“Too many companies are living in yesterday’s world. They are seeking competitive advantage through traditional methods, and they aren’t finding it. And they are missing their main opportunity for boosting performance and outstripping competitors. ...

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  1. Friday Book Review! Time, Talent, Energy by Michael C. Mankins & Eric Garton
  2. A Guide to Strategic Cost Cutting, Restructuring and Renewal
  3. Friday Book Review: Getting to “Yes, And” by Bob Kulhan & Chuck Crisafulli
  4. How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas and Other Difficult People
  5. How Leaders Accelerate Successful Execution
  6. More Recent Articles

Friday Book Review! Time, Talent, Energy by Michael C. Mankins & Eric Garton

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“Too many companies are living in yesterday’s world. They are seeking competitive advantage through traditional methods, and they aren’t finding it. And they are missing their main opportunity for boosting performance and outstripping competitors. Let us explain what we mean.”

With these opening words of their new book, Time, Talent, Energy, Bain consultants Michael Mankins and Eric Garton launch a combination manifesto and manual urging companies to stop focusing on acquiring and managing the principal scarce resource of the past — capital — and instead focus on acquiring and managing the scarce resources that truly make a competitive difference today: the time, talent and energy of your best people.

Confronting the Productivity Killer

Unlike capital, which is easier to locate and access than ever before, the authors’ research shows that the time, talent and energy of leaders and employees are becoming more and more scarce. To be successful, the authors write, companies must ensure that their employees are the most productive they can be — that is, that they use their time productively and that they pour their talent and their energy into their work.


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Most productivity books are focused on the individual. However, Mankins and Garton have a different message: “It’s not your employees’ fault that they are not as productive as they could or should be; it’s your organization’s fault.”

Most organizations are undermining their employees’ productivity with roadblocks and obstacles. The authors call these organizational obstacles “organizational drag.” “Organizational drag slows things down, decreasing output and raising costs,” they explain. “Organizational drag saps energy and drains the human spirit. Organizational drag interferes with the most capable executive’s and employee’s efforts, encouraging a ‘What’s the use?’ attitude… It’s time for companies to confront this productivity killer head on.”

The authors’ analysis of the time budgets of 17 large corporations indicates that time is still a scarce resource that is being squandered. Some of the culprits are well known, including a tidal wave of e-communications and meeting time that, according to the study, has skyrocketed. In addition, real collaboration is limited: most meetings, the authors write, are within departments, not between functions or business units.

Unfortunately, there are few controls and few consequences for time-wasting processes…(click here to continue reading)

     

A Guide to Strategic Cost Cutting, Restructuring and Renewal

Image result for fit for growth Vinay Couto, John Plansky & Deniz CaglarVery few organizations manage their expenses for sustainable success. And when the time inevitably comes to cut their costs, many companies cut in a way that makes them weaker, not stronger.

The experienced consultants with PwC’s Strategy& team reveal the hidden problems of conventional cost management –– and how your company can do better. Drawing on decades of research, observation and experience helping clients, these experts have developed a unique approach to help CEOs and senior executives cut costs constructively.

The Fit for Growth concept redirects an organization’s resources and investments toward its few differentiating capabilities –– the strengths that set it apart from competitors. When a company manages costs this way, it becomes fit for growth. Its cost structure, organization and culture are aligned with its strategy.

Total business transformation requires total buy-in, and it entails a series of decisions that must not be made lightly. Fit for Growth offers a definitive game plan to cut costs and grow stronger.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• The three essential actions for becoming Fit to Grow.
• Why growth requires cuts and how to achieve both.
• Smart levers to restructure costs.
• Strategies to help leaders, managers and employees embrace large-scale organizational transformation.

     

Friday Book Review: Getting to “Yes, And” by Bob Kulhan & Chuck Crisafulli

pid_25618In the early morning of May 2, 2011, a team of Navy SEALS invaded a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden. As author Bob Kulhan writes in his book, Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv, “the mission had been meticulously planned: the SEALS trained for it over months and several contingency plans were developed and put into place.” Unfortunately, during the raid, one of the team’s helicopters crashed. In addition, “the SEALS discovered that the intelligence they’d based their plans on was not entirely accurate,” he writes. “There were a number of unknown variables (how many people they would encounter, the types of people, the weapons, the doors and hallways, etc.). So they had to improvise.”

The Osama Bin Laden raid may seem a surprising choice as the first case study to appear in a book written by a veteran stage performer and alumni of the famed improvisational troupe Second City. The story underscores, however, Kulhan’s point that the techniques of improvisation are valuable and important in any domain.

Much More Than Laughs

The building blocks of improvisation, Kulhan writes, are reacting, adapting and communicating — building blocks that are equally valuable in dealing with uncertainty or the unexpected. “Improvisation,” he explains, “is a key element of busy emergency rooms; it takes place on NBA basketball courts; it’s a part of the skill set for every policeman cruising the streets — all contexts in which comedy is certainly not intended to be part of the picture.”

As for business, Kulhan writes, “the same skills that make for exceptional comedic improvisation — intense listening, focus, energy, engagement, teamwork, authenticity, adaptability — are skills that any businessperson can use to make positive changes in the workplace.” Improvisation, Kulhan argues persuasively, is clearly not just “making stuff up” to be funny.

Getting to “Yes And” explores how to apply improvisational skills to the business arena. In detailed and grounded chapters, Kulhan shows how improvisation can be applied to personal development, communication, team building, leadership and changing a corporate culture.

The first step, however, is to understand…(click here to continue reading)

     

How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas and Other Difficult People

ihwx.fc9b05df-dddb-4c29-a399-330c78377c64.200.175The control-freak, the narcissist, the slacker, the cynic… Difficult people are the worst part of a manager’s job. Whether it comes from direct reports or people above, outbursts, irrational demands, griping and other disruptions need to be dealt with –– and it’s your responsibility to do it. Leading the Unleadable turns this dreaded chore into a straightforward process that gently yet effectively improves behaviors. Written by an insider in the tech industry, where personality issues routinely wreck projects, Alan Willett reveals a core truth: Most people actually want to contribute results, not cause headaches. Once you realize the potential for change, the Willett’s simple steps and examples explain how to right even the most hopeless situations. You’ll learn how to master the necessary mindset; explain the problem calmly in a short feedback session; get a commitment to change and follow up; coach others to replicate the process; and develop the situational awareness required to spot trouble even earlier in the future. Every manager has “problem people.” What sets great managers apart is how they turn them into productive team players. Prepare to transform the troublesome into the tremendous.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• What it means to accept the call of exceptional leadership.
• How to take action and follow through with troublesome employees.
• Key criteria for deciding whether to remove or improve an employee.
• How to prevent problems by setting the bar high.

     

How Leaders Accelerate Successful Execution

SpeedSpeed
by John H. Zenger and Joseph R. Folkman

During the last few decades, speed has increased dramatically in daily business activity. Speed in business is partly a reflection of the increase in speed in every area of modern life. In order to stay competitive and profitable, companies must improve the speed at which they operate and make crucial decisions. Today, competition is fiercer than ever as companies all over the world vie to be the first to market new products and services. The first-to-market advantage nearly always results in a dominant share of that market. But, can an organization move quickly if its leaders and professionals move slowly? Drawn from extensive data and field research, Speed reveals eight essential behaviors that anyone can adopt to improve speed and drive organizational effectiveness.

Leadership experts Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman share valuable insights gleaned from one million 360-degree feedback assessments of more than 75,000 leaders. Repeatedly, speed was shown to be a powerful predictor of a leader’s effectiveness. As the authors demonstrate, speed is produced not by frantic activity but by skillful execution of several key behaviors. Step by step, they show how to increase your own speed, anticipate trends and be more productive. Speed gives you a much-needed competitive advantage in business and in life.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:
• How to overcome “speed bumps,” challenges and obstacles.
• Tactics and strategies for speeding up critical elements of your day.
• Quicker, more effective communication.
• Behaviors that increase speed and spark innovation in yourself and others

     

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