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Corporate reorganizations can cause headaches

How to Manage Corporate Reorganizations Without the Headaches

Whether you call it reorganization, restructuring, reengineering or realignment, there’s one thing you can be sure of: it’s not going to be easy. In fact, many of these interventions are costly and painful—and in the end, don’t work.

One industry, in particular, that is dealing with this right now is the information technology sector. Mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, financial concerns and other issues are causing leaders to take a closer look at how their businesses are structured and whether or not they have both the agility and the depth they need to remain competitive.

But before any organization goes headlong down the “re” path, they might want to reevaluate the process first.

Why Restructuring Efforts Fall Apart

All too frequently, management implements these kinds of initiatives with an emphasis on ROI (return on investment) and execution. Seems like a logical approach, right? But this is often counterproductive because it overlooks some essential, make-or-break elements—things like culture, vision and morale. The future.

In fact, when the objective becomes so narrowly focused on issues like cost reduction, for example, creative and innovative possibilities won’t even be considered. But creativity is essential when you’re looking for new ways of doing things. Without creativity, restructuring efforts often end up getting good marks for intent, but very bad marks for results.

Reinventing Your Process

From a thinking standpoint, the word reinvention is more descriptive of what should really take place when a major change occurs. And whole-brained reinvention is the whole-brain-modelbest descriptor of all.

Our data has shown that the process of invention very clearly involves both analytical and imaginative thinking. If you look at the Whole Brain® Model, these are the upper A and D quadrants. When you add in the necessary B quadrant activities, like form, sequence and implementation, with the C quadrant preferences for interpersonal relationships, teamwork and communication, you have a much more mentally complete process to support the outcomes you really want.

So, where can you find this breadth of thinking?

You’re in luck. It’s most likely right there in your organization; you just have to be sure you’re tapping into it. That means making sure you have the thinking diversity you need represented both in your project leadership and within your implementation teams, and just as important, that everyone recognizes the business value these different perspectives contribute.

4 Steps to Check Your Thinking

If you’re involved in a “re” effort (or are suffering through one that’s not going very well), here are four diagnostic areas to evaluate to make sure you have the thinking processes in place to support the results you need:

  1. Are the desired financial and business objectives achievable as planned? If not, your analysis may have overlooked key elements from other thinking quadrants. Consider what those might be.
  2. Are timelines and schedules well planned and being communicated and respected? If not, then the planning process wasn’t thorough enough. An easy way to check for gaps is to review the Whole Brain® Model to see what you might have missed.
  3. How are the workforce and customers responding? If morale is a problem and customers are aggravated, you’re likely overlooking some important people-related elements, and there could be other contributing gaps, like overlooked process issues and financial factors. Are you encouraging the imaginative ideas and solutions that could anticipate and preempt potential implementation headaches?
  4. Is this a good strategic decision? Are any innovations or creative solutions emerging? Reorganization is about the future, so it requires future-oriented management decisions. This is a great opportunity for the whole organization to get energized by going creative, but it has to start with and be supported by the leadership.

If you want to read about an M&A initiative that bucked the trend and exceeded expectations, check out the story of the merger of Westpac Bank and Challenge Bank.

Westpac didn’t just avoid morale problems during and after the merger; staff turnover actually went down from 14% to 6%. The bank also increased opening hours, making their customers very happy in the process. To top it off, they were able to save the $10 million that had originally been set aside for redundancies.

Now that’s a great example of mindful merging.

How Global Leaders Think

Why Problem Solving Starts with Problem Definition

Why Problem Solving Starts with Defining Problems

Charles Kettering, the celebrated inventor and head of research at General Motors, once said that a problem well stated is a problem half solved. Most people today would probably agree. And yet, it’s not what most people usually do.

Typically, they jump right in to brainstorming solutions before understanding what they really want to accomplish.

You can dramatically increase your problem-solving effectiveness by taking a few minutes to define the problem up front. In fact, you might be surprised at how often this step leads directly to a solution.

Take the elevator makers’ dilemma, for example.

You can imagine what it was like when elevators were introduced. People were understandably nervous about getting on them. They fidgeted and pushed buttons, impatient and waiting for the elevator to arrive at its destination. And there was a widespread perception that elevators were unbelievably slow. This led to complaints.

So, elevator makers had a problem on their hands: Can we make our product move faster? Read more

Asking these 4 questions will improve problem solving in your group

4 Questions that Will Improve Problem Solving in Your Group

Due to a quality problem with a weekly shipment, a large financial publishing firm was facing a very unhappy $50 million customer.

This was obviously a very big deal. The managers were scrambling for a solution and feeling stuck. So they reached out to someone in the organization who knew about our Whole Brain® Model and asked for help.

This person pointed out that the managers had done some things very well. They’d done the analysis. They’d crunched the numbers. They’d focused on the fact-based and implementation-oriented thinking aspects of the problem by discovering what the symptoms were and how they were playing out. Yet there was something missing—a new way of looking at the problem, a shift in mindset. Read more

4 Steps to Integrate Thinking into Your Teambuilding Exercises

4 Steps to Integrate Thinking into Teambuilding Exercises

Teambuilding exercises. Just the words can bring up strong feelings and long memories, from awkward exercises and superficial “feel-good” activities to other tasks that have questionable—if any—lasting business value.

But we know that teams are essential to getting work done in today’s business environment. A large majority of the workplace now spends a high percentage of its time in team-related activities, and this trend is only expected to escalate.

But as we also know from our own team experiences, you don’t automatically get the results you’re looking for just by bringing people together. Communication breakdowns, competing priorities, conflict and a lack of trust are just a few of the obstacles that can, and often do, get in the way of the team’s success. Read more

Whole Brain® Thinking Killer Apps

lightening in hand

In last week’s THINC™ Webinar, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi discussed five Whole Brain® Thinking “Killer Apps” for 2010:

  1. Accelerating Leadership Development
  2. Making Connections That Pay Dividends
  3. Mindful Engagement
  4. Innovating Ahead
  5. Thinking Strategically to Think Around Corners

Is your organization prepared to effectively deal with these issues? They’ll not only impact success in 2010, they will also shape how well the organization is positioned moving into the years ahead.

During the webinar, Ann shared some examples of what forward-thinking companies are doing to hone in on these mission-critical issues, and how Whole Brain® Thinking is driving that process.

If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording, 5 Essential Applications of Whole Brain® Thinking for Success in 2010, to see the specific examples and find out what other participants had to say about issues such as customer service, innovation and leadership development.