Monthly Archives: August 2015

Customer-Centric Innovation to Deliver Superior Performance

Customer-Centric Innovation to Deliver Superior Performance

Perhaps no industry has contributed more to enhance the quality of life of people worldwide than the technology industry. Our products and services influence every walk of life, the way we work and the way we play. Still, we need to re-focus. The road to recovery is often the road to discovery. The promise of an industry turn-around challenges us to learn how to engineer that turn-around.

What I want to say is “Let’s get real” by creating real solutions for real customer problems-not examples of technology for technology’s sake or digital pies in the sky. Let’s get real with innovative technology that enables people to do what they want to do better, faster, more productively, and more cost effectively than they ever could before.

Rock’s Law and Moore’s Law

Two unique conditions frame the situation we face today:

  1. Rock’s law. The first is an obscure observation about the cost of capital. It was offered by Arthur Rock, a venture capitalist. It says that the cost of capital equipment in our industry will double every four years. That observation has held true to the point where the cost of new high-end wafer fabrication is prohibitively expensive to everyone but the largest players. Developing new and more technically advanced transistors are very expensive.
  2. Moore’s law. Another economic theory, Moore’s Law, states that the average cost of a semiconductor transistor will decrease by half every 18 months. By the late 1970s, the incremental cqst of a transistor had already dropped below a penny. Today, the cost of transistors is approaching one-millionth of a penny. We’re practically giving them away.

Once something is essentially free and it has value, it will find its way into many places. This is true of the transistor. Software and silicon have become the “plastic and steel” of today’s economy. This should make all of us feel better about our long-term macroeconomic prospects. More products are characterized by the features and functionality defined in software and silicon. The IT industry is rapidly becoming the DNA of every industry—and it is changing the competitive dynamics.

We have an enormous influenceand enormous responsibility to ensure that people take advantage of the technology that we create. If we can be criticized for anything, we can be faulted for our tendency to create a lot of technology and very little innovation. What’s the difference? In a word, customers.

Connected Business Model We have been guilty of pushing our capacity to deliver more and more, faster and faster, simply because we can. Sometimes we forget that someone out there has to do something a whole lot better than they could before. Otherwise, what we do is basically irrelevant. It’s high time we refocus around the customer. Adopt a policy that says: “No new technology without real customer input or without real customer demand.” At AMD, we call this “customer-centric innovation,” and it is driving everything that we do these days. Being a “customer-centric” company demands that you understand the needs of both direct customers and the customer’s customers, meaning consumers.

We have seen a dramatic transformation in what consumers want from their technology. With the Internet and improved wireless communication standards, PCs are arguably more connectivity devices than productivity devices.

  • At home, the primary applications for a personal computer are e-mail, instant messaging, and Internet access. The time is fast arriving when we will see the PC become the central hub of the home.
  • At work, productivity is still supremely important, but with the Internet, productivity is seen as dependent on connectivity. Companies know that their scarcest resource is creativity and that the only way to exploit it is to connect people to the resources they need to rapidly bring their idt:as to life. In short, at home and at work, connections are the currency of our lives.

Metcalfe’s Law

While Rock’s Law and Moore’s Law continue to be technically accurate, they have declining relevance because they say nothing about customers and what they might do with that technology. They say nothing about “customer-centric innovation.” If any business “law’ is relevant to our times it’s Metcalfe’s Law, developed by Robert Metcalfe when he was at Xerox PARC. His law states that “the value of a network grows as the square number of the users of that network.”

For example, if you were the only one with a telephone, it would be of little value. However, since almost everyone has a telephone, this device has incredible value. A company is a network of people, capabilities, and ideas. Using Metcalfe’s Law as a model, the value of a company depends not on its size, but upon the number and quality of that company’s connections in the world.

I mention the “quality” of relationships because I believe that in the future, the quality of the connection will count the most I see Metcalfe’s Law as the new Rule of Engagement—one that will set the standard for excellence in our industry and for our customers in the years to come—because it represents a powerful connection between companies, between peoples and between cultures.

Partnerships and relationships are the key to a new business model. Our commitment to this “connected business model” is something we reinforce in everything we do every day. Work with your partners, and deliver compelling technologies that deliver superior performance.

Posted in Business and Strategy

Apply New Knowledge to Solve New Problems

Apply New Knowledge to Solve New Problems

Education is what have left after forgotten everything you’ve learned. Today, people must constantly forget things they know.

Product generations often last less than 18 months. Some entire product lines turn over every year, and some in six months. Companies that roll to success are those that develop constant learning capacities and exploit them.

Learning can become a renewable resource. An educated person is like a spring: as a spring replenishes itself when water is withdrawn, so educated individuals replenish their learning when knowledge has served its purpose.

Educated people know how to learn. A person who has been trained in specific tasks but not educated in the art of learning is like a dipper, which gets its water from an external source. When the water’s gone, the dipper can’t refill itself.

In the industrial age, education was not essential to successful job performance. Tasks were broken into small subtasks, which people performed repetitively. Once the worker had learned the mechanical procedure, further learning was unnecessary. A robot could do it.

Well, robots are doing it, which means that something more is required of people. They must learn to become more than repetitive doers; they must become purposeful thinkers.

Today, knowledge must generate more knowledge. Workers must learn to bridge between what they already know and what they need to know to achieve continuous improvement.

This calls for skills in interacting with other people and applying new knowledge to solve new problems. Corporate education should develop these skills.

Knock down walls (bureaucratic barriers that block communication). In many companies, communication flows through narrow channels, chimneys of power, usually from the top down. People walled off from these chimneys are left to work in an information vacuum.

Today’s leaders must demolish the walls that prevent the lateral flow of communication. With the walls gone, information permeates and people find it easier to be focused, flexible, fast and friendly. You can’t focus the efforts of your workforce if your organization is criss-crossed with walls that impede the flow of information. You can’t be flexible if you have a rigid structure in which every division and department is a closed information loop. You can’t be fast if information has to seep slowly through layers of management. And you can’t be friendly if your people don’t talk to other people inside and outside your organization.

If you look around, you may see plenty of boundaries that need to be removed. One may be the door to your office that remains closed to input. Another might be a rigid boundary between hourly and salaried employees. Or it could be a boundary that shuts out ideas that don’t originate in your own organization. Other boundaries might be the lines between divisions. If one division develops a new method or technology, does it share it with other divisions?

Among the toughest boundaries to dismantle are the ones managers erect around the borders of their turf. People who are promoted to their “levels of incompetence” and armed with the word “manager” in their titles, stake out their own turfs and guard them jealously. In a corporation without boundaries, advancement means moving into positions in which expertise is interchanged and knowledge is put to productive use by coaches, advisers, and knowledge workers. In such corporations, advancement for individuals results in advancement for the entire company.

Posted in Leaders and Innovators Mental Models and Psychology

Where Surf Bathes the Rocks: Drive along the California Coastline through Big Sur

Foggy Morning along California Highway 1 and Big Sur

“It was always a wild rocky coast, desolate and forbidding to the man of the pavements.”
–Henry Miller, American Writer

The Big Sur Coast Highway is a stretch of California Route 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco where nature lingers untouched. Some 200 miles north of Los Angeles along Route 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway), the town of San Luis Obispo and the small fishing village of Morro Bay are the two substitute starting points of the Big Sur scenic drive. Finalized in 1932, this striking coastal highway finally connected the remote coastal towns of Big Sur. These 144 miles of highway is roughly isolated, highlighting just a handful of small towns and a couple of hotels, including the Post Ranch Inn, where celebrities like to take time out.

Big Sur, California Highway 1 The wildlife protection area has lately seen California condors reintroduced. They fly down high over the precipices even as, down below, local residents consist of sea otters and sea lions with the sporadic migrating whale. Deer and foxes are frequently sighted, and the shy and mysterious cougar is at home here.

The narrow two-lane road snakes its way all along the serrated cliff hugging the mountainside. Absorb the scenery as the road weaves along the sheer drops beyond Point Sur Lighthouse before terminating at picturesque Carmel, the heart of the West Coast’s tranquil coastal country, best identified for its superior beaches and movie star resident (and onetime mayor) Clint Eastwood.

Posted in Travels and Journeys

The Elegant Wooden Tipu Sultan’s Palace, Bangalore

Balconies and Wooden Palace of Tipu Sultan in Bangalore

The Bangalore fort was an ancient one with contributions from Chikkadevaraja Wadeyar, Haidar Ali, and others. Tipu Sultan dismantled some parts of it after 1792 but Dewan Poornaiah rebuilt the fort in 1800 A.D. Tipu’s palace is here within the fort area by the side of fort Venkataramana temple and actually it is very close to the Bangalore Medical College now.

It is said that this palace was begun by Haidar Ali in 1781 and Tipu made use of it later. Though the original facade and the frontal portions are not available now, the palace still makes a lasting impression as an elegant and magnificent structure worthy of the palace. The palace is basically built of wood, except for the peripheral outer walls built of mud and bricks.

Tipu Sultan's Palace, Bangalore

The superstructure is of wooden frame with two stories with minute wooden carving decorations. What now remains is a frontal corridor with an upper balcony. Wide cusped arches are very conspicuous by their presence and they add a great majestic appearance. The wooden pillars with tapering design are very tall and this adds majesty to the entire structure. The walls and ceilings are of great attraction as they contain paintings of the contemporary period, consisting mostly of geometric designs and floral decorations.

Originally the upper story had four halls each comprising of two balconies and some rooms. The balconies faced parts of the office and was also used by the prince. At times it served as an audience hall also. At the end of the balconies were some rooms which were used for private purposes of the family of the Sultan. Though they look small from the present standards, with high roof they were cool and convenient for the people to live. There is a Persian inscription to the left of the verandah which calls it abode of happiness and envy of heaven. Its construction was started in 1781 and was completed in 1791 A.D.

Facade and Front of Tipu Sultan Palace in Bangalore

After the death of Tipu Sultan it was used by Krishnaraja Wadeyar III to give audience to the citizens of Bangalore in 1808. Subsequently it was temporarily used by the British army. The Karnataka State Secretariat also worked from here. Finally it was taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India which has made it a protected monument. Thus it is a rare and elegant wooden palace at Bangalore.

Posted in Travels and Journeys

The Greatest Writers Passed Over for the Nobel Prize in Literature

The Greatest Writers Passed Over for the Nobel Prize in Literature

Many of the best writers of the past 112 years have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, but there have been some astounding omissions right from the start. The list of great writers who were alive after 1901 but never received the prize is shocking.

Posted in Music, Arts, and Culture

The Future of Technology: What is your role to play?

The Future of Technology

For most of the past 20 years, many of us have read about the future for digital revolutionaries and listened to visionary presentations.

Frankly, many of us would be skeptical about what we were hearing. And it wasn’t for a lack of desire. All of us want to believe that the digital revolution is real, and we want to be inspired by its incredible promise. But, digital technology has failed in many cases to live up to the hype.

But, this year the revolution became real. Today, we are entering an era where every process—and all content—is becoming digital, mobile, and virtual.

Every time we walk into a Starbucks, hear a song on the sound system, pull out a laptop, and download it wirelessly—the digital revolution is more real. Every time we go to a wedding reception with a digital camera and a printer and shoot, edit, and print the images; and present the bride and groom with a photo album before we leave—the digital revolution is more real.

Today, photography is a digital, mobile, virtual process. You create digital content—a digital camera is a computer with a lens—and then you take that content and network it. You send it wirelessly, edit it, share it, and when you are ready, you print it. Every process is following this pattern: every physical, analog process will become digital, mobile, and virtual.

So in this revolution, what is your role? Our role is to drive that digital change, democratize technology, and empower digital revolutionaries. Enabling the digital revolution takes more than gizmos and gadgets. What matters now is making it all work together in a way that creates simple and enjoyable digital entertainment experiences at an affordable price. Too many products still don’t connect to one another; they don’t work easily together. Too few of us have access to broadband at home. Too many products still cost too much. Too much digital content is still being taken illegally, undermining business models and artistic integrity. Issues of cost, complexity, connectivity, and manageability still get in the way of simple, enjoyable experiences.

We’ve focused on devices that we hold in our hands or hang on our walls—not on the ecosystem. Trying to solve all challenges by focusing just on plasma screens or music players is like trying to tell the story of television by focusing on the TV set.

The real revolution is different, cutting far deeper and broader than simply the devices that fly out of stores. The true revolution is in the way that entertainment is created, distributed, managed, and consumed. It is around the experience, and making the whole system come together—a system that requires an entire network of players and partners, from service providers, to media companies, to content creators, to online services and more—and all those players working together to deliver the best experience. The entire entertainment process—whether it is music, movies, TV, or images—is becoming digital, mobile, and virtual.

The Digital Future

To tie everything together today in one system means many devices, miles of cable, half a dozen remotes, hundreds of pages to read in manuals, and even then, good luck getting it all to work right.

From the beginning, the ultimate promise of the digital revolution was always about putting more power in the hands of people—to allow all of us to do more, be more, and enjoy more in our daily lives. The digital revolution is not about cyberspace-cold, alien, and distant-it is about technology that is intimate, intuitive, and accessible where we want it to work, when we want it to work, and how we want it to work.

We are entering an era in which every consumer becomes the photographers, film producers, and deejays. We are all digital revolutionaries now.

But the future will not be made simply by the companies that put the coolest devices in people’s hands, or create the prettiest devices to hang on walls. The future will be made by companies that understand how to move content from creation, to distribution, to consumption; and understand what is required to hide complexity and deliver a great end-to-end consumer experience, and companies who have the partners to create and support the experiences you want.

We are on the verge of a digital entertainment future where every one of us has access to every song ever written, every movie ever filmed, every photograph ever shot—available any time and anywhere we want it, on any device that’s most convenient.

Revolutions have always been about giving power to the people—about people taking control and about the power of democracy. And the digital revolution is about the democratization of technology, and the experiences it makes possible—digital experiences that change lives and change the world.

We don’t know for sure where the next five years will take us. But we do know that revolutions are not made by doubters, cynics, and skeptics. Revolutions are made by people who believe that everything is possible.

Posted in Business and Strategy Management and Leadership

The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time

The 100 greatest novels of all time

Can’t decide what to read? Consider The Guardian’s list of top 100 novels ever written.

  1. “Don Quixote” by Miguel De Cervantes
  2. “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan
  3. “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe
  4. “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift
  5. “Tom Jones” by Henry Fielding
  6. “Clarissa” by Samuel Richardson
  7. “Tristram Shandy” by Laurence Sterne
  8. “Dangerous Liaisons” by Pierre Choderlos De Laclos
  9. “Emma” by Jane Austen
  10. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
  11. “Nightmare Abbey” by Thomas Love Peacock
  12. “The Black Sheep” by Honoré De Balzac
  13. “The Charterhouse of Parma” by Stendhal
  14. “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas
  15. “Sybil” by Benjamin Disraeli
  16. “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens
  17. “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë
  18. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
  19. “Vanity Fair” by William Makepeace Thackeray
  20. “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  21. “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville
  22. “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert
  23. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins
  24. “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll
  25. “Little Women” by Louisa M. Alcott
  26. “The Way We Live Now” by Anthony Trollope
  27. “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
  28. “Daniel Deronda” by George Eliot
  29. “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  30. “The Portrait of a Lady” by Henry James
  31. “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
  32. “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson
  33. “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome
  34. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde
  35. “The Diary of a Nobody” by George Grossmith
  36. “Jude the Obscure” by Thomas Hardy
  37. “The Riddle of the Sands” by Erskine Childers
  38. “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London
  39. “Nostromo” by Joseph Conrad
  40. “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame
  41. “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust
  42. “The Rainbow” by D. H. Lawrence
  43. “The Good Soldier” by Ford Madox Ford
  44. “The Thirty-Nine Steps” by John Buchan
  45. “Ulysses” by James Joyce
  46. “Mrs Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf
  47. “A Passage to India” by EM Forster
  48. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  49. “The Trial” by Franz Kafka
  50. “Men Without Women” by Ernest Hemingway
  51. “Journey to the End of the Night” by Louis-Ferdinand Celine
  52. “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner
  53. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
  54. “Scoop” by Evelyn Waugh
  55. “USA” by John Dos Passos
  56. “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler
  57. “The Pursuit Of Love” by Nancy Mitford
  58. “The Plague” by Albert Camus
  59. “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell
  60. “Malone Dies” by Samuel Beckett
  61. “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
  62. “Wise Blood” by Flannery O’Connor
  63. “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White
  64. “The Lord Of The Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien
  65. “Lucky Jim” by Kingsley Amis
  66. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
  67. “The Quiet American” by Graham Greene
  68. “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac
  69. “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
  70. “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass
  71. “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
  72. “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” by Muriel Spark
  73. “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  74. “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller
  75. “Herzog” by Saul Bellow
  76. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
  77. “Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont” by Elizabeth Taylor
  78. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” by John Le Carré
  79. “Song of Solomon” by Toni Morrison
  80. “The Bottle Factory Outing” by Beryl Bainbridge
  81. “The Executioner’s Song” by Norman Mailer
  82. “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller” by Italo Calvino
  83. “A Bend in the River” by V. S. Naipaul
  84. “Waiting for the Barbarians” by J.M. Coetzee
  85. “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson
  86. “Lanark” by Alasdair Gray
  87. “The New York Trilogy” by Paul Auster
  88. “The BFG” by Roald Dahl
  89. “The Periodic Table” by Primo Levi
  90. “Money” by Martin Amis
  91. “An Artist of the Floating World” by Kazuo Ishiguro
  92. “Oscar And Lucinda” by Peter Carey
  93. “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” by Milan Kundera
  94. “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” by Salman Rushdie
  95. “La Confidential” by James Ellroy
  96. “Wise Children” by Angela Carter
  97. “Atonement” by Ian McEwan
  98. “Northern Lights” by Philip Pullman
  99. “American Pastoral” by Philip Roth
  100. “Austerlitz” by W. G. Sebald
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits

Use Your Beliefs and Values to Gain Higher Commitment

Use Your Beliefs and Values to Gain Higher Commitment

Leaders are often reluctant to bring their spiritual beliefs to their leadership roles. Many leaders outside of a religious context are justifiably anxious that bringing their beliefs forward in a multi-religious society will cause unnecessary and unproductive conflict. Still, leaders who win high commitment consciously bring their beliefs to their leadership roles. In other words, they enact their beliefs.

I once interviewed 20 experienced leaders who win high commitment from others. None of them is a “business leader” in the traditional sense and none learned leadership skills in the traditional way—at a business school or a corporate university.

Their decision to focus on insights about leadership from leaders outside of business comes from the belief that we often learn the most from people who are unlike us. These leaders are fettered by limited resources. They must win commitment because they can’t afford to buy it. If they excel at winning commitment, they often engage a deeper commitment that comes from the heart and the spirit.

Although I did not ask those I interviewed about their spiritual beliefs, three beliefs became evident. The ability to enact these three beliefs characterizes leaders who win high commitment.

Belief in Divine Involvement

The first belief was expressed by Pat Croce, former president and part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers professional basketball team. Croce said, “My tenet is that if you do your best, God will take care of the rest.” Bonnie Wright, former CEO of the Arizona Red Cross, added an important twist: “If you are doing the right things, the resources will come to you to do it.” The statements form a summary of what leaders express when talking about divine involvement: When you are doing the right things to the best of your ability, the divine powers will supply whatever else is needed. Wright also maintains that periods of reflection are essential to leaders. These are the times, she said, that she gets her “God-given to-do list.”

This belief in divine involvement is also a source of strength and renewal for leaders. Croce’s belief that if he does his best God will take care of the rest provides him with a basis for dealing with the inevitable problems that all leaders face. With that belief in hand, he said, “You then can handle setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations.”

Belief in the Primacy of Service

The second belief is the importance of living a life of service. For example, Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation and an advocate for minorities, said that she ran for the office of Chief because she wanted to be in a position to allocate more resources to rural and poor people. She said, “My decision to choose public service and social justice issues as my life’s work was driven by passion, compassion and idealism. I was brought up in a Cherokee community where it was understood that we are responsible for one other and that we survive in reciprocal relationships.” These leaders are not drawn to serve because it will be profitable or ensure the loyalty of others. They do it for its own sake and for its own rewards.

The zeal to serve is at the root of the compelling insights that give rise to noble visions. The insights that compel leaders are perceptions about the needs or aspirations of people; they come out of belief in the primacy of service. Noble visions are about the contributions that leaders intend to make to a group of people; they have their roots in the impulse to serve1 and they invite followers to serve as well. Without this impulse to serve, without this belief in the primacy of service, compelling insights and noble visions elude wouldbe leaders. Philosopher Sam Keen wrote: “Whenever you are confused, keep heading in the direction that leads toward deepening your love and care for all living beings, including yourself, and you will never stray far from the path to fulfillment.”

Belief in the Basic Goodness of People

Despite declarations to the contrary, many of our organizations and many people who hold leadership positions tend to operate as if people are basically selfish, needing to be watched and scrutinized carefully to prevent rampant and destructive self-interest. However, leaders who win high commitment act as if people are basically unselfish and trustworthy. They give people an opportunity to show that they are world-class citizens. They affirm their belief in the goodness of others. Such statements are not simply about the capabilities of others, but about the basic nature of people.

This belief is what some refer to as the assumption of trust. William Purkey, a professor at the University of North Carolina, notes: “Given an optimally inviting environment, each person will find his or her own best ways of being and becoming.” Leaders who win high commitment create such optimally inviting environments, which depend heavily on the leader’s ability to hold onto the assumption of trust.

Leaders who win high commitment know what they believe in and value, don’t pretend to anything else, and are persistent about bringing their beliefs to their leadership roles and to the organizations that they lead.

Posted in Business and Strategy Education and Career Management and Leadership

Your One Chance to Break Free from the Cubicle

Break Free from the Cubicle

Almost everyone stuck in a cubicle dreams of starting his own business. Of course, starting a company while employed by another one can be tricky. Amongst thousands of books on pursuing your dreams and entrepreneurism, Ben Arment’s ‘Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love’ stands out above the crowd. Here’s some of Ben’s unique blend of insight, practical advice and inspiration.

  1. 'Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love' by Ben Arment (ISBN 159184729X) It will be scary, but you should leave your office career to launch your own company, “We are motivated by two conflicting fears in life: the fear of failure and the fear of insignificance.”
  2. Lack of time isn’t a valid excuse. “The truth is, you don’t have extra time to pursue your dream. No one does. We have to remove time from some other endeavor … sacrifice is painful but necessary.”
  3. You’ll need monetary help. “Don’t let rainmaking deter you …. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become more comfortable [with it], you might even enjoy it.”
  4. Be ready to lose sleep. “Work in the margins of your life—the late nights and early mornings—to make it a full-time reality …this is your one chance to break free from the cubicle.”
Posted in Education and Career

Be More Proactive by Systems Thinking

Be More Proactive by Systems Thinking

How often do you find yourself “putting out fires?” Do you want to position yourself for more proactive and effective thinking?

Systems thinking allows you to look at organizational dynamics. Instead of getting caught up in the details of a situation, you engage in systems thinking to shift your thinking from details to dynamics. You see the interrelationships in any situation, allowing you to think cross-functionally.

Three steps are involved:

  • Step 1: Observing patterns. Ask, “How many times have I seen this kind of behavior?” Is there a pattern emerging?
  • Step 2: Uncovering underlying structure. What is causing this behavior? The structure of the system influences the behavior of its members. Consider, for example, a compensation system that rewards individual behavior even though one of your goals is team-based work.
  • Step 3: Increasing your leverage in the system. Once you begin to see the patterns and underlying structures, you can then resolve your challenges for the long term by looking for the highest leverage in any situation. This leverage helps you to think strategically and solve problems for the long term because you are focused on fundamental causes-and implement solutions that benefit the whole organization rather than just individual departments due to the systems perspective of interconnectedness.

Systems thinking helps you to anticipate rather than react to events. The more you can anticipate what is going on, the more power you will have in dealing with an emerging challenge.

Posted in Management and Leadership Mental Models and Psychology Software and Programming