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Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1442

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

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Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 431

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Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

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Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /homepages/40/d130640441/htdocs/Blog/wp-includes/http.php on line 61

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Operational Performance | Insight Edge
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You Want to do What? Change Doesn’t Have to be Hard…

Posted by admin on January 11, 2013 under Change Management, Leadership, Operational Performance | Be the First to Comment

There is a lot of literature on the topic of change, and managing change, which implies change is “hard” or even “bad”. Think about it though - change in and of itself is not good or bad. In fact, change is necessary to our very existence – from the air we breathe, to the change and renewal of the cells in our bodies. Without change, we would stagnate – not a pretty sight!

What makes change difficult is resistance. Whether it’s personal change needed based on feedback from others (think of feedback from your doctor about potential health risks and the behavior modifications required to minimize or eliminate the risk), or organizational change (based on market conditions, competitor moves or financial challenges). As the Borgs, from the Star Trek series, say “Resistance is futile” – and probably damaging, too.

So, how can we better facilitate change? In organizations, leadership plays a key role in the ease of change. Bear in mind, though, leadership doesn’t necessarily refer only to formal “leaders” (management), but to informal leaders as well – those who have influence over or are respected by others. That means anyone can be a leader of change in their own spheres of influence.

There are several key concepts and strategies for successfully facilitating change – whether for ourselves, or in our work environments:

Recognize change is necessary
At a minimum, acknowledging the fact that change is necessary is crucial, but change (and the effort it will entail) will be even more palatable if we recognize that it can actually be beneficial. Change is the expression of our creativity and innovation, and the realization of growth and improvement in problem solving, developing new products or services, or envisioning a different future for ourselves. If we can’t even acknowledge that things should be different, we’re destined for more of the same at best, or more likely worsening conditions and the changing world leaves us behind. Without recognizing the necessity of change, nothing else matters.

Communicate broadly and clearly
Once a change in direction has been determined, it is critical to communicate the decision clearly and broadly to an organization. Just raising the topic of change triggers all kinds of emotions in employees – “Will I lose my job?” “How will it impact me?” “I won’t have the skills needed for this.” Forthrightness is needed in addressing these often unspoken questions, and the greater the quantity questions which are addressed, the less threatening the change will be. The important messages to convey are the reason for the change, and how it will impact employees and other stakeholders. Focus on how things will be better once the change process is completed. Even if there is bad news to convey, communicating openly and with honesty will go a long way toward alleviating fear.

Additionally, regular communication throughout the change process will contribute to allaying any continued fears of employees. Fears and questions are not an issue only at the outset of a change initiative – they crop up regularly through the entire process. This is true particularly if there are changes in staffing levels. Don’t forget those employees retained in an organization staffing reduction will have fears of their own – they will fear the increased workload, if nothing else, when there are fewer resources planned. We all know the amount of work to be done will never be reduced in proportion to reduced resource levels!

Use champions
In every organization, there are people who can influence others. Seek out those people who embrace the changes being made, and encourage them to “champion the cause”. They can informally respond to questions or concerns, point out the positive results which can occur, and even show individuals where opportunities may lie. Choose enthusiastic, energetic evangelists and feed them often with news and information.

Include all stakeholders
Remember, it might not just be organizational personnel who are impacted by the change. Consider the impacts to your vendors, suppliers, customers, investors, and any others who might be impacted or interested in what is happening. Often, these other constituents have ideas or resources which will be useful to the change process itself. Yu owe it to them and your relationship to include these parties in the dialogue.

Request feedback
Throughout any change process, feedback should be solicited from all stakeholders, and addressed. People need to know not only that they are being heard, but they are also being listened to – there is a difference! Hearing and responding to feedback communicates the message that all ideas, input and concerns are valid and/or potentially viable. In addition to generating “buy-in” from employees and others, ideas and suggestions from those outside the immediate change management team may offer sound ideas leading to greater innovation or increased capabilities.

Pay attention to the naysayers
In every change effort, there will be those who are skeptical of the initiative, or downright oppose it. A savvy leader, however, listens to the critics for elements of truth. The negative feedback you receive should be evaluated for concerns which might not have been addressed or considered. Further, it’s likely that if one brave soul voices negative feelings, others are certainly feeling them, too, so these thoughts are worthy of consideration and resolution. In fact, think about it as your own informal risk identification alert system! If the concerns are credible at all, there are obviously some risks which have not been sufficiently addressed. These should be considered and mitigated as appropriate.

As you think about the coming year, changes are inevitable. The question is – how will you respond to them? Are you embracing the possibilities? Or resisting?

Don’t Make the Same Mistake as Your Peers! Minimizing Software Purchase Risk

Posted by admin on December 11, 2012 under Enterprise Architecture, Operational Performance, Process Improvement, Technology | Be the First to Comment

If you are like many of your colleagues, you are looking for ways to increase the cost effectiveness and efficiency of your organization, and one of the ways companies do that is through automation of business processes – particularly those which are paper-intensive or manually executed. However, did you know many organizations are literally throwing away tens of thousands of dollars or more on software which never gets implemented?

Here are a few real stories:

- A government health agency spent $100K on records management software. When the vendor arrived to implement, they couldn’t do it. The agency had to start over, and none of the work was reusable.

- A healthcare management company spent tens of thousands of dollars on data management software and services, but the vendor couldn’t implement the software. The company tried again, and almost failed a second time. Even now, after $1M+ spent on software and services and 18 months of staff time invested, they still do not have a system in production.

- A life sciences firm spent $500K and three years trying to implement information management software. They even went through a system upgrade during the development, and still did not implement. They are now starting over.

If you have new business software in your budget for next year, please stop and consider these suggestions about how to minimize software purchasing risk.

The Right Operating Model Supports Intelligent Growth

Posted by admin on December 14, 2010 under Enterprise Architecture, Operational Performance | Be the First to Comment

Understanding the operating model in place in your organization is an important component of determining and executing your overall business strategy. After all, if you don’t understand your model, how can you possibly understand how to grow the business?

The level of business process integration and standardization in your organization significantly impacts the growth strategies applicable to your organization. For example, if you have high level of process standardization (processes defined and executed the same way across the entire organization) and high levels of process integration (linking of shared information throughout the organization), you are an example of a Unification operating model.

The growth strategies you choose for your business must take into account the level of standardization and integration, as well as the impact of growth on these processes and business systems. Without considering these factors, you could be in for some significant challenges in executing your strategy.

For further information, see my article “Strategic Growth Through the Right Operating Model

Fifteen Signs Your Software is Not Working For You

Posted by admin on October 6, 2010 under Enterprise Architecture, Operational Performance, Process Improvement, Technology | Be the First to Comment

In this age of technology, we rely on our software systems to automate many of the manual tasks our employees do each day. Unfortunately, however, many times the software actually gets in the way of what we ask our employees to accomplish!

Whether we made bad software selections initially, or we automated manual processes without considering how to leverage software to work smarter, there are some consistent indicators which highlight software as the roadblock to efficiency and effective operations. Here’s my list of 15:

  1. You use spreadsheets and word processing software to do the ‘real” work you need to get done.
  2. You have so many problems with the system that the IT Help Desk is on speed dial.
  3. You don’t even bother calling the IT Help Desk anymore with a problem – you just “work around” it.
  4. You’d rather walk across hot coals than log into the system.
  5. You spend more time complaining about the system than working in it.
  6. You make excuses for the system - even to customers.
  7. You can’t provide the information management wants when they want it, so you make up the answer.
  8. You have to submit a report request 24 hours before you need the information.
  9. Reports are only run once per month, and weigh 25 pounds when you get them.
  10. You are generating reports for people who don’t use them.
  11. You have an entire list of “work arounds” you use to get the job done.
  12. When training someone new, you don’t use the software training manual – you teach the “work arounds”.
  13. You roll your eyes every time someone says “the bug has been fixed”.
  14. Your system is so complicated that your manager comes to you for information rather than getting it from the system.
  15. You have to ask customers for information they have already provided.

What have you seen which should be added to this list?

Don’t let your software stand in the way – do something about it.


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