Posts Tagged ‘balance’

What’s Your Innovation Sweet Spot?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It is fashionable among innovation writers to scorn Sustaining Innovation (what this blog calls Organic Growth) – the kind of incremental product changes that allow ads to scream “New! Improved!” These writers generally applaud Apple’s ability to create new markets via Disruptive Innovation, conveniently forgetting that Apple is also masterful at Sustaining Innovation.

We have argued that the only rational innovation strategy is to balance effort behind both organic sustaining growth  and disruptive innovation. However, Clay Christensen, Harvard’s innovation theorist, points out that companies have a greater chance of success by specializing in one or the other. Specifically, he argues that Read the rest of this entry »

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What Makes a Great Organization?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

My friend Dan Rockwell writes a terrific blog, LeadershipFreak, which regularly challenges me to better define my thoughts about key leadership issues. A recent post titled “Six Steps to Organizational Excellence” based on work by Dr. Muriel Asher provoked me to come up with my own list. Here are my Six Drivers of Organizational Excellence: Read the rest of this entry »

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Why You Need a Strategy for Organic Growth

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Some managers are lucky. They passively coast to growth inside high growth markets – the market drives their growth. Eventually they’ll fail, of course, but for now, it’s great to be them. Most managers, however, face the difficult decision of how to allocate resource between the other two available growth drivers: 1) organic growth, and 2) innovation.

Many leaders believe they must choose one or the other, that it is not possible to execute both successfully. In fact, it’s become quite fashionable to claim that only “white space strategies” – disruptive innovation – can drive growth.

We disagree.

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The Art of Being Inconsistently Consistent

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Effective entrepreneurs keep their organizations focused on unchanging goals. At the same time, they cannot become married to specific plans because conditions change. While striving to balance consistent vision with adaptable plans, leaders must also ensure all stakeholders opt in. Whoever said it was easy?

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Vision: Finding Your Sweet Spot

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

If you could create your perfect career or company, where would you begin? If you had to choose, would you pick something that makes a lot of money over something you care about? How about something that you excel at?

Why choose? In fact, Jim Collins argued in Good to Great that the great companies don’t choose. They insist on having it all.

Regular readers know I am a big fan of Jim Collins. However, I have never been completely comfortable with the language he uses when discussing his Hedgehog Concept and the “sweet spot” where excellent companies take germinate and grow.

Here is how I explain it to clients. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 6 Dimensions of Explosive Growth

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Driving growth is a complex task for entrepreneurs and organization leaders. Some bloggers want you to believe that all you need to do is have a vision, or a plan, or innovate in white space. Sorry, not that simple. Our research has identified 6 critical growth drivers that need to be addressed and balanced. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abundance! The Power of Accepting What Is

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

One weekend last year, the kids and I decided to go to a movie, then roller skate. We were excited by the plan and chatted happily during the car ride. But the movie upset my 7-year-old, with animals killing each other for survival (G-rated! What were they thinking?), and when the skating rink turned out to be closed, she burst into tears. “I didn’t like the movie and now I can’t even skate! Now I’ll never have fun!”

I immediately was flooded with feelings. First, of course, I felt like the world’s worst dad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Empty Inbox, Clear Mind

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I began my career with a company that strictly enforced a clean desk policy. You got in trouble if there was anything on your desk after you left each night. There were various tactics to avoid getting written up. You could take care of each piece of open business each day. You could develop a sophisticated filing system. You could scoop up the mess, put it in a drawer, then pull it out again in the morning. But no matter what you did, you had to do something.

I credit that policy for turning a chronically disorganized young man into a sleek, efficient productivity machine. I’ve tested often over the intervening two decades, and always concluded I was more productive when I followed some kind of clean desk policy. Especially regarding email.

Is it possible to clear your email inbox daily? If so, is it helpful? The answers are yes and yes.

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Black, White, Gray, & Something Completely Different

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

A core competency of leadership is the balancing of competing needs and constituencies. There is a right way to do this and a wrong way. To do it right, think like a painter: you need both black and white. If you do it wrong, you get a palette full of gray. There are three key skills needed to avoid gray in the quest for balance:

  • Cultivating diversity rather than  uniformity
  • Recognizing which of a range of ideas is most appropriate to the moment
  • Knowing how to build on opposing ideas to reach a superior solution

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Balance vs Extremism

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

“We’ll meet on edges soon, said I” – Bob Dylan

It sometimes seems that all organizations and movements are surrounded by powerful magnets pulling them off their centers. The French Revolution, which began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man, quickly devolved into the Reign of Terror. Recently Newsweek published an article by Jacob Weisberg about how Irving Kristol’s intellectual neocon movement of the ’70′s got hijacked by emotional ideologues. A recent WSJ article discussed how the GOP leadership’s strategy to rebuild after 2008 by attracting moderates was overwhelmed by tea party extremists. History is filled with similar examples.

I call it the Than Thou Syndrome. Read the rest of this entry »

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