Newsletter – August, 2022

On My Mind
Horizontal interaction occurs when a member of one organizational unit communicates with a member of another organizational unit located on the same level of an organizational hierarchy. For example, when a member of the Engineering Department communicates with a member of the Marketing Department. Those interactions are different than the vertical interactions supervisor-to-supervisee that routinely occur during normal operations. Horizontal interactions are often necessary to improve organizational performance in areas like safety, quality, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and productivity. Organizations that develop strong horizontal interaction abilities can potentially create a new source of competitive advantage and/or core competence. I published my doctoral dissertation in 1997 titled, “Horizontal Interaction During Strategic Improvement Initiatives: A Study Involving Six Quality-Oriented Organizations.” That study confirmed the importance of horizontal interaction during strategic improvement initiatives and revealed new insights into the nature of horizontal interactions and organizational practices. My current paper on Advances in Horizontal Interaction involves a look back on horizontal interaction over the past twenty-five years; discusses three advances in horizontal interaction since 1997; discusses three horizontal interaction challenges; and finally, I’ll discuss the future of horizontal interaction. The paper will be published at the 14th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on September 22, 2022.

Interesting Stories
On the great plains of North America in 1823 . . . mauled by a mother grizzly bear . . . left for dead . . . two hundred miles from the nearest settlement . . . with only a bearskin . . . such was the situation confronting frontiersman Hugh Glass. The actual site of the grizzly attack is roughly ten miles south of present-day Lemmon, South Dakota in the Shadehill Dam area. Amazingly, Glass crawled to the Cheyenne River and then he floated on part of a fallen tree to Fort Kiowa. He lived until 1833. The almost unbelievable story is true and was written about in the classic book Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred and more recently it was the inspiration for the movie The Revenant. If you are ever finding yourself in an extremely difficult situation, then just think of Hugh Glass.

Company News
My recent Vision Quest 2022 in Western South Dakota was another profound experience. These always allow me the time to pause from the busy demands of life, reflect on the past, and make decisions about the future. I can’t wait for Vision Quest 2023. The 14th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held September 22, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN. There will be ten presentations in addition to mine: Lisa Dejoras – MN DHS Direct Care & Treatment; Gene Dankbar – Mayo Clinic (retired); Dr. Mary Zellmer-Bruhn – University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management; Kurt Shaw, Mike Oachs, & Ryan Walberg – New Flyer; Nancy Freeman – MN DHS Direct Care & Treatment; Jeff Ziegler – Mayo Clinic; Michael Rockhold & Emily Magnan – University of Minnesota Physicians; Justin Gilbert – IBM; Katherine Kreager-Pieper – Dakota County Community Living Services; and Vern Campbell – Process Management & University of Manitoba. My next public Strategic Improvement Green Belt course will be on Zoom and starts September 13, 2022.

Intriguing Reads
Chess is considered one of the ultimate games of strategy. The Chess Informant is a quarterly chess publication that was established in 1966. It is considered one of the “must read” chess publications and many elite Grandmasters study each volume. I started collecting the Chess Informant with Volume #119 and I just received Volume #152 in the mail. There are three interesting sections each quarter: Chess Symbols; The Best Game of the Preceding Volume; and The Most Important Theoretical Novelty of the Preceding Volume. If you are interested in strategy and want to get serious about chess, then try Chess Informant.