Yet a paradox exists. How does an established organization filled with long-time employees, a deeply entrenched culture, and a history of drawn-out planning and development cycles become nimble, innovative, and responsive? In The Q-Loop Brian Klapper reveals the "art and science" of lasting transformation based on a proven, repeatable model. Learn how to unlock the potential of your organization's collective intelligence to create buy-in from top to bottom. He is an internationally recognized expert in business process transformation who has worked with global companies in a variety of sectors including financial services, consumer products, manufacturing, food service, utilities, retail, and healthcare.
Brian is a recognized thought leader, speaker, and writer. He co-authored a chapter in Redesigning Healthcare Delivery, which has become an industry standard. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Usually ships within 1 week. Overview The business environment has never been more fast-paced and competitive. The Q-Loop extracts the deep knowledge that resides with front line employees, breaks down their inherent resistance to change, and converts them into passionate advocates who are fully invested in leading the organization to achieve transformational results.
Show More. But today the flow is generally considered to be from North to South. The center of gravity for economic opportunity has shifted away from what has traditionally been called the advanced or Western countries of the northern hemisphere to the fastdeveloping countries of the South, including China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and others in the Middle East and even parts of Africa.
In geographic terms, the dividing line is roughly the 31st parallel. What are the forces causing the tilt? Charan: The global tilt is being caused by a number of factors. The changes in the global financial system, the expanding footprints from digitization, mobile communication and the innovation it unleashes, changing demographics that have created a new global middle class of 6. Another huge driver is the enormous talent and ambition of leaders in the South.
Leaders in the North tend to underestimate this factor, but I have seen powerful examples from across the globe, including Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel and G. What are the consequences of the global tilt? For example, what shifts in power and resources can we expect? Charan: Economic power and eventually political power among countries will shift. This movement is already under way. One billion new consumers have joined the world economy in the past 10 years and 2 billion more are coming in the next decade.
Leaders of northern companies have a narrow window of time in which to make a decisive tilt in their approach to running businesses and may not only lose the chance to gain footing in the South, but also be vulnerable to attack on their home turf later on. Resources will become more limited as the southern countries continue to gain power. Availability and price will come under increased pressure, and resources, including talent, especially technical and managerial talent with local knowledge of a foreign market, will become increasingly hard to secure.
Finally, the pace of change and complexity will keep increasing. Those who can deal with it better than others will have an edge. What is the strategic thinking about how the tilt will change in the North? What about the South? Charan: Business leaders of the North have been conditioned by slow growth and are thinking small, looking for incremental gains in low-growth markets. They may miss out on the biggest opportunities by waiting too long to jump into those markets.
Bold thinkers in the South, on the other hand, are ready to make strategic bets.
They are making sizable investments and assigning top-notch people, effectively seizing the competitive edge. What do successful global companies look like and how do they achieve market growth? Headquarters may be in the South, or in several locations Leaders have a keen eye on the macrolandscape and have an informed opinion about it. Goals, performance targets, and accountabilities are linked to the challenges leaders are facing in real time Resources are redirected as one market softens, another heats up, or competition gets tougher Decision makers are closely connected to each other regardless of their physical proximity and stay close to information that decisions are based on.
What is the best strategy for a tilted world? Charan: Companies have to create their own unique strategies, but leaders need to change their approach to strategy in the global tilt. They put their companies at risk if they rely too much on existing core competence and incremental growth. The concepts of Outside-In and Future-Back are guidelines for leaders to expand their lens and lengthen their time frame as they seek to understand what changes are occurring in the macroenvironment and how those changes create opportunities for their business.
Outside-In thinking means looking at the businesses through the lens of a leader sitting elsewhere and identifying global trends without the existing assumptions, biases, and rules of thumb. Future-Back requires leaders to extend their time horizons as they assess the world and to imagine what the competitive landscape will be some 20 years out.
Then they must jump back to consider its implications for the present. What are these? Charan: Social system is a term I use to capture the interactions among people where information and ideas are exchanged and decisions get made. This is apart from the organizational structure you might put on a piece of paper to depict formal reporting relationships. Leaders need to shift decision-making power.
They need to shape the right behaviors through existing or new mechanisms, such as reviews of various kinds. Changes in the social system are more important than changes in the actual organizational chart of the company, which can be altered later to reflect the changes in power achieved through changes in the social system. How can Northern companies win in a tilted world? Charan: There are five keys for Northern companies that are eager to grab hold of the new landscape in the South.
First, they must grasp the immensity of the opportunity and make concrete plans and decisions to move into these markets. They must consider whether they will need to acquire or build new capabilities to expand into these markets. Next, they should put a stake in the ground globally and begin dedicating managerial muscle and ample resources into the markets they select, while not abandoning the North all together.
Fourth, they must shed assets whose value is likely to decrease to free up resources. Finally, they must fight the short-term beast of shareholder return, as it may take a longer time frame to start delivering results in these global markets. What can we expect from companies in the South?
We can expect to see more of the same, with competition coming to the North as well as across the South. Charan: Now that capital and expertise are readily available, the limitations of the past no longer exist, and some Southern companies have incredible competitive strength. They are expert at learning new business, they can buy their way into the big leagues, and they are well equipped to create innovative new business models. Overall, these companies are winning by aiming higher and assembling the resources and capabilities they need.
What is the basis for leadership in a tilted world? Charan: It is crucial that our leaders begin to adapt their thinking, as I mentioned earlier, to win in this emerging environment. I believe they must first possess the ability to cut through the complexity of the external change taking place. They have to be able to cut through those different contexts to the business fundamentals. They must boldly create a tangible vision that is understood and inspires their team to conquer this new challenge. And they must build their teams and mobilize their social organizations.
A noted expert on business strategy, execution, building a high-performance organization, 21st century leadership, corporate boards and succession, he has worked with leaders of some of the world's most successful companies, including GE, Bank of America, Verizon, Coca-Cola, 3M, Merck, Aditya Birla Group, and Tata Group. Published by Crown Business. Copyright , Ram Charan. You are bound to get blisters along the way and an occasional poke in the eye.
But we have weathered these growing pains and, while not taking anything for granted, have been able to build a company that has seen double-digit growth year over year for the past five years. Clear Vision Information Systems operates in an industry undergoing mammoth upheaval— health care. We also touch a world that is constantly evolving technology and one that is seeing tremendous growth seniors.
This is no accident. In fact, part of our reason for success and our optimistic outlook for our future is precisely because we sit at the confluence of these three incredibly dynamic businesses. Clear Vision was founded in to provide software solutions, strategies, and services to health plans and physician groups nationwide who participate in Medicare Advantage programs in essence, health plans for seniors. Our products and services allow our clients to improve quality of care and maximize their revenues by ensuring that patients receive appropriate treatment for their chronic conditions and that those conditions and the treatments provided are properly coded and submitted to Medicare for payment.
Certainly many systems and processes existed but customers routinely complained about the lack of access to consistent and actionable data in a simple and easily understood manner. Moreover, we knew that if we got our hands dirty and really committed ourselves to the task, we could do a better job than what existed in the marketplace.
So combing our joint expertise, we left our jobs, rolled the dice, and set out to build a better company. We started with a basic premise: If you strive to do the right thing, nobody can fault you. That Build from a foundation of trust. I grew up in the. Midwest where I learned the importance of trust, and that is the core value we have tried to instill into Clear Vision. Trust is the most complex and most fragile of all of the ethical principles contained in character, and it is also the most vital. In our startup phase, our client base came from companies and individuals we had worked with in the past who trusted that we would strive to do the right thing.
They also believed that we would every day attempt to uphold the four key elements of trust: integrity, honesty, promise keeping, and loyalty. Trust is hard to achieve and easy to lose. Share a common mission. While working in the same general industry, my two partners and I come from different backgrounds and bring different skills to Clear Vision. Vice President and COO Pam Klugman was manager of information technology for large companies and possesses incredible strength in issues pertaining to reimbursement and finance.
Compliance and Contracts Officer Donovan Ayers is certified in health-care compliance and has been influential in regulatory reform and in setting direction for compliance and operational activities for both health plans and employers. My background encompasses more than 20 years of experience working with data for health-care companies and the Medicare program. Hire from the heart. If you hire people with good values and good heart, the technical aspects of any task can be learned.
How do you know if the person has these attributes? Trust your gut. Do you think this person understands compassion? Can you speak with her comfortably? Is she comfortable with you? Is this the kind of person you want representing your company? Understand balance in life. It is important that a company recognizes this and allows employees time for family matters, whether illness or a celebration. When you show employees this kind of understanding and respect, it is returned many times over in loyalty and commitment 5.
Reward and recognize achievement.
So what is the Q-Loop?
Thirty percent of the employees at our company started as part-time. Employees know that great work—and great work ethics—will be valued and rewarded. Welcome debate. Nobody has all of the answers. Good leaders surround themselves with smart people, often smarter than they are; and they encourage debate and honest discussion.
Too much agreement has never been a problem at Clear Vision. My two partners and I have built a company where disagreement is embraced, new ideas are encouraged, and creativity is rewarded. All are necessary. All are welcomed. But along with this, make sure you have a system where final decisions can be made once all the information has been gathered and the debate has subsided. At Clear Vision, my two partners and I have the final say; and once a decision has been made, we expect all of our employees to be on the bus.
Decide how you want to grow. All businesses talk about growth, but there are different roads to get there. Early at Clear Vision we made the decision that our path to success would be based on measured, conservative growth. While we know that this may not be the fastest way to grow, for us it has been the smartest. Following this philosophy has allowed us to have no debt and be financially beholden to no one. Most important, we have never laid off anyone in our six years. We have been able to give employees raises and bonuses and offer our employees the same kind of health-care benefits that large companies give, as well as a matching IRA contribution.
Have a passion for what you do. There are many ways to make a living; and many of us, fortunately, have choices. I was blessed to find something about which I am passionate and then to find two partners who shared that same interest. Together we are continuing to build a company that attracts individuals who have this same passion and who share our values. People often ask me if we are doing something noticeably different from the other competitors in our industry. And we intend to keep doing that for years to come. Multinationals are also concerned about managing costs, especially since the total cost of moving a senior employee and his or her family abroad for a multiyear commitment— including compensation, benefits and housing—can easily cost three times base compensation.
However, attracting the best candidates and managing costs can be contradictory goals. To help HR professionals balance these goals while managing a globally mobile workforce in , Mercer suggests these 10 resolutions:. Ask questions like: Can you give an ROI for your mobility programs?follow
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Would centralizing or decentralizing program management be more efficient and effective? What is the turnover rate of your mobile talent? Are vendors fulfilling their service-level agreements? Would you hire the same vendors if you had to choose them today? Look critically at the entire process of selecting, recruiting, enrolling, orienting, compensating, housing, managing, and repatriating expatriates. Housing costs can constitute one of the largest portions of total mobility costs and local housing markets can be volatile.
Set appropriate, reasonable-cost rental guidelines and communicate them clearly to expatriates and relocation firms before the hunt for housing begins. This aspect of living abroad can vary dramatically from country to country. Are they on temporary international assignments and are likely to be repatriated after their objectives are met? Or are some employees locally hired foreigners or directly hired on one-way or indefinite assignments for a permanent role? If expatriates have been in-country for five or more years, it may be time to consider localizing them.
Brian Klapper: The Q-Loop: Lasting Corporate Change
Now is a good time to reexamine assumptions made when computing both cost-of-living allowances and hardship premiums based on differences between home and host locations. Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement, and investments. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth, and performance of their most vital asset: their people.
It is important to ensure that global mobility programs meet both talent needs and business needs. Now is the time to elicit feedback from line managers and senior leaders to ensure that mobility programs are doing the right things—and not just doing things right. People will be so confused that they will be grasping for clarity. As the world gets more confusing, it will become harder to have legitimate clarity, to see through the mess to a better future.
False clarity will abound. The best leaders are seers, sensors, and listeners. They seek clarity from many sources, even as they hone their own inner clarity. The future will be loaded with contradictions, but leaders with clarity will need to see through those contradictions and have the ability to discern what to do and where to go—when neither is apparent. In order to grapple with complex questions, leaders will need to resist the temptation to oversimplify. One of the most difficult dilemmas for leaders will be to provide clarity without false hope. It also requires great self-knowledge; leaders will have to look within and sort out what is most important to them.
That can be very difficult when you are worried or upset. When I was preparing for a trip to a dangerous part of the world recently, I found myself worrying about my own safety and dreading the trip. A friend suggested that I should focus on the purpose of the trip—not the things that could go wrong. I tried to do all I could to prepare and take reasonable safety precautions and then focus on the purpose of the trip. Why was I going? I was indeed very excited about the mission of the trip, but my clarity got blurred when I started to worry.
We each need our own ways of fueling our own inner clarity and quelling the fears that can eat away at it. An inner purpose is an important element of clarity, but it is not enough. Clarity must be communicated. Still, if all sides are clear, the disagreements will at least be authentic, and people want authenticity in their leaders. Clarity requires external engagement. Leaders must express themselves clearly in ways that VUCA World inspire others to follow and must be able to make sharp statements about the future with an enthusiasm that attracts others.
The best leaders will be clear about their long-term intentions but very flexible about how to get there. Clarity sets the parameters within which creativity can occur. As with jazz, the structure sets the limits within which improvisation is encouraged. Our guide taught us to concentrate on the water that flowed through these world-class rapids, rather than on the rocks we wanted to avoid. I also learned that the very act of paddling provides stability and some sense of direction—though certainly not control.
When you find yourself in extreme rapids, you must be clear about where you are going and keep paddling, no matter what. Clarity in a business context is a precise statement of your strategy, sometimes called strategic intent. It lays out where you are going and how you intend to get there. Strategy thought leaders Gary Hamel and C.
In business, success means winning against the competition for value creation on two fronts: greater value for customers and greater profits for your company and its shareholders. The Winning Proposition should be both clear and inspirational. Express Your Own Maker Instinct. Get your hands dirty. Ask yourself, too, how you played in sand or dirt as a child. What kinds of things did you make? What did you enjoy the most? How has your early maker experience contributed to your leadership style as you have matured? What about the way you express your do-it-yourself urges today?
How do these contribute to your role as a leader? Improve Your Ability to Communicate with Clarity. Ask your team, your boss, your friends, your family, or someone else close to you to assess your clarity in communicating with them. Think about people you have known or you have seen in public life who were decidedly not clear. What lessons do you have to learn from them? Improve Your Ability to Flip Dilemmas. Flipping dilemmas or resolving a problem calls for an understanding of how problem resolution has been done in the past and how it can be done again.
Have you explored ways to flip a dilemma around so that it can become an opportunity? List each challenge you face in your work or your life and assess whether they are problems that can be solved and how. How do you seek out new experiences from which you learn—especially situations that make you feel uncomfortable in the pit of your stomach? How about participating in management games or simulations in your organization? If so, think of a recent example and how that experience has contributed to your leadership.
What did you learn? How did your learning get expressed in your leadership? Seed and Cultivate Your Own Bio-empathy. Do you have an emotional need to be in natural settings and learn from the experiences you have in nature? How do you satisfy that need? How does this emotional connection to nature contribute to your leadership? For instance, how do animals help us understand our choices as learners? Could you learn from your dog or cat? How do animals help us understand our choices are leaders? Look at the world through the eyes of others, especially those with whom you do not agree or who make you feel uncomfortable?
How do you express a curiosity about other cultural practices that are different from your own? How are you judgmental—if at all—about. Try to figure out what is going on—without picking sides.
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How do people interact with each other? Are some people looking for ways to constructively depolarize? What strategies do they try? Think back over your life to situations where you have been in polarized situations. For each case, what did you do and what might you have done to help constructively depolarize the situation? Present Yourself with Quiet Transparency. Share your reasons for doing things with others, especially with those whom you are leading. Do the people you lead feel that you trust them? How do you embody this trust in your leadership style?
What can be learned from these negative models? Develop Your Rapid Prototyping Abilities. Try out things as soon as possible in order to learn what works and what does not. Think of an example where you kept trying out different approaches to a new idea over and over again, in a rapid prototyping process. What did this experience reveal about your leadership style? What is an example where you were able to learn from your own failure? How does your approach to failure fit in which your own leadership style?
Do you encourage people you lead to learn from their own failures? Reach out and network with others, both in person and through online media. Look for examples of smart mobs in your work, community, or public news world. Think through your own criteria for choosing which medium is good for what. How do you express your leadership through various electrical media?
Include Commons Creating. Seek out and try to create situations where multiple parties benefit as opposed to a situation in which you alone win. Can you give recent examples when you have tried to do this, whether or not your efforts were successful? Think, too, of an example where you have given something away in order to get more in return. Think back and describe how this situation worked.
Was it a win-win situation in the end? Did you succeed? Did others succeed as a result of your actions? The Winning Proposition provides great flexibility for people to pursue the dream in varied ways. Consider the clarity in these statements from four very different big brand companies:. Each has a strong future orientation that is clearly articulated. A Winning Proposition does not guarantee success, but it positions companies very well for the uncertainties of the future. Even in a VUCA World, these companies are very clear about where they are going, yet very flexible about how they might get there.
MW Bob Johansen has been helping organizations around the world prepare for and shape the future for more than 30 years. He is the author or coauthor of seven books, including Get There Early. Copyright , Bob Johansen. Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Hard times provoke a certain unease that accompanies not knowing what comes next.
As with the Great Depression, people remain uneasy, even when better times are clearly in view. The outcome of the American Revolution was never certain until the very end, six years after shots were first fired, and even then, the establishment of the new nation took another seven years. Then, the integrity of the Union was torn asunder in the Civil War, and it took four long years of fighting, the bloodiest in our history. In hindsight, perhaps owing to too many John Wayne—type movies, the Second World War seems more a pageant than a painful struggle that required the mobilization of 12 million civilians.
Our nation has experienced a number of economic depressions, only the last of which — late s we call the Great Depression. Recessions are too many to count—at least seven since the mid 70s. Each of these recessions brought people into confrontation with things greater than themselves and too often put them in seemingly unwinnable situations. The nation and its people have held together. And although global trade has been a boon to the developing as well as the developed world, for many less-educated workers in the United States and Europe, cheaper labor in Asia and South Asia has brought high rates of unemployment.
The recent Great Recession eradicated more than eight million jobs and created staggering levels of uncertainty. In other words, we have always faced challenges. In such situations, a leader must make people feel comfortable taking risks. But I know you need direction so I want you to go this way. Reed asserts that this approach works conceptually, but can be hard tactically, when progress is based on executing directives. Too much change precludes accomplishment, because people are always having to throw out what they just did and begin anew.
That can be frustrating. I care about you and you care about me. If we have that, we can weather everything else. Like all publishers, it has migrated many of its services from traditional print to the web. It was a change that was uncomfortable for some employees, but over time they became accustomed to it, recognized that it was necessary, and ultimately embraced it. Going through the change together and experiencing success helped people become more comfortable with the change process.
Nearly 20, people quit smoking. A used-tyre recycling programme was established. Wildlife areas were cleaned up. Two companies. One simple idea. An article in the August issue of Decanter brings together two joys of life: Illy coffee and Brunello di Montalcino. Illy is the definitive espresso brand in the world. Every day more than six million cups of Illy coffee are drunk in countries. Brunello di Montalcino is one Italy's most famous and prestigious wines, sharing the top spot with only the highly-prized Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and of course the ubiquitous Chianti. Brunello translates roughly as 'little dark one', and is the vernacular name for the large-berried form of Sangiovese from which the wine is exclusively made from.
Cin Cin! The idea is that to become an expert at anything you need to apply yourself to it for at least 10, hours. Well, a book by Sports Illustrator writer David Epstein argues that the formula is more complicated than that. What Epstein found is that biology does play a major role in the amount of success an athlete will have in a particular sport.
Meaning that given your biological make-up, you might be better suited for football than running or gymnastic than swimming. This is common sense. It takes a particular build and force to be a rugby player. So while one person might master a skill quickly; it might take another person 20, hours to get it right. We are all individual. Different from each other, and one of the first steps to winning is having a deep appreciation for that. Malcolm Gladwell has written what amounts to an appreciative rebuttal in the latest New Yorker , saying that the 10,hour rule applied to cognitively demanding fields that needed significant thought and in which there are no naturals, unlike those runners and dart-throwers.
Winning is a habit, and in sport, the best teams in the world are the ones who deliver.
Year on year. The Waikato is a traditional rugby stronghold, but in this professional era, what is the secret of their success? The feeling and bonding of the team as family. The Chiefs have just elevated the idea one or two rungs higher, especially when the Maori concepts of whanau families and whakapapa genealogy, family tree, the paradigm of cultural discourse are involved. As a device to concentrate their minds during the week of the championship final, the Chiefs coaches had a Maori pa village drawn on a wall at their Ruakura base.
Inside the sketched village were attached photos of the players' wives, children, parents and friends - a powerful reminder of where they have come from and whom they were playing for. A copy was made and taken to their Waikato Stadium changing room on finals night. It was one of the last things they saw as they ran out onto the field and, given they were behind at the break, they needed every advantage they could get, mental or otherwise, when they took to the pitch for the second half.
These efforts included using Maori names and philosophical concepts as a framework for their various game plan elements, as well as using tribal names in their team organization. As the season went on, the team began to include more Maori elements in their uniforms and identity. Their early season jersey had added sublimated Maori designs by the end of the year.
They continued to include Maori cultural performers at the games. In the Chiefs are continuing their connection to Maori culture. As part of their preseason training they followed a path connected to a historic Maori migration. The trip included not only exercise, but some time to connect with traditional Maori communities. While many schools have their own hakas, and the national teams have their own, this was a first at Super Rugby level. The team quietly created and practiced the haka and debuted it only after winning the Super Rugby final — and reprised it again after the win.
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There was a time when if you wanted to set up your own business, you worked for someone else first, earned your stripes, and then went out on your own. That was the general rule. Walking out of school and setting up your own venture without any prior business experience was an exception. The young truly understand that ideas are the currency of today.
The Q-Loop: The Art & Science of Lasting Corporate Change
You need to get to market quick. The ability to reach consumers through the internet has emboldened the young to try their hand. Young innovators and entrepreneurs are learning business skills on the hop. Staff management, sales, product development, marketing, branding. Trying to out manoeuvre competition that lays it on thick and fast. It can be a brutal lesson in survival. What is often overlooked in the success equation is the importance of good leadership.
At the very core, a successful business needs a captain with the right leadership principles. Here are some starters: Winning is important because it perpetuates self-belief. Authority is earned. The more you win, the more authority you have. If you want to win, start within. The success of many companies was built on the leadership of the captain at the helm. Improve your leadership skills. Find out where you need work, then practice, practice, practice. Surround yourself with people with drive and ambition.
People who know how to win. Hire leaders, not followers. Believe in the impossible. The difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur is that a business owner wants to open another shop and an entrepreneur wants to transform an industry. Daniel Isenberg is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and academic, whose interest in what makes an entrepreneur has led him to study examples both successes and failures across the globe.
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