Newsletter – September, 2020

On My Mind
Top Management Teams (TMTs) are facing a number of organizational culture challenges during this pandemic: many employees are working from home—sometimes in inadequate work spaces with numerous distractions; many employees are feeling stress and anxiety; some employees feel isolated; employee are asked to quickly learn new work procedures and processes; and some employees are concerned about the survival of their organization. What can TMTs due to unify the members of the organization? My research years ago on Horizontal Interaction During Strategic Improvement Initiatives identified five meta-linking mechanisms: focuses, information, conceptual aids, standardized elements, and principles. These mechanisms can serve to unify, align, and develop cohesion amongst the members of an organization—i.e., they are effective ways to get everyone on the same page. Best wishes with your organizational culture during these trying times.

Interesting Stories
There was once a professor named Dr. Felix Harrison Hsia in the Economics Department at South Dakota State University (SDSU) who taught Statistics and Macroeconomics. Dr. Hsia passed away several years ago after a long-lived life. Many students evaded his courses because of the perceived rigor—instead opting for an “easier” instructor. Contrary to some of my peers at SDSU, I took all the courses I could from Dr. Hsia because of his high expectations, humble manner, straight-forward teaching style, and profound insights. Needless to say, he affected my career trajectory in a wonderful way. Sometimes the easiest path is not the best path. Best wishes to the students and teachers who are beginning the new school year.

Company News
I conducted three Zoom webinars in August: Creating a Performance Scorecard on August 14, 2020; Regression Analysis on August 21, 2020; and Shaping Organizational Culture on August 28, 2020. Several public events are scheduled in the next few weeks: webinar on Leading in a COVID-19 World on September 3; virtual course on Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt on September 14 and September 21; webinar on Strategy Tools on September 25; and the 12th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on September 30, 2020. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. I’ll also be an exhibitor again this year for PENworks on September 23, 2020 sponsored by the Performance Excellence Network.

Intriguing Reads
I went back through the classic text Applied Regression Analysis (3rd Edition) by Norman R. Draper and Harry Smith in preparation for my August 21, 2020 webinar on Regression Analysis. I had the good fortune of taking multiple courses from Dr. Draper during my doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Regression analysis is a fundamental statistical technique used in data science (big data analytics). I especially liked their explanation of (1) how matrix algebra can be used in regression analysis and (2) how one can conduct a residual analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of a regression model.