Snippet Two:  

Problem - Continued [Return to Previous Page]

An analysis of the data concluded that upgrades would likely fail to improve performance problems and might actually make the worse simply because end users would now have to learn new systems and procedures, with the same underlying training and support process problems remaining intact.

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Key Lessons

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Management vision that security problems had to be addressed and associated risks quickly mitigated was on target.  In other words, the problem was identified, received proper attention and steps were taken at the highest levels to put in place a strategy to fix them.

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Protection was a key component and drove the management team to take action in response to actual performance data.  This aspect of the C-P-P process worked well.

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Performance became the weak link in the C-P-P context due to poorly understood causal problems.  The initial results drove assumptions about the nature of the problem and thus the solution.  Metrics were used to validate initial assumptions and resulted in corrective actions being re-aligned to more effectively mitigate risks.  As a result, upgrade costs, budgets and schedules were calibrated to implement a new strategy in support of executive objectives.

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Summary

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This case illustrates how a process that incorporates all three contextual areas can identify problems in the translation of the executive vision into an actual winning strategy.  In this instance, an alternative strategy was identified that could be implemented faster, at lower costs, across the organization and the results tracked over time to validate its effectiveness.

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Snippet Three:  Manufacturing

Description

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A manufacturing facility finds that its core product lines are coming under increasing pricing pressures from foreign suppliers.  Market share is stagnant or falling even during times of increasing demands, threatening the future viability of the organization’s business model.

Problem

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Operating costs limit how far prices can be cut leaving the organization to compete on other factors, i.e. customer support, customization and quality.  As many companies have found, cost savings is a very powerful factor in winning contracts, particularly in areas that are not deemed critically important to the client, i.e. brochures, packaging and even assembly.  What to do?

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Options considered include:

  1. Demanding wage cuts from employees,
  2. Upgrading manufacturing facility to improve productivity,
  3. Shifting some manufacturing overseas,
  4. Selling or merging the business with overseas competitors,
  5. Adjusting market focus to areas that foreign competitors would have difficulties competing in, i.e. fast turn around of custom production runs. .

Lessons

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Management understands the situation that their company is in and the fate, which befell other companies who faced similar challenges and failed to adapt.  Finding a vision in this scenario is difficult because, at its core, it can come across as negative and lacking in confidence, i.e. try to slow down deteriorating market share, accept lower profit levels, pay employees less, issue profit warnings to investors, et.

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Summary

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This is the type of situation, where the C-P-P process can be very effective in defining the problem, structuring the analysis and identifying the key contributing factors.  Once in place, the framework empowers management in coming to grip with the present situation, defining a powerful yet achievable vision and implementing it with the support of every level in the organization.  Performance metrics are defined to measure critical factors that could affect assumptions at the core of the implementing strategy, while keeping track of progress and performance all the way to the manufacturing floor. 

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Defining a vision and implementing strategy under growing pressure from investors, the market and other major performance factors can be daunting.  Implementing a contextual framework able to quickly structure the analysis and provide an objective approach to the results is an important first step.  The C-P-P process ensures that any evaluation looks beyond any single factor or group of factors, while promoting boundless thinking; what is generally referred to as thinking out of the box.

 

Snippet Three:  

Summary - Continued

Equally important after the initial assessment, defining vision and implementing strategies are have been completed is the ability of the analysis framework to evolve and adapt to new contexts, including customer needs, economic conditions and market drivers.  Thus, once in place, the framework must adapt and continue to provide cogent analysis, while concurrently measuring results against established baselines. 

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Finally, the framework must provide the structure for reassessing expectations across all three contexts.  For example, a vision and strategy designed to achieve 5% growth over 24 months might have seemed challenging when it was put forth by the board of directors, but, if the world economy were to rapidly improve, 5% might be reflective of under-performance.  Thus, one of the factors within the performance context would be performance relative to market conditions.

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 This case illustrates the importance of looking beyond any one area or factor as a means to define a problem and associated solution.  The C-P-P framework empowers executive leaders in capturing and analyzing the problem, putting forth a compelling, achievable winning vision that can be supported at all levels of the organization.

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Equally important is for the framework to remain viable as conditions change, supporting changes in corporate vision, strategy, operations and performance over the long run, while keeping the leadership aware of potential threats.

Snippet Four:  9/11 Aftermath

By Ozzie Paez

Description

On Septembe 11, 2001 I was attending a security class offered by Cisco in Denver, Colorado. The dreadful news of that day unfolded as a close colleague and friend headed south on Interstate 25. Over the course of the following weeks, I had a chance to observe organizations in almost every segment of the economy fall under varying degrees of paralysis with worries about security, new attacks and the realization that the nation was at war.

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As September came to a close, a deafening silence was felt among many usually dynamic organizations as they struggled to figure out HOW to figure out the implications of the attacks for their operations. The exceptions were organizations whose jobs had clear missions that were affected, but not disrailed by the attacks. They had frameworks that allowed them to absorb the immensity of the events, without becoming paralyzed. FedEx and UPS, for example, illustrated their resilience by quickly communicating with their clients the likely effects of the grounding of all comercial air traffic. Their very presence became a source of stability, reflective of a promise that life went on and would eventually return to some form of normalcy.

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Problem

How to overcome the impact of a major disaster that was unexpected and unexpectedly impactful across industries and national infrastructure

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