Long-Term Strategy
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
6M ago
Playing the Long Game If there is one company that epitomises long-term strategy, it is Amazon. On May 15th 1997, Amazon sold shares to the public for the first time. They were priced at $18 per share. Later that year, alongside their first annual report Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to Shareholders. That letter was entitled “It’s All About the Long Term.” In that letter, Mr Bezos wrote a lot of interesting things, but a few of the phrases stick out: “We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term.” “Because of our emphasis on the l ..read more
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The Planning Fallacy
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
7M ago
The Sydney Opera House Perhaps the most famous example of the planning fallacy is the Sydney Opera House. Located on Bennelong Point on the banks of Sydney Harbour in New South Wales, the Opera House was designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon and opened to the public in 1973. It is one of the world’s most recognisable buildings. Every year the Opera House hosts over 1,500 performances, and more than 1.2 million people visit. In 2007 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, putting it in the same league as the Taj Mahal, the Acropolis and the Great Pyramids. The building is regarded a ..read more
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What Is a Balanced Scorecard?
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
7M ago
Dull but Important What Is a Balanced Scorecard? That is not an exciting question. So let me try and give you a compelling answer. A Small Problem With the Exhaust In December 2017, Oliver Schmidt, a General Manager for Volkswagen, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $400,000. He had been on holiday and was flying back to his home in Germany when federal agents arrested him in the men’s room at Florida airport. Schmidt had been the senior executive at Volkswagen’s engineering and environmental office in Michigan, where he was responsible for the VWs emissions programme. He was fou ..read more
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If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
8M ago
Unhelpful Statements One of Peter Drucker’s maxims was “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. I have lots of sympathy for the statement. If you aren’t measuring performance, you can’t see if it is getting better or worse; if you don’t know if it is getting better or worse, you aren’t managing it. I like a robust argument. But it only takes you so far. Table Stakes Measuring is only the start. How should you use the measure once you have it? What did Peter Drucker mean by “manage”? There are two options (and plenty of shades of grey). Option 1: Use the Measure for C ..read more
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Efficiency versus Effectiveness
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
8M ago
Quality Problems How do you define efficiency versus effectiveness? If you google “Tesla build quality“, you will uncover a mountain of complaints and dissatisfaction. [There] are problems with the rear-view mirrors, trim pieces, uneven panel gaps, sun visors, top halves, and rubber seals. ~ autoevolution.com Tesla has long been known to have issues with quality control, especially when new models are launched. ~ businessinsider.com Tesla’s public image has been plagued by build-quality issues in recent years ~ Autocar.co.uk People are right to complain. The cheapest ..read more
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Operational Controls
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
8M ago
Operational Controls are Worthless if They Aren’t Maintained At approximately 5 pm on Monday 22nd June 2009, a Washington Metro train heading towards Shady Grove smashed into the rear of the train ahead of it. The Automatic Train Control system had instructed the train to travel at full speed (55 mph). When the driver of the moving train, Jeanice McMillan, saw the stationary carriages ahead, she applied the emergency breaks, but it was too late to avoid the crash.  Within twenty minutes, rescuers had arrived on the scene. The front carriage of the moving train had climbed over the back of ..read more
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Does Culture Eat Strategy for Breakfast?
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
8M ago
My Favourite Quote Peter Drucker once said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Those words chime so loudly for me that it is like sitting in the belfry next to Big Ben. Just because I agree with a statement doesn’t make it right. Beliefs are dangerous things, so I decided I had better check. Is there any evidence that culture drives business performance? Does culture really eat strategy for breakfast? An Academic Perspective I did a comprehensive literature search (I looked at the top 10 results on Google Scholar, which is better than nothing). I discovered that most academic papers ar ..read more
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The Best Data Visualisation Advice on the Web
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
2y ago
Because a picture is worth a thousand words (or numbers) you need to know… There is a tried and tested way to communicate with data — Storytelling With Data. That infographics can be powerful — Information is Beautiful. But most infographics are not — The Guardian. That professional communicators are crystal clear — The Economist. But many communicators are far from professional — Flowing Data. That there is no point in drawing a graph unless you know why you are drawing it — Made to Measure KPIs. And that no matter how clear your charts are, it is easy to jump to the wrong conclusion — Tyler ..read more
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What Is the Biggest Sin of All?
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
2y ago
Should you reward success? Rewarding success is the obvious thing to do. Slaps on the back, public praise, bonuses and honours come easily to us. People expect to be rewarded for good performance.  If you reward success then people will strive to give you more of it. Or so the logic goes. It isn’t quite that straightforward. If you play a high stakes game with big bonuses then beware of the downsides: People won’t try anything new, for fear it will go wrong. The minute something starts to fail people will give up. If you only ever reward success people will never admit to failure. If no ..read more
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Optimising Each Part… Doesn’t Optimise the Whole
The Squawk Point - Service Improvement
by James Lawther
2y ago
Harvard Business Review Greg Satell Managers strive for efficiency in every part of their businesses. Yet many of those businesses are bloated and ineffective. This is the efficiency paradox, it runs something like this… The more efficient you make the parts of your organisation the less efficient it becomes. The way to avoid the paradox is to stop worrying about the parts and start worrying about the whole. Greg Satell explains why… McChrystal realized that although his squads of highly trained commandos and intelligence analysts were performing their individual tasks with world class alacri ..read more
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