Newsletter – August, 2014

On My Mind
An organizational vision statement describes the desired future state of the organization. It can take on many different forms such as “To be the best widget maker in the world” or “To reach $10 billion dollars in annual sales by 2020.” Microsoft’s early vision statement was very compelling, “A computer on every desk and in every home.” It can be a difficult task to create a vision statement because you must think deeply about the future needs of your future customers plus the organization’s future capabilities in meeting those needs. Some common visioning problems include (1) inadequate input, (2) weak consensus on the vision, (3) poor communication and articulation of the vision, and (4) weak links to organizational actions. An effective vision statement is generally (1) memorable, (2) concise, (3) clear, (4) stretch—yet achievable, and (5) timebound (e.g., 2020). Best wishes thinking deeply about the future needs of your future customers. Happy visioning!

Interesting Stories
Can an organization try too hard at service? I recently stayed at a very nice hotel and after a few days I felt staff members were too attentive. I remember standing in the lobby on about the fifth day waiting for a cab when a hotel staff member approached me and asked, “Can I help you?” I responded, “No, thank you.” But I wanted to say, “Yes, please leave me alone!” There is a delicate balance between exemplary service and annoying the customer with over-service. Business meals can be difficult to conduct with over-service. Perhaps a good question for service providers to ask is something like, “How much service would you like?”

Company News
The Continuous Improvement Green Belt course will begin September 8, 2014. Please contact Charles at for details. The Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held September 24, 2014 at the BayView Event Center in Excelsior, MN. There will be fourteen outstanding presenters this year and the brochure is available by selecting ANNUAL CONFERENCE on the home page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
Those interested in strategy—and the ultimate game of strategy, chess—should consider following the 2014 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, MO from August 27 through September 7. Six of the best players in the world will play each other twice in what is advertised to be the “strongest chess tournament in history.” The six participating Grandmasters include #1 ranked Magnus Carlsen (current World Champion), #2 ranked Levon Aronian, #3 ranked Fabiano Caruana, #5 ranked Hikaru Nakamura, #8 ranked Veselin Topalov, and #9 ranked Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Follow the action at and sharpen your strategic thinking skills.