On My Mind
Each year I leave my Annual Conference energized and filled with optimism. This year was no exception. It was great to be in-person again after hosting the conference the past two years on Zoom. Both formal and informal learning always occur during my annual conference – the formal learning from the presentations and the informal learning during the conversations at breaks, lunch, and networking sessions. I’m always delighted to see a group of attendees from different organizations discussing the presentations and sharing ideas.
My latest research report on Advances in Horizontal Interaction involved a lot of reflection in the form of a “look back” over the past twenty-five years which is how long it has been since the publication of my doctoral dissertation on Horizontal Interaction During Strategic Improvement Initiatives. Here is the Executive Summary from that research report: “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 or on a different main branch of an organizational hierarchy. Those interactions are different than the vertical supervisor-to-supervisee interactions that routinely occur during day-to-day operations. Horizontal interactions are often necessary during strategic improvement initiatives to improve organizational performance in such areas as safety, quality, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, productivity, growth, and cost. Organizations that develop strong horizontal interaction capabilities have a potential new source of competitive advantage and/or a new core competence. My doctoral dissertation was published in 1997 and it is titled, “Horizontal Interaction During Strategic Improvement Initiatives: A Study Involving Six Quality-Oriented Organizations.” That research (1) confirmed the importance of horizontal interaction during strategic improvement initiatives, (2) revealed new insights into the nature of horizontal interactions, and (3) identified organizational best practices. This research report explains the need for horizontal interaction; summarizes the primary findings from the 1997 dissertation; discusses three advances in horizontal interaction since 1997; discusses three current horizontal interaction challenges; and discusses the future of horizontal interaction.”
My new research report on Advances in Horizontal Interaction was published on September 22, 2022 in conjunction with the 14th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference which was held September 22, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth, MN. There were 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; 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. I presented on Superior Quality as a Competitive Advantage at the Madison, Wisconsin American Society for Quality Session on October 11, 2022. My Visions & Visioning Workshop will be held November 9, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West and my next public Strategic Improvement Black Belt course starts January 18, 2023.
I gained a new appreciation for some of the early experts on horizontal interaction by going back through their classic works. In particular, Fayol (1916), Barnard (1938), and Galbraith (1994). Few people take the time to study the literature anymore – Why do that when a “search” is at your fingertips? That is one of the differences between deep and shallow research. Deep research is necessary to develop expertise in many areas and although it is time consuming, it is worth the investment of time. Here are three references in case you want to do some deep research on horizontal interaction: (1) Fayol, H., (1949), General and Industrial Management (C. Storrs, Translator), Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, London, England (Originally Published in French, 1916); (2) Barnard, C. I., (1938), The Functions of the Executive (13th Anniversary Edition), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.; and (3) Galbraith, J. R., (1994), Competing with Flexible Lateral Organizations (2nd Ed.), Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.