Consistency Drives Success at Telus

The Canadian telecom giant transformed its business by adopting a clear, stable approach to strategy and culture.

An Operating Model for Company-Wide Agile Development

The benefits of agile are by now well known. Under agile development methodologies, IT organizations and product developers cocreate products and services with the business, rather than simply collecting feature specifications and throwing them back over the wall, as would happen under the waterfall development model. Teams can experiment with minimally viable products, test and learn from those prototypes, and ultimately deliver new software features … [ Read more ]

Are You Really Listening to What Your Customers Are Saying?

Too many companies squander the treasure that is customer feedback. The solution is systematically measuring the customer’s voice and integrating it into a culture of continuous feedback.

Ruth De Backer

Companies need to ground portfolio-management decisions, including divestitures, in the attributes that make them a better owner of their businesses. Such attributes can include, for example, unique skills, governance, insight, or even connections to other businesses. They can also include access to talent, capital, or relationships.

Tying divestitures to the better-owner principle means companies need to define explicit criteria for what good ownership looks like in … [ Read more ]

The Dark Side of Transparency

Executives need to get smarter about when to open up and when to withhold information so they can enjoy the benefits of organizational transparency while mitigating its unintended consequences.

Why Strategy Execution Unravels—and What to Do About It

75% of organizations struggle to implement strategy. Improve your odds of success with this 7-minute video slide deck.

Benjamin Artz

Although we found that many factors can matter for happiness at work – type of occupation, level of education, tenure, and industry are also significant, for instance – they don’t even come close to mattering as much as the boss’s technical competence. Moreover, we saw that when employees stayed in the same job but got a new boss, if the new boss was technically competent, … [ Read more ]

Bad At Your Job? Maybe It’s the Job’s Fault

A poorly designed job can work against even the most dedicated employee, setting the person up to fail. Robert Simons explains how to gauge whether an employee’s position offers the right mix of organizational support and responsibility.

Unhappy At Work? Swipe Right To Tell The Boss

Startups and established pollsters alike are working to bring the employee-engagement survey into the age of smartphones and big data.

The 4 Types of Organizational Politics

Executives can view political moves as dirty and will try to distance themselves from those activities. However, what they find hard to acknowledge is that such activities can be for the welfare of the organization and its members. Thus, the first step to feeling comfortable with politics requires that executives are equipped with a reliable map of the political landscape and an understanding of the … [ Read more ]

Where Do Advocates Come From?

A strong sense of conviction can both encourage and discourage people from speaking out.

Steven Sinofsky

If there is one thing that consistently amazes me it is that org changes are made without clearly and deliberately identifying what problems will get solved by the new structure, new leaders, and new resource allocation. In fact, most every org change I ever saw that didn’t work started off not with a problem statement but with a goal of putting a certain person in … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

When you create an org chart you are creating your product — the seams in the org get reflected in the product; the depth of feature work gets reflected in resource allocation; the coordination across job functions gets reflected by the leaders you choose, and so on.

Steven Sinofsky

In practice, there are few hard and fast facts that govern the sociology of organizations. I would go as far as to say that anything can be made to work for any structure. In fact, since there is no optimal or perfect organizational structure (if there was, then this post would be unnecessary) then the most important thing is to know the weaknesses of your … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

As was well-documented back around 2006, things had not been going well in developing the next release of Windows and so naturally one might ask if the organization caused the problem, if there was just a leadership/management problem, or the problem was in some process that could be addressed. That is always the issue with an org-centric view of execution problems. Is it the physical … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

[Mike Maples] spent many years watching people fight to move expenses to other teams, claim revenue for their own team, or even fight against the price of shared corporate services. This “allocation” dynamic is extreme “finance gymnastics” that grows exponentially complex as the business cross-dependencies grow. Ultimately the meaning of P&Ls derived from allocations becomes the undoing of most rational thought in an organization — hiring, investing, … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

Going back to the history of accounting, a P&L is a tool used by executives to inform decisions around resource and capital allocation, pricing, etc. In a large organization, it is very difficult to assign revenue and costs to a specific unit within a company and even more difficult to offer true span of control or accountability to a unit leader. The creation of P&Ls … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

By far the biggest failure risk of a unit org is that the unit is created to solve a problem rather than create a business. While problems deserve attention, the unit structure implies much more than a technology or GTM problem but a focus on all 4 P’s of bringing something to market. Invariably, a unit that is a problem will struggle to “define itself” … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

If the organization feels that to get something done right/well requires a manager to force people to do so, then the problems are much larger than can be solved by the org structure.