Magnificent Seven, team of me, blog, Toby Elwin

High performance team of me

Many times what looks like a team is not team. A high performance team is beyond skin deep and requires shared understanding. A collection of well-intended professionals that meet, from time-to-time, around business issues, is not a team. In What It Takes to Build a Team, John R. Anderson’s dense and rewarding read, reminds me that there is no ‘I’ in team. Identity shapes how people describe their world. The range of options that someone can identify and define their view presents little issue, until collaboration. Teams work in concert to meet common goals: Share success; Collaborate for achievement; and Willing to give up resources for the good of the collective High Performance Team Law In our world of people, process, and technology, a single item can mean multiple things. The law of identity presents a shared meaning, not mixed …

dumb, data-driven, decisions, Toby Elwin, blog

Dumb, data-driven marketing decisions

Dumb, data-driven decisions happen when numbers have no context and people have no confidence. Who? How? and So now what? improve the odds.

When innumerates run the asylum, you, your customers, and your business miss context and transparency to interpret intent.

elmer fudd, daffy duck, bugs bunny, communication, Toby Elwin, blog

Subjective communication objective

Successful communication inspires action and is clear to others what needs to happen to meet that objective.

All communication faces daunting odds to reach each person, intention intact. Perception, bias, and noise lay between intent, action, and reaction.

To succeed in the communication obstacle course against intent, you need to make clear how to make it happen.

IBM1620A, reengineering, marketing, Toby Elwin, blog

Reengineering marketing

New conditions demand new business management strategy. Technology enabled a disruption greater than any department or team level at a company can solve.

Customers severed the business message and took control of marketing channels.

Media lost privilege, marketers lost their minds, business lost their playbook, and customer’s rewrote the rules of engagement.

We need to reengineer marketing from the outside in and then align people, process, and technology from the inside out.

deloitte, corner office, analytics, Toby Elwin, blog

Fast Start — Corner Office Analytics

Rule #1 in communication demands you know your audience. Since there is more than one corner office rule #2 states all analytics are not equal.

Corner Office Analytics (Infographic), presented by Deloitte, offers a guide to questions each CXO needs to be able to answer. If your CXO needs to answer these questions, you can be sure they expect you provide accurate context for connection.

capable company, book, cover, Toby Elwin, blog

The Capable Company by the book

When I hear capability model I think competence, competence naturally leads me to motivation. So, capability model, to me, represents a human capital knowledge, ability, and skills framework.

Enterprise, systems, or business architects, view capability models as what a company needs to do to execute strategy.

Any link is a system link and strategy is only as good as the ability to execute. Within the pages of The Capable Company: Building the capabilites that make strategy work, I intend to find capability model methods that identify business and technical details needed for strategic links to execute those capabilities.

company, fail, Toby Elwin, blog

The cost of culture and the U.S. auto industry

The Atlantic posted an article that jumped out at me:   Why Companies Fail.  This fantastic article, posted in a journal the general population would find more accessible than an organization development or talent management journal, gave all the evidence we try to convey on why change is hard.  Well, change is easy, culture is what is hard. From my perspective, just the preamble of the article kicks it off in style: Why is corporate turnaround so difficult and rare?  The answer is often culture — the hardest thing of all to change. Megan McArdle is taking our message to Main Street [nice election build-up tie-in, right?]. We are the change agents that toil in the dark with our higher education, free subscriptions to Chief Learning Officer and Talent Management Magazine, and our SHRM memberships trying, mostly, in vain, to …

Media’s two tribes, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Toby Elwin, blog

Media’s two tribes — Rupert Murdoch’s Wall

In a follow up to July 12th’s post Media’s two tribes – charging for content The Atlantic’s James Fallows reports The Times of London has placed their bet you will love their headlines so much you will pay for the opportunity to read the article. Click on any link within The Times and you are immediately sent to a pay option. “You get absolutely nothing without signing up for paid service. No first-paragraph tease (a la the WSJ), no “metered” service of so many free stories per month (a la the FT), not even any Google search results on the contents of the story. I mentioned in my “Google and the News” story that some news organizations were working with Google to be sure that their articles would still be indexed, even if behind a paywall. The Times has (I am told) …

donuts, business strategy, project portfolio, Toby Elwin, blog

Why your business strategy is a project portfolio

The ability to scope and deliver a project is a competitive advantage.

The best organizations realize project management capability as a strategic differentiator, the lagging organizations only staff project management skills within Information Technology departments.

I now rely on the term portfolio planning to describe the translation of strategy to a group of project options an organization can undertake. A portfolio view projects priority using the same risk and return criteria capital expenditures and other financial or strategic commitments are evaluated.

tasmanian devil, strategic plan, Toby Elwin, blog

The devil in the details — the strategic plan

I find people have a tendency to become too involved too quickly with tactics. Tactics include what to buy, what to build, what to move. Strategy is why build, why buy, why move.

Much of your organization is involved in the detail of execution, it is illogical they are not strategically aligned. When your team discovers tactics they deliver align to organization goals there is clear purpose in what they do.

Purpose provides motivation.

The meat of the strategic planning process is the goals-objectives-actions value chain. People may have other definitions for goals, objectives, and actions, and bristle at the rigidity of the definitions, however, a single use for each term will remove interpretation and confusion.

against the gods, bernstein, book, cover, Toby Elwin, blog

Statistically, your strategy will fail

I recently ran across a statistics book and began to think about similarities to strategic planning. Statistics:  a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and presentation of data.  It also provides tools for prediction and forecasting based on data. Until this week, I had not thought statistics had much in common with strategic planning. It became evident there is far more linkage then seemed. Strategic planning analyzes probable outcomes with uncertainty of future events – a constant challenge. We make decisions with limited data.  Our reliance on past experiences and our hope for the future deeply colors our ability to predict and plan. As it remains hard, see: impossible, to sample the future, we constantly sample the present and the past to guess about the future. In statistics, mathematical odds estimate probability outcomes.  Since outcomes are in the future they are …

change by design, Brady Bunch, architect, Toby Elwin, blog

Culture by design

Strategy meets people where they are. People connect in communities of interest more than ever, but the connected world demands the water cooler or coffee shop is no longer a physical place, but a digital space. Within a constant state of change collaboration, resilience, and failing fast are assets. The only way to start doing things correct is to start doing things right. A move from chaotic change towards intentional change requires decision-making strategies that include: Knowledge of what is, Goal-oriented design, Prediction (guesswork) of what might be, and Resource risk If conditions remain the same you might expect your strategy and goals to deliver as intended. Time for Sacred Cow Tipping Change is the only constant, but only if constant change were linear than success would track to expectation. Since change succeeds only when behavior changes, anyone expecting linear …