How do you know when something needs to be improved? Typically it is because you begin to notice that the results you are getting are not what you expected. There is a gap between the performance involved in producing a result and the expectation you had for that outcome. In the context of services, this is the definition of Service Quality and in the context of an improvement initiative, performance is assessed by the results achieved, these in turn being driven by the behaviour of those people charged with its delivery. Improvement means closing the gap between performance and expectation. [...]
The Eiger-Nordwand, or North Wall of the Eiger, in Switzerland, is said to be one of the most iconic climbs in the Alps. Its orientation, size, structure and history make it a magnet for all aspiring climbers and its history is littered with tragedy and triumph in adversity. According to those who have completed it, from the first ascent in 1938 by a team of Germans and Austrians over 3 days, to Ueli Steck's record of just under 3 hours in 2008, you need to be both mentally and physically prepared for a great challenge. In addition, they say, there [...]
The retail industry is hurting in Australia. The internet has been blamed for a significant shift in buyer behaviour to online purchases, exploiting the $1000 threshold exemption for the Goods and Services Tax (GST). While this might be true, my experience as an online and in-store buyer suggests a number of other factors that might be at play. In looking to purchase a copy of the book, Game of Thrones, for my daughter, I went into a local retailer considered to be 'high-end' on a Saturday afternoon. Having found the book I went to three separate counters to conclude the [...]
Every business improvement initiative needs Executive Sponsorship because every improvement initiative involves change. To effect the change you will need resources, decisions, insights, influence and leadership, however, the big question is "What is the Executive Sponsor actually supposed to do?" Don't make the assumption that this additional role is hardwired into their DNA and don't assume they will ask if they are not sure. If you get an experienced sponsor with a track record of success then you are well on your way. If you get a sponsor who is too time poor, doesn't fully understand the real benefits of [...]
Change is still hard. The Harvard Business Review said so again in July and, while there is no reliable empirical basis upon which to justify the popular narrative that 70% of organisational change initiatives fail, the perception of change risk remains. In a world that is changing rapidly: where we are seeing whole industries being disrupted by convergence and technological innovation; where the emerging social adoption of technology across the internet touches almost every aspect of life; where fundamental structural adjustments are required for all major economies; we need to be able to change effectively and quickly. There is no safe [...]
We have the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) as significant economic forces; we want to transform to a low carbon economy in response to the issue of climate-change; the baby-boomers are retiring; economic competition is becoming more globalised; oh and lets not forget the global financial crisis which probably still has legs and the potential for a few more significant surprises. ... Operational effectiveness and strategy are both essential to superior performance ... but they work in very different ways - Michael Porter, What is Strategy, HBR (1996) Thirdly, I don't mean to suggest that everything stays the same and is sweetness and light: change is inevitable and pervasive.