Newsletter – April, 2013

On My Mind

The quality level of an organization’s strategic decisions can be a source of competitive advantage. What tools should be in a leader’s toolbox? In the strategic improvement field, there are the classic Seven Basic Tools and Seven New QC Tools. Dr. Hiroshi Osada, Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, introduced the Seven Strategic Tools (7-S) in his 1998 paper titled, Strategic Management by Policy in Total Quality Management, published in the Strategic Change Journal. I have created a set of seven Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement: Environmental Analysis, Stakeholder Analysis, Network Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Matrix Analysis, Issue Analysis, and Scenario Analysis. These can be used during formal planning activities as well as to address emergent events. I will be conducting a public seminar on these tools May 9, 2013. They would be a valuable addition to anyone’s toolbox.

Interesting Stories

There were a number of amazing sports performance accomplishments recently. The University of Minnesota Women’s Hockey team won the NCAA championship for the second year in a row–ending the season with a record of 41 wins and 0 losses. Penn State won the NCAA Division I team wrestling championship for the third straight year. Penn State is coached by Cael Sanderson who won 159 matches and lost 0 at Iowa State as a four-time NCAA Division I champion. Finally, Kyle Dake, a senior from Cornell and recent Hodge Trophy winner, ended an undefeated season by winning his fourth consecutive NCAA Division I wrestling title at four different weight classes (141, 149, 157, 165). Only two other wrestlers have won four Division I championships: Pat Smith from Oklahoma State and Cael Sanderson mentioned earlier. My favorite quote of the tournament came from Chris Perry, a junior from Oklahoma State and champion at 174 pounds, Question: “What was your reaction to having your hand raised?” Answer: “Just emotions, so much work put in people don’t even understand, just . . . the time I put in is ridiculous and its been something I have dreamed about since I was a little kid.” Success rarely happens over night.

Company News

Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC will again be a sponsor for the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) Annual Conference May 14-15, 2013 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN. This conference is one of the best regional events for learning about what is happening in the world of strategic improvement. My four public seminars are rapidly approaching: Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement (May 9, 2013); Creating Standard Work (May 23, 2013); Leading Design Projects (June 6, 2013); and Measuring Performance Over Time (June 20, 2013). The public seminar brochures are accessible by selecting the “SERVICES” tab on the home page.

Intriguing Reads

Which company has roughly 288,000 employees, but only a staff of 24 at corporate headquarters? The answer is Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger lead this amazing holding company. If you get a chance, study the 2012 Annual Report available on the Berkshire Hathaway website. Warren Buffet’s Letter to Shareholders appears on Pages 3-24. The entire report is worth taking the time to study because it is filled with business lessons conveyed in a humorous way. Learn how Warren and Charlie create intrinsic value.