The Elusive Goal of Corporate Outperformance

Few large global companies outperform their competitors on both revenue growth and profitability over a decade. Do those that do have anything else in common?

Editor’s Note: article available via, but requires free account…

Rare Business Assets: Tables and Graphs that Communicate

Business metrics lie at the heart of every important decision you make. Your decisions are only as good as the numbers that inform them and the communication that presents those numbers to you. Are you communicating these numbers well?

The Challenges of CDI: Making CDI Work—An Implementation Process

As many executives embrace the idea of a true “single version of the truth” about their customers, they face the fact that their data warehouse and CRM systems, however successful, haven’t reached this goal.

Mental Preparation, Patterns, and Warning Signs

An excerpt from the book Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal?: Avoiding the Chain of Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Organization. Discusses behaviors or actions that serve as red flags for possible corporate mistakes.

Editor’s Note: this is one of a four-part series – I thought it was the only one really worth reading…

Top Down vs. Bottom Up

At many companies internal P&Ls (Organizational, Product and Customer) have been completed satisfactorily except for expense distributions. Revenue accounting, internal funds accounting, risk adjustments and capital allocations are basically in place. While there may be some user discord about particulars, the overall methodology is in place. This is not the case with expense distributions. Expense distributions are the most contentious area remaining and one that … [ Read more ]

Robert Mittelstaedt

The biggest reason you do not hear much about corporate mistakes, unless they are so colossal that some government entity forces an investigation, is that most companies do not put together blue-ribbon investigative committees to find causes of failures and recommend improvements. No one would accept a statement that an airliner “just crashed-we’re not sure why, but we’ll try not to do it again.” Yet … [ Read more ]

Ten Myths that Create Barriers to the Implementation of Activity-Based Cost Systems

This article examines ten myths of product costing identified from the comments of managers and academics. Each myth was heard several times from different sources. Each myth also appeared to have a kernel of truth, but had been generalized to apply to all activity-based systems. This article describes each of these ten myths and identifies the conditions under which they are true and those under … [ Read more ]

Some Pros and Cons of Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a business strategy that seeks to identify and eliminate causes of errors or defects or failures in business processes by focusing on outputs that are critical to customers. It is a measure of quality that strives for near elimination of defects using the application of statistical methods. A defect is defined as anything which could lead to customer dissatisfaction. The fundamental objective … [ Read more ]

Overview of Corporate Social Responsiblity

A variety of terms are used – sometimes interchangeably — to talk about corporate social responsibility (CSR): business ethics, corporate citizenship, corporate accountability, sustainability. BSR defines corporate social responsibility as “achieving commercial success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, communities, and the natural environment.” We also say that CSR means addressing the legal, ethical, commercial and other expectations society has for business, … [ Read more ]

The Data Quality Process

The only practical, effective method of rectifying data problems is through the use of next-generation data quality tools and processes, which can do more than correct data errors and render disconnected information meaningful. Such data quality tools can also keep information clean and consistent on an ongoing basis. For this, an organization should consider a data management solution that includes a tightly integrated data quality … [ Read more ]

Profit-Margin Math: Leveraging ABM Data for Exceptional BPM Results

A business performance management system is only as good as the information – and the analytical methodologies – it contains. Activity-based management (ABM) integrated with BPM ensures informed decision-making as well as accelerated profit and productivity improvement.

Yoram (Jerry) Wind

We often fail to make a distinction about two kinds of learning. The first kind of learning, which is far more common and more easily achieved, is to deepen our knowledge within an existing mental model or discipline. The second kind of learning is focused on new mental models and on shifting from one to another. It is does not deepen knowledge in a specific … [ Read more ]

Styles of Thinking Impact on Financial Performance

Ground-breaking research from Cranfield School of Management has revealed that cognitive psychology can help explain financial performance in entrepreneurial businesses. The findings support the established view that risk-takers are likely to achieve the highest sales growth. The real news, however, is that they also demonstrate that owner-managers’ over-confidence in their own ability or judgment correlates with poor profit performance in their businesses. Conversely, owner-managers who … [ Read more ]

Brian Plowman

Activities consume resources – people, materials and equipment – and this consumption can be measured. Activities are triggered by events, which can be counted, or decisions, which can be reviewed. Activities produce outputs – products and services, which can be counted and measured. Activities can be undertaken by different methods, which will vary the unit cost. Activities are linked together to form business processes. Understanding … [ Read more ]

Managing and Reporting Sustainability

Organizations of all stripes are gradually seeing the value of looking beyond economic performance for indicators of success. Consumers, investors, governments and business leaders now consider how an organization’s social and environmental policies affect its sustainability and that of society at large a potentially critical issue. With the introduction of triple bottom line (TBL) reporting in the late ’90s, all stakeholders were introduced to a … [ Read more ]

Enacting Strategy Through Projects: An Archetypal Approach

In this paper, the authors advocate that a configuration perspective is needed to capture different kinds of project/programme governance approaches. The basic assumption being that different situations involve different environments and different characteristics and that project management governance cannot be taken out of context. Understanding these situations and contexts, and adapting decision-making and learning systems accordingly, is crucial. The underlying assumptions that have guided the … [ Read more ]

Development of the 3rd Generation Balanced Scorecard, Part I

This paper describes the changes to the definition of the Balanced Scorecard that have occurred since it became popular as a performance measurement framework during the early 1990s. The paper builds on earlier work by the authors that characterised such definitions into three distinct generations of Balanced Scorecard. The paper relates these developments to literature concerning strategic management within organisations, observing that … [ Read more ]

IT Value Mapping: A quantitative approach to maximize returns on IT investments

Why do some IT organizations create unprecedented shareholder value, while others earn the contempt of their business leaders? It is no secret that aligning IT with business improves IT ROI, what is often in doubt is how to make it happen. Can you say with certainty that your IT is aligned with business? Can you prove it? If improving IT ROI is an imperative for … [ Read more ]

Unified ITIL

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a treasure trove of best practices. Comprised of several thousand pages, it is a daunting challenge when printed and stacked on a desk! The downside is that it is “descriptive” of the processes it documents meaning that it tells what to do but not necessarily why or in what order. The purpose of this article … [ Read more ]