Reduce Organizational Drag

Michael Mankins, Bain & Company partner and head of the firm’s Organization practice, explains how organizations unintentionally fail to manage their employees’ time and energy. He also lays out what managers can do to reduce what he calls organizational drag.

Putting the Force Multiplier to Work

It isn’t enough just to hire the best. If you want to boost the productivity of your organization’s human capital, you also have to deploy those high performers effectively — put them to work so they can deliver the results they’re capable of. One of the most effective methods of deployment I’ve seen is to create all-star teams. Teams like these are a kind of … [ Read more ]

Stop Wasting Valuable Time!

Top management’s time is one of a company’s scarcest resources. The typical company’s senior executives spend less than three hours a month working together as a team, and usually less than three hours discussing strategic issues. The result? Constant frustration. Poorly considered decisions. Bad investments and missed opportunities. And the trouble isn’t just at the top. Managers throughout large organizations often find their days eaten … [ Read more ]

Four Paths to a Focused Organization

Unchecked complexity in an organization demoralizes employees, slows innovation and raises costs. We have found that people in many companies spend 25% or more of their time on low-value or inefficient activities. If you could get rid of all that unproductive work, you could gain the equivalent of 10 hours more a week from every employee.

The True Cost of Hiring Yet Another Manager

Not long ago my colleagues and I studied the cost of adding a manager or executive, and we found a kind of multiplier effect. When you hire a manager, he or she typically generates enough work to keep somebody else busy as well. Senior executives — SVPs and EVPs — are even more costly. These high-priced folks typically require support from a caravan of assistants … [ Read more ]

The Five Traps of High-Stakes Decision Making

I’ve been studying decision-making at the top for many years and what I’ve found is that good decisions nearly always result from robust decision processes. Similarly, decisions that go wrong nearly always stem from procedural or organizational failures. In fact, just five mistakes account for the vast majority of poor decisions.

Where High-Stakes Decision-Making Goes Wrong

I’ve been studying decision-making at the top for many years, and what I’ve found is that good decisions nearly always result from robust decision processes. Similarly, decisions that go wrong nearly always stem from procedural or organizational failures. In fact, when I and my colleagues at Bain & Co. conduct postmortems into decisions, we find that just five mistakes account for the vast majority of … [ Read more ]

The Five Steps to Better Decisions

Decisions are the coin of the realm in business. No company can reach its full potential unless it makes good decisions quickly and consistently and then implements them effectively. For more than 25 years, the three authors have consulted to organizations of all sorts and noticed all these organizations share one consistent trait: when they focus explicitly on decisions, they improve their performance. This article … [ Read more ]

How to Have Fewer, Better Meetings

Meetings can be the bane of corporate life. Yet meetings are essential to effective decision making and execution and thus to business results. The companies that are best at decisions have learned to manage meetings as carefully as they manage any other part of their businesses. It’s a three-step program.

How to Hire More Top Performers

How can a company raise its skill level—and in particular, how can it increase its proportion of top talent? Our research and experience at Bain suggests three keys.

Right-Sizing the Balance Sheet

When performance is an issue, most executives focus on the income statement—they cut costs. But tight management of the balance sheet often liberates cash and creates more value for shareholders.

Value Imperative: Managing for Superior Shareholder Returns

Moving beyond the strategies that managers have employed to create shareholder value – now the standard for business performance – management experts James McTaggart, Peter Kontes, and Michael Mankins reveal their powerful new framework for the systematic, day-to-day management of shareholder value. The authors attack head-on the fundamental weaknesses in current management practices, namely, the stranglehold that budgeting has over strategic planning and the lack … [ Read more ]

Closing the Strategy-to-Performance Gap: Techniques for Turning Great Strategy Into Great Performance

The prize from closing the strategy-to-performance gap is huge – an increase in performance of anywhere from 60% to 100% for most companies. But this almost certainly understates the true benefits of creating a strategy-to-performance loop. Companies that achieve tight linkage between their strategies, their plans and ultimately their performance often experience a cultural “multiplier effect.” Over time, as strategies are successfully turned into performance, … [ Read more ]