Archive for March, 2007|Monthly archive page

Using signals to drive your business

This really does fall into the realm of really simple things. It is called business signals analysis and it goes something like this….

I have to create the new business strategy for the next 3-5 years. I have two choices. I could set it the same way I have for the last 20 years – to gather my management team at some location outside the office, eat well, drink well, and at the last moment agree a list that sort of looks something like an action plan – or I could try something different.

The something different that I have been using successfully is called Business Signals Analysis and it works by doing something really simple – asking your staff for their ideas and opinions on where the business should go. This “revolutionary” approach has a number of benefits…for one it is extremely accurate, very fast and builds strategies that tackle the issues that really affect your business success.

It uses three priniciples to create a direct channel between you and your staff:

  • anonymity – everything is said openly, honestly and “as it is”
  • free-speech – participants use their language to say what they want to say
  • power of the crowd – the aggregate answer from the crowd is likely to be more accurate than your best expert

The basic approach removes all of the filters that have been stopping you hearing what your business really needs and builds commitment to the new strategy by default. After all, it was your people that crafted the principles and targets of the strategy.

We are using this technique it build successful strategies for TietoEnator, and we are using it with our customers to drive closer alignment between the CIO and the business. I would be happy to tell you more, so if you are interested leave a comment and I will get back to you.



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Changing my role

I have just accepted a new role inside TietoEnator as part of a small team tasked with building growth and profitability strategies at a group level. This is a great opportunity to see and understand the wider workings of the company and I really excited about the year ahead.

One of the first things I discovered was the important “z-axis” for profitability strategies. I now know that there are three dimensions for a global enterprise seeking profit improvement. The x-axis is EBIT level – this is the absolute return from the business. The y-axis is the growth level – this is the pace, speed and energy of the business that helps it to be future-proofed. The elusive z-axis is interesting though – sort of the glue that keeps x and y moving in the right direction – and today it is global sourcing for a global company.

Global sourcing drives more than just cost level improvements. I believed it creates the creative friction that is needed to stimulate organic growth, and drives profitability not through cost reduction, but through speed, efficiency and enthusiam.

So the full colour picture for the modern global business is really made of RGB – offshore Resourcing, organic Growth and increasing the Bottom-line. If you can focus on the full colour picture, the future for your business will be more vibrant, more interesting and ultimately more rewarding for all that are involved. Why watch the world in the black and white, when you can have full colour with RGB?

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