinking First

More commonly known as the Rational Decision Making Model, this model has a clearly identified process.  It is linear, logical, effortless, and iterative—i.e., keeps travelling back and forth with interludes for new events, alterations for opportunities until conclusively arriving at a decision.

Thinking First Model is associated with science and is mainly verbal in nature i.e., comprising of linear words.  People leaning towards the Thinking Model prefer facts.

Usually, the Thinking First Model is used in well-founded production processes.  Thinking First succeeds when:

  • The matter is well-defined.
  • The data is trustworthy.
  • The situation is structured.
  • Thoughts can be restrained.
  • Discipline can be applied.

However real-life Decision Making exposes some limitations in the Thinking First Model as rational Decision Making is uncommon. 

Seeing First

Decisions are motivated as much by what is Seen as by what is thought.  Visualization and conceptualization of a problem or situation is the basis for the Seeing First Model.  It is usually used in creative solution finding.  Experts have identified 4 steps in creative discovery:

  1. Preparation
  2. Incubation
  3. Illumination
  4. Verification

An example of Seeing First Model will be Mozart’s allusion to the best part of creating his music; “when I am able to see the whole of it at a single glance in my mind.”

Seeing First Model works ideally in circumstances where:

  • Numerous elements have to be pooled into a creative solution.
  • Commitment to the solution is steadfast.
  • Communication takes place beyond boundaries.

Doing First

When stumped for a solution, diving head first and tinkering with a problem—bringing Problem Solving Mindset characteristics into play—leads to the necessary insights following trial and error.  Attempting various things, discovering which among them functions, finding meaning in that and repeating the productive behaviors while abandoning the rest is the gist of Doing First Model.

Experts have identified 3 stages of this process:

  1. Enactment
  2. Selection
  3. Retention

Doing First Model is ideal, when for example, companies are faced with disruptive technologies or unchartered territories.

Interested in learning more about the 3 Decision Making Models: Thinking, Seeing, Doing?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Decision Making Models: Thinking, Seeing, Doing here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Organizational Leadership (OL)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Organizational Leadership (OL).  Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts.  Click here for full details.

For both the current executives and leaders of tomorrow, our frameworks address 2 facets of Leadership:

1. How to elevate your management skills to becoming a Leader in your organization.

2. How to elevate your organization to becoming the Leader in your Industry.

Learn about our Organizational Leadership (OL) Best Practice Frameworks here.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8818272056?profile=RESIZE_400xFuturistic, technology-driven business models are weakening the conventional advantages of Economies of Scale.  Large corporations, founded on Scale, nevertheless have areas that they can exploit if they reposition rapidly.

For the best part of over a century, Economies of Scale—Cost Advantages that businesses achieve owing to their scale of operation—fashioned the corporation into a perfect engine of business.  The economic concept of Economies of Scale was first floated in the Adam Smith era where the idea of obtaining larger production returns through the use of division of labor was introduced.

A technological rush, distinct in history, was observed near the beginning of the 20th century.  These new technologies were accompanied by scale i.e., bulk production and access to huge markets.  The Economies of Scale guided business success—the strong inverse relationship connecting fixed costs and output grew into a basis of Competitive Advantage.

Back then, investments in scale was the most sensible proposition.  Not only did it lower fixed costs but also created a formidable barrier for competitors, denying them entry in the market.  Every type of business spent the 20th century in the quest for scale.

The advent of game-changing new technologies such as mobile devices, social media, and cloud computing, augmented by Artificial Intelligence (AI), is whirling Economies of Scale into Economies of Unscale.

Specifically, rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) and emergence of Product to Platform Transformations—coupled with AI’s ability to customize—overthrows bulk production and mass marketing as a basis of Competitive Advantage.  These progressions have battered the powerful inverse correlation between fixed costs and output that delineated Economies of Scale.

Today, minor, unscaled businesses, leveraging Platform Scaling Strategies while renting SaaS, can hunt in niche markets, effectively contesting big companies that are strained by decades of investment in scale, i.e., in large-scale production, distribution, and marketing.

The triumphant companies in the current tech rush—enabled by Platforms and SaaS—are the ones led by Customer-centric Design, providing each customer precisely what they want, that too while making a profit, and not companies offering everyone uniform products.

Large corporations can remain relevant in this era of niche marketing by taking leverage of their existing infrastructure through astute modifications in their use.  They can deploy 3 key tactics to accomplish this:

  1. Product to Platform Transformation
  2. Absolute Product Focus
  3. Dynamic Rebundling

Let us delve a little deeper into the details of the 3 tactics for leveraging Economies of Unscale.

Product to Platform Transformation

Dynamic corporations have expended decades building scale which is extremely specialized for their industry.  Efficient factories, distribution channels, retail outlets, supply chains, marketing expertise, and global partnerships have been painstakingly developed.  It is time for these corporations to take a decision on whether it is more viable to rent out this capability to other companies or not.

An example of such an approach is that of P&G’s Connect + Develop program that has been running for more than a decade.  

Absolute Product Focus

As corporations become bigger, emphasis on control becomes more pronounced—processes, regulations, stock prices, and a variety of non-core issues take precedence over great product offering.  Niche market focus blurs and attempts are made to make a product that may appeal to the masses in an effort to create Economies of Scale.

In this age of Unscale, the product/customer-focused competitor preys on such weakness.  Large corporations can mitigate the repercussion of such weakness by organizing as a network of small businesses focusing on core function while outsourcing non-core functions.  Each business, completely dedicated to creating a product perfect for its part of the market.

Apple Inc. contracts out manufacturing to Chinese companies while keeping the R&D and innovation—its core function—in the U.S. 

Dynamic Rebundling

Successful companies in this day and age of Unscale are the ones that make every customer feel like a market of one.  A corporation—a compendium of products—can match this by initially understanding its customer, then bundling its products as per each customer’s needs.

A great example is The Honest Co., which in 2012, began selling specialized line of diapers and wipes by subscription.  First year, the company raked in $10 million in revenue by supplying a niche customer, a niche product, dissimilar to mass-market brands.  By 2016 it was making sales exceeding $300 million.

Interested in learning more about the 3 tactics for leveraging Economies of Unscale and how corporations have, in their own way, taken advantage?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Economies of Unscale here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Strategy Development?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Strategy Development.  Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts.  Click here for full details.

“Strategy without Tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

For effective Strategy Development and Strategic Planning, we must master both Strategy and Tactics.  Our frameworks cover all phases of Strategy, from Strategy Design and Formulation to Strategy Deployment and Execution; as well as all levels of Strategy, from Corporate Strategy to Business Strategy to “Tactical” Strategy.  Many of these methodologies are authored by global strategy consulting firms and have been successfully implemented at their Fortune 100 client organizations.

These frameworks include Porter’s Five Forces, BCG Growth-Share Matrix, Greiner’s Growth Model, Capabilities-driven Strategy (CDS), Business Model Innovation (BMI), Value Chain Analysis (VCA), Endgame Niche Strategies, Value Patterns, Integrated Strategy Model for Value Creation, Scenario Planning, to name a few.

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– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8812893896?profile=RESIZE_400xThe phenomenal success of tech innovators using Platforms has spurred a desire in companies, from a greater variety of sectors and markets, to gain advantage of Product to Platform Transformation.

This Transformation is based on the need to model businesses on a Customer-Centric Design approach.  The need has arisen because the concept of Economies of Scale has become archaic and has been taken over by Economies of Unscale.  Each customer is now being offered customized products and solutions.

The phenomenal success, by the trailblazing tech innovators, was achieved partly by deploying Platform Scaling that enabled Business Transformation and monopolization of the market.  Though, this monopolization and questionable use of the Platform, especially data generated therefrom, saw attempts to regulate these tech companies—making the decision to scale a complex one.  Understanding the intricacies of Platform Scaling is thus critical to the development and deployment of any Platform Strategy.

When considering Platform Scaling Strategy, there are 2 key aspects that are of utmost significance:

Regulatory Complexity

Regulatory Complexity means present level of legal and regulatory impediments that govern Platform entry and operation in a sector. 

Regulatory Risk

Regulatory Risk refers to the probability of an upsurge in Legal and Regulatory Costs and Complexity in the future.

Some equitable and measurable metrics for calculating Regulatory Risks do exist but generally it is extremely challenging to predict policy outcomes or even ascribe odds to various outcomes.

A straightforward approach for Platform owners and operators to understand and evaluate the prospective combinations of Regulatory Complexity and Risk is to create a 2×2 matrix of high vs. low for the 2 factors.

Regulatory Complexity and Risk are turning out to be the determining factors in the strategic decision between Fast and Slow Scaling.

Fast Scaling, which has also been referred to as Blitzscaling, requires choosing speed over efficiency.  Fast Scaling has the strategic objective of growing briskly, experimenting swiftly to tweak product-market fit, and taking advantage of robust network effects to achieve and maintain a leading market share.

Fast Scaling is required to activate 3 interconnected positive feedback loops:

  1. Network Loop
  2. Data Loop
  3. Capital Loop.

Slow Scaling is the most sensible strategy in areas with both High Regulatory Complexity and High Regulatory Risk.  Slow Scaling does not disregard the quest for network effects, which are a requirement for success of platform businesses, but it gives preference to analysis, constant growth, and risk curtailment instead of speed.

Platform businesses functioning in High-Risk, High Complexity situations may evade pitfalls by employing 4 key components of Slow-Scaling strategy:

  1. Analysis of the Macro Environment
  2. Careful Risk Management
  3. Investment in Stakeholder Trust
  4. Incremental Geographic Expansion.

Let us now delve a little deeper into the various permutations of Regulatory Complexity and Risk, quadrant-wise, in the matrix.

QUADRANT 1

Regulatory Risk              Regulatory Complexity

Low                                        Low

Compliance costs are comparatively low in such situations and there are no serious deliberations among regulators and policy makers concerning restrictions on business models or operations.

The Strategy in this case is to Scale Fast.

QUADRANT 2

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

Low                                        High

Sectors in such scenarios are highly regulated e.g., financial services sector.  Significant workforce is employed in governance, risk management, and compliance activities.  Entering such markets necessitates careful consideration of Regulatory Complexity.

The strategy in such scenarios is to Scale Fast.

QUADRANT 3

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

High                                       Low

Operations are generally in a Regulatory void—i.e., no established and powerful regulatory authority, tight net of rules, or strict barriers to entry.  There is a great degree of ambiguity regarding how regulators may react.  Environment in such markets makes it difficult for businesses to mature discrete policy scenarios, allocate probabilities, and make strong assumptions on timing.

Strategy is to Scale Fast in such environments.

QUADRANT 4

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

High                                       High

There is high Regulatory Complexity, such as unclear approach by various regulators in the various markets.  There are strong chances of sudden change in regulator and policy maker’s approach due to a particular incident.  Precipitous increase in entire sector’s Regulatory Risk triggered by events is highly likely.

The most sensible strategy in such cases is to Scale Slow.

Interested in learning more about the permutations of these 2 Scaling Strategies, areas of strategic focus, and the 4 components of Slow Scaling Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Platform Scaling Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

stock image 2 - Good Listening skillsHumans instinctively want to share their experiences.  The more experienced a person, the fuller they are with ideas.

Many people view Listening Skills to be of lesser consequence than articulation and focus on learning how they can present their own views more effectively.

Good listening—the keen and orderly pursuit of probing and challenging the information collected from others to enhance its quality and quantity—is key to developing a knowledge-base that creates new insights and ideas.

Listening is unquestionably the most efficient route to making informed judgments, particularly judgments that leaders have to make.  That is why the Soft Skill of Good Listening is considered a building block of Leadership Development.

Good listening can lead to a longer and fruitful relationship at work and elsewhere.  Exceptional Client Management and Team Management, especially, and a host of other situations demand Good Listening skills.  Respecting the speaker, even if there is disagreement and reacting in the moment without expectation is part and parcel of Good Listening Skills.  The speaker should feel respected and understood after having a conversation with a Good Listener.

People possessing Good Listening ability assume a somewhat passive speaking role in the conversation yet actively participate in the conversation using body language and follow-up questions.  They display 3 Critical Behaviors that make them what they are—Great Listeners:

Demonstrate Respect

Making the speaker feel that what they are saying is important.  This feeling gets reciprocated quickly.

Remain Quiet

One cannot really listen while busy talking.  Remaining quiet enables understanding of the actual point the other person is making.

Challenge Assumptions

Good Listeners seek the underlying assumption in the conversation and challenge it.  This generates new ideas and opens up paths untrodden.

Let us look a little more deeply into some of the key characteristics of the 3 Critical Behaviors of Good Listeners.

Demonstrate Respect

People displaying a Problem Solving Mindset solicit input from all levels and demonstrate respect in this manner.  They always make the speakers feel that they have something exclusive to contribute and assume that the conversation partner has the proficiency to develop worthy solutions.

Remain Quiet

In a good conversation, the conversation partner speaks 80% of the time and the Ideal Listener speaks 20% of the time.  A Good Listener poses questions in most of the 20% time.  By remaining quiet the listener’s objective is to extract the prime motivation or thought behind the conversation.  Patience and practice are needed to cultivate the habit of weighing in at the correct moment.

Challenge Assumptions

A Good Listener challenges long-held and valued assumptions in order to make gains from conversations.  Ambiguity is embraced and a quest to uncover what both conversation partners can gain from the conversation is enlivened.

From the above 3 Critical Behaviors, we can synthesize the following 13 actions that a Good Listener should make while in an active conversation:

  1. Be fully present.
  2. Do not listen to respond.
  3. React in the moment.
  4. Do not have an agenda.
  5. Do not jump to give advice.
  6. Never interrupt.
  7. Ask follow-up questions.
  8. Listen as much as (or more than) speaking.
  9. Demonstrate listening.
  10. Be patient.
  11. Listen to learn.
  12. Be interested in what the speaker is interested in.
  13. Summarize what has been heard.

Identifying what a Bad Listener looks like helps avoid such behavior and consequentially move us on the path to becoming a Good Listener.  Bad listeners may be categorized into the following 6 types:

  1. The Opinionator
  2. The Grouch
  3. The Preambler
  4. The Perseverator
  5. The Answer Man
  6. The Pretender

The same person can display these behaviors at different times and under different circumstances.  Perfecting listening skills means learning what prevents us from seeking and hearing the information we need.

Interested in learning more about the critical behaviors and actions of Good Listeners, and 6 Types of Bad Listeners?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Soft Skills: Good Listening here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8760904287?profile=RESIZE_400xThe concept of Return on Investment (ROI) was formed as part of the concept of Value Creation.  The origins of ROI were in the Manufacturing sector, where it’s simple to measure time and output.  Next, to adopt the concept was the Banking industry where intense competition necessitated Innovation Management and with that the need to calculate ROI.  ROI calculation is now a common feature in every industry and business function.

Employee Training is part and parcel of workforce development.  It necessitates spending a lot of effort and resources.  Deliberating if the Training Program is going to be worth all the costs is a valid concern.

Return on Training Investment (ROTI) is the comparison between financial benefits obtained from a training program and the total cost of running that training program.  The objective of ROTI analysis is to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs i.e., to establish if the investment was worthwhile.

ROTI calculation and analysis is significant when:

  • Investment in a training program is viewed as a substantial outlay.
  • Attainment of explicit strategic or operational objectives is associated with the training program.
  • Financial benefits and their amount from the training program is ambiguous.

ROTI can be calculated dependably so long as:

  • Measurement data on changes in business performance, pertinent to training, is reliable or can be rationally estimated by those who matter.
  • Financial values can be assigned to the applicable performance measures.
  • Cost related to developing, delivering, and handling the training program can be classified.

ROTI calculation involves selecting performance measures, gathering data on those measures as well as data on costs—both direct and indirect—related to training, and lastly calculating the Return On Training Investments.

Key steps in the ROTI calculation are:

  1. Choose the performance measures to use.
  2. Gather data on changes.
  3. Gather data on costs.
  4. Calculate ROTI.

There are 3 types of calculations that are relevant in ROTI analysis.

  1. ROTI as a percentage
  2. Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR)
  3. Payback Period

Let us delve a little deeper into the calculation methods.

1. ROTI as a percentage

This calculation shows Net Training Benefits as a percentage of Training Cost.  An outcome of 100% or more denotes that the Program has a Net Benefit after accounting for all the costs connected with running the program.

2. Benefit : Cost Ratio (BCR)

This ratio divides Total Training Benefits by Total Training Costs.  When BCR is greater than 1, the benefits exceed the costs and the program is judged a success.  When BCR is less than 1, the costs surpass the benefits and signify that enhancements or alterations are needed to warrant the continuation of the program.

3. Payback Period

This calculation exhibits the time in which the Training Investment will be paid back i.e., when the costs equal the benefits.  The calculation is usually done in terms of months.

Monthly Training Benefits are calculated by dividing Total Training Benefits over 12 months.

It is pertinent to note that although ROTI analysis is important in evaluating a training program, merely a ROTI calculation will not typically be adequate to make the business case for a Training Program or influence top management to act.  Sometimes we have to consider non-monetary benefits of training, such as a change in attitude.  When monetary and non-monetary benefits are combined, these supplement Performance Management resulting in benefits such as reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates, and more promotions from within.

Interested in learning more about Return on Training Investment?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Return On Training Investment (ROTI) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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The purpose of Human Resources (HR) is to ensure our organization achieves success through our people.  Without the right people in place—at all levels of the organization—we will never be able to execute our Strategy effectively.

This begs the question: Does your organization view HR as a support function or a strategic one?  Research shows leading organizations leverage HR as a strategic function, one that both supports and drives the organization’s Strategy.  In fact, having strong HRM capabilities is a source of Competitive Advantage.

This has never been more true than right now in the Digital Age, as organizations must compete for specialized talent to drive forward their Digital Transformation Strategies.  Beyond just hiring and selection, HR also plays the critical role in retaining talent—by keeping people engaged, motivated, and happy.

Learn about our Human Resource Management (HRM) Best Practice Frameworks here.

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You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

8756961262?profile=RESIZE_400xStudies on Team Motivation and Building Effective Teams stem from the research carried out in Psychology and Sociology.  Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), the Founder of Modern Psychology, is credited with conducting the 1st research on the subject.

The Social Psychologist Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) is credited with introducing the term “Group Dynamics.” The term defined the constructive and destructive forces within Groups of people.  Lewin pioneered the Group Dynamics Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, first of its kind dedicated to the study of Group Dynamics and how it could be applied to real-world and social issues.

The latter half of the 20th century saw attention shifted more towards studying how Group Performance could be improved in the workplace to foster an Organizational Culture of cohesiveness, and Tuckman’s study proved significant in this regard.

Bruce Tuckman’s Model on Group Development became one of the most influential studies on the subject.  Originally conducted in 1965, the Model was further improved by Tuckman and his colleague in 1977.

Tuckman’s assertion was that each of the phases of the model is indispensable and unavoidable for the team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan strategically, and deliver results.  Tuckman’s model has become the foundation for following models and commonly used by management consultants for Team Management and Client Management.  For the model to be applicable in the work place, it is vital to comprehend the process at each stage and its concepts.

Tuckman’s Group Development Model comprises the following 5 stages:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing
  5. Adjourning

The 5th stage of Group Development called “Adjourning” was added in 1977, by Tuckman and his colleague Mary Ann Jensen.

 

Let us examine some of the stages of Tuckman’s model for Group Development in a little more detail. 

Forming

The key dynamic of the first stage is Orientation.  This is the stage where people are brought together in a Group.  How quickly the group’s transition to the 2nd stage takes place depends on the clarity and complexity of the goal and members’ previous experience of working in groups.  Some of the key characteristics of this stage include:

  • An upbeat outlook of group members about what is to be accomplished.
  • Anxiousness on part of members about what the other team members will be like.

Managers of the group at this stage have to be directly and intimately involved.  Clear guidelines and structure by the manager are necessary to ensure that the team builds strong relationships. 

Storming

The key dynamic of this stage is Power Struggle.  At this 2nd stage team members feel more at ease voicing and questioning opinions, and that is when internal conflict flares up.  Channeling this conflict in a positive direction will make for a cohesive team.  Some of the key characteristics of this stage are:

  • Perception formation about other team members’ abilities.
  • Alliance formation among team members and discussions regarding the goal and the approach to achieve it.

The group leader has to show a Problem Solving Mindset at this stage, swiftly channel conflict between teams in order to avoid demoralization.  Among many other actions at this stage, the leader also has to guide the team in decision-making and proffering explanations on how decisions transpired.

Norming

The key dynamic of the 3rd stage of team development is Cooperation.  The members concentrate on settling differences to make way for clear definition of organizational mission and objectives.  Manager’s role within the team transforms from that of leader to that of a team member.

Interested in learning more about Tuckman’s 5-Stage Group Development Model?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Development here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd