Newsletter – March, 2020

On My Mind: The coronavirus (COVID-19) has rapidly spread and is now disrupting many lives, businesses, markets, and economies throughout the world. This emergent issue is causing many organizations to conduct rapid response (crisis) planning which is an important organizational capability along with annual strategic planning. One silver lining in this dark cloud story is that we will learn more about viruses, how they spread, and the most effective and efficient strategies for minimizing their effect. COVID-19 is a good reminder that we must always be prepared for Black Swan events and pay close attention to what is happening elsewhere in the world. Interesting Stories: Some of the most exciting work in my career as a management consultant occurred during the four years I worked with General Electric (GE). GE was led by Jack Welch at the time and although I didn’t agree with all of his business practices, he was a charismatic leader who had extremely high expectations and aspirations. One couple I worked with named their son after Jack. Sadly, Jack Welch passed away recently at the age of 84. On a different topic, numbers matter—at least if you are an avid Major League Baseball (MLB) fan like me. Statistics play an important role in determining who is inducted in the MLB Hall of Fame. I follow MLB for two reasons: I love the game and MLB is one of the most mature industries for big data analytics. Numerous instances of cheating have occurred over the years which have damaged the integrity of the game and the statistics. For example, players betting on games, spitballs, pine tar on bats, corks in bats, steroids, and now the illegal use of video cameras and the banging of garbage cans. The Houston Astros organization is the latest culprit in damaging the integrity of the game. Astros players were granted immunity in return for their testimonies on the cheating scheme which occurred during multiple seasons including the 2017 season when the Astros won the World Series. The General Manager and Manager were fired. The Astros players have been deservedly booed and jeered in Spring Training games. I might pull back from MLB this year and watch more college baseball games. Company News: I will be presenting on Big Data Analytics for Mobile Products at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) meeting at the Edina Library on March 10, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. The next Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC public courses are the following: Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts April 7, 2020; Small Business Strategic Planning will be held April 15, 2020; Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts May 4, 2020; and Introduction to Multivariate Data Analysis will be held May 21, 2020. The course brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. Strategy Techniques & Tools in conjunction with the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) will be held June 3, 2020. The brochure will be available in late March. Intriguing Reads: Most organizations now have plenty of data. What does it mean? The relatively new book by Lorien Pratt titled, Link: How Decision Intelligence Connects Data, Actions, and Outcomes for a Better World helps answer this question. The author deftly makes complex decision intelligence ideas simple and provides practical suggestions for how we can frame and make better decisions using data. I especially liked Chapter 4 on How to Build Decision Models and the 58 Key Insights.