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10-11-19

HOW BTI360 UNLEASHED THE ACCELERATING POWER OF ALIGNMENT

LinkedIn-Post_BTI360-1BTI360 (www.bti360.com) is a rapidly growing software development firm that works with government clients.

They create alignment—and a Differentiating Competitive Advantage—with an intense focus on One Thing.

BTI360 provides their software development as a prime contractor to the federal government. However, over three hundred other companies compete for the same work.

So, how do you stand out when you have 299 competitors that look alike, sound alike, and essentially provide the exact same service?

BTI360 decided that they could become differentiatingly great at “developing ultimate teammates.” This led to phrases like “software development is a team sport” that are a key part of their unique culture.

Thus, “developing ultimate teammates” became their One Thing.

MJ Wivell, their co-founder and CEO, says it this way, “Most companies use people to build the business. We use the business to build people.”

BTI360 then applied our “Decide One Thing, Align Everything, Win!” model to align everything in their company.

“Once we found our One Thing, decision-making became very easy,” said Jeremy Nimtz, BTI360’s co-founder. “We would simply evaluate everything with one simple question, ‘Will this help us become differentiatingly great at our One Thing?’”

Since going through the Decide One Thing process, BTI360 has experienced amazing results. The company has quadrupled in size and has won eight—and counting—Best Place to Work awards.

I am (obviously) biased, but I think that aligning your entire company with the strategy of becoming world-class great at One Thing is one of the best models.

Customers may not care about your vision. Or your mission. Or your values.

But they will flock to a company that is world-class great at solving One of their problems.

Is developing people your One Thing?

P.S. BTI360 calls people teammates, not employees, which is exactly what you would expect from an organization that puts people first. 

10-10-19

HOW FERRARI UNLEASHED THE ACCELERATING POWER OF ALIGNMENT

LinkedIn-Post_Ferrari

Photo Courtesy of Bud Moeller

Ferrari (NYSE: RACE) might be the ultimate fast-lane company.

When your stock ticker is RACE, you better be fast.

Ferrari began competing in the Formula One World Championship in 1950, the year the competition was established. Ferrari is the only constructor to have raced in every Formula One season—and they have won more championships than any other team.

Ferrari’s One Thing is racing, and they put their money where their One Thing is.

Ferrari invests roughly $600M per year in their Formula One racing program. While the majority of this is recovered through sponsorships and Formula One’s profit sharing, the net investment is believed to be in excess of $100M.

When you invest over One Hundred Million Dollars in one thing … it is your One Thing!

In 2003, they started Corse Clienti, which enables a small group of people to buy and race Ferrari Formula One cars. Here is how they describe the privilege, “Corse Clienti makes the car’s owner feel like a real Scuderia [Italian for “stable”] Ferrari driver. Owners don’t have to worry about anything except putting on their gloves and helmet, driving, and having fun, Corse Clienti does the rest.”

In 2010, Ferrari also started the Ferrari Driver Academy to develop young Scuderia drivers. “I’d like to think that Ferrari can create drivers as well as cars,” explained Enzo Ferrari.

A recent trip to a Ferrari store was a testament to the amazing power of Ferrari’s investment in racing.

The store’s prominent feature was a red (of course) Ferrari Formula One car on display. The store sold T-shirts, scale models of Ferrari cars, Ferrari sneakers, Ferrari hats, Ferrari luggage, Ferrari gloves, Ferrari pens, Ferrari sunglasses, Ferrari flags, and more.

There is even a children’s section that sold Ferrari onesies, Ferrari baby shoes, and all sorts of other items to indoctrinate your child into the faithful.

Several years ago, I was in Italy on the weekend of the Formula One race at Monza, Italy—the home of Ferrari. The Ferrari Scuderia won the race, and the entire nation went wild.

Very few brands achieve iconic status. Fewer still achieve the kind of fanatical evangelicalism among their customers that Ferrari does. And the most fascinating thing about Ferrari is that most of its passionate fans will never own one of their cars. (They only sell 9,000 cars per year!)

Think about that. How many people who will never be your customers are nonetheless fanatical ambassadors for your brand?

For Ferrari, it all starts with racing.

Is speed your One Thing?

10-09-19

HOW HERMAN MILLER UNLEASHED THE ACCELERATING POWER OF ALIGNMENT

LinkedIn-Post-HermanMillerHerman Miller (NASDAQ: MLHR) is a manufacturer of office furniture, equipment, and home furnishings based in Zeeland, Michigan. Founded in 1905, the company has over 8,000 employees, over 600 dealers in 109 countries, and 33 Design Within Reach retail studios.

Their One Thing is perfectly clear: “design is a central part of our business.”

Herman Miller’s designs are part of museum collections worldwide. They have also received the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and ranked Number One on Contract Magazine’s list of “Brands that Inspire” for four straight years.

Some of the notable Herman Miller designers include Charles and Ray Eames, designers of the famous Eames lounge chair and ottoman; Isamu Noguchi, designer of the iconic Noguchi table; George Nelson, known as the father of American Modernism; and Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, designers of the Aeron, Embody, and Ergon office chairs.

A visit to the Herman Miller website features the profiles of dozens of other designers from all over the world.

In the last chapter, we learned that while not everyone at Dyson is an engineer, they encourage everyone to “think like one.”

Herman Miller expresses the same idea, “You don’t have to be a ‘designer’ to make things better—for customers, for the communities we do business in, and for a better world.”

In addition to designing better furniture, Herman Miller is committed to designing better workspaces:

“Organizations are struggling with the remnants of standardized workplaces, which only accommodate two broad categories of work—individual and group—by providing two generic types of spaces—workstations and conference rooms. This type of floorplan cannot begin to support the diverse array of activities people do throughout the day.

It’s clear that we need a more human-centered and diverse model for the workplace. And to implement this model, we need a more aligned process for designing and delivering the workplace—one where each stakeholder, from Facilities to HR to IT, is connected and involved from the outset.”

They apply workspace design to improve organizational alignment!

Herman Miller is good at lots of things. Perhaps they are great at several things. But they are world-class at design.

Is design your company’s One Thing?

10-07-19

HOW DYSON UNLEASHED THE ACCELERATING POWER OF ALIGNMENT

LinkedIn-Post_DysonFrom its origins in a small workshop in rural England, Dyson (www.dyson.com) has grown into a technology company with a global footprint. They now employ over 8,500 people.

Dyson is good at lots of things, but they are differentiatingly great at engineering.

The Dyson website makes this crystal clear, “For us, engineering is everything.” Or, in our language, engineering is their One Thing!

Not everyone at Dyson is an engineer, but they encourage everyone to think like one. And they are focused specifically on “transforming people’s lives with our radical ideas, by solving the problems others ignore.”

The story of Dyson is a testament to the irrational perseverance required to become differentiatingly great at something. It took James Dyson five years and 5,127 prototypes to perfect the Dual Cyclone technology that is at the core of the Dyson vacuum.

In 2007, Dyson created The James Dyson Award, an international award that inspires the next generation of design engineers. Each year, hundreds of engineers submit their designs.

In 2018, the grand prize went to Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani for their O-Wind Turbine, a 25cm sphere that converts wind into electricity. Other winners included a water-cleaning robot, a smartphone device to test for malaria, and a wheelchair designed for air travel.

In 2017, the company launched the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology in partnership with University of Warwick. Students work in a position at Dyson for four days a week, receive a salary, and have their tuition fees paid, allowing them to graduate debt free.

“These capable young engineers will be developing new technology alongside world-leading engineering practitioners, creating real products that end up in real homes—doing their academic work alongside their engineering projects.” explained Dyson.

“Our philosophy remains the same as it was 25 years ago when James Dyson invented the first cyclonic vacuum cleaner. We remain family-owned. We don’t bow to outside shareholders or report to the stock exchange. Instead we plot our own path, unshackled from conventional thinking.”

James Dyson is driven to apply engineering to solve problems that other companies ignore. Perhaps that is why he is now Sir James Dyson, appointed to the rank of Knight Bachelor in 2007.

Is engineering your company’s One Thing?

04-23-19

CORPORATE ALIGNMENT:  YOUR "ONE AND ONLY ONEs"

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Corporate. [core-per-it]. Adjective – pertaining to a united group.

A key insight from the exemplar companies in my upcoming book is that they created alignment at the corporate level.

The strongest form of alignment is the “One and Only One” model. You literally have One and Only One for the entire company.

No divisions, departments, geographies, or functions can have a different one. Your One and Only One(s) are absolutely, positively, and nonnegotiably the same everywhere in your company.

For example, Tesla has One—and Only One—Mission Statement. Netflix has One—and Only One—Code of Conduct. Bognet has One—and Only One—Way.

In most cases, these items are exactly the same everywhere. In some cases, they are essentially the same. (For example, your One Tagline might be translated into other languages.)

You might think this is obvious, but many organizations will handle this differently.

For example, you might think every company should have One—and Only One—Mission Statement. But we have worked with companies where every division, department, and team had its own mission statement, none of which was linked in any way to the corporate mission statement.

But surely, every company has One List of core values. Nope. (As you will discover in the Hilton case study, at one time they had thirty different lists!)

Making something a One—and Only One—Corporate Standard is simple to understand, highly effective, very efficient, and very easy to enforce.

Of course, it can also be perceived as too centralized and too controlling. Sometimes, One Size does not fit all.

One Vision might not fit all business units. One Expense Policy might not be fair to all locations. The fashionistas might rebel against having One Dress Code.

Some companies create alignment with many Corporate One and Only One(s). Others delegate more autonomy to their divisions or operating companies.

The corporate executive team should carefully balance the need for centralized control with the desire to empower EveryOne.

So, your company must decide.

What must be absolutely, positively, and nonnegotiably the same everywhere?

SHIFTPOINTS will help your company unleash the accelerating power of alignment!  Contact us at start@shiftpoints.com.

01-23-17

#6: THE DISCIPLINE OF TEAMWORK

In theory, every executive team is a team.

But in reality, most executive teams struggle with the discipline of teamwork.

There are many reasons for this. Executive teams have unique dynamics that make them unlike any other team in the organization. (More on this in the weeks to come.) Most function like a golf team, where everyone is playing their own individual game.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams operate more like a basketball team. They have a high degree of interdependency. They model unselfishness and demonstrate a “we before me” attitude.

You don’t develop this kind of teamwork by sitting in a conference room presenting PowerPoint slides to each other. You must spend time as a team working together to solve your company’s most pressing problems. You must also take time celebrate your company’s biggest victories.

A few Check Points for your consideration:

  • Does your executive team have a strong foundation of trust?
  • How much of executive compensation is based on overall corporate performance?
  • Are you tolerating any executive behaviors that undermine teamwork?

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.

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01-16-17

#5: THE DISCIPLINE OF EXCELLENCE

Every executive performs.

But most executive teams have at least one member who is not meeting expectations.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams optimize the performance of every member of the team.

This starts with high – and continuously elevating – expectations of performance. High-performance executive teams are constantly raising the bar.

They set high targets and challenge each other to get better.

Thus, every executive must commit to both individual excellence and continuous improvement. (I’m astonished by how many reach the executive level and then stop growing and learning.)

In addition, as companies grow and evolve, the executive team must also grow and evolve to embody the discipline of excellence. 

Sports teams are great examples of the relentless quest for excellence. They trade for players who can upgrade the team. They are constantly evaluating performance. Raising the bar is just part of the process.

Here are a few Check Points for your consideration:

  • Is every executive on the team really performing up to your standards?
  • Does your executive team have a culture of challenging each other to “raise the bar?”
  • What are you doing to help each executive develop their professional skills?

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.

 

01-09-17

#4: THE DISCIPLINE OF DESIGN

Every team has people. 
 
But most executive teams struggle to get the right people in the right roles.

As we discussed last week in The Discipline of Purpose, clarity of purpose is a prerequisite to building a high-performance executive team. 
 
Once the purpose is clear, you must apply The Discipline of Design.  Answering a few questions can accelerate the process:

  • What are the skills, strengths, and experiences required to accomplish your executive team’s unique purpose?
  • What are the skills, strengths, and experiences of the existing executive team?  What are your gaps? How can you close them?
  • What roles are required?  Which executives are best positioned to fill those roles? (Note: these roles do not have to be linked to the executive’s title.  For example, if the CFO is the person with the most experience with employee engagement, perhaps they should lead that initiative, not the VP of HR.)

Of course, there are many other questions that impact the design of the executive team.  The key point is that great executive teams don’t just happen.  They are designed.

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SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.
01-02-17

#3: THE DISCIPLINE OF PURPOSE

Every team has a purpose. 
 
But most executive teams have never taken the time to clarify what theirs is.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams have a clear – and unique – sense of the discipline of purpose.
 
This seems like it should be obvious, but there are many different kinds of executive teams.  In the same way that each company should have a unique purpose, the executive team running that company should have a unique purpose as well.  (A church’s executive team has a very different purpose than a construction company’s executive team.)
 
To clarify your executive team’s unique purpose, consider three factors: decisions, outputs, and outcomes.
 
Decisions are the unique things that your executives decide as a team.  (Like approve bonuses.)  In some companies, this list is actually quite small, since most of the decisions are made by individual executives without bringing the issue to the entire executive team.
 
Outputs are the unique deliverables produced by your executives as a team.  These include things like corporate strategy documents, annual budgets, or organizational goals. 
 
Outcomes are the unique results that your executive team is responsible for as a team.  These include things like financial results or employee engagement.

Once you know your executive team’s unique purpose, you can design the team to accomplish it.

SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.

 

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12-26-16

#2: THE DISCIPLINE OF VISION

Every organization has a vision.

But most of them are pretty blurry.

In contrast, high-performance executive teams have a crystal-clear definition of where they are going. Ultimately, developing a clear and compelling vision is a key responsibility of the executive team.

In addition, the vision is far more than a traditional vision statement, most of which are just meaningless blah-blah-blah. A great vision is much more dynamic.

Finally, we recommend that executive teams reflect on the discipline of vision and develop a “SMART Vision,” which is specific enough to provide direction and inspiring enough to provide the motivation to achieve it. Many are captured in catchy, memorable phrases, such as “$25M by 2025.”

Here are a few Check Points to consider:

• Does your vision forecast the market trends and potential discontinuities?
• Have you tested your vision against current and potential competitors?
• Can every member of the executive team articulate the vision with “energizing clarity?”

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SHIFTPOINTS® develops high-performance executive teams - because you can't win without one.