Newsletter – May, 2014

On My Mind

The quality level of an organization’s strategic decisions can be a source of competitive advantage. What tools should be in the decision-making toolbox? A network is a clearly-defined set of members connected by ties. Examples include the employees of an organization, the customers of a company, the people who attend a meeting, the branches of a bank, and the business units of a conglomerate. The relationship between any two members is considered a tie. Network analysis is a useful tool for gaining insight into a network by analyzing the ties between its members. Some of the important characteristics of a tie include the age of the tie; the strength of the tie; the type of tie; the frequency of communication; the dominant direction of the communications; the content of the communications; and the modes used to communicate. A network itself has several characteristics including its size; the number of potential ties; density (the total number of ties divided by the potential number of ties); homogeneity of the members; and the existence of clusters. Network analysis can be used to identify improvement opportunities and solutions to problems. Best wishes analyzing your networks.

Interesting Stories

Restaurants make for good discussion about service since nearly everyone has experience with them. There is a new restaurant in my community and early reports suggest it might not be open for long. Issues include parking, mediocre food, and less-than-friendly staff. In other words, the restaurant is off to a poor start. Hopefully the owners will address these issues soon because word spreads quickly. I am always saddened when a business closes and the writing is on the wall for this restaurant.

Company News

I will be presenting on Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement in Rochester, MN June 2 for the Performance Excellence Network’s Southeast Region. My public seminar on Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement will be held May 20 at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth, MN. The seminar brochure can be found on this website by selecting the “PUBLIC SEMINARS” tab on the homepage.

Intriguing Reads

Leander Kahney has now written two great books about Apple. I read Inside Steve’s Brain several years ago and it is still one of my favorite books on new product development. He recently authored Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. This book chronicles the life and career of Jony Ive who has been one of Apple’s leading product designers for many years. This book takes us into Jony’s rise from a modest upbringing in England to his current role as an elite Silicon Valley product designer. We get a peak inside the field of industrial design and the world of high-tech new product development. This book is useful for those tasked with designing amazing products and leaders who want their organization to be more innovative.