books - business

Rapid Transformation – guest blog

This is a book read and logged by a colleague, captured here for posterity and until I can read the book.

Book Summary: Rapid Transformation by Behnam Tabrizi
Harvard Business School Press 2007
Read May 2008, Logged June 2008 by CM

pg 2 Although incremental change should be a routine part of any good manager’s or leader’s job, it promotes a parochial outlook and attitude in the rank and file if it becomes too routine. After a while, people show up at work to play rather than to win. Through incremental change, the thirst for outside-the-box thinking is lost.

…the organization may consider taking large steps to improve the organization’s performance by leaps and bounds. These drastic moves are often better understood as revolution, or transformations.

pg 4 The interplay between the information revolution, the rapid pace of globalization, and the fierce competition requires a new model for change. (link to The World if Flat)

pg 6 The 90 Days Transformation Model

30-90 days – Pre-transformation
30 days – Phase 1 Diagnosis
30 days – Phase 2 Envisioning the future
30 days – Phase 3 Paving the Road
6-12 myths – Transformation implementation

Successful transformation efforts are: all encompassing, integrative, and fast and had full, passionate commitment and buy-in, especially at the top layers of the organization.

pg 13 Case study of model: Hewlett Packard (Fiorina) vs HP (Hurd)

Hurd had all the critical success factors above, while Fiorina was missing passionate commitment, buy-in and fast as factors. Fiorina’s had a silo structure which resulted in customer dissatisfaction, slow responses and brand diffusion. Lack of accountability was also problematic…and they failed to capitalize on the Internet revolution. She never took the time to develop rapport with individual employees…and failed to execute.

pg 18 By the end of the 90 days, the org should have identified the root causes of the problems and developed a detailed blueprint for the actual implementation, which will take an additional 6-12 months.

pg 19 By working is parallel, cross-functional teams save time, involve employees, and provide a more holistic and thorough perspective on the organization’s situation.

pg 21 Without changing holistically, an organization may overlook key synergies that could bring significant value to it.

pg 29 Pre-transformation – Planting the Seeds

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

C. S. Lewis

pg 34 A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, “You can get used to be being a player without being a winner. There’s a big difference between the two. So I became interested in transforming players into winners”.

pg 46 Although numbers by themselves should not be taken at face value (there’s usually a story behind the numbers), they can, in conjunction with the company’s reality, add value and clarify some key issues that need to be addressed.

pg 52 road shows…are effective mediums for using a variety of means to communicate a sense of urgency.

pg 59 Motivational vision vs Strategic vision i.e. heart vs head; factors that drive and excite employees vs both internal and external influences on the company.

pg 60 ..first few weeks of a job, it is important to find a cadre of advisors who have no axes to grind.

pg 63 Every tree has it’s low-hanging fruit. If you leave this fruit on the tree too long before picking it, it will over ripen and rot, eventually falling off the tree. If the transformation leader waits too long before capitalizing on the potential of these early wins, they become ineffective and the transformation effort may lose momentum.

pg 66 Things to Consider when Choosing Your Early Wins:

Can it be implemented immediately and swiftly?
Can the results be seen immediately?
How risky is it? What is the likelihood of success?
Does it align with the developed vision? Is it a first step in the direction we want to head?
Can the early win be communicated effectively to motivate employees and maintain or increase momentum?
How does this early win complement other early wins?

pg 73 By limiting the number of (external) consultants and restricting their role to that of a coach, the accelerated transformation effort uses the expertise of the seasoned consultants while giving the employees the steering wheel of the transformation.

pg 78-79 Overcoming the typical employee’s microscopic view of the organization that is limited to his particular function or domain, rapid response teams provide members with a macroscopic view that integrates perspectives from the various functions and divisions.

pg 81 Morale in a company often plummets when change is imposed on employees without their input, because it sends the message that the leaders of the company and the transformation have little faith that its own employees can devise a solution to turn the situation around.

pg 94 While senior executives may be observing the company from space, and lower-ranked employees may be observing the company from the ground, middle-employees are viewing the company from a plane.

pg 112 A landmark meeting in transformation should cover: Establishing a shared vision, presenting the methodology, starting with a clean slate, developing a set of key values, conducting a high-level analysis of current issues…then…establishing clear roles/responsibilities, working as a team, and developing an effective phase 1 plan.

pg 123 In addition to gathering data that will help diagnose the ailments troubling the company, the teams should also begin gathering data about the mega trends of the industry and the market…this will help teams when they are asked to develop “big ideas” based on their analysis.

pg 131 Dave House of Bay Networks “Culture is what people fall back on when there are no instructions. It gives you rules for when there are no rules. It provides a common language for moving forward.” Cultures are live entities.

When looking at your own culture, consider two of the goals toward which most companies strive: a united culture of unity and a culture of accountability.

pg 136 Talent development may be an effective way to address some underlying issues of the company.

pg 146 Teams need to distinguish the symptoms from the root causes of the problems because the company ultimately wants to address the root causes, not simply the symptoms.

pg 149 After creating the process flowchart, the tea is ready to analyze it and identify the key problem areas. Employees should start by searching for areas where the process breaks down. i.e. bottlenecks, weak links, poorly defined events, non-value-adding steps, duplication, unclear roles, cycle time, sources of delay, error prevention vs error correction.

pg 161 Resource allocation after rationalization: Expand, Maintain, Withdraw, Cut

pg 176 Gap Analysis: What is the difference between the current state and the desired state? What steps can the team take to decrease this difference or eliminate this gap altogether?

pg 189 Phase 3: Paving the road…represents the tipping point between past and future, beginning and end.

pg 202 Business plans: What is the problem, why is this plan necessary, when will this solution be implemented, who is the target of our project, how will we achieve our objective and implement the solution?

pg 208 A list of non-goals is a “not-do” list. These non-goals keep teams focused and on track by preventing alternate distracting options from being discussed again after they have already been dismissed.

pg 233 The three most important tools for maintaining momentum are: 1) addressing resistance 2) celebrating often and 3) using a reward system.

pg 237 A culture of Accountability

By creating a culture of accountability, you are weaving one of the key principles of excellent execution into the DNA of your organization. By creating an execution-oriented culture, a culture of accountability is also very effective in maintaining momentum and increasing morale and confidence, both internally and externally.

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