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The CTO of Tata Consultancy Services describes how he learns from his organization’s collective intelligence.
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For those learning to lead, experience trumps formal training. But some experiences matter more than others, as two unconventional but highly successful organizations — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club — have recognized.
Departing employees leave with more than what they know; they also take with them critical knowledge about who they know. That information needs to be a part of any knowledge-retention strategy.
Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently noted that in many cases, “old-fashioned corporate decision-making hasn’t caught up with new Information Age tools.” Indeed, companies must increasingly function as nodes in vast knowledge networks, and it is obvious that many of them are not up to the challenge.
Too many managers have experienced this scenario: The chief executive announces a bold new corporate initiative aimed at generating dramatic performance improvements. The initiative calls for sweeping changes in the company’s processes, systems and culture. The launch proceeds with great fanfare and a substantial investment of the company’s resources.
Learning rarely follows a linear, upward progression. People forget what they once knew; institutional memory fades; obstacles of all kinds block individuals and groups from making progress. Sometimes an initially successful program or approach stops delivering results.
The authors contend that contemporary management education does a disservice by standardizing content, focusing on business functions (rather than on managing practices) and training specialists (rather than general managers). Working with several major international universities, the authors have developed seven tenets to improve MBA programs by grounding them in practical experience, shared insight and thoughtful reflection.
Every decade or two, a big idea in management thinking takes hold and becomes widely accepted. The next big idea must enable businesses to improve the hit rate of strategic initiatives and attain the level of renewal necessary for successful execution. Scientific research on complex adaptive systems has identified principles that apply to living things, from amoebae to organizations. Four principles relevant to strategic work at Royal Dutch/Shell are outlined.
A powerful way to implement advanced software technologies is through incrementalism. Each self-contained implementation sequence achieves a specific business result. Using the strategy at a large manufacturer of office furniture systems, the authors implemented supply-chain-planning and-scheduling software at six sites — on time and within budget. The three critical success factors were technology divisibility, technology and methodology fit, and technology and organization fit.
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