Living in a small town has its advantages. I take the bike to work every day, it takes about 10 minutes. The other day, my morning routine was disrupted by a flat tire, so I had to walk. That was probably the best thing that happened to me in while because it gave me a valuable gift, time to think, time to reflect. Don’t get me wrong, I think all the time, even at work, but not like this.
So what did I reflect about?
I thought about why I was worried about the buzz around Big Data, I thought about the future of sales roll in companies and I thought about the Supply Chain being stuck in price and margin box. I also reflected on the latest writings about CMO’s rolls in companies and the ideas around what their responsibilities are on today’s organizations. Ok, this is a lot, but I have had two walks and it takes about 20 minutes in each direction, so I have had an hour of undisturbed time.
Then, this morning, I found a link on LinkedIn to a webinar on the topic “Leveraging Analytics for Market-Driven Success” with Lora Cecere and Charles Chase, and all the pieces came together and I can see that I am not alone in thinking about this. I actually got some concrete tips on how to explain what the current problems are and what the way forward is. I really need to read Lora’s book “Bricks Matter“, it’s on my to do list.
The key areas boil down to organization and analytics. It is a vision of having one chain supporting the market. I will come back to analytics and the vision of a market-driven value chain in another blog. Let’s take a look at organization.
Connecting to Stefan’s blog about the Strategy Myopia I would like to peel down a layer to an area that I see as the main contributor to Strategy Myopia: the organization. In my view Strategy Myopia is the result of organizational inefficiency. Sure, people are moved, management shows some muscle by adding or subtracting blocks in the organization, but the core of how the business is created, how it struggles, how it enables, how it suffocates and how it blinds managers from the truth lies in how the company is structured. Silos, process or possibly a confusing mix of both (I have experience here)? Silo organizations are an artificial structure that derives from the industrial revolution. Seth Godin summarized this really well in his TEDTalk. There is no gain in sticking to this. I know from experience that the shift to process is a political battleground and there will be casualties, but when the smoke clears you will find yourself in a better place.
Process organization is like a flow, a flow is a natural movement. I used to ballroom dance and it was all about learning micro detailed technical moves and placing them in a flow. In the flow you used your energy, transformed it, to show off the techniques you work so hard at perfecting. In a competition, if something unexpected happened, like another dancer moving into your planned direction, you had to change tactics and do something spontaneous to keep the flow without knocking anyone around you over, or end up looking like a moose in heat, because you lacked the ability to be spontaneous and got lost outside the routine. Dancing also taught me an important lesson. Each move flows into the next, one move is not a dance; it is a series of events that seamlessly interact, in motion.
A well designed process allows for perfection and spontaneity. It is a seamless series of events that delivers a result. Another thing to consider about processes; if you cannot explain the basics of what it delivers to a 6 year old (remember Einstein), then you are probably over complicating things.
Once you have set up your processes you need to pinpoint all the points in the process that are clear handover points (ok seamless might not be the case) so that you can measure the efficiency of parts of the process. The silos are gone, but you still need to lead different parts of the organization. What you don’t measure cannot be improved. Once you have identified the measure points you need to decide what it is you wish to measure and find out and what data to collect in order to do this.