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Many companies have succeeded in reengineering their core processes, combining related activities from different departments and cutting out ones that don't add value. Few, though, have aligned their organizations with their processes. The result is a form of cognitive dissonance as the new, integrated processes pull people in one direction and the old, fragmented management structures pull them in another. That's not the way it has to be. In recent years, forward-thinking companies like IBM, Texas Instruments, and Duke Power have begun to make the leap from process redesign to process management. They've appointed some of their best managers to be process owners, giving them real authority over work and budgets. They've shifted the focus of their measurement and compensation systems from unit goals to process goals. They've changed the way they assign and train employees, emphasizing whole processes rather than narrow tasks. They've thought carefully about the strategic trade-offs between adopting uniform processes and allowing different units to do things their own way. And they've made subtle but fundamental cultural changes, stressing teamwork and customers over turf and hierarchy. These companies are emerging from all those changes as true process enterprises--businesses whose management structures are in harmony, rather than at war, with their core processes. And their organizations are becoming much more flexible, adaptive, and responsive as a result.
As more and more companies begin to see the world as their market, brand builders look with envy upon those businesses that appear to have created global brands--brands whose positioning, advertising strategy, personality, look, and feel are in most respects the same from one country to another. Attracted by such high-profile examples of success, these companies want to globalize their own brands. But that's a risky path to follow, according to David Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler. Why? Because creating strong global brands takes global brand leadership. It can't be done simply by edict from on high. Specifically, companies must use organizational structures, processes, and cultures to allocate brand-building resources globally, to create global synergies, and to develop a global brand strategy that coordinates and leverages country brand strategies. Aaker and Joachimsthaler offer four prescriptions for companies seeking to achieve global brand leadership. First, companies must stimulate the sharing of insights and best practices across countries--a system in which "it won't work here" attitudes can be overcome. Second, companies should support a common global brand-planning process, one that is consistent across markets and products. Third, they should assign global managerial responsibility for brands in order to create cross-country synergies and to fight local bias. And fourth, they need to execute brilliant brand-building strategies. Before stampeding blindly toward global branding, companies need to think through the systems they have in place. Otherwise, any success they achieve is likely to be random--and that's a fail-safe recipe for mediocrity.
If HR professionals are to become business partners, they must champion HR principles within their department. Applying diagnostic tools to the HR function, this chapter shows how to develop strategic HR, create HR strategies, and establish an HR organization.
This chapter reviews the role of HR as a change agent and describes how to build capacity for change.
This chapter reviews the role of HR as employee champion and discusses specific ways that managers and HR professionals can increase employee commitment and competence, despite post-reengineering trauma and burned-out employees, and keep employees committed in an era of increasing competitiveness.
In recent years, line managers and HR professionals have had to discover more efficient ways to get work done. As HR professionals reengineer their delivery of services, they become administrative experts creating efficient infrastructures, both for HR processes and for their businesses as a whole.
HR professionals acting as business partners play many roles, one of which is strategic partner, charged with turning strategy into action. When HR professionals work as strategic partners, they work with line managers to institute and manage a process that creates an organization to meet business requirements.
For HR professionals to add value to their increasingly complex businesses, they must perform increasingly complex, and, at times, even paradoxical roles. This chapter lays out a framework to help facilitate the definition of HR roles and activities.
The 1990s have been a great time to be in business--unless, that is, you happen to be a manufacturer. As business value has flowed steadily downstream, from producing goods to servicing them, most manufacturers have struggled, unable to boost their profits or stock prices. A few manufacturers, though, are thriving. They've gone beyond the factory gates and have begun competing in downstream markets--where the money is. The authors describe four business models for successful downstream moves. The embedded-services model involves using new technologies to build services into products; Honeywell, for instance, offers a product that ties airplane subsystems together through the use of microprocessors. The comprehensive-services model involves providing a set of services that spans the entire product life cycle, as GE is doing for railroads. The integrated-solutions model is a matter of combining products and services into a single offering, as Nokia has done by helping its cellular-carrier customers deploy their networks. The fourth model, distribution control, involves taking control of lucrative distribution activities; Coke's control of 70% of its U.S. bottling and distribution is a prime example. Moving downstream requires manufacturers to shift their strategic focus from achieving operational excellence to gaining customer allegiance. It also calls for new skills and performance measures. But the rewards can be substantial. Downstream markets often generate 10 to 30 times more revenues than the underlying product sales--and they tend to have higher margins and require fewer assets as well.
For the most part, Glamor-a-Go-Go's board has been thrilled with CEO Joe Ryan's performance. Ryan, after all, had transformed the private-label cosmetics company into a retail powerhouse with flashy outlets from New York to Los Angeles. In addition to saving the company from bankruptcy shortly after his arrival in 1992, Ryan had made Glamor-a-Go-Go a fun and exciting place to work, increasing workers' wages and creating boundless opportunities for anyone willing to work hard and think out of the box. He had also brought more women and people of color on board. And he had made many employees wealthy, with generous stock giveaways and options for the most senior employees down to the most junior. Glamor-a-Go-Go's stock price had grown tenfold during Ryan's tenure. But Ryan's personal affairs were beginning to call into question his leadership abilities. The local paper's gossip column recently ran a photo of Ryan--a married man--leaving a gala event with a beautiful young woman from the company, with the headline "Who's That Girl?" Indeed, rumors about Ryan's philandering were starting to take on a harsher edge. Some people believed his secretary left because Ryan had sexually harassed her. Others believed a mailroom employee had been promoted to factory supervisor because of her affair with the CEO. Having warned Ryan several times about his alleged infidelities, the board is stuck. What should it do about Ryan's extracurricular behavior? Does Ryan's personal behavior even affect the company? Is what Ryan does outside the office the board's concern? In 99511 and 99511Z, commentators Freada Kapor Klein, Mitchell Kapor, Burke Stinson, Patrick Carnes, Daryl Koehn, and Lisa A. Mainiero offer advice on this fictional case study.
Most senior managers want their product development teams to create breakthroughs--new products that will allow their companies to grow rapidly and maintain high margins. But more often they get incremental improvements to existing products. That's partly because companies must compete in the short term. Searching for breakthroughs is expensive and time consuming; line extensions can help the bottom line immediately. In addition, developers simply don't know how to achieve breakthroughs, and there is usually no system in place to guide them. By the mid-1990s, the lack of such a system was a problem even for an innovative company like 3M. Then a project team in 3M's Medical-Surgical Markets Division became acquainted with a method for developing breakthrough products: the lead user process. The process is based on the fact that many commercially important products are initially thought of and even prototyped by "lead users"--companies, organizations, or individuals that are well ahead of market trends. Their needs are so far beyond those of the average user that lead users create innovations on their own that may later contribute to commercially attractive breakthroughs. The lead user process transforms the job of inventing breakthroughs into a systematic task of identifying lead users and learning from them. The authors explain the process and how the 3M project team successfully navigated through it. In the end, the team proposed three major new product lines and a change in the division's strategy that has led to the development of breakthrough products. And now several more divisions are using the process to break away from incrementalism.
The Toyota Production System is a paradox. On the one hand, every activity, connection, and production flow in a Toyota factory is rigidly scripted. Yet at the same time, Toyota's operations are enormously flexible and responsive to customer demand. How can that be? After an extensive four-year study of the system in more than 40 plants, the authors came to understand that at Toyota it's the very rigidity of the operations that makes the flexibility possible. That's because the company's operations can be seen as a continuous series of controlled experiments. Whenever Toyota defines a specification, it is establishing a hypothesis that is then tested through action. This approach--the scientific method--is not imposed on workers, it's ingrained in them. And it stimulates them to engage in the kind of experimentation that is widely recognized as the cornerstone of a learning organization. The Toyota Production System grew out of the workings of the company over 50 years, and it has never actually been written down. Making the implicit explicit, the authors lay out four principles that show how Toyota sets up all its operations as experiments and teaches the scientific method to its workers. The first rule governs the way workers do their work. The second, the way they interact with one another. The third governs how production lines are constructed. And the last, how people learn to improve. Every activity, connection, and production path designed according to these rules must have built-in tests that signal problems immediately. And it is the continual response to those problems that makes this seemingly rigid system so flexible and adaptive to changing circumstances.
In 1987, John Peterman started the J. Peterman Co. with a $500 investment and a $20,000 unsecured loan. What began with an ad in the New Yorker and a single product prospered for years. But in 1998, the company slid harrowingly into bankruptcy proceedings. What happened? As Peterman tells it, it all started with a trip he took to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he bought a coat. It was a long, sweeping cowboy duster, and he liked the way wearing it made him feel. He suspected that other people would like to buy something that made them feel romantic and individualistic, too. He was right. With Don Staley writing the copy, Peterman issued the first catalog in 1988. It contained just seven items. By 1989, the company did $4.8 million in sales; by 1990, that figure had grown to $19.8 million. But the business model was always implicit--a mistake. They should have developed a precise mission statement. In hindsight, Peterman says, it would have been easy. The business concept could have been summed up in six words: unique, authentic, romantic, journey, wondrous, and excellent. The most successful items evoked all of those things. The business grew, and as more items were added to the catalog and the retail stores expanded, everyone in the company had difficulty focusing. Rapid expansion in the late 1990s brought more staff, more backers, more risk, more rules, and less focus. Time ran out when a cash-flow crisis ultimately squeezed the life out of the company. Looking back, Peterman draws a number of transferable lessons about creating a dream and building a culture, and about the nature of trust and control in a growing organization.
Walk into any organization and you will get a snapshot of the company in action--people and products moving every which way. But ask for a picture of the company and you will be given the org chart, with its orderly little boxes showing just the names and titles of managers. Now there's a more revealing way to depict the people and operations within an organization--an approach called the organigraph. The organigraph is not a chart. It's a map that offers an overview of the company's functions and the ways that people organize themselves at work. Perhaps most important, an organigraph can help managers see untapped competitive opportunities. Drawing on the organigraphs they created for about a dozen companies, authors Mintzberg and Van der Heyden illustrate just how valuable a tool the organigraph is. For instance, one they created for Electrocomponents, a British distributor of electrical and mechanical items, led managers to a better understanding of the company's real expertise--business-to-business relationships. As a result of that insight, the company wisely decided to expand in Asia and to increase its Internet business. As one manager says, "It allowed the company to see all sorts of new possibilities." With traditional hierarchies vanishing and newfangled--and often quite complex--organizational forms taking their place, people are struggling to understand how their companies work. What parts connect to one another? How should processes and people come together? Whose ideas have to flow where? With their flexibility and realism, organigraphs give managers a new way to answer those questions.
In 1998, Silicon Valley companies produced 41 IPOs, which by January 1999 had a combined market capitalization of $27 billion--that works out to $54,000 in new wealth creation per worker in a single year. Multiply the number of employees in your company by $54,000. Did your business create that much new wealth last year? Half that amount? It's not a group of geniuses generating such riches. It's a business model. In Silicon Valley, ideas, capital, and talent circulate freely, gathering into whatever combinations are most likely to generate innovation and wealth. Unlike most traditional companies, which spend their energy in resource allocation--a system designed to avoid failure--the Valley operates through resource attraction--a system that nurtures innovation. In a traditional company, people with innovative ideas must go hat in hand to the guardians of the old ideas for funding and for staff. But in Silicon Valley, a slew of venture capitalists vie to attract the best new ideas, infusing relatively small amounts of capital into a portfolio of ventures. And talent is free to go to the companies offering the most exhilarating work and the greatest potential rewards. It should actually be easier for large, traditional companies to set up similar markets for capital, ideas, and talent internally. After all, big companies often already have extensive capital, marketing, and distribution resources, and a first crack at the talent in their own ranks. And some of them are doing it. The choice is yours--you can do your best to make sure you never put a dollar of capital at risk, or you can tap into the kind of wealth that's being created every day in Silicon Valley.
Eager to stay ahead of fast-changing markets, more and more high-tech companies are going outside for competitive advantage. Last year in the United States alone, there were 5,000 high-tech acquisitions, but many of them yielded disappointing results. The reason, the authors contend, is that most managers have a shortsighted view of strategic acquisitions--they focus on the specific products or market share. That focus might make sense in some industries, where those assets can confer substantial advantages, but in high tech, full-fledged technological capabilities--tied to skilled people--are the key to long-term success. Instead of simply following the "buzz," successful acquirers systematically assess their own capability needs. They create product road maps to identify holes in their product line. While the business group determines if it can do the work in-house, the business development office scouts for opportunities to buy it. Once business development locates a candidate, it conducts an expanded due diligence, which goes beyond strategic, financial, and legal checks. Successful acquirers are focused on long-term capabilities, so they make sure that the target's products reflect a real expertise. They also look to see if key people would be comfortable in the new environment and if they have incentives to stay on board. The final stage of a successful acquisition focuses on retaining the new people--making sure their transition goes smoothly and their energies stay focused. Acquisitions can cause great uncertainty, and skilled people can always go elsewhere. In short, the authors argue, high-tech acquisitions need a new orientation around people, not products.
Hiring good people is tough, but keeping them can be even tougher. The professionals streaming out of today's MBA programs are so well educated and achievement oriented that they could do well in virtually any job. But will they stay? According to noted career experts Timothy Butler and James Waldroop, only if their jobs fit their deeply embedded life interests--that is, their long-held, emotionally driven passions. Butler and Waldroop identify the eight different life interests of people drawn to business careers and introduce the concept of job sculpting, the art of matching people to jobs that resonate with the activities that make them truly happy. Managers don't need special training to job sculpt, but they do need to listen more carefully when employees describe what they like and dislike about their jobs. Once managers and employees have discussed deeply embedded life interests--ideally, during employee performance reviews--they can work together to customize future work assignments. In some cases, that may mean simply adding another assignment to existing responsibilities. In other cases, it may require moving that employee to a new position altogether. Skills can be stretched in many directions, but if they are not going in the right direction--one that is congruent with deeply embedded life interests--employees are at risk of becoming dissatisfied and uncommitted. And in an economy where a company's most important asset is the knowledge, energy, and loyalty of its people, that's a large risk to take.
It happens all the time. Two parties with common interests fail to reach an agreement--about a sale, a merger, a technology transfer--because they have different expectations about the future. They are both so confident in their prediction, or so suspicious of the other side's motives, that they refuse to compromise. Such impasses are hard to break through. Fortunately, they can often be avoided altogether by using a straightforward but frequently overlooked type of agreement called a contingent contract. The terms of a contingent contract are not finalized until the uncertain event in question--the contingency--takes place. In some areas of business, such as compensation, contingent contracts are common: a CEO's pay is tied to the company's stock price, for instance. But in many business negotiations, contingent contracts are either ignored or rejected out of hand. That's a mistake, according to the authors. In an increasingly uncertain world, flexible contingent contracts can actually be more rational and less risky than rigid, traditional ones. In particular, contingent contracts offer six benefits: they enable a difference of opinion to become the basis of an agreement, not an obstacle to it; they cancel out the biases of negotiators; they level the playing field by reducing the impact of asymmetric information; they provide a means of uncovering deceitful dealings; they reduce risk by sharing it among parties; and they motivate parties to fulfill their promises. While contingent contracts are not appropriate in all instances, they are much more broadly applicable than managers may think.
To transform your business along the right path, you have to make the specific transformations your firm needs to satisfy its customers today and tomorrow. This chapter serves as a practical guide for transformation.
With co-configuration, companies can create products that are not only made to order, but perpetually remake themselves as customers' needs change. To achieve this kind of customer intelligence, a company must continuously configure its products and services in interaction with the customer.
What makes for success in high-tech markets? Many managers believe it's offering products with the best performance at the lowest price. Yet most would also acknowledge that price and performance are just the ante to get into the game, that they don't make the difference between a successful high-tech venture and an unsuccessful one. One factor that can make the difference, the authors argue, is brand management. The problem is, most high-tech managers think of branding only as an advertising campaign or a slogan. Developing and maintaining a strong brand in the fullest sense requires much more--it's conceiving of a promise of value for customers and then ensuring that the promise is kept. The Gateway Computer brand, for example, is a promise of friendly service that's backed by efficient help lines and effective order and service fulfillment. Building a powerful brand requires fives steps. The first two steps involve determining the tangible characteristics of the offerings that carry the brand name and the benefits the customers accrue from those benefits. In the remaining steps, high-tech managers consider the psychological or emotional benefits of the products; what "value" means to a typical loyal customer; and what, ultimately, is the essential nature and character of the brand over time. Like the Apple brand--which has been consistently synonymous with easy-to-use, reliable computers--and the IBM brand--which promises value built on its long tradition of superior service and support--a successful brand commands enduring premium profits that can help a high-tech company get off the price-performance roller coaster.
One of the most common business phenomena is also one of the most perplexing: when successful companies face big changes, they often fail to respond effectively. Many assume that the problem is paralysis, but the real problem, according to Donald Sull, is active inertia--an organization's tendency to persist in established patterns of behavior. Most leading businesses owe their prosperity to a fresh competitive formula--a distinctive combination of strategies, relationships, processes, and values that sets them apart from the crowd. But when changes occur in a company's markets, the formula that brought success instead brings failure. Stuck in the modes of thinking and working that have been successful in the past, market leaders simply accelerate all their tried-and-true activities. In attempting to dig themselves out of a hole, they just deepen it. In particular, four things happen: strategic frames become blinders; processes harden into routines; relationships become shackles; and values turn into dogmas. To illustrate his point, the author draws on examples of pairs of industry leaders, like Goodyear and Firestone, whose fates diverged when they were forced to respond to dramatic changes in the tire industry. In addition to diagnosing the problem, Sull offers practical advice for avoiding active inertia. Rather than rushing to ask, "What should we do?" managers should pause to ask, "What hinders us?" That question focuses attention on the proper things: the strategic frames, processes, relationships, and values that can subvert action by channeling it in the wrong direction.
For ongoing success, a firm must transcend its current limitations by using knowledge gained from present work to transform itself again and again, always inventing new capabilities. This chapter describes how organizations complete the renewal transformation, making renewal a continual resource that will keep learning fresh and dynamic.
Financial experts in the West suggest that diversified business groups--or affiliated companies under one parent--in emerging markets should break up. Dismantling these mammoth conglomerates could reduce the debt and inefficiencies that some of them incur; that logic is based on the success that companies in advanced economies had when they unbundled their assets in the 1980s. But the authors argue that breaking up business groups such as the Korean chaebol and India's Tata Group is premature. Emerging economies lack a soft infrastructure--the banks, business schools, corporate governance processes, and so on that are the foundation of economic growth. And building such an infrastructure takes time. Many business groups in emerging markets make up for the absence or weakness of market intermediaries by filling in themselves. For instance, they're venture capitalists when they use funds from one business group affiliate to fund a new one. They're labor market substitutes when business-group headquarters creates management training programs based on the knowledge and experience of managers across several business affiliates. Instead of breaking up the conglomerates now, governments should start the long-term development of market institutions for finance, labor, and goods and services. In the meantime, business groups should strive to improve the way they substitute for those market institutions. The authors suggest several Western business tools and models that business groups can use to boost their role as market intermediaries and to prepare for the eventual development of those institutions.
GenCorp, a Connecticut-based paper-goods manufacturer, has long supported employee-organized network groups. Its social support group for African-Americans, in fact, has been a particular success, having provided black employees with opportunities to further enhance their careers and helped the company retain top talent, meet its EEO goals, and gain favorable publicity. So when Alice Lawrence, a top accountant at GenCorp, called general manager Bill Thompson about the Christian network group being organized in one of the company's southern plants, Bill hardly flinched. After all, the Christian group was being organized by Russell Kramer, one of the company's most effective plant managers. What could be the problem there? But a couple of years ago, Alice noted, Russell had sent around a companywide letter that talked about the sinful nature of homosexuality. And that letter has made her and other gay and lesbian employees terribly uneasy. To complicate matters, the issue of "Christian rights" in the workplace was being widely discussed on radio talk shows, and several books on the topic had recently been published. An employee had even called the new region's head of human resources to get clarification on the topic. Up until now, GenCorp hadn't placed a lot of restrictions on network groups. But the emergence of a religious group was raising new questions for GenCorp's managers: Should the company accept religious groups or try to stop them? What policy, if any, should GenCorp adopt toward these network groups? In 99405 and 99405Z, Laura Nash, Maureen A. Scully, Gregory Poole, Jr., Jacquelyn Gates, and Kim I. Millis comment on this fictional case study.