Showing posts from August 30, 2009

Should you celebrate your milestone accomplishment?

If you received an email announcing my 50th blog article, you may want to skip this and instead read these most recent articles: Vision: every-person-a-business-personVision: did it start a series of innovations?, and The Garage-Sale principle and process-centricity. Reason: I'm reproducing here that email announcement (with minor edits) . . .
The article 3 strokes of genius, 30 years of unbroken profitability is my 50th. I'd like you to join me in celebrating the milestone (knowing well that 50 is not a big number by Blogging standards). But here's where I got the inspiration from . . .

I did something similar nearly 10 years back. When my Center of Excellence (COE) completed its 50th project, I sent out an email to all folks in the company celebrating the accomplishment. A few folks congratulated me and my team members, but many thought it was self-promotion and some even gently suggested I stop doing it.

I continued to do it. I sent out an announcement when we comple…

Vision: every-person-a-business-person

I came across Tom Peters' call for "every person a business person" in the late 90s when I founded a Center of Excellence (COE) at my former employer. In my 2-page Vision for the COE, I included a section called We are a BUSINESS Unit in which I said ... "I’ve taken the every-employee-a-business-person approach by sharing business responsibilities with team members." Did I walk the talk? Take sales presentations, for example. In a company where only group heads or other senior folks made presentations to prospects and customers, my COE was the first to "experiment" with junior team members. A lot of co-presenting senior folks were a bit uncomfortable sitting with a "junior" person, who made claims about productivity and IT payoff.

But that was in the initial years. Later, I saw junior team members from other groups increasingly representing their groups! A Change for the better? I'd say so. Even the junior presenter was thrilled that h…

Vision: did it start a series of innovations?

My office (2004)
When I founded a Center of Excellence at my former employer in 1999, I also created a Vision for the COE. In that 2-pager, I said ...
"We do NOT want to just keep in step with what’s invented elsewhere, but to INVENT things HERE for the world to use." Did that vision translate to reality? The COE was initially a specialist group in software user interface design. It was launched on January 6, 1999 with a lot of media interest because it included India's first usability testing lab. Then things started to change.
1. We changed the user interface practice from user-centric to business process centric (read about this new approach here)

2. Then I broadened out that approach to the overall software development process itself (read a partial description of my current, advanced version here)

3. Finally, I spun off a business process consulting COE because we pioneered a new way to unify business process and IT.

Perhaps the single most important take-away fr…

The Garage-Sale principle and process-centricity

Ignoring the Whole is like a caller saying "Excuse me, but is this nine, four, three, seven, eight, five, four?" and a math professor responding "No, yes, no, yes, yes, no, no."

People and teams often do not see the Whole. And the result is not hilarious like the professor's response. When enterprises and software vendors do not see the Whole, the result is technology silos and poor business-IT alignment.

In The Back of the Napkin: Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures, author Dan Roam introduces The Garage-Sale Principle. "How do we even know what we've got? Regardless of how well organized all the stuff in our garage may be, laying everything out on tables in the light of day yields a completely new perspective on it all. The same is true of data: When it is packed away in individual files and records, it's impossible to look at the big picture -- but getting everything out in the open makes otherwise invisible connections visible ..…

3 strokes of genius, 30 years of unbroken profitability

Sitting in a club with Herb Kelleher, Rollin King picked up a napkin and on it made three strokes to form a triangle. As he wrote San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas on each of the three points of the triangle, Rollin explained an idea -- a NEW idea that became Southwest Airlines.

Amazingly, Rollin's simple picture illustrates the operating principles of the company that he and Herb decided to start that day: fly short routes between busy cities, avoid hubs, and where possible fly into smaller, secondary airfields. "One napkin, one good idea, one profitable airline." says Dan Roam in The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures.

If you place Rollin's triangle side by side with the route maps of the big airlines of the day, that's when you clearly see why his business idea was NEW and destined to succeed.