What if you want to improve the performance of your business or public service? You could study it carefully and hope to find inefficiencies and novel approaches. But maybe you could compare your practices to those of another organisation. That’s the essence of Benchmarking.
The idea of benchmarking is to compare yourself with others, to get new ideas from them, and to learn from what works for them. It’s a powerful idea that allowed Japanese manufacturing to catch up with and overtake the US. And then it helped the US regain lost ground, by codifying what the Japanese had learned, and the improvements they had made.
But it’s not universally loved. There are problems. That said, benchmarking is a big idea that every manager should be aware of.
Branding started out as deliberate mutilation of cattle, to assert ownership. Now it’s about leaving more than a physical mark: it’s about creating an emotional connection.
Brand has arguably become as important as function and quality in the world of products and services. The craft and skills of branding experts are tuned to a high pitch. But that’s not to say there have been no missteps. And there’s been a backlash too.
So, let’s have a look at the big idea that is branding.
How can you be sure that your management team is balancing its attention across all the things that matter – rather than focusing solely on one thing: the money? The answer is that what gets measured gets managed. So you need to score yourself on a balanced scorecard.
That’s the insight that Robert Kaplan and David Norton gave us in a stand-out Harvard Business Review article, ‘Putting the Balanced Scorecard to Work‘. The article may date back to 1993, but it’s still one of HBR’s most-read must-read articles.
The secret to selling is creating an environment where people want to buy. And that’s the insight at the heart of Neil Rackham’s scientific approach to sales. He called it SPIN Selling, from the acronym that will guide you through the process.
SPIN Selling is one of the most widely known sales methodologies. It’s a best-selling book, and is promoted worldwide to companies of all sizes, by Rackham’s company, Huthwaite International.
But we’re not here to help with that promotion, but to assess what managers can learn from Rackham’s big idea.
First, the millennials entered the workplace and now they are taking leadership roles.
And now their successors are coming too: the Post-millennials.
But who are the millennials and post-millennials. And what do they want?
The generational certainties that organisations have understood so well are becoming more complex as the early millennials are starting to make decisions, and the first post-millennials are entering into the workplace. But if you want to look to sociologists for answers, you’ll find they are most clear.
In the early days of 2019, one Big Idea looks a little shaky. Ten years ago, its status seemed assured. Now its future is not so clear. What is Globalisation, and what is its future?
Sadly, I have no crystal ball, so any comments I make about the future of globalisation will be nothing more than opinion. But I can, at least, tell you a little about what this big idea is, and what it means for managers.
In the world of quality, Six Sigma is one of the biggest names. Total Quality Management (TQM) may aim for zero defects. But Six Sigma aims to reduce defects down to a statistical blip – arguably a more realistic enterprise.
What makes Six Sigma such a compelling proposition is the vast asset base of tools and process that accompany the core idea. What makes it a big idea is the impact it has had on manufacturing, combined with its wider potential in other domains.