You’re finally going to do it. You are a born again believer in the benefits of business and strategic planning. To prepare you for the plunge here’s some rules of the road to guide you through the process.
The planning process can be exhilarating, frustrating, enlightening, demanding and a host of other descriptive adjectives. Hopefully you’ll find a nugget or two in these do’s and don’ts that will keep the emphasis on the positives of your unique organizational growth experience. Carpe Diem!
“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.“-Dwight D. Eisenhower
We all need good information to monitor and manage our organizations. We need timely, efficient and effective management information to drive the decision-making process. To meet these needs, managers should be aware of the available criteria for a proper evaluation.
“You can not feed the hungry on statistics.“-Wilfred Laurier
The following 14 evaluative criteria are offered as a frame of reference for the planning, developing and monitoring of organizational information needs.
It is important to note that proper use of the criteria will involve the assessment of qualitative as well as quantifiable attributes and will require dealing in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable qualitative arena. Also, since the criteria will not generally carry equal weight, management will need an adequate grasp of the critical criteria of its own organization. Use of the evaluative criteria should, however, provide a framework for “relative ranking” of competing data requests and thus allow for a rational allocation of available organizational resources. The evaluation job will still be difficult, but a systematic approach should increase the likelihood that all the “bases” will be covered.
WHAT CRITERIA TO LOOK FOR: 14 TO BENCHMARK AGAINST (more…)
Technology and alternate ways of doing things are always in a state of flux. Whether it’s outsourcing some of your operations or looking at techniques that aid your decision process, it’s important to keep emerging tools and practices on your radar screen.
One example is the evolving nature of financial planning and analysis software that transcends beyond traditional spreadsheet tools. Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball to aid your business decision process? Would you use such a tool if it was available? With operations becoming more and more complex, having the ability to anticipate, analyze and assess alternate strategies BEFORE committing valuable time and resources is becoming vital.
“Anyone who says businessmen deal in facts, not fiction, has never read old five-year projections.“-Malcolm Forbes
Does your current financial forecasting model provide answers to these SEVEN TYPICAL INQUIRIES? (more…)
Do you remember the challenge, the fear, and the thrill of learning to ride your bike as a child? Do you remember how proud you felt when you finally got the upper hand on gravity? Didn’t you feel like standing on your handle bars and screaming “I’m King of the World!” You had acquired the “art of balance” to keep your peddling in a mostly forward, albeit erratic, direction. Life was grand.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you need to keep moving.“-Albert Einstein
Well, balance remains a big part of our lives. It just takes on different forms when we grow up. I emphasize the art of balance since feeling might be more relevant than logic in determining the current state of balance in our lives. Although it’s a personal process and a private journey, here are a few questions to kick-start your assessment:
First, what does your gut tell you? Are the various components of your life in balance? Do you work to live or live to work? Are you becoming multi-dimensional or one-dimensional?
Do you tend to see what you’ve always seen? Do your past experiences prevent you from seeing things from a fresh perspective?
Beware: limited perceptions can create some powerful mind traps. They become subtle tendencies in the way we view the world and can impede our ability to find creative solutions to problems and opportunities. Let me share a few related stories from Robert Pirsig the author of the philosophical masterpiecesZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Lila.
“For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.” -Robert Pirsig
“I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.” Does this describe your organization and how it deals with change? One could make a pretty compelling argument that General Motors suffered from this type of malaise for decades. Whether it is too little or too late for GM is certainly up for debate. But you have to respect their recent proactive course of action. The former giant is now in the role of the underdog but at least they are doing something. Commitment and execution are excellent attributes to embrace.
“Indecision may or may not be my problem.” -Jimmy Buffett
Does your score keeping drive desired performance? Or does it produce individual and group behavior that conflicts with your primary goals and objectives? Finding the right metrics is not always an easy task. Be aware of the pitfalls that can happen if they are not the right ones.
People can and do change their behavior when they are measured, but it’s not always in the desired direction. Let me share with you a few related stories I’ve heard over the years:
“Tell me how you’ll measure me and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave.” -Famed management guru Eli Goldratt
A few years ago I remember watching the on again, off again, on again, launch status of the space shuttle Discovery over the July 4th holiday. Having grown up in the 60’s I still marvel at each launch and think of the millions of events that take place with each flight.
In recent years it seems NASA has been dealing with an increasingly skeptical public and vocal policy opponents who want to severely limit or eliminate NASA’s future projects.
Maybe I’m in the minority but I’m nostalgic for the excitement, optimism, and commitment that President Kennedy triggered in America in 1961 when he challenged us to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. What a vision and what a mission! And what an exhilarating time for every citizen of the country to witness and enjoy the patriotic pride of the remarkable progress towards the achievement of that lofty goal in July 1969.
“When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.” -Leo Burnett
Does your score keeping track useful metrics? Or does it produce data that no one really uses? Finding the right metrics is not always an easy task. A good place to start is to challenge what you are currently producing. Who gets it? Do they use it? Is it what they need?
Times do change! What might have been helpful in 1975 might no longer does the trick. Let me share with you a story about a new plant manager we’ll call Tom who was assigned to turn around a troubled manufacturing facility several decades ago.
“We are glutted with data and yet there is a shortage of wisdom”- Michael Toms
IS THE WORD -VALUES-AN OXYMORON IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY?
VANCITY IS PROOF POSITIVE -IT IS NOT
VanCity, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is in its sixth decade of operation, offering a form of social and spiritual capitalism that proves doing business in alignment with high values and integrity can also be profitable.
This unique blend of more than-a-credit-union and more than-a-bank, is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the tornadeo of devastation wrecked by banking institutions whose operating philosophies are more of a testament to the capitalistic prophecies born out of the ancient Greek myth of Erisychthon.
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: SOME GOOD & SOME NOT SO GOOD
It is the nature of human decision making that no matter what course of considered action, there generally are some resulting unintended (and generally unforeseen) consequences. You don’t have to search to far for many examples that permeate our society.
For instance who could have foreseen the chain of events a few years ago from Don Imus making his insensitive remarks on the air…………. to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine being badly injured in a car crash while on the way to hear Mr. Imus apologize to the Rutgers Women’s basketball team?
“You cannot always predict the results of purposeful action. Life is frequently too complicated and unpredictable, the universe too random, to bend to the will of any individual or group of individuals.”- Steven Gillion
WHAT ARE THE PEBBLES IN YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL SHOES?
Every organization has some disconnects in their business model or operations. Acknowledging that fact is a healthy first step. Some are obvious while many lurk undetected due to complacency, cultural blinders or simply bad habits.
Some are internal inconsistencies which in theory are easier to fix while some are due to external factors which might be beyond the control of the impacted organization.
If you have the courage to look there are some steps your can employ to improve the situation.
Our team is well balanced. We have problems everywhere. – Tommy Prothro
Baby boomers are quaking over the 30 – 50% erosion of their retirements funds, while the biggest threat facing the status of their long-term financial well-being may be closer to home, and within their control.
The winning secret of hockey’s all-time great, Wayne Gretsky, has been much quoted and has relevance in being on top of your financial-future game. Gretsky said the key to his success was simply, “I don’t go to where the puck is…I go to where the puck will be.”
Today we have a lot of pre-retirees, baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964, now ranging in age from 45-63, anxiously looking over the shoulders of their financial planners, wondering how to recover the retirement loses they have seen in the past year.
In an annual perception survey, international polling firm, Globescan, released results for 2009, finding the US reversing a previous downward trend in how the world perceives its ability to exert a positive impact, from a low of 28% in 2005, to a new high of 40% in February, 2009. The improvement is believed to be linked to the election of Barak Obama.
With the question, “Please tell me if you think each of the following are having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world,” Globescan, in partnership with PIPA, the Program on International Policy Attitudes and the University of Maryland, have compiled results of “perception of influence” of approximately 16 states (varies somewhat annually) as ranked by 13,000 (at times as high as 33,000) people in 26 countries since 2004.
IS IT TIME FOR PERCEPTION CHECKS IN YOUR BUSINESS?…
Check out episode transcripts, schedules, and more!
music & arts: The Ongoing History
By Nick Corsi
What is alternative rock?
I have always been a big Alternative Rock fan. What is alternative rock? Well, you could categorize it using a number of sub-genres such as grunge, punk, indie, hardcore, metal, or any off-shoot that isn’t completely mainstream. The last 40 years have provided an explosion in the amount of genres rock n roll has to offer. Classifying, categorizing, and placing different artists in the proper labels is incredibly difficult. But I know a guy who can give you a little help if this is something you want to tackle…
I discovered our Enlightened Corporation for this week while watching a segment of the Oprah show in which she interviewed young, self-made millionaires.
Tony Hsieh,CEO of Zappos.com, was one of the guests. He is a great inspiration, a model CEO of a model corporation, for our Enlightened Orgs directory.
His business achievements are certainly significant for such a young man. While still in his twenties, Hsieh (SHAY), a computer undergraduate from Harvard, co-founded an internet advertising agency called LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998. But it was actually his business philosophy or mindset, that really caught my attention.
“I AM NOT NECESSARILY PASSIONATE ABOUT SHOES…WHAT I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT IS…
King Arthur had his Knights of the Round Table. Shouldn’t you have a similar team of sage advisors? Keep in mind that even Tiger Woods has a coach.
Most business owners have an aversion towards a formal board of directors and in today’s litigious society, formal board members are harder to entice. But there is an attractive alternative. It’s called an Advisory Board. The informality and flexibility give it it’s power. Here are some suggestions to consider in the formation and continuance of such a group.
Teamwork is essential. It allows you to blame someone else. – Finagle’s Eighth Rule
Will we sleep better knowing we have made a few million dollars on a “paper” or “security” that is not tied to something tangible and could collapse at any minute? … or will we leave this world pleased we have restored the planet to the beauty and abundance it once held for all?
We had the Slow Food industry, as a backlash to unhealthy eating, now Woody Tasch has initiated his Slow Money movement to offset the lust for speedy profits, at any cost. Tasch is our honored CEO of Enlightened Orgs for the work he is doing to bring sensibility to a world made giddy by financial greed.
THE MOST POWERFUL SOLUTIONS ARE OFTEN THE SIMPLEST…
How does your management style impact the success of your organization? Is it beneficial or does it hinder performance? Do you realize how significant your management style is to your image, culture and overall achievement?
These are powerful questions that require an honest assessment, some time to reflect, a focused insight on the implications and consideration for possible change.
“The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the five guys who haven’t made up their minds.” -Casey Stengel