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March 08, 2010



You have this backwards: it was the hierarchical management structure that was responsible for slow rates of change in technologies and markets.

Its nice that you've discovered these more effective organizational structures and identified the fact that effective leaders must actually be deep and credible in *at least* one technical discipline, but companies have been built by such leaders using these structures since the 1980s.

What will you discover next? The critical importance of creating and managing the right organizational culture?

business innovation and skills

This method first helps the decision-makers identify all the important people and resources relating to the issue at hand, especially those that are very often forgotten.The next step is to bring these elements together into a new "whole",represented by a short "statement of purpose".With this broad holistic goal in place, the group has a benchmark by which they can measure their future decisions.A subsequent testing phase reaches back to often ignored considerations to make sure that none are being forgotten.


Irving a worthy endeavor and vitally necessary in a new normal where turbulence, disruption and tsunami's will the likely course of events. I'd argue that much of our problem is not business skuls per se but their reflection of our tendency to stovepipe ourselves into functional specialties and get further lost in political arbitration between competing interests. When you see holistic what you really are saying is what can the function do for the enterprise? And conversely what expectations and objectives should the enterprise lay on the function within available and balanced resource constraints? Finally that should be coupled at both levels by repeating the question for the short- and long-term horizons. My general experience is that it doesn't happen because most functional execs are focused on what their group needs to do in the short-run but also because there is no integrated enterprise framework that sets directions, allocates resources and measures progress. Let me construct that argument, if you would, in pictures a bit. Conceptually it might look like this: Specialists vs. Generalists: Combining Frameworks with Expertise
For the general business enterprise case you might end up taking a look at how to move from functional isolation to enterprise integration: Renewing the Enterprise 2: Governance, Measurement & Performance , and least you think that it doesn't work for some enterprises in the real world you might consider Cisco [Mobility, the 4As, and Cisco: an Anti-sclerotic Exemplar? ] or Wal-Mart [WMT as Exemplar II: Diving Into the Details of the Retail Enterprise ]

Marc Resnick

Really, we need students to be taught critical thinking skills in high school when we have them all together. Not only how to think critically, but also the importance of taking a critical thinking stance regarding whatever they are faced with later in life. This needs to be repeated until it is second nature. Then, when we are teaching them marketing or finance in B-School, they will automatically question the status quo. And again, they will do so when working at Lehman Brothers as the new derivatives whiz kid.


I am not sure if to be sarcastic, angry or just sad. To read from and IBMer that in B-School you can learn to think NOW, AND that this is a revolutionary move (did you call it "tectonic"?) IS amazing. Well, it's good that we are amazed on a daily basis. Did one of the Watsons carve in stone "THINK" somewhere on some steps of IBM??? OK, with less sarcasm. There is nothing new about teaching business students to think (analyze, synthesize, research, pose scenarios and discuss.) As far as other business schools (I am familiar with Harvard and Berkeley) the idea of making a business manager a good thinker, flexible, intuitive and maybe daring has been tried for a long time. This is true in academic programs and in business consulting. The big problem is the brain. It is much easier to teach analytic financial techniques than to teach "thinking". It is even hard to define "thinking" in many domains. What is the difference between a "thinking" accountant and a really good "operational" accountant. What does a thinking financial analyst bring to the table that a really hard working one does not? If you are a domain expert in these areas you can easily answer these questions, the sad part is that university professors think this is new and revolutionary... nice blog otherwise.

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