The Snowball Analogy: How to Make Your Organization Lighter and More Agile

"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." -- Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. "Efficiency is doing better what is already being done." -- Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-American management guru. Back when I was a kid, a big winter storm hit my hometown, delivering perfect snowman material—so naturally, my brother and I decided to build a huge one. We started with a very large base; easy enough. The real challenge was the next snowball up...it was just too heavy for us to lift. Luckily, my brother was a budding engineer. Using our Red Flyer wagon as a fulcrum and a 2 x 8 board as a lever, he lifted the middle snowball onto the base while I guided it. After that, finishing was easy! In a s … [Read more...]

Strategic Planning, Then and Now

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy." -- Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, nineteenth century Prussian Field Marshal. "Plans are nothing; planning is everything." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, American five-star Army general and 34th President of the United States. Recently, the concept of strategic planning has become a popular business focus, especially among companies scrambling to keep up with our brave new world's frantic pace. We've always practiced strategic planning at some level, of course, but what we meant by the term a few years ago barely resembles today's reality. This should come as no surprise in an era when last week's smartphone can't even run this week's apps. Once upon a time, strategic planning was a leisurely process, hidebound and bureaucratic. Some managers … [Read more...]