Tag Archives: vision

Case Study: Cracking the Execution Code at Compusearch Software Systems


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 decide what kind of leader to be.

As suggested by the illustration in Figure 1, a leader:

  • Sets direction represented in the first panel by the target with a bull’s-eye in the middle.
  • Aligns resources; that is, the leader collects followers who all look to hit the same target.
  • Motivates action, as suggested by the radio bars in the lower corners of the third figure, which causes the resources to progress towards the target.

Figure 1: A leader sets direction, aligns resources, and motivates action.
Figure 1: A leader sets direction, aligns resources, and motivates action.

Another way to say it, as summarized in Figure 2, is that a leader develops, holds, nurtures, communicates, and drives to achieve a vision. Like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s map, the leader holds a map that is always changing, making sense of it, and navigating the course accordingly with the team looking over his/her shoulder. Continue reading How to decide what kind of leader to be.

Introducing Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World as an interactive digital workbook.

Many intelliven.com blog posts are based on the slides and lecture notes from a masters class in Organization Development called Organization Analysis and Strategy offered at American University and taught by Peter DiGiammarino.  These posts and other material from class, including:

  • Work problems,
  • Templates,
  • Graphics,
  • Slide shows, and
  • Assessments

are available  from Amazon as a softcover workbook or from iTunes as an iBook titled Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World.

Selected intelliven.com blog content is now available as a workbook from Amazon or as an iBook from iTunes.

Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.

Manage to Lead presents a framework to describe and assess any organization. It also provides a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.

Readers are invited to select a familiar organization on which to apply the tools and templates introduced throughout the workbook. Exercises in each chapter produce essential elements for the organization’s annual strategic plan and lay the groundwork for implementing that plan.

Readers can package the key elements from Organization Exercises to form a strategic plan that communicates how the organization sees itself and where it is headed. At the end of the year leaders can compare actual results with what was described in the strategic plan to study what happened, why what happened was different than plan, what is to be learned from that, and what to do differently going forward as a result.

Repeat the process over several years and compare actual to planned results year-to-year to see the organization mature, perform, and grow to its full potential.

Why it is important to get off of auto-pilot and how to do it.

Most people find it is hard to connect all nine dots in the figure at left with four straight lines, without retracing any lines, and without lifting their writing implement.

The reason it is hard to do is because in order to solve the puzzle a person has to think and operate in ways that are different than normal; or outside the box, as they say.

Before reading further, follow the instructions to solve the puzzle yourself; first with four lines, and then try to solve it using only three lines.  Finally, try to determine how many ways the puzzle can be solved with Continue reading Why it is important to get off of auto-pilot and how to do it.