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Change4With most Transformation initiatives people gradually revert back to their old habits of doing things.  Sustainable Change Management necessitates 4 key processes:

  • Chartering—defining the scope, rationale, and team for the change initiative.
  • Learning—testing and refining ideas before a full-blown execution of the initiative.
  • Mobilizing—using symbols and metaphors to engage people and gain their buy-in for the change program.
  • Realigning—redefining the roles and responsibilities and managing performance of the initiative and the people driving it.

These processes are critical to enable an Organizational Culture which encourages execution of lasting change.

In addition to these key processes, for the change to entrench into the organizational fabric, Leadership needs to put in place the environment necessary for the people to embrace and own the new processes, systems, and desired behaviors.

The 4 critical processes aid in creating the enabling conditions necessary for institutionalizing change in the organization.  These enabling conditions for sustainable Change take place in 3 settings:

  1. Structural Context
  2. Procedural Context
  3. Emotional Context

The environment for sustainable change must be put in place way before the actual execution of the Transformation initiative.  These enabling conditions encompass making changes to the organization’s structure, procedures, and sentiments / behaviors.

Let’s dive deeper into the 3 conditions critical to enable sustainable change in the institution.

Structural Context

The first element of the enabling environment requires the change leadership to work on reshaping the organizational structure.  The 4 key processes have a direct bearing on the organization’s structure.  Their effect pervades over:

  • The organization’s hierarchy and reporting lines.
  • Compensations, benefits, and rewards systems.
  • Monitoring and control systems.

The Structural Context significantly affects the way employees’ work and expend their time and their interest in certain types of projects.

The structural context is altered during the Realigning process of Transformation in the way new personnel practices are employed.  The Learning process informs the redefinition of linkage between the leadership and field staff.  The Mobilizing process informs the changes to be made in the roles and responsibilities of the management and front-line people—through storytelling and metaphors.  Whereas, the Chartering process helps instill a reformed, team-building culture in the organization.  Together, these changes in the structural context cascade down across the organization.

Procedural Context

The Procedural context pertains to a feeling of objectivity and authenticity of new processes and systems.  The Procedural environment involves the perception of people that their views are taken seriously and acted upon while designing and implementing a new initiative.

Procedural authenticity is critical in gaining commitment from the employees on initiatives that were not validated by them earlier.   It involves belief of the people that the change initiative integrates well with the philosophies of the organization and the way business should be done.  It makes the people feel heard, ensures trustworthiness of the change leadership through positive track records and effective decision making abilities, and alignment of the change initiative with the core values of the organization.

Interested in learning more about the other enabling conditions mandatory for institutionalizing change?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Conditions for Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

change2Initiatives aimed at improving performance are often launched with great uproar, costing an organization significant investments.  Such initiatives necessitate extensive changes in the Organizational Culture and the way the enterprise systems and processes function.

However, most initiatives fall short of realizing success.  Decades of scholarly research on Change Management reveals that the issues that contribute the most to the failure of strategic initiatives are:

  • Incompetence in sustaining process improvement.
  • Lack of trust on senior leadership.
  • Failure to embrace new ways of doing business.
  • Performance relapse.
  • Inability of the initiative to produce any positive financial returns.
  • Skepticism towards the desired behaviors and return of impractical employee behaviors.

Researchers have carried out scores of studies to isolate the drivers of lasting change.  Research published in MIT SMR in 2005 discusses how leadership can design and execute Transformation initiatives that bring lasting changes in the organization.  The study entailed in-depth analysis of the strategic Customer Service Enhancement (CSE) initiative undertaken by a large clothing retailer, having franchises in multiple geographic locations.

The researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders, in-store operations and support function managers.  Detailed notes of the interviews were shared amongst the researchers alongside an exhaustive literature review.  A case study of the initiative was prepared using independent research to have an unprejudiced viewpoint, free from any bias.  Feedback from the organization’s management was gathered and incorporated throughout the study to seek clarifications or corrections.  Data analysis was carried out employing a coding scheme developed using Atlas.ti tool.  Comparative analysis was conducted and similarities and differences in conclusions were discussed.

The study brought to light 4 key processes necessary for change to stick in an organization.   These key processes assist in laying the foundation for successful institutionalization of change initiatives by creating a company-wide culture that encourages enduring change:

  1. Chartering
  2. Learning
  3. Mobilizing
  4. Realigning

Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 processes.

Chartering

Chartering is a process through which an enterprise classifies the purpose, scope, and the way people interact with each other on a strategic initiative.  Clear delineation of project boundaries, resources, responsibilities, and reporting lines are the elements integral for the success of a change initiative.

The Chartering process entails 2 critical components:

  • Boundary Setting
  • Team Design

Boundary Setting involves the key steps a team takes for accurate definition of change initiative’s scope.

The project team should clearly outline the problem(s) that the project is, and isn’t, going to tackle.  Ideally, while designing and executing a change initiative, the focus of the engagement should be on confronting the most crucial problem area.  The leadership should ensure not to confuse the core team by eyeing too many priorities to deal with through the strategic initiative.

The Team Design element of Chartering involves ascertaining the roles, accountabilities, and guiding principles for team’s collaboration.  Team design entails creating ground rules for team members to interact, devising mechanisms to manage conflicts.  The leadership needs to not only maintain diversity of the project team’s expertise, but also ensure they complement each other, and inculcate a standardized approach to decision making in project teams.  There needs to be fostered a culture of positive discourse and testing ideas amongst the team members.  Incorporating these guidelines helps spark thinking, learning, and decision making.

Learning

Learning aids in anticipating and dealing with hurdles during implementation of Transformation initiatives.  Learning enables the managers to improve the quality of the new processes.  it is a process through which managers develop, test, and refine ideas before full-scale implementation.  The process entails 2 critical components:

  • Discovery
  • Experimentation
For more information on Learning and Development and how to elevate your organization into a Learning Organization, check out the frameworks and tools on Flevy here: https://flevy.com/business-toolkit/learning-organization

The discovery element involves gathering data to identify the objectives of the change initiative and outlining ways to achieve those objectives.  Before rolling out a complete implementation of a change initiative, testing and refining the individual elements of the initiative immensely assists in the success of the initiative.  Gathering adequate information relevant to the initiative, setting up baseline metrics to measure performance, and identifying issues hampering customer satisfactions are the key aspects of this phase.  The team should learn from the failures of prior initiatives, introduce change in a systemic fashion rather than piecemeal, and encourage people to change rationally as well as emotionally.

Interested in learning more about the other processes critical for change to stick?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 4 Processes of Sustainable Change here 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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– 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 - Quality 4.0The introduction of emerging, digital technologies has ushered in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  To keep the competitive advantage in this era of Digital Transformation, leveraging contemporary technology is an absolute necessity.  Using cutting-edge technology means not just augmenting, but in fact, revamping the whole Quality outlook.

Quality 4.0 is the complimentary Quality approach to the Industry 4.0 era.   Quality 4.0 is about transforming and improving Organizational Culture, collaboration, competency, and Leadership Development among other things through the application of technology.

Quality 4.0 is characterized by:

  • Transforming and improving culture, collaboration, competency, and leadership through the application of technology.
  • Digital Transformation of Management Systems and compliance.
  • Enabling technology and processes necessary to maximize value, resolve customary Quality impediments, and provide innovative solutions.

Quality 4.0 is not just about Digitalization, but more importantly about the impact of that Digitalization on Quality technology, processes, and people.

Companies can use the 11 pillars of Quality 4.0 Framework to identify how the existing capabilities and initiatives can be transformed and then educate, plan, and act accordingly.  The framework uses the traditional Quality methods to build upon and improve them.  The 11 pillars of Quality 4.0 include:

  1. Data
  2. Analytics
  3. Connectivity
  4. Collaboration
  5. App Development
  6. Scalability
  7. Management Systems
  8. Compliance
  9. Culture
  10. Leadership
  11. Competency

The majority of the companies are still not in a position to take leverage of Quality 4.0.  This warrants making investments in improving traditional Quality and bringing themselves in a position where they can spring up to use Quality 4.0 to prepare for the future.

There are strong interrelationships between the pillars of Quality 4.0, and adding new capabilities to certain pillars facilitates new applications on other pillars.  Let us delve a little deeper into a few of these pillars

1. Data and 2. Analytics

Data and Analytics form the first 2 pillars.  Data is key to informed decision making.  Most companies are still using fragmented data while the innovating market leaders have progressed to taking leverage of Big Data.  Data can be better understood by understanding its 5 components:  Volume, Variety, Velocity, Veracity, and Transparency.

Analytics help reveal the insights contained within raw data.  Correct metrics are key to uncovering correlations and patterns—meaningful information.  Big Data Analytics using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is beneficial if the Analytics Framework—comprising Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics—is understood clearly.

3. Connectivity

Connectivity encompasses the link between Business Information Technology—e.g., Enterprise Quality Management Systems (EQMS), Product Life-cycle Management (PLM), Enterprise Resource Planning—and Operational Technology that is used in Manufacturing, Labs, and Services.  Connectivity is achieved through abundant and inexpensive sensors providing real-time feedback from Connected People, products, edge devices, and processes.

4. Scalability

Scalability creates uniformity in Quality.  It is the ability to harmonize processes, best practices, competencies, and lessons learnt across the organization, be it global.  Cloud Computing has played a pivotal role in harnessing scalability by providing Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Solution (PaaS), and connection of databases.

The reality of the future is Quality 4.0.  It is being adopted very swiftly.  Those who remain unfamiliar with it or are slow to adopt run the risk of being marginalized very quickly.

Interested in learning more about Quality 4.0? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Quality 4.0 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

Recruitment 2Mediocre people occupying senior leadership positions is one of the chief reasons for the fiasco and humiliation that organizations like Enron and WorldCom faced.  The practice of recruiting average people at the top is omnipresent and often goes unnoticed until the results begin to surface, which is typically too late for any intervention.

Smart people decisions matter a lot in achieving profitability.  Research indicates that a return on average human asset of 5% is typical in many industries.  However, a senior executive selection of 2 standard deviations below the average yields -15% return on asset.  An executive selection with 2 standard deviations above average causes +25% return, which is 5 times the average.  Increased investment in finding and hiring the best senior executives fetches returns to the magnitude of 1000%.

Attracting and selecting the best people for senior leadership positions isn’t a small feat.  The future of organizations depend on it.  However, the Human Resource Management function at most organizations fail in getting the right people at the top.  The decision to hire at the senior positions necessitates deliberate effort and commitment.  Identification and onboarding of right people at these levels can create a substantial competitive advantage and profitability for the organizations.  Leading companies invest a lot of time in these decisions and conduct careful assessment of a pool of candidates.  They evaluate the opportunity costs associated with onboarding wrong people at critical senior positions and those associated with performance that could not get delivered due to selection of incompetent individual(s).

To prevent the disasters caused by psychological barriers and biases and to onboard competent executives, organizations need to religiously follow these 8 guiding principles:

  1. Outline requirements
  2. Prepare a large candidate pool
  3. Benchmark rationally
  4. Appraise systematically
  5. Overcome resistance in decision making
  6. Keep the evaluation team small
  7. Finalize the deal in time
  8. Support assimilation of new hires

Let’s discuss the 4 guiding principles in detail, for now.

Outline requirements

Defining the job requirements clearly before initiating the executive search process is an imperative for finding and appointing the right persons at senior positions.  The board should take out time to hold meetings to sift through the organizational strategic objectives and prioritized initiatives.  The outcome of these sessions help the recruiters develop a list of critical skills and behavioral competencies.

Prepare a large candidate pool

Restricting executive search to specific geographies or industries limits the chances of finding the most suitable candidate(s).  For instance, to hire the country head for a computer hardware firm in Asia, a company may identify all C-level executives at specific large hardware and software providers in the region; target former top executives of all relevant companies; consider senior executives outside the hardware sector; and shortlist about 10-12 top candidates to be interviewed.

Benchmark rationally

Having a fair comparison of shortlisted candidates is possible by creating consistent benchmarks.  This helps all the appraisers to follow a defined approach and rating criteria.  External and internal candidates should be assessed without any biasness.  Likewise, comparison of soft skills—which are obvious to internal candidates but unknown to outsiders—should be done on equal footing.

Appraise systematically

After shortlisting potential candidates, it’s time to evaluate their suitability on the required competencies through rigorous interviews using behavioral-based questions.  The evaluation should constitute in-depth reference checking—through the nominees as well as those who have worked with the candidates in the past—internally or through executive search firms.

For more information on selection and hiring “the best of the best,” take a look at the Fiaccabrino Selection Process (FSP)Download a free primer on FSP here.

Interested in learning more about the other guiding principles critical for selection of competent senior executives?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Executive Selection here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Obstacles 1Mediocre people occupying senior Leadership positions is one of the chief reasons for the fiasco and humiliation that organizations like Enron and WorldCom faced.  The practice of recruiting average people at the top is omnipresent and often goes unnoticed until the results begin to surface, which is typically too late for any intervention.

Smart people decisions matter a lot in achieving profitability.  Research indicates that a return on average human asset of 5% is typical in many industries.  However, a senior executive selection of 2 standard deviations below the average yields -15% return on asset.  An executive selection with 2 standard deviations above average causes 25+% return, which is 5 times the average.  Increased investment in finding and hiring the best senior executives fetches returns to the magnitude of 1000%.

Attracting and selecting the best people for senior leadership positions isn’t a small feat.  The future of organizations depend on it.  However, not too many organizations succeed in getting the right people at the top.  The reason for this failure is attributed predominantly to 3 critical obstacles that hinder in making the right recruitment decisions at such a crucial level.  Wrong Executive Selection decisions due to these 3 obstacles bring about losses and negative returns:

  1. Obstacle of Rarity
  2. Obstacle of the Unknown
  3. Obstacle of Psychological Traps

Let’s talk about these obstacles in a bit of detail.

Obstacle of Rarity

The first barrier to finding outstanding executives for senior positions is their scarcity, as excellent executives are a rare breed.  Sophisticated skills that make an executive standout aren’t common.  They are distributed in a given sample.

Outstanding people perform at a much higher level than that of their peers, particularly at the top positions.  A blue-collar executive with 1 standard deviation above the mean translates to 20% more productive individual than an average executive.  With increasing complexity of job, the difference between the top performer and an average performer increases considerably.

Appointments at the senior positions do not go without assessment errors, which can prove to be extremely costly.  Even an accuracy level of 90% in executive assessment isn’t satisfactory.  This results in a number of mistakenly categorized top performers and rejection of outstanding candidates.

Obstacle of the Unknown

Another barrier to the Executive Selection process is the predictive assessment of candidates on the skills and attributes required and the actual delivery capabilities of the individuals.  It is difficult to assess the unknown.

Competencies at the junior levels are easier to define, but it gets difficult to pinpoint the skills required at the top level.  The skills required at the top keeps on changing due to the evolving political, technological and economic landscape.  The skills required today get obsolete over time.  In case the exact requirements for a position are fully known, it isn’t certain whether a candidate meets the requirements in their entirety.

Accurate assessment of the candidates’ behavior and competencies is difficult but worth investing efforts and resources.  “Soft” skills—e.g., leading people, coaching and developing teams, teamwork, and managing Business Transformation—are what differentiate the senior leaders, but gauging these skills necessitates thorough evaluation and considerable time, which is difficult at senior levels.

Obstacle of Psychological Traps

A number of psychological traps are associated with cognitive biases in humans that hinder the decision making abilities in people and incapacitate the hiring process.  8 types of psychological traps are most common in individuals:

  • Procrastination
  • Assuming incorrectly
  • Impulsive judgment based on first impressions
  • Discounting the warning signs
  • Covering mistakes
  • Bonding with familiarity
  • Emotional anchoring
  • Tendency to follow the majority
For more information on selection and hiring “the best of the best,” take a look at the Fiaccabrino Selection Process (FSP).  Download a free primer on FSP here.

Interested in learning more about the 3 critical obstacles that hinder right Executive Selection?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Executive Selection here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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TM1Enterprises worldwide face problems selecting, staffing, developing, compensating, motivating, and sustaining their key talent.  Building a sustainable Talent pipeline is quite strenuous even for large multinationals.

Replicating best practices from somewhere and applying them alone isn’t sufficient for organizations to build a Talent pipeline and achieve Competitive Advantage.  This warrants overcoming arduous challenges associated with this digital age, including:

  • Adjusting to varying dynamics in global markets
  • Handling the expectations of varied customer segments in different geographies
  • Managing the preferences of key Talent
  • Acquiring new technologies
  • Building novel capabilities
  • Achieving Operational Excellence by streamlining operations and improving processes
  • Exploring new markets
  • Devising strategies to attract, select, develop, assess, and reward top Talent.

Developing Talent Management practices helps the organizations build and retain talented people available in the job market.  The term was first used by McKinsey & Company in 1997, and it pertains to planning and managing strategic Human Capital through activities, i.e. attracting, selecting, developing, evaluating, rewarding, and retaining key people.

Executives use diverse Talent Management strategies and career pathways based on various departments, levels, and roles in their Talent pool.  Multi-year research on Talent Management practices conducted by an international team of researchers from INSEAD, Cornell, Cambridge, and Tillburg universities studied 33 multi-national corporations, headquartered in 11 countries.  The study revealed that successful Human Capital practitioners and workforce planners adopted 6 core principles.  These principles act as the 6 pillars to effective Talent Management implementation:

  1. Alignment with Corporate Strategy
  2. Consistency of Talent Management Practices
  3. Integration with Corporate Culture
  4. Involvement of Leadership
  5. Global Strategy with Localization
  6. Branding and Differentiation

Let’s discuss the first 3 pillars in detail, for now.

Alignment with Corporate Strategy

Integrating Talent Management with Corporate Strategy is imperative as the need for future Talent depends on the company’s long-term strategy.  Corporate Strategy should guide the identification of Talent required to accomplish organizational goals, since it’s the right Talent that drives the key strategic initiatives rather than strategic planning.

For example, GE’s Talent Management practices have been a great assistance in implementing their strategic initiatives.  The organization regards its Talent Management system as their most potent execution tool and has integrated TM processes into their strategic planning process.  To sustain its image as an innovation leader, GE targets technical skills as a priority in its annual Strategic Planning sessions.  Individual business units lay out their business as well as the Human Capital objectives in GE’s annual strategic planning sessions.  Significant time is spent on reviewing its Innovation pipeline, its engineering function’s structure, and Talent requirements.  To achieve its vision, GE promotes more engineers in its senior management than its rivals.

Consistency of Talent Management Practices

Talent Management practices must be consistent and synchronous with each other.  It is critical not only to invest in advancing the careers of key Talent but also to invest in processes to empower, compensate, and retain them.  Human Capital practitioners utilize various tools to ensure consistency of Talent Management practices, including Human Resources satisfaction surveys and qualitative and quantitative data on TM practices implementation.

For example, the success of Siemens is based on consistent monitoring of its systems, processes, and key performance metrics across its subsidiaries.  Every element of Human Capital Management is connected, continuously assessed, and linked to rewards.  This goes from recruitment of graduates each year, to their orientation, to mentoring and development, to performance evaluation and management, and compensation and benefits.

Integration with Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is regarded as important as vision and mission by renowned global organizations. These companies hold their core values and behavioral standards very high and promote them among their employees through coaching and mentoring.  They strive to embed this into their hiring, leadership development, performance management, remuneration, and reward processes / programs.  So much so that they consider cultural adaptability a crucial element of their recruitment process—as personality traits and mindsets are hard to develop than technical skills—and evaluate applicants’ behaviors and values rigorously.

For example, among other leading companies, IBM has a special emphasis on values while selecting and promoting people.  To ensure consistent values across the board, it organizes regular values jam sessions and employee health index surveys.  These sessions encourage open communication and debate on values and organizational culture and their importance among employees.

Interested in learning more about the other pillars of Talent Management, the various approaches to TM? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 6 Pillars of Talent Management here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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VUCA2VUCA relates to threats that people and enterprises often encounter.  The acronym reflects the constant, dramatically-transforming, and unpredictable world.  The concept originated in 1987, based on the theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus.  The term was first used by U.S. Army War College to describe the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous general conditions globally.

The acronym found traction after 2002, when it was considered an emerging idea to be discussed among the strategic leadership.  The term VUCA stands for:

  1. Volatility
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Complexity
  4. Ambiguity

The 4 VUCA challenges reflect the unpredictable forces of change that affect organizations, necessitating new skills, approaches, and behaviors to mitigate them.  The 4 elements of VUCA relate to how people view the situations where they make decisions, formulate plans, respond to challenges, cultivate change, and solve issues.

VUCA is a practical code for anticipation, understanding, preparedness, and intervention in the wake of uncertainty and confusion.  One of the biggest challenges of managing in a VUCA world involves team members who resist change.  Simply training the leaders on key capabilities isn’t adequate to avoid failures resulting due to not handling the VUCA issues properly.  What differentiates sound Leadership from mediocre management is the leaders’ ability to ascertain key elements that prevent them from adopting resilience and flexibility.

In this age of disruption, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity are widespread.  These elements will be more prevalent across industries and enterprises in future, and if not managed properly can sap an organization’s and its employees’ strengths.

Let’s discuss these VUCA elements individually.

Volatility

The Volatility element of VUCA talks about the distinct situational categorization of people due to their specific traits or their reactions in particular situations.  People react differently in specific settings due to social cues.  Volatility describes the influence of situations on stereotypes and social categorization, which is the reason why people perceive others differently.

Two factors connect people to their social identities: Normative fit and Comparative Fit.  Normative fit is the degree that a person relates to the stereotypes and norms that others associate with their specific identity.  For example, a Hispanic woman cleaning a house does not get gender stereotypes from others in this situation, but when she eats an enchilada ethnic stereotypes emerge and the gender is forgotten.  Comparative fit relates to specific traits of a person that are prominent in certain states compared to others, which are obvious as others around a person do not have those traits.  For example, a woman in a room full of men stands out, whereas all the men are grouped together.

Uncertainty

The Uncertainty element of VUCA pertains to the unpredictability of information in events, which often occurs in the intention to indicate correlation between events.  Uncertainty is often counteracted by using social categorization (stereotypes), as people tend to engage in social categorization when there isn’t much data about an event.

For instance, when there isn’t enough information to clearly appreciate someone’s gender—as in case of an author’s name when discussing written information—majority of people presume the author is a male.  Social categorization also occurs in case of a race, when people stereotype a certain race to a particular trait.  For example, basketball players are most of the time assumed as black people while golfers are expected to be white.

Complexity

The Complexity element of VUCA relates to the inter-relatedness of several factors in a system.  Complexities due to interactions and dependencies within groups and categories bring unexpected results even in a controlled environment.  There are certain identities in individuals that are more dominant than others.  Other people distinguish these identities, make their assumptions about them, and create stereotypes.  However, complexity in a person’s personality makes it difficult to socially categorize that individual accurately.

Different categories trigger in the mind of the observer, creating positive and negative perception.  It is that positive perception that the observer is more open-minded despite stereotypes and think past the target’s dominant social trait.  Complexities in social identities cause some identities to lessen the noticeability of other identities, making the targets unnoticeable and overlooked.

Interested in learning more about the elements of a VUCA environment, its mitigation, and Robert Johansen’s leadership framework “VUCA Counterweight” or “VUCA PRIME?”  You can download an editable PowerPoint on VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Supply Chain InformationSupply Chain Management is getting more and more complex.  The pressure on the Supply Chain information to be made public is also increasing day by day.  With the popularity and widespread use of social media, it has become more and more difficult for organizations to hide information pertaining to supply chain practices, employees’ treatment, suppliers’ processes, or waste materials generated that could affect the environment.  Social media often publicizes negative reports on companies’ supply chain practices—its best to have a robust information disclosure strategy before anything like that ever happens.

Executives must appreciate these external forces and information transparency demands, and react proactively to build and maintain competitive advantage for their organization.  They need to be able to, first, accurately predict the data requirements of various stakeholders and then unanimously decide on the type and frequency of the information to be shared.  A reactive information disclosure strategy is less time and planning intensive, but it does limit the chances of first-mover advantage over competition.

Supply Chain information can be classified into 4 categories:

  • Critical
  • Strategic
  • Non-critical
  • Optional

Critical Information

Organizations using this information category know that they have certain glitches in their Supply Chains that could potentially be a source of criticism from NGOs and the media and may bear adverse effects on their reputation.  This includes information concerning unhygienic or inferior quality products; unfair supply chain practices; or environmental problems.

Strategic Information

Even though stakeholders do not ask for this information, this information category is considered strategic as disclosing this data can boost brand value and product differentiation.  The strategic information category is high value to the organization but is low on risks for the supply chain.  For example, in the beauty, fashion or food products industry, sharing information about organic ingredients may be instrumental in achieving product differentiation and brand reputation.

Noncritical Information

Disclosure of this information category is typically un-called for and has negligible effects on brand value.  This information category has low value for the company and has low risks for the Supply Chain.  For instance, needlessly sharing child labor data in regions with actively enforced child welfare laws.

Optional Information

This information category is a matter of internal supply chain consideration and has no bearing on the customer.  The optional information category is low value to the organization and is actually highly risky for the Supply Chain.  For instance, potential quality issues and defects in the supply chain that are identified and resolved during quality control, and do not affect the finished product.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy that organizations can adopt to ensure a viable and high-quality Supply Chain Information Disclosure.  However, the approach needs to be evolving based on individual circumstances.  Senior executives should promptly respond to public inquiries, ensure fair treatment of employees, and guarantee compliance with basic human rights to protect their organizations’ reputation.  Experts suggest the following 8-phase approach to address and improve Supply Chain Information Disclosure.

Appreciate the criticality of Supply Chain information disclosure

The first step is to analyze the forces that demand increased supply chain transparency and ascertain the importance and priority of information for the stakeholders.  Once it is established, the leadership must take actions to address the information requirements of key stakeholders.

Appraise Supply Chain data collection abilities and resource requirements

The next step is to assess the competence of the organization—and that of the suppliers—to gather quality supply chain data.  The executives should also evaluate the costs and resource requirements to enable improved information disclosure.

Determine the existing and desired levels of Supply Chain information

The third step is to ascertain the existing knowledge of supply chain information among the executives and suppliers.  The leadership needs to identify the desired levels of supply chain data collection and sharing capabilities, and invest to fill any gaps between the existing and desired supply chain data collection and sharing competencies.

Interested in learning more about the remaining phases of the Supply Chain Information Disclosure Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Supply Chain Disclosure Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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mind - guy

Technology, Internet, growth, and globalization have metamorphosed the way we work, play, and live.  They have even changed the fundamental laws of economics.  We are living in an economy that is quite different from the old manufacturing-based economy of the 1980s.  Fewer people are now employed in the manufacturing sector, who are anxious about the prospects of being replaced by machines soon.

The “New Economy” is a term economists started using in the 1990s to describe new, high-tech, high-growth industries that have been the driving force of economic growth since that period.  The new economy is also heralded as the Digital Economy, the Knowledge Economy, the Data Economy, or the eCommerce Economy.  Top technology enterprises—including Google, Facebook and Apple—have outpaced traditional firms around the globe by taking advantage of the new economy.

Leadership Development in this age of Digital Economy is a key challenge for most organizations.  More and more organizations, today, are revisiting what they are about and the meaning of leadership for them.  It’s not about one person or even those residing at the top anymore.

MIT Sloan Management Review conducted a study of 4,000 executives from 120 geographies around the world to understand what defines a great leader in this changing world.  The study revealed striking results with most executives believed that their leaders lacked the mindset needed to produce the strategic changes essential for leading in the Digital Economy.  Enterprise-level transformation is what majority of leaders feared to embark on.

Mindsets are established set of attitudes held by someone that shape how a person interprets and responds to experiences.  A mindset arises out of a person’s view of the world or philosophy of life.  To know about the Digital Economy leadership mindsets (i.e. leadership mindsets critical to survive in this new economy), the MIT Sloan Management Review’s global study identifies 4 critical mindsets—based on in-depth interviews from executives worldwide and detailed analysis of data:

  1. The Producer
  2. The Investor
  3. The Connector
  4. The Explorer

Let’s define these first 2 leadership mindsets.

The Producer

Leaders with a producer mindset evaluate each of their customer touch points painstakingly.  These leaders exhibit a passion for producing customer value.  Producers concentrate on analytics, digital know-how, implementation, results, and customer satisfaction.  They focus on analytics to fast-track creativity.  The resulting innovation helps them tackle shifting customer preferences and enhance customer experiences.  The Producers strive to create all the customer journeys enjoyable.

The Investor

The leaders with an investor mindset make people appreciate the higher purpose they serve by their work.  They constantly struggle to instill motivation and teamwork among their teams in order to achieve their overall organizational goals.  The leaders with an investor mindset are concerned about the communities that surround them.  They look after the well-being and constant advancement of their employees, and devote their efforts to improve value for their customers.

Fostering these types of mindsets is critical to building the right Organizational Culture for an organization to be successful in the Digital Economy.

Interested in learning more about the leadership mindsets required to win in the new economy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Leadership Mindsets Critical to Succeed in the Digital Economy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Never before has Crisis Management been considered important.  With businesses being exposed to a disruptive environment, the emphasis onCrisis Management Pic2 Crisis Management has never been more profound.

“The secret of Crisis Management is not good vs. bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse.”- Andy Gilman of Comm Core Consulting Group

An organization is considered to be undergoing a crisis when there is a sudden and unexpected event leading to major unrest amongst the individuals at the workplace.  It is an emergency situation that disturbs the employees as well as leads to the instability of the organization.  When this occurs, organizations are expected to have critical documentation and process, e.g. Crisis Management Plan, Disaster Recovery Plan, Business Continuity Plan, etc., in place.

Crisis Management is the art of dealing with these sudden and unexpected events which disturb the employees and organization. Yet, often companies are like the metaphorical frog that doesn’t notice the water it is in is warming up until it is too late.  There are managers who either do not realize that they are in a crisis or their crisis situation is worsening.  The early signs of distress are often missed.  While they are not bad managers, these are managers that are under a set of paradigms that no longer apply and just let the power of inertia carry them along.

As a result, organizations in crisis find themselves faced with a potential cost that is greatly significant.  This can lead to longer recovery time, a direct impact on downtime, and lost revenue.

First Things First: Taking a Good Handle of Crisis Management

Crisis Management is the application of strategies to enable organizations to deal with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organization or its stakeholders. It is a situation-based management system with clear roles, responsibilities, and processes. In Crisis Management, it requires a crisis mindset. A crisis mindset is the ability to think of the worst-case scenario while simultaneously suggesting numerous solutions.

Being well prepared for a crisis is the epitome of Crisis Management. It ensures a rapid and adequate response to a crisis and maintaining clear lines of reporting and communication in the event of crisis.

Yet, often the organization and communication involved in responding to a crisis in a timely fashion provide the most challenge to business. Responding to crisis in the most effective way can be done by taking the 10 First Steps.

The 10 First Steps to Crisis Management

The 10 strategic First Steps are the organization’s guide when in crisis and there is a strong call toward initiating organizational change.

The first 4 steps focus on Culture and Leadership.

  1. Establish a Wide Perception of Distress
  2. Establish a Crisis Mindset
  3. Activate the Board as a Crisis Detector
  4. Change Top-Team Members

The first 4 steps will widen one’s understanding of distress and move people to actions at the time of crisis. It is at this stage that the Board will be empowered to see the forest for the trees and can enable organizations to focus on tough movers that can successfully make organizational changes.

The 5th step focuses on Change Management.

  1. Communicate a Great Changed Story

Communicating a Great Changed Story can create positive motivation to spur action towards change. When Change Management starts evolving, the organization is now ready to advance towards Business Transformation.

The 6th to 9th steps focus on Business Transformation.

  1. Integrate Trigger Points
  2. Have a Strong Cash Position
  3. Focus on Quick Wins
  4. Make Target-focused Incentive Plans

Business Transformation starts when trigger points are integrated and a strong cash position is maintained. Management can focus on quick wins to create a trajectory effect to spur actions and develop target-focused Incentive Plans to achieve a successful turnaround.

The 10th and final step is sustaining the gains through effective Talent Strategy.

  1. Retain your Talent

The final step is Retaining your Talent. It is recognizing those that can make a difference and finding the next level of talent that can create and sustain change.

Organizations can build its Crisis Management capability following the 10 first steps.  Crisis Management is not anymore a matter of choice; it has become a necessity.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the first 10 steps to surviving a crisis?  You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Crisis Management: 10 First Steps here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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