Newsletter – September, 2015

On My Mind
Sometimes executives aren’t sure “how to start” when re-thinking the strategic direction of their organization, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are eight “starter” questions you can use to get the ideas flowing: (1) What is our compelling vision of the future? (2) What is our process for consistently achieving our goals? (3) What are the future needs of our customers? (4) How fast do we go from concept to market? (5) How have we improved quality and safety in the last year? (6) How do we use analytics to improve our performance? (7) How will we either attain and/or sustain our competitive advantages? (8) How is our organization structured for future success? I’ve found it to be most effective to give these to the Leadership Team members in advance of the Strategy Review session so they have time to formulate their thoughts.  While not ideal – this is one relatively easy way to get executives thinking about the future of their organization.

Interesting Stories
Who is the best athlete in the world? Arguably, it is Ashton Eaton of the United States. He recently won the decathlon event at the World Track Championships in Beijing, China by breaking his own world record mark. The decathlon is composed of ten events: 100 Meters, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, 400 Meters, 110 Meters Hurdles, Discuss Throw, Pole Vault, Javelin Throw, and 1500 Meters. Each athlete is awarded points for each event based upon his time/distance and then the points are summed for a total score. It will be interesting to see if Ashton Eaton breaks his world record again next year at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Company News
I presented on “Quality, Analytics, & the Big Data Revolution” at the Global Quality Futures Workshop in August. The accompanying paper bearing the same title will be available in December. The Seventh Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 7 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There will be presentations under two major themes this year: Innovation and Organizational Sustainability (in the environmental) sense. There will also be a Lean Six Sigma project case study presented. The conference brochure is available on this web-site.

Intriguing Reads
If you want a glimpse into the future of business, then read the book by Tim Burt titled, “2020 Vision: Today’s Business Leaders on Tomorrow’s World.” I’ve been waiting patiently for this book and it is now available. There are twenty chapters about “the future of business” each featuring a prominent business leader – I especially enjoyed Chapter 12 authored by Beth Comstock of GE.