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In the topic 'Organization Improvement'


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A Fourteen-Point Team Check Up

In these days of frantic activity and whirlwinds of change, many management teams are so caught up working in their team they invest little to no time working on their team effectiveness. As the daily flurry of e-mails, meetings, and firefighting overloads everyone, most teams scramble to respond to all the demands coming at them. […]

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Toyota Under Fire: Leadership Lessons on Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

During my e-mail exchanges with Jeff Liker we agreed on the critical role leadership and culture play in boosting or blocking major organizational change and improvement efforts (“Lasting Organizational Change Balances Doing and Being”) Jeff is Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan and the author of numerous books on how […]

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Lasting Organizational Change Balances Doing and Being

A three decades long trail of failed organizational change efforts stretches back to include excellence, customer focus/service, total quality management, continuous improvement, team building, reengineering, employee engagement, process management, strategic planning, new technologies, IT systems, safety, and Lean/Six Sigma. And that’s to name just a few! Failure rates of these efforts are 50 – 70% […]

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The Three Rings of Perceived Value: An Integrated Customer Focus

Many organizations today are striving to increase their customer service or product quality levels. Legions of executives are declaring themselves "customer-focused" or "customer-centric." Yet customer service levels are slipping and many of us are frustrated by attitudes of indifference, navigating technological mazes ("press one to hear that your call is very important to us"), or […]

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How “Internal Customers” Create Silos, Turf Wars, and Tyrants

As many organizations work to focus on customers and increase service/quality levels, we’re seeing a growing problem with “internal customer tyranny.” That’s where one department uses its status as a “customer” of another department or support group to make their own lives easier. Too often there’s little or no connection to whether the real customer […]

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Lean Leadership: Boosting or Blocking Lean/Six Sigma Tools and Techniques

A key element of my work last month with Qantas Airways in Australia involved linking customer focus, employee engagement, and process management. This month I was engaged by a national insurance company to help their executive team understand their role in implementing Lean/Six Sigma. My experience with Lean/Six Sigma began in the late eighties with […]

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Executive Team Traps: Tips, Techniques, and Resources to Pick Yourself Up

Has your executive or management team fallen into a few of the traps identified in my last blog post? If so, you’re in good company. Those common team traps are highly interconnected. Getting out of them takes a fair bit of work and approaches unique to each team. Following is a menu of resources and […]

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Executive Team Traps: Have You Fallen and Can’t Get Up?

In the last few months I’ve been working with three executive teams to help strengthen team effectiveness and boost their leadership of major culture change and development efforts. One team heads up a large commercial construction company in Western Canada, another is a European based international mining company, and the third are senior partners in […]

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How to Energize Vision, Values, and Purpose/Mission

Change is happening way too fast to predict and plan for an uncertain and unknown future. Building a quickly responsive and highly adaptive team and organizational culture is more critical than ever. The core of a built-to-change culture is an energized vision, values, and purpose/mission (it’s the hub of our “Leadership Wheel”) brimming with life […]

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Focus and Context are the Core of Built-to-Change Cultures

My last post brought a few insights and research on dealing with uncertainty. The post before that was built around Dan Gardner’s excellent new book, Future Babble. It drew parallels with one of his key themes (expert hedgehogs and foxes) by discussing management hedgehogs and leadership foxes. A key difference from management hedgehog’s rigid planning […]

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Tips and Techniques for Reviewing, Assessing, Celebrating, and Refocusing

As you look back over the past year and forward to 2011, schedule time to get your team re-energized and re-focused when you get back to work in January. Here are a few ways to do it: Summarize Your 2010 Accomplishments – this can be done as an “Annual Report” with photos, graphs, video clips, […]

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The Seven Sins of Learning Impaired Management Teams

My last blog post looked at using the Holiday Season as a reminder of the importance of reviewing, assessing, celebrating, and refocusing – both at home and at work. Besides energizing us, it’s critical to our ongoing learning and development. In offsite retreats and workshops, management teams agree on how critically important it is for […]

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Tis the Season to Review, Assess, Celebrate, and Refocus

As we scurry madly into the Holiday Season, the year-end retrospectives are beginning. It’s time to look back on what was and ahead to what can be. This is also what highly effective – and disciplined – management teams do so much more regularly that their mediocre peers. Many management teams have a limited or […]

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Thoughts that Make You Go Hmmm on ….. Team Building

My last post reported on fascinating research from the world of honey bees providing profound and practical insights on building highly effective teams. Team effectiveness depends heavily on the team leadership skills of the person heading up the team. Here’s a look at recent and emerging research on team leadership for stronger team building. “Great […]

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Team Building Lessons from the Wisdom of the Hive

Management is about facts, analysis, and issues of the head. Leadership is about intuition, values, and issues of the heart. Logic is the language of management. Imagery is the language of leadership. Imagery is fuelled by metaphors, parables, analogies, stories, and examples. It’s how we’ve learned from each other and passed along our accumulated experiences […]

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Piecemeal Programs or Culture Change: Which Road Are you on?

With the Chilean miners successful rescue last month, the questions around how they became trapped in the first place will lead to numerous investigative media reports and inquiries. Those stories, reports, and inquires are now emerging around the giant BP oil disaster this spring and summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Early stories and reports […]

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Keys to Strategic HR Leadership

This fall we’re deep in the thick of helping a number of Clients plan and execute extensive multi-year implementations of leadership and culture development processes to dramatically boost customer service, product/service quality, safety, employee engagement, succession planning, efficiencies, and another key elements of organization effectiveness. Since leadership and culture development are clearly people issues, we […]

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Lasting Culture Change Means Going Beyond Passionate Lip Service to Involved Leadership

We are working with four executive teams this fall who are looking to implement major new initiatives aimed at dramatically shifting their organizational culture and performance. One is a large international retailer completely revamping their entire supply chain process. Another is a major global mining company determined to dramatically boost their safety performance. A mid-sized […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on… Serving the Servers

Many of this month’s blog posts have been around improving the rampant levels of declining customer service levels in most organizations. Managers often point to frontline servers attitudes as the source of the problem and look for quick motivational or training fixes. But who hired the servers? Who trains them? Who provides the systems and […]

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Three Root Causes of Dropping Customer Service Levels

A television producer called me recently to discuss a story she’s working on around declining customer service levels and what to do about it. We agreed that there’s been a big drop in customer service over the past two years. I believe this problem is rooted in three common causes: Misuse of Technology – forcing […]

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