Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”
~Kakuzo Okakaura

Herb Kelleher is often quoted as saying; “If you don’t change, you die.” When asked by his successor, Gary Kelly, to expand on that notion, he said, “If things change faster outside your company than they change inside your company, then you have something to worry about.”

Change is often called the “business constant”. For change in the marketplace, the government, regulations, Customer needs and wants, various forms of technology, even the issues of land, water and air are variables that influence business and your enterprise. So, I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Kelleher and Mr. Kelly.

The beliefs of Mr. Kelleher and Mr. Kelly are substantiated by McKinsey & Company research. Their experience with scores of major transformation efforts, combined with research they have undertaken over the past decade, suggests that four key functions collectively define a successful role for the CEO in a enterprise transformation:

  1. Making the transformation meaningful. People will go to extraordinary lengths for causes they believe in, and a powerful transformation story will create and reinforce their commitment. The ultimate impact of the story depends on the CEO’s willingness to make the transformation personal, to engage others openly, and to spotlight successes as they emerge.
  2. Role-modeling desired mind-sets and behavior. Successful CEOs typically embark on their own personal transformation journey. Their actions encourage employees to support and practice the new types of behavior.
  3. Building a strong and committed top team. To harness the transformative power of the top team, CEOs must make tough decisions about who has the ability and motivation to make the journey.
  4. Relentlessly pursuing impact. There is no substitute for CEOs rolling up their sleeves and getting personally involved when significant financial and symbolic value is at stake[1].

Change is preparing your organization to lead and be proactive ahead of a change curve. Read this article and understand some of the insights gleaned from Southwest airlines are important. http://tinyurl.com/lxoxyqk

[1] Aiken, Carolyn B.  and Keller, Scott P.; The CEO’s role in leading transformation; Insights & Publications; February 2007


Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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President Abraham Lincoln would have recognized that change is timeless and nestles into each generation. Sustainability is one such form of change. I think Ol Abe would have repeated this quote:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”

My newest book, Building a Bridge to Benefits, provides Owners and Executives understanding how and where Sustainability can improve performance and efficiency.

This book provides a step-by-step approach, from Vision to Waste to Tangible Benefits, in molding an organization into a Sustainable Developed enterprise. Building a Bridge to Benefits is a top-down approach to transforming a corporation into a Sustainable Developed enterprise. Environmentalist will say Sustainability is doing more with less. But that does not communicate the real business value to an executive.

I had the good fortune to have the book edited by two key Sustainability experts from the University of North Texas: Dr. Todd Spinks, who is the Director – Office of Sustainability and Mr. Raynard Kearbey – Associate Vice Chancellor for System Facilities. They were helpful in refining the pragmatic Sustainability message I wanted to dispatch to business leadership.

Sustinability is clearly understandable and links to the inter-connectivity to social, economic and environmental domains. Sustainability is an initiative based on methodology, ethics and changing a business mindset. It explains what Corporate Social Responsibility is about and how it could be integrated into your Strategic Planning, not replacing it. It illustrates how a focused effort can leverage Lean Six Sigma as a best-practices, while adopting Ethics and Stewardship principles, implementing transformation and adjusting the enterprise mindset to work within a clearly understood and effective processes.

Sustainability provides awareness of consumption and why creating emissions are problems. It highlights why efficient process are needed and may not be optimized. How it can be used to provide differentiation of their product offerings in the marketplace. Why corporations should weave Sustainability into their overall corporate strategies as opposed to a stand-alone strategy. It answers questions why Sustainability is important to all employees, why link to Lean Six Sigma, why would executives consider making a change to the organization and what are the key wastes that should be eliminated from the enterprise.

As a management consultant, I understand that company Owners and Executives are constantly searching for better ways to do business. Most executives are becoming aware that their competition are benefiting from such a transformation, that government is becoming more invasive and they want to understand where tangible benefits can be gained.

As a senior consultant, I believe Sustainability will be a key centerpiece in every prudent 21st century Business Strategy. While many Owners and Executives are considering Sustainability projects, very few are clear how to effectively implement a Sustainability initiative. Fewer still are not looking to combine Sustainability with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, but that combination would optimize transformation and instill best practices.

Currently, the book has 12 chapters that approach your Vision to identify and eliminate costly waste:

1. A Vision For Sustainability
2. Executive Commitment And Vision
3. Corporate Social Responsibility
4. Corporate Planning and CSR
5. Sustainability’s Engagement Strategy
6.  All Employees Own The Vision
7. Ethics And Stewardship
8. Good People And New Talent
9. Sustainability and Quality Crossroads
10. Identifying Inefficiencies and Waste
11. Transformation’s Four Phases
12. Realization – Audit and Validation

(Note: The book is now being finalized and any edits may change chapter headings.)


Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: Horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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“The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”

Geoffrey Moore published a landmark book in 1991, entitled “Crossing the Chasm”. The theme of the book focused on marketing and selling technical and disruptive products to mainstream customers. In a very real sense, his perception of disruptive products being brought into the marketplace is aligned with similar efforts a company would go through implementing Sustainability principles.

Everyone who includes and aligns principles of Sustainability into their strategic planning and business model will have performance and profitability consequences.  Regarding Sustainability, “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” are clear winners in the marketplace by refining their processes, eliminating waste in their production and products and engaging Customer and Suppliers who also are like-minded. From Moore’s book, technical companies considered “Early Majority” businesses were also rewarded.

Why are major corporations engaging in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility? What do they see that other corporations do not? These are leadership segments that Geoffrey Moore called the “Innovators” and “Early Adopters”. Their leadership differentiates their companies and products through Sustainability. They are the industry leaders and by being first, permit them to mold their industry. They are the companies who have quickly recognized the value of Sustainability. These leaders find it easy to understand the concepts, appreciate the benefits, and relate benefits to other opportunities. These leaders recognize that pragmatic Sustainability “makes good business sense” and “is the right thing to do”.

I ran across this article and found it is a great perspective of tangible benefits. Why would reading this be important? Simply, there is complete misunderstanding to the value of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. Read The Cart Goes After The Horse. Okay, Which One Is The Horse?

Good business leadership will recognize the need for change and probably already recognizes the value of Sustainability today. But their competition, the ones who believe CSR is only window dressing, will be the laggards. Their destiny is already known.

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Your leadership provides the vision for the future and enlisting employee-led procedures, processes and effective innovation for now and the future. Leading your people by empowering them with skills and knowledge is a critical success factor for transformation.

“”There should be a focus on integrated reporting of CSR and financial results, which could bring about an alignment of Sustainability with economic performance.”  ~ Fulvio Conti, Enel S.p.A.

CEOs see Sustainability shifting from a choice to a corporate priority. Sustainability leadership and culture embeds CSR into how employees and executives think about strategy and execution. Recent economic downturn raised importance of sustainability as an issue for top management to 80 percent[1].

[1] Aman Singh, New Survey: CEOs See Sustainability Shifting From Choice To Corporate Priority, Forbes,6/23/2010


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I recently received an email from a cousin of mine. She often sends stories and jokes that would interest me.

This was an anecdotal story about ethics, honesty and integrity.

The author is not known but the lesson discussed should make any CEO consider that their core values are one of the most valuable assets in their business.

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.  Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is “Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. “How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

Think about this for a minute. Now, don’t you agree Transparency needs to have a SEED of integrity as a foundation to your Sustainability approach? Can you see how its absence could produce poor business decisions that could dramatically impact your legacy? Have you considered the impact to the financial markets, too? If you plant integrity, you will reap an abundance from its benefits. It’s an idea worth thinking about …

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

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Organizations evolve and change with their business environment, much like living organisms do with nature. The business owner should always be aware of that change, understand its impact, and be proactive in managing change to improve performance and extract tangible benefits for his company. Most companies are not fully optimized and retain inefficiencies in day-to-day operations of doing business. Combining Sustainability and Lean Six Sigma in a synergistic approach to promote sustainable practices, reduce your corporate imprint on the environment, improve efficiency and performance, and promote brand differentiation in your marketplace. From one focused initiative, crossover benefits would almost assuredly provide significant Tangible Benefits by understanding how to retain your improvements that are measured by your bottom line. This is easier to achieve if change is planned, well managed, and aligned to the goals of the organization. Organizations often go through growth stages. Here are a couple of scenarios for change: Unknown Future for the Enterprise, Actions and Decisions without recognizing Outsourcing consequences, and Future Sustainability & Quality Enterprise Growth

Copyright by Jarvis Business Solutions - Organizatinal Evolution

No Vision | No Change Control | Unknown Future for the Enterprise

Many corporations are faced with a dilemma. In many cases, the founder of a company may not recognize the need for an organizational vision as business changes. Leadership often tolerates inefficiencies, especially when “fire drills” are often case. Often, leadership they understand the history, inception and evolution of the organization since its founding, to may not have a clear understanding regarding its next steps.

The typical “fork in the road” provides management with three alternatives: do nothing, elect to transform through outsourcing, or most effectively, efficient transformation that includes sustainability and quality. In this scenario, although management is aware – it does nothing. By ignoring unseen costs and tolerates inefficiencies, this leadership fosters bureaucracy that leads to eventual organizational stagnation. Here is why:

  1.  Inception & Evolution: This is the period when an idea is transformed into business. It may be a very small organization of one person or expanded to include larger groups to meet the business needs. An organization could vary from “vague” to a clear hierarchy with a “command and control” structure. Oftentimes, organizational evolution develops in the decentralized model.
  2.  Congeal Phase: This phase is the “critical mass” of the organizational when issues become recognized. There may be a serious decline in sales. Competition, new technologies, a failure to meet the customer needs and expectations, a history of poor product development and introduction or poor marketing may all be contributory factors in reduced sales and be the catalyst for the business owner to change the approach to the business organization.
  3.  Bureaucratization: The autocratic control of an owner may at times only be changed through the realization that bureaucracy is undesirable and can be a barrier. The policies, procedures and practices of the business may be restrictive and hinder growth, communication or efficiency. The term “bureaucratization” evolves from growing hierarchy and functional differentiation.
  4.  Differentiation Phase: Promoting products and services that are unique and possess intrinsic values for your Customers are significant in attracting “niche” markets.
  5.  Stagnation: A business owner may not realize that in order to optimize business value, changes in the way the business is run will be necessary. The delegation of responsibilities, training of staff and implementation of strategic plans may be areas that are not internalized, nor control change. This organizational model, similar to Taylor’s philosophy and methodology, renders work force pathways as limited and erects obstacles for improvement.
  6. Litmus Test: Will this organizational evolution address your business needs to meet your competitive environment? Does it provide a process to eliminate waste and variation? Does it provide an alternative for improvement and performance?

No Vision | No Change Control | Actions and Decisions without recognizing Outsourcing consequences

Still, other management styles focus on expenses, only. This is a very shortsighted approach that can have substantial consequences and even jeopardize the survivability of the company. Beginning in the early 1990s, many corporations selected that option solely based on cost savings.  Often times those “savings” evaporated, in context of poor service,  poorly educated support staff, service provider’s  unrealistic service expectations, cultural and language differences that also hindered business and organizational needs. For the past 5-10 years, those poorly thought out decisions have have been reversed and aligned to marketplace needs.

Sustainability & Quality Vision | Continuous Improvement | Future Sustainability & Quality Enterprise

If your Leadership style is based on facts and broadly views all costs in your organization landscape, then focusing on how to deliver products and services in an efficient manner will reap short-term gains and lay the foundation for long-term efficiencies. Here are some potential changes in behavior:

  1.  Inception & Evolution: This is the period when an idea is transformed into business.
  2.  Congeal Phase: This phase is the “critical mass” of the organizational when issues become recognized. .
  3.  External & Internal Transformation: External leadership who bring new methodologies and enterprise planning to the business can visualize end-to-end organizational improvements, from Suppliers to Customers,  provide strategies that sensitive to the environment, enrich brand image, engage with the business community and reap tangible benefits.
  4.  Differentiation Phase: Promoting products and services that are unique and possess intrinsic values for your Customers are significant in attracting “niche” markets.
  5.  Innovation: Innovation is assembled from creativity, ideas, strategies, processes, and most important the right human elements and a spirit of entrepreneurship. Innovation can be applied to your existing business environment to increase customer satisfaction, increase profitability, decrease waste and become more in tune with the marketplace.
  6. Integration: After Transformation initiatives are executed and implemented, a leader recognizes that seamlessness may not be apparent in the controlled change. So, integration links groups in organizations, based on your new business paradigm and avoiding relapses to “old ways”, to apply their new knowledge in the “new” system with support to its stakeholders and the vision.
  7.  Sustainability & Quality: Transformation is modeled with foundations for better leadership, based on these two lessons: The leanest will be more competitive [Lean Six Sigma]. The leanest will be better stewards and create a better chance of making the future a success [Sustainability]. All resources are finite, but the journey to pursue excellence is based on optimizing profitability: Sustainability + Quality + Continuous Improvement = Optimizing Profitability
  8.  Litmus Test: Will transformation create opportunities for increased performance, reduced costs, provide for growth of brand and attract quality employees? The results indicate it will provide your organization with those opportunities and establish a Continuous Improvement process to refine and meet your future competitive landscape.

Opt For Managed Change
Competitive advantages come from Continuous Improvement. It begins with a study of the market landscape, urgent application of lessons learned, improved quality and innovation of Products and Services to gain market leadership and customer allegiance. We facilitate that shedding process to help your organization transform by investigating quality, scrutinizing costs and providing expertise in performance areas. Lean Six Sigma provides tools to integrate and improve a vast array of elements and corporate resources to align with your company’s efforts and direction. Here are a few areas:

  1.  Sustainability strategies
  2.  Corporate Social Responsibilities
  3.  Customer engagement
  4.  Employee engagement
  5.  Change management
  6.  Strategic planning
  7.  Operational efficiency
  8.  Operational redesign
  9.  Outsourcing
  10.  Strengths development
  11.  Innovation
  12.  Management evaluation tools
  13.  Leadership development
  14.  Supplier relationships and alignment

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