Category Archives: Manage to Lead

Managed to Lead posts are organized into the categories below and are about what can be managed in order to be a better leader. There is a category for each of seven actions motivated by seven simple truths about leaders and organizations which, if followed, can help you change the world.

Tips to consultants helping organization leaders create THEIR WHAT-WHO-WHY

Before leaders set out to change their organization, it helps to be ready to change. To get ready to change, leaders should be clear about their organization as it currently exists. A good place for them to start is with their organization’s purpose.

The purpose of an organization is to solve a problem for a customer. It follows that there must be a customer WHO has to solve a problem (WHY), with WHAT the organization provides to the customer.

As simple as it sounds, most every organization leader and top team finds it more than a little challenging to compile a clear, consistent, and articulate explanation of their WHAT-WHO-WHY. The following tips are to help third-party consultants work with organization leaders to get them ready for change by agreeing on their WHAT-WHO-WHY.

Create a WWW

  • Ask each top team member to create a WWW using this template. Make sure that each leader works alone to fill out the template off the top of their head.

  • Collect submitted WWWs and share them with the team without attribution. Insist that team members work the point and not the person; that is, it does not matter which of them said what…what matters is what is said.

  • Don’t worry if the first cuts are rough. Plan to iterate with the team, stakeholders, and outsiders to distill complexity (and ugliness) into simple, clear statements over time (weeks, months, even years).

  • Do not strive for brevity right away. Use all the words that come to mind to get points expressed before editing.

  • Encourage team members to not settle for what first comes to mind. Ask them to read and think carefully about each word. Ask for clarification. Parse each word carefully and iterate to achieve specificity, clarity, and accuracy.

  • Then dig even deeper, and keep digging until the team gets to the essential truth for each W.

  • Encourage the team to share their WWW with as many smart people as they can to get honest feedback. The more input they get, the better the result will be. “Group think” is their enemy.

  • Remember that more important than getting the WWW right is getting the team to reach agreement on any WWW

It is vital to cut through the dream and get to reality. The points below are to push on the WHO and the WHY to move past the obvious, hypothetical, or imagined answers and get to truth.

Work on WHO

  • Identify the buyer WHO makes the decision to purchase what the organization provides by role, not by industry or by organization.

  • Study people in the role to understand their persona. It is vital to understand the thinking of WHO makes the decision to purchase the product or service. Only once the actual customer is known can those responsible for sales find buyers and market to them.

  • The organization’s board of directors and investors are someday soon going to stare into their CEO’s eyes and ask: “Can YOU sell what the organization provides?” It is not possible to answer in the affirmative without the rigor associated with the research and analysis suggested here.

  • Once the team knows and understands WHO they are selling to, they can begin to answer WHAT and WHY; specifically: “WHAT does the buyer need/value?” and  “WHY does the buyer need/value it?”.  
  • Organization leaders rarely explicitly know exactly who their buyer is and what their buyer really wants. Once you really understand your WHO you will be able to “crack the code” and stand out compared to the crowd.

  • If there are multiple WHOs, have the team create a WWW for each WHAT-WHO-WHY combination by repeating the process documented here for each, and then facilitate the team deciding on which one to run with first.

Work on WHY

     If the answers to these questions are not known, then find them.

  • While there may be subordinate/secondary WHYs. It is critical to get to the primary one. Secondary reasons are good to understand and consider because they help differentiate the WHAT from other solutions, but the primary WHY makes the sale.

Stick to the three simple (but, by no means easy to answer) questions. 

Don’t modify them as there is no need:

  • WHAT does the customer buy?
  • WHO buys it?
  • WHY do they buy it?

Long-time IntelliVen Client Enrolls Five Teams in Exclusive Manage to Lead Immersion Program Cohort

A Washington DC based management consulting firm that helps organizations experiencing disruption to set their strategy and then align their culture with that strategy to achieve breakthrough performance improvement has chosen the Manage to Lead Immersion Program to serve as a foundational component of their leadership development and client delivery methodology.

The firm is unique in driving strategy by evolving culture and not viewing strategy and culture as separate, but rather, as interdependent things that must be done together for an organization to reach its potential to perform and grow. The Manage to Lead Program is a perfect fit to serve as the firm’s leadership development and as a cornerstone to its client delivery.

Continue reading Long-time IntelliVen Client Enrolls Five Teams in Exclusive Manage to Lead Immersion Program Cohort

How to get a rogue team member back on board without drama or disruption

Every leader eventually finds they have a toxic executive team member who behaves poorly, spreads discontent, or otherwise goes off track and holds the core leadership team, and the organization, hostage indefinitely. 

As the leader, it is up to you to do something, but you avoid confronting the offender perhaps because you are averse to conflict or perhaps s/he is a longtime friend, co-founder, or even a family member. Instead, you hope things will work themselves out, but they never do; things just get worse.

Do you give up, let the organization wallow forever, or act? Such a dilemma!

The IntelliVen Manage to Lead Immersion Program provides leaders with tools and methods to address undesirable team member behavior without disruption or drama.  Continue reading How to get a rogue team member back on board without drama or disruption

Case Study: Cracking the Execution Code at Compusearch Software Systems

WWW

Compusearch  (now Unison) was a visionary company with visionary goals. But, as often happens with visionary companies, focus on a long-term strategy to revolutionize a market can mean that near-term execution and operationalization can suffer, creating barriers to growth.

In Compusearch’s case, the company had set out to transform how federal government agencies procure and contract for goods and services.

From its founding in 1983, the company used state-of-the-art software design and development to provide solutions that streamlined and automated key steps in government procurement, purchasing, and contract management.

In 2005, the company arrived at a strategic decision point. The company’s team of owner-operators decided to sell the company and retire. The new owner, private equity firm The Carlyle Group (Carlyle), saw immense potential in the company and its pedigree of quality innovation. 

But Carlyle also saw that the change in ownership was an ideal time to assess how the organization operated and to upgrade to more effective strategy execution and operations maturity. Maturing operations turned out to be essential to achieving the goal to double revenue and increase margins to realize a 4X return on invested capital within five years.

Continue reading Case Study: Cracking the Execution Code at Compusearch Software Systems

How to increase the odds of success with a strategic acquisition or alliance

Posted 6/10/2012, Updated 9/19/2019

Most acquisitions and alliances severely underperform relative to expectations set at the time of their inception.  No matter how great they look on paper, it is always a lot harder to make things come out anywhere near where they were meant to be than it seemed at the start.  Fortunately, based on first-hand practical experience and learning from  the experience of others, there are some things that can be done to raise the odds of success.

Why Acquire or Ally

The reason for one organization to acquire or ally with another almost always boils down to one or more of the following three:

  • To obtain new products and services to sell to existing customers.
  • To secure access to new customers for existing offerings.
  • To acquire needed new resources such as technical skills, leadership, or industry knowledge.

Why Not Acquire or Ally

There are also three basic reasons for one organization to decide NOT to acquire or ally with another: