What’s the Number One Number Thing Today’s CEO’s Must Do? Do the OODA Loop Faster and More Innovatively

What’s the Newest Requirement for a CEO? Do the OODA Loop Faster and Better!

You would think it would to generate revenue, profits and reduce costs. Think again. It’s all about iterating and pivoting like a start-up. And who better than a former fighter pilot to teach CEO’s a thing or two about making quick. So I want you to meet John Boyd, who was among many things, a military strategist, colonel and fighter pilot whose theories are highly influential in the military, sports and business.

So why bring up Colonel Boyd in the context of CEO’s and their need to be nimble? Because investors and boards have transitioned from desiring quarterly profits (something that has driven Wall Street and corporations for many years) to searching for leaders to those who have the ability to disrupt their industry or die. What did the fighter pilot, Colonel Boyd used to make those decisions to do something out of the ordinary? He created a framework known as the OODA Loop:

  • Observe (M—ake the best use of the information and other intelligence resources available right now)
  • Orient (Quickly put the new observations into a context with the old)
  • Decide (Make quick decisions and take the “next actions” based on a combination of observations, current knowledge and intuition), and then
  • Act on those decisions to carry out the selected action(s), ideally— while the competitor is still observing your last action so you beat them to the punch!

OODA Loop

                                         Photo Source: Larry Paul

Above is a video from Ralph Mroz on the OODA Loop as applied to business if you want more information!

Observe, Orient, Decide and Act Is Known as John Boyd’s OODA Loop

As a fighter pilot, John had to make decisions in nano-seconds. With this framework of observe, orient, decide and act he way able to describe a way to iterate and pivot, very quickly, and decide if the object in front of them is friend or foe. Not doing so could mean life or death. It could also mean the end to a critical mission.  What does the OODA Loop mean to a CEO? Iterating and pivoting is also mission critical. Just ask the CEO of Ford Motor Company, Chief Executive Mark Fields. He was a 28 year old veteran of the business and was replaced by someone the business thought would be able to disrupt the automotive industry very quickly!

The Message is Simple: Do the OODA Loop Faster or Die

While Mr. Field’s did what most board’s used to expect of a CEO’s, i.e., he returned consistent profits, he did’t make enough changes fast enough. His OODA loop was too slow. But he didn’t know what he didn’t know. He, as many other CEO’s don’t realize that the winds of change are changing all around us. Like in most any industry, the car market has entered into the era of transportation.

It’s no longer just about building and selling a car. It’s about car-as-a-service. Think: ride-sharing (think Lyft, Tesla and ReachNow (by BMW.) It’s also about taking the traditional gasoline engine and transforming it’s power source to be an electric vehicle. And it doesn’t stop there. Some companies are disrupting the industry by experimenting with self-driving technology, making investments in connected cities (think BMW and Santa Monica, CA.) And at the same time Ford’s stock sank. 

How Fast Does Your CEO do The OODA Loop?

How fast do decisions get made? How fast can the ship be turned? Today, with the need to act quickly, the message is simple. We are in an age of rapid disruption by the software and tech industries. A leader of any company has to pick up the tempo and make riskier bets sooner… or die. While it was Mr. Field’s intention to set Ford on a path to be part of the new, emerging auto industry, he just didn’t do it fast enough.

Since Mr. Field’s took over three years ago, the share price of Ford is down 40%. As a CEO, as yourself, “Are you disrupting yourself, your company and your products fast enough? Are you really changing anything or are you just doing the old stuff just faster?” These are not easy questions, but ones that we all need to contend with. Consider you are one company and your are disrupting yourself faster than your competitor. What happens to the competitor?

ooda loop faster to drive innovation @drnatalie

                                                             Photo Source: Larry Paul

As a CEO, Are You On Track?

In military operations, OODA loops takes place in nano-seconds. In corporations, its decisions are often slower. In the old days, strategy was rigidly followed till next years’ planning cycle. But today, that’s no longer an acceptable mindset. And it’s critical to validate we’re on track and if not, correct it. Using a model like the OODA Loop, along with design-thinking which requires to you go and talk to your customers, your employees, customer’s of your competitors, to industries that are similar to your and industries that have nothing to do with yours.

It’s where the kernel of the seeds of innovation are hatched, born and grown into a full idea. The results of your actions become the observations to re-orient you to make your next decision. Quickly repeating the OODA loop equals success. And as you are doing this, you want to make sure you are making real-time changes that are just changes to make changes, but change to create a “Blue Ocean Strategy.” As defined by the author’s of the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, CEO’s need to quickly create an uncontested marketplace, where the competition is irrelevant.

Who’s Slow to the OODA Loop?

According to the article by Christopher Mims of the Wall Street JournalRonald Boire of Barnes & Noble, GNC Holdings’ Mike Archbold and top executives at three of the six major Hollywood studios making changes faster is very important. Where to look for inspiration? According to Mr. Mims, unlike large corporations, startups don’t need decades to make the changes the businesses need to succeed in the new world. They are nimble, they are always iterating, pivoting, changing, trying new things, not being afraid of conflict…

What does this mean for established companies? They will need to take drastic measures to do the OODA loop faster. What kind of drastic measures? According to the article, these CEO’s must be willing to tell their stakeholders they may have to lose money and cannibalize existing products and services, while scaling up new technologies and methods. Not the same old dog chow most CEO’s having been dishing out.

How Can a CEO Get On Track?

It used to be that you could acquire the start-up that was trying to put you out of business. But in today’s market it takes more than that. Companies that are disrupting the marketplace are growing so quickly, capturing so much market share, they don’t want or need to be acquired. And they can become too valuable to buy or are unwilling to sell. So the questions for you, as a CEO, “Is do you have systems to monitor/measure what employees know, think & feel about what is going on in the business?”

They are often the ones on the front line that really know what is going on and what needs to be done, or at least what isn’t working. “Do you really know what your customers know, think & feel? Or do you have a cordial relationship where the “real deal” is not really discussed?” Honest, conscious conversation is where it all starts. Many people have made careers by learning how to manage-up well. That’s not a bad thing, except when you aren’t telling the CEO the truth about what the troops think, feel and know. But there has to be a cultural environment that always you to be able to safely say the things. That’s not always the case.

And, as a CEO, “Do you take that information that you have gathered from your employees, your customers, all kinds of sources and integrate it into your company?” One of the best ways to stay on top of the game is to monitor social and digital media. If you have a digital / social media command center, where all the top news and information is brought into one central place, you can begin to digest a new picture of the quickly changing landscape very easily. You’ll also want to keep your ear closely attuned to what is happening in the start-up world, regardless of whether it is Silicon Valley or Silicon Beach or Silicon Edge or…

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

To me, all of this sounds like something very familiar to those of us who came from the voice of the customer or quality. Remember Deming, the father of Quality who was pushed out of the American Auto Industry? And then only to be invited to Japan and make their automative industry soar? What was his secret sauce? To listen to their customers and the employees. To make really changes to their products and services based on that feedback!

Start Incubating Innovation

Today, companies must incubate disruptive ideas within their own corporate cultures. And this is not easy, because often it means supporting them as they grow into something truly disruptive. The company might have to absorb their losses. For example, for its first 20 years Amazon made almost no profit. But iterating, pivoting and incubating is not enough. A CEO must maintain the existing business at the same time as they innovate. This is a new and rare skill.

So where best to learn how to think like an OODA Loop CEO? Find a group that help take you through thinking differently, through a design-thinking process where you never know what will come out of it, but it always spurs innovation. You have to cross the chasm, from how you normally do things, to how things have never been done before. That’s a lot of change, so it’s also important to develop those ideas and new innovations in the culture where change and honestly is accepted and appreciated.

@drnatalie

VP, Program Executive, in the Innovation and Transformation Center 
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Digital Transformation Projects Have an 84% Chance of Failure; Are You Ready to Failure or Succeed?

Would You Invest If You Knew the Investment Had a High Likelihood of Failure?

If I were to tell you that I had an investment opportunity for you and the probability of you making money was 16% or less, how likely would you be to invest in it? But if I told you that the investment opportunity had a 90% chance of returning your investment, might you be more likely to want to invest?

What’s interesting is that digital transformation is all around us. We can’t help but be impacted in our person lives, from smart phones, smart TVs, apps (think taxi’s vs. Lyft), Siri, Alexa and Google Home. In business, it’s clear that customers want to engage with business in digital and mobile channels. Businesses need to make the transition to be competitive and survive. Yet according to Consultancy.uk* and Bruce Rogers** who wrote Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders, 84% of businesses undergoing digital transformation are likely to fail. 

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Having been at this game for a while, the statistics reminded me of stats from nearly 20 years ago when the topic was CRM and ERP. Though they are not exactly the same, they have many of the same elements. Digital transformation, innovation and CRM and ERP implementations are IT implementation of people, process and technology. What they have in common is the use of technology to make scalable processes that were once manual. The advantages among many, were higher productivity (cost savings) but also providing better customer-facing experiences (revenue generating.) Going back through my old papers about CRM and ERP failure rates,*** I saw many of the same type of stats predicting similar failure rates for digital transformation projects are being predicted today**** (and by many prominent groups, including IDC, Gartner Group and Forrester Research.)

Things that make you go hmmmm. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When Will Organizational Change Management and Culture Change Be Taken Seriously?

The stats show since the late 1990’s – early 2000’s until now, when Culture Change (CC), Organizational Change Management (OCM) and Behavioral Change (BC) is missing from a project, there are issues, yet it’s still not “fashionable.” Perhaps the lack of fashionability is from an old paradigm stemming from the command and control type leadership that doesn’t deem people as an important aspect of the business transformation, whether its CRM, ERP or Digital Transformation. Perhaps it stems from leadership that doesn’t know there’s a whole science and set of CC and OCM methodologies that go along with IT implementations. Perhaps they have never been shown the value of that OCM and CC can bring, so they still don’t think it’s important enough to invest in. Perhaps it’s a matter of showing people that it works and makes a difference!

The Time for Change is Now

The 4th industrial revolution challenges most of our existing mental models. What this means is that cultural change is essential to enable and execute successfully, any business / organizational / digital transformation. The key is having a plan, as well as, having developed tools and process for culture change and organizational change management which includes, but is not limited to having a:

  1. Communication plan and regular communication cadence
  2. Leadership and stakeholder involvement and engagement
  3. Training and skill development for the future state of the business and
  4. Organizational readiness and adoption on a continuing basis of the ongoing changes.

And of course, underneath each of these very simplistic groupings is a deep set of assumptions, tools, methodology and business-driven outcomes. So digital transformation isn’t uniquely about technology. It is about having the right digital strategy to ultimately transform a business to achieve higher objectives. This type of digital transformation must be built along with the human capital component, including skill sets, as well as, a cultural adoption of changing the way we do business. So what it boils down to is evolving behaviors within the organization, both from a leadership point of view as well as middle level managers to all employees.

Being Stuck in the OCM Adoption Chasm Will Cause Digital Transformation Failure

What is seems like, referencing one of my favorite people and author’s is Geoffrey Moore. It’s seems that perhaps we are, after twenty or more years of having OCM and CC at our finger tips, we are stuck in the adoption chasm. What we are headed for is the digital transformation iceberg of failure. We know what the iceberg did to the Titanic. We don’t want to be on a sinking ship. So what does an organization need to do? More on all of this in a future post.

@drnatalie

Natalie Petouhoff

VP, Program Executive, ITC | Salesforce.com

References

* Consultancy.uk. “Two Thirds of Digital Transformation Projects Fail” Consultancy.UK. N.p., 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 July 2016

**Rogers, Bruce. “Why 84% Of Companies Fail At Digital Transformation.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 7 Jan. 2016. Web

*** http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-end-of-corporate-culture-as-we-know-it/

*** http://www.cio.com/article/2440386/supply-chain-management/supply-chain—hershey-s-bittersweet-lesson.html

*** http://customerthink.com/failed_crm_implementation_finally_costs_hp_465_million_in_damages/

*** http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/The-Tipping-Point/The-Scientific-Reason-for-CRM-Failure-Part-1-42510.aspx

*** http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/The-Tipping-Point/The-Scientific-Reason-for-CRM-Failure-Part-2-42655.asp

*** http://media.techtarget.com/searchCRM/downloads/CRMUnpluggedch2.pdf

*** http://www.zdnet.com/article/crm-failure-rates-2001-2009/

*** https://hbr.org/2002/02/avoid-the-four-perils-of-crm

*** http://www.infoworld.com/article/2648303/applications/waste-management-sues-sap-over-erp-implementation.html

*** http://www.computerworld.com/article/2517917/enterprise-applications/sap–waste-management-settle-lawsuit.html

*** https://www.google.com/#q=hershey+crm+failure&*

*** http://www.crmsearch.com/crm-failures.php

*** http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Columns-Departments/Insight/A-Succession-of-Failures-70822.aspx

**** https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US40550115 ; http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3337617 ; https://www.cmo.com.au/article/545992/will_your_business_digital_predator_prey_/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Organizational Change Management Just the “Fluffy Stuff” or Is There Real Business Value?

Is OCM and CC Kumbaya?

When I first lead organizational change management (OCM) and culture change (CC), it was at previous high tech company; a company made up of mainly engineers. When the topic was first announced as part of our integrated product developed process (a.k.a. teaming) it was labelled very quickly as “apple pie and motherhood.” Many thought we were going to sing Kumbaya or I was going to bring cake and cookies to meetings. What I learned was framing what the results could be and by providing individuals, teams and organizations, with tangible results, I found being outcomes-driven was the missing key. How so?

Outcomes-based Driven Values

When I framed OCM and CC in terms of outcomes and business value, I asked questions like, “Would you like it if everyone showed up to your meetings? On time? With the action items completed? With a proactive attitude vs “not invented here or we don’t do that – that way here” attitude…  Get a high rate of return on projects- projects on time, within budget and scope, high customer satisfaction…? Of course the answer was a resounding “YES.” The employees were craving answers to these issues that plagued the organization. And no one knew how to fix these issues. They just persisted. People stopped taking deadlines seriously. They expected project scope to creep. Budget overruns were somewhat typical.

WIIFM?

When I was able to explain the value of the outcomes of OCM and CC to them personally and their teams- the WIIFM (What’s in It For Me), they became extremely interested as the cultured suffered from too many meetings, people always in meetings so they never had time to do their action items; a passive-aggressive culture- so instead of coming to the meeting (without the action items completed and saying they didn’t have time and figuring out how to change something so they did have time) they just wouldn’t show up… And in that company – one team’s action items directly impacted another. For instance, if team 1 didn’t finish their action items teams 2, 3, 4… couldn’t do theirs… and the project fell behind, out of scope, over budget… It was a horrible domino affect that one one really knew how to fix. Giving orders that projects needs to be on-time, within budget and on scope didn’t really lead to change. It just lead to frustration because there were reasons why those things were happening, but giving an order that they needed to be done didn’t fix the root cause. So nothing changed.

What I learned about Leading Change

What I learned was when I presented OCM and CC in terms of outcomes – employees and leaders were very interested. I learned when I first presented OCM and CC without the business outcomes, it resulted in #fail. Then, I pivoted and iterated to an outcomes driven aproached, related to WIIFM and it resulted in #success… Net-net? Choosing a few key behaviors’ that help people work better together in a way that supports desired organizational outcomes, gets people on board…

What 20 years of leading change has taught me is that it’s all about framing CC and OCM in a way that people can relate to. Unfortunately a lot of CC or OCM got a bad rap as the fluffy stuff. But I have spent a great deal of my career over the last 20 years writing ROI (return on investment) models for the “fluffy stuff.” And I can tell you, it’s not fluffy… it impacts the bottomline…  

OCM and CC Tools and Methodology Are Key to Successfully Transitioning From The “Fluffy Stuff” To Concrete Business Results

And of course having a methodology and tools that help teams and people make those changes… takes it out of the “fluffy stuff” and into the business realm. OCM and CC is so much more, but people don’t know, what they don’t know… so it’s key to have a concrete methodology so it’s taken seriously and it can add business value to teams and our customers. More on that in future posts.

@drnatalie

Natalie Petouhoff

VP, Program Executive, ITC | Salesforce.com

 

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