Change is Inevitable Progress is Optional

October 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Leadership and more

Change is often discouraged or debated in organizations until there are no other options, and sometimes at great calamity. Tom Neff, my mentor, taught me that organizations must embrace and plan for change by choosing progress instead of letting inevitable change just happen to them. We have seen countless industries migrate through the revolutionary transitions of the last 25 years, and we have also observed others that have refused or fought change at every step.

Organizations and individuals that are paying attention, taking a leadership position and adapting choose to progress through their change paradigm and often succeed in becoming stronger, better companies. There is a great article about General Patreaus and his Adaptive Leadership style. Let’s face it, the military has gone through significant change and if you think they have relied on old style top down management style you are wrong. Give this article a read to learn about a great “soldier, scholar and statesman,” I hope it encourages you to choose progress during this time of change. Read more…

Adapting to Change

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment and more

Clay Shirky recently wrote a great article on Cato Unbound. What he describes in the news industry is a mirror of what has happened in music. However, my take is that the “established,” which has consolidated over the last 30 years and bloated upon itself, is now decentralizing again.

30 years ago there were thousands of newspapers, individually owned in each community, just like radio. The internet also gives us a glimpse of what people have done all along – word of mouth. No doubt the tools are great, but fundamental behavior has not changed. It has simply adapted to the new channel.

There is another interesting emergence. All businesses carry a certain amount of “overhead” that is not part of the profit center. Unfortunately, businesses now evaluate all activity only through the profit lens. I believe we are going to see a return to this and the “green” movement as one beginning of realization.

Interestingly, over the years artists, writers, journalists, musicians, etc. have acquiesced to the systems and allowed them to be co-opted, consolidated into larger corporations. These were run by management that believed the channel or the pipeline “was the thing” instead of the creative (content) that it delivered.

During this period they relied on a false sense of truth that anything they delivered would be consumed. They continued to cut and squeeze out the creators to increase profits creating slowly diminishing environment. The collapse we are experiencing is the bloated entities unable to maintain their girth and the rebellion of the masses to look elsewhere.

This article, Not an Upgrade – an Upheaval, is correct that “programming” is going to be the central element in the new media space, and that current institutions are failing to adapt to the models required to make or allow that to happen. Read more…

Why Healthcare Doesn’t Need a Band-Aid

July 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Top of Mind

Years ago I did a research project about primary care physicians as a gateway to tertiary care. We talked to focus groups, identified problems, and developed possible solutions. The fundamental problems were…well, everything!

But the doctors didn’t really want help. They were trying to maintain the same infrastructure they’d had for years. And now no one knows for sure what kind of changes our healthcare system has in store.

But Walgreens is being proactive. Hundreds of retail clinics have been set up and are serving patients at Walgreens stores as well as numerous corporate client locations, including Disney World and Toyota.

This company is poised for the future; no matter whether healthcare changes or not, they will come out on top. Walgreens is taking market demand and an audience approach to the way they are doing business.

In fact, Walgreens is one of those “great” companies highlighted in a book I highly recommend, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins.

Read what Zachary Wilson of Fast Company has to say about Why Walgreens is Building its Own Universal Health-Care System…

Romance and Theater

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Top of Mind

The original design and intent of your business are important assets for your company. And it’s crucial that you don’t let the growth of your business squeeze out and overwrite your original design!

Years ago, Starbucks developers created a coffee house experience for its customers. In the words of President and CEO Howard Schultz, there was a “distinctive Starbucks experience” that was vital to the company’s original design. It was the “romance and theater” of a customer’s trip to Starbucks that was envisioned when their first coffee house was opened.

Yet the world’s largest coffee house chain experienced something less than distinctive in 2007 when sales slowed considerably.

Why? Customers understood what Starbucks management did not – the original design of a warm and intimate neighborhood coffee house had been replaced by automatic espresso machines, flavor-locked packaging, and mass-designed store layouts. All very efficient progress, but lacking the envisioned experience originally intended.

Redefining your own original business design may be difficult, but in the face of a slowed economy, it’s important that you maintain the culture and commitment to who you are.

Read more about how Starbucks is making changes in order to win back customers and return to its roots. Read Article…

Web 2.0 and Servant Leadership

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Online and more

I have had several meetings with companies and organizations inquiring about the significance, if any, of Web 2.0 and how it applies to them. It has been very interesting that even some of those that are in the Gen F crowd, are technology oriented, and do not see the practical application of this mindset for building and growing their organizations. Over the years of doing turnarounds, I learned early on the benefits of free-form task force and project team approaches for transforming organizations; blowing past the top down hierarchy that typically constrains growth and progress. This approach is also at the core of the Web 2.0 empowerment. A company that harnesses this style will succeed by developing servant leadership, empowering and equipping its workforce and customers to contribute to the overall accomplishment.

This will require companies to reinvent their management practices by luring the most innovative members of the Facebook Generation and meeting their Web 2.0 based expectations. Management guru Gary Hamel writes. “On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction.” At the Wall Street Journal Blogs, he has a good article highlighting the distinctions between “The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500.”  Read Article…