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jerryking : donald_sull   5

Do Your Commitments Match Your Convictions?
January 2005 | HBR | By Donald N. Sull & Dominic Houlder
The Idea in Brief
How many of us struggle harder every day to uphold obligations to our bosses, families, and communities--even as the quality of our lives erodes? And how many of us feel too overwhelmed to examine the causes of this dilemma? For most people, it takes a crisis--illness, divorce, death of a loved one, business failure--before we'll
refocus our commitments of money, time, and energy on what really matters to us. But why wait for a crisis? Instead, use a systematic process to periodically clarify your convictions and assess
whether you're putting your money (and time and energy) where your mouth is. Identify high-priority values that are receiving insufficient resources--or outdated commitments that are siphoning precious resources away from your deepest convictions.
Once you've spotted gaps between what matters most to you and how you're investing your resources, use a time-out (a sabbatical, course, or retreat) to rethink old commitments and define new
ones more consistent with your values. By routinely applying this process, you--not your past obligations--will determine the direction your life takes.

The Idea in Practice
To manage the gap between your convictions and commitments, apply the following steps.
Inventory Your Values
List the things that matter most to you, in specific language. For example, instead of "Money," write,
"Providing financial security to my family," or "Earning enough to retire early." Aim for five to ten
values, and write what you honestly value--not what you think you should value.
Assess How You're Investing Your Resources
Track how much money, time, and energy you're devoting to your values. For each value you've
listed, record the following:
• Percentage of your household income you devote to that value
- 2 -
• Number of hours per week you spend on the value
• Quality of energy (high, low) you devote to activities related to that value. (An hour spent on an
activity when you're fresh and focused represents a greater commitment than an hour spent when
you're exhausted and distracted.)
Identify Gaps Between Your Values and Commitments
Do some values on your list receive little or none of your money, time, and energy? Is there a single
value that sucks a disproportionate share of your resources away from other priorities?
Understand What Has Caused the Gaps
Disconnects between what you value and how you actually spend your time can have several
causes. Perhaps you've taken on obligations without considering the long-term ramifications. One
successful entrepreneur in New York had promised to spend more time with her London-based
partner. But when she decided to sell her start-up to a West Coast competitor through a five-year
earn-out deal, she had to move to San Francisco to run the business. She now spends even more
time airborne--torn between two conflicting commitments she made simultaneously.
Or maybe you've let others define "success" for you. One young banker earned colleagues' praise
for his extreme work ethic. When he became a father, he wanted to spend more time with his family,
which baffled his colleagues. Because he badly desired continued praise from colleagues, he
continued his workaholic ways--and effectively gave his colleagues the power to set his priorities.
Change Course
It's harder to recalibrate commitments when you're not facing a crisis. A time-out--a sabbatical,
course, or other device--can help you reflect and give you an excuse to break old commitments and
forge new ones. To avoid "commitment creep," abandon or renegotiate one old commitment for every
new one you make.
commitments  convictions  disproportionality  Donald_Sull  financial_security  HBR  indispensable  JCK  Managing_Your_Career  overwhelmed  reflections  resolutions  sabbaticals  slack_time  timeouts  values  what_really_matters 
march 2012 by jerryking
Haier Goals
November 20, 2005 | New York Times | By ROB WALKER

Haier and other Chinese companies are now "differentiating themselves through innovation," Sull says. Instead of a "technology push" approach (a Bell Labs cranking out wonderful inventions that are then pushed into the marketplace), he adds, they are adept at using a "consumer pull" strategy, studying and responding to their customers' needs. Haier sells its products in more than 150 countries and was in the news recently as a possible buyer of Maytag.
Bell_Labs  Haier  white_goods  Chinese  wines  China  manufacturers  appliances  branding  Donald_Sull 
october 2011 by jerryking
Seven questions that managers should ask
March 29, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | by Harvey Schachter.

Do you miss opportunities that others spot?

Despite massive investments in information technology and sophisticated data systems, many companies miss market shifts that rivals sense and exploit. To continually identify gaps in the market, you need real-time data, the ability to share it in your company, and the wisdom to supplement that data with direct observations in the field. He notes that Spanish retailer Zara, known for its capability to respond speedily to market shifts, has its designers, marketing managers and buyers work side-by-side in an open office setting that stimulates sharing and discussion.

Are your hydraulics broken?

Organizational hydraulics, Prof. Sull explains, are the mechanisms that senior executives use to translate corporate objectives into aligned actions by individuals across the organization. But in many companies, top executives deluge staff members with multiple, often conflicting, priorities, and everything plugs up. Alex Behring, chief executive officer of Garantia Investment Bank in Brazil in the 1990s, set out to repair the deteriorated organizational hydraulics in a railway bought from the government through such measures as capping the number of corporate priorities at five per year and requiring every employee to meet and negotiate with his or her boss both team and individual priorities for the year, again limited to five.

Do you reward mediocrity and call it teamwork?

In many organizations, he says, executives socialize bonuses in the name of teamwork, believing that differential payouts can stifle co-operation and long-term thinking. Variable pay represents a small portion of overall compensation, with the range of bonuses narrow. He argues instead for rewarding individuals who do what they say they will with outsized bonuses.

Are your core values a joke?

The most agile organization that Prof. Sull studied shared a core set of values: strong achievement ethic; personal responsibility by all employees for results; creativity to challenge the status quo; and integrity, to offset the temptation to cut corners when taking on ambitious goals. "Rather than print posters listing the values that then languish on conference room walls, executives should breathe life into the corporate culture by hiring and promoting individuals on the basis of the adherence to values," he says, noting that Reckitt Benckiser, a consumer goods company, created a pre-screening tool that allows potential employees to assess their fit with the organization.

Are you talking about the wrong things?

Managers spend about three-quarters of their time in discussions, and need to be adept at four different types of conversations that facilitate execution: making sense of volatile situations; deciding what to do, not do, or stop doing [Sounds a lot like Peter Drucker] ; soliciting and monitoring commitments by others to deliver; and making corrections in mid-course. Beware of executives who excel at only one type of discussion, and struggle with or avoid the others.

Have your Vikings become farmers?

Effective executives are like Nordic Vikings, who attacked when they saw an unprotected spot, and retreated when they realized they couldn't win. Do some of your executives have that same instinct, or are they all like farmers, more interested in protecting and tilling their current fields?

Do you rely on heroic leadership?

The economic crisis forced many executives into firefighting mode but, over the long haul, you need leaders who can build up your organization's execution strength in a disciplined way. "Senior executives who dash from crisis to crisis are a sign of organizational weakness, not leadership strength," Prof. Sull warns.
Harvey_Schachter  IT  Donald_Sull  observations  questions  wisdom  conversations  sense-making  real-time  data  mediocrity  overlooked_opportunities  Peter_Drucker  missed_opportunities  long-haul  primary_field_research  core_values  Zara 
march 2010 by jerryking
Quick thinking, fast action
May 16 2005 | Financial Times | By Geoffrey Owen. Reviews ,
MADE IN CHINA by Donald Sull. What is the lesson here? If you want to
make headway in the Chinese market, you have to immerse yourself in the
environment, keep an eye out for anomalies that signal a selling
opportunity and, when you see one, go at it with all guns blazing.
China  book_reviews  entrepreneurship  Lenovo  Haier  Donald_Sull  anomalies 
march 2010 by jerryking
Active inertia is the enemy of survival
Oct 8, 2009 | Financial Times pg. 16 | Book review by Richard
Donkin of Donald Sull's The Upside of Turbulence ; Seizing Opportunity
in an Uncertain World ; Harper Business, $27.99/pound(s)18.99. "the
risk, says Sull, is that complacency sets in as companies and their
bosses begin to believe their own press during the good times. The CEO
on the cover of a business magazine, a boss who looks like all the rest,
a grand headquarters - all are examples of companies resting on their
laurels.
Sull concentrates on building agility in business, allowing companies to
shift resources quickly from less promising to faster-growing areas.
Some companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, P & G and Samsung,
have cultivated portfolio agility at the heart of their businesses, he
says. Sull argues that the best companies are able to absorb the shocks
of market turbulence, using cash and profits from their strongest
business streams to cushion the effects of unforeseen events."
adversity  agility  antifragility  books  book_reviews  Carpe_diem  complacency  cost_of_inaction  Donald_Sull  inertia  Johnson_&_Johnson  P&G  resilience  Samsung  turbulence  uncertainty  unexpected  unforeseen  upside 
october 2009 by jerryking

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