What Is The Role Of Culture When It Comes To Transforming A Country?

In the video below, I asked Nadia Calviño, Minister of Economy and Business of Spain the importance of culture of countries when it comes to effective change.

In my view, when we think about transforming countries, we have to look at it from the three Es. These are:

  1. Education – Does the country’s education system teach the latest technologies?
  2. Ecosystem – Does the country’s ecosystem fosters technolgical change?
  3. Evoke – Does the country’s leadership evoke positive emotions for technological changes?

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5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Execution

In previous blog posts, I have given you thoughts on how factors such as Strategy, Politics, Innovation, and Culture can be used to achieve Business Transformation in your organization. Today, I am going to talk about how these factors need Execution to be successful.

Generally speaking, Execution is the act of doing or performing something. In terms of the organization, Execution also means measuring performance at the individual and organizational levels. This implies that individual performance at the executive, middle management and front-line employee levels is directly linked to the organization’s overall transformation. Having said that, most organizations haven’t grasped this idea or are slow to adapt (hence are being disrupted). Some of the biggest mistakes organizations make in terms of Execution are:

  1. There are no direct links and steps between Strategy and Execution
  2. Effects of Strategy, Politics, Innovation, and Culture aren’t measured
  3. Execution can be confusing (e.g., Quality vs. Speed)

To create an organization that can efficiently and effectively perform Execution, there should be direct links between vision, mission statement, business objectives, policy, plans of action, internal boundaries, external influences, new ideas/devices/methods, biases and of course measurements of all of this to create a baseline of where the organization is and where the organization wants to be. All of this is a lot of work but it will give you a glimpse into the ‘character’ of your organization. Don’t do this alone and don’t create a huge team to do it either. Begin by asking the following questions from different people inside and outside your organization to get an understanding of what is really going on and then share those answers:

Strategic Perspectives on Execution::

  Today

Tomorrow

1. Who is incentivized at the executive level to directly link and measure the performance of Strategy, Politics, Innovation, Culture to Execution? Who should be incentivized at the executive level to directly link and measure the performance of Strategy, Politics, Innovation, Culture to Execution?
2. What governance structures are in place to link and measure strategy creation, holistic vs. specific unit/function/team strategic needs, the flow of innovative ideas and cultural transformation to Execution? What governance structures should be placed to link and measure strategy creation, holistic vs. specific unit/function/team strategic needs, the flow of innovative ideas and cultural transformation to Execution?
3. Where is technology being used to link and measure strategy development, political effects, help innovation and transforming the culture to Execution? Where should technology be used to link and measure strategy development, political effects, help innovation and transforming the culture to Execution?
4. When and how often strategic objectives, political motivations, innovation needs and cultural objectives communicated are linked and measured? When and how often should strategic objectives, political motivations, innovation needs and cultural objectives communicated be linked and measured?
5. Why holistic strategy development, political understanding, views on innovation and cultural transformation is linked and measured? Why holistic strategy development, political understanding, views on innovation and cultural transformation should be linked and measured?

Tactical Perspectives on Execution:

  Today  Tomorrow
1. Who is incentivized at the middle management level to directly link and measure feedback on strategy, understanding politics, perceived innovation gains and cultural transformation champions to Execution? Who should be incentivized at the middle management level to directly link and measure feedback on strategy, understanding politics, perceived innovation gains and cultural transformation champions to Execution?
2. What business units, functional areas, and teams are included to link and measure strategy development, political implications, innovative acts and cultural transformation to Execution? What business units, functional areas, and teams should be included to link and measure strategy development, political implications, innovative acts and cultural transformation to Execution?
3. Where is technology being linked and measuring understanding of strategy development processes, deciphering politics, innovation processes and cultural transformation hinderance to Execution? Where should technology link and measure understanding of strategy development processes, decipher politics, innovation processes and cultural transformation hinderance to Execution?
4. When are strategic objectives communications, political motivations, innovation alignment communications, and cultural transformation communications linked and measured in regards to Execution? When should strategic objectives communications, political motivations, innovation alignment communications, and cultural transformation communications be linked and measured in regards to Execution?
5. Why it is important to link and measure the tactical implications of strategy, politics, innovation, and culture to Execution? Why should it be important to link and measure the tactical implications of strategy, politics, innovation, and culture to Execution?

Operational Perspectives on Execution:

  Today Tomorrow
1. Who sees the linking and measurement of strategy development processes, politics, innovation and cultural transformation to Execution as an obstacle? Who should see the linking and measurement of strategy development processes, politics, innovation and cultural transformation to Execution as an obstacle?
2. What links and measurements are there between business processes, power plays, actual vs. perceived innovation and organizational culture to the overall Execution? What links and measurements should be there between business processes, power plays, actual vs. perceived innovation and organizational culture to the overall Execution?
3. Where does technology enhance/diminish your understanding of strategy, politics, innovation, and culture when it comes time for Execution? Where should technology enhance/diminish your understanding of strategy, politics, innovation, and culture when it comes time for Execution?
4. When are the impacts of strategic objectives, strategy development processes, political objectives, innovation pursuits, innovation feedback needs, and cultural transformation communicated and measured for Execution? When should the impacts of strategic objectives, strategy development processes, political objectives, innovation pursuits, innovation feedback needs, and cultural transformation be communicated and measured for Execution?
5. Why the linking and measurement of strategic objectives, political understanding, innovative ideas and cultural transformation to Execution important to your daily tasks? Why should the linking and measurement of strategic objectives, political understanding, innovative ideas and cultural transformation to Execution be important to your daily tasks?

To be clear, while Execution does mean to do something but that something is useless if it doesn’t align directly with the organization’s short-term and long-term goals. When setting up these goals, keep in mind that people, processes, products, services, and technologies need to be considered holistically. Additionally, be prudent in understanding that:

  • Execution means different things to departments/teams/people
  • Execution becomes status quo when nothing is challenged constantly
  • Execution is defeated when measuring non-value producing items
  • Execution is not about order-making/taking
  • Execution fails when it is assumed that everything will work magically
The SPICE Factors
SPICE Factors

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5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Innovation

The word “innovation” is often used in organizations to portray that they are somehow advancing their organization. But what really is innovation and who can and should innovate really depends upon who you talk to and what context and timeframes that person is referring to. Thus, it seems that innovation is something subjective but people do realize that it is something important and needs to be done at their organization.

But where to start? If you google “innovation” then you will get over 100+ million results! Those are a lot of results! The amount of time you would have to spend to sift through that information would be astronomical. On top of that even if you (or your Artificial Intelligence) have the time to read every expert (there are many) on innovation, you would still have to make innovation relevant and practical for your own organization. That is a tall order!

No worries! In this blog post, I will attempt to create a clear understanding of what questions you should be asking to assess your organization’s innovation efforts at different levels.

Let’s start with some baseline understanding:

  1. The importance of innovation at your organization is highly dependent on what are the end goals that your organization is trying to achieve
  2. Your organization is a unique composition of people, processes, products, services, and technologies
  3. There is a difference between being innovative at an organizational level versus being innovative at an individual level but they have to be aligned
  4. Culture can kill or flourish your organization’s innovation efforts

At its core, innovation is about new ideas, devices, and/or methods but it is also about improving existing ideas, devices and/or methods. What this means is that the opportunities for innovation are abundant within and outside your organization. Due to this abundance, organizations struggle where to start first. Keeping in mind that innovation is the lifeline of your organization, let’s start asking the following questions about innovation efforts at your organization:

Strategic Perspectives on Innovation:

 

Today

Tomorrow

1.Who is incentivized at the executive level to lead the innovation?Who should be incentivized at the executive level to lead the innovation?
2.What governance structures are in place for the flow of innovative ideas?What governance structures should be in place for the flow of innovative ideas?
3.Where is the technology used to help in innovation?Where should technology be used to help in innovation?
4.When and how often innovation needs are clearly stated?When and how often strategic objectives should be communicated?
5.Why external and internal views on innovation matter for strategic objectives?Why should external and internal views on innovation matter for strategic objectives?

Tactical Perspectives on Innovation:

 Today

Tomorrow

1.Who is incentivized at the middle management level to call B.S. on perceived innovation gains?Who should be incentivized at the middle management level to call B.S. on perceived innovation gains?
2.What business units, functional areas, and teams are included to do innovation?What business units, functional areas, and teams should be included to do innovation?
3.Where technology hinders innovation processes?Where technology might hinder innovation processes?
4.When is innovation alignment to strategic objectives communicated?When should innovation alignment to strategic objectives communicate?
5.Why innovation processes are critical to achieving tactical objectives?Why innovation processes should be critical to achieving tactical objectives?

Operational Perspectives on Innovation:

 

Today

Tomorrow

1.Who sees innovation as a disease or a cure?Who might see innovation as a disease or a cure?
2.What business processes and cultural considerations provide views on the organization’s actual vs. perceived innovation?What business processes and cultural considerations should provide views on the organization’s actual vs. perceived innovation?
3.Where is the technology part of your organization to introduce innovation?Where should technology be a part of your organization to introduce innovation?
4.When were you informed about the innovation pursuits and feedback needs?When should you have been informed about the innovation pursuits and feedback needs?
5.Why having innovative ideas about your daily tasks is important?Why anyone beyond you should care about innovative ideas about your daily tasks?

By starting to ask the above opening set of questions, you will start to decipher where efforts are concentrated (e.g., people, processes, products, services, and technologies) within your organization and what you could do to connect the dots. You will begin to understand if innovation is just a buzzword in your organization or something more. You will begin to understand if there are biases and barriers to innovation within your organization. You will be able to understand if your organization actually learned its lessons from previous innovation efforts and if new innovation efforts included improvements from previous failures. And lastly, you will begin to understand if failure for the sake of innovation in your organization is really an option.

5 Questions to About Your Organization's Innovation

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5 Questions to Ask About Your Organization’s Strategy

If you have a strong understanding of how culture affects your organization’s strategy then you have better ideas of creating strategies that are truly transformative for your organization. Having said that, most organizations don’t take the time to strategize about strategy development processes and thus are not fully aware of the intended and unintended effects of their pursuits. The three main reasons for this lack of awareness are:

  1. The fallacy that strategy should always be top-down
  2. The lack of a holistic approach to strategy development and feedback
  3. The half-baked idea that strategy can only be created by a few people

An organization’s overall strategy is a combination of policy and plan of action that is intended to improve the making, buying, or selling of goods and/or services for the customer. Thus, it becomes imperative for organizations to keep the customer at the center of what they do and create customer experiences that make their lives easier.

If you want the strategy to be something that is shelf-ware that looks pretty on an executives’ file cabinet and it is cool to the only talk about it then don’t read ahead. For those, if you want the strategy to be more than just an exercise then I would invite you to ask the following questions about strategy and strategy development processes within your own organization:

Strategic Perspectives on Strategy:

 

Today

Tomorrow

1.Who is incentivized at the executive level to create a strategy?Who should be incentivized at the executive level to create a strategy?
2.What governance structures are in place for transforming how strategy is created?What governance structures should be in place for transforming how strategy is created?
3.Where is the technology used to help strategy?Where should technology be used to help strategy?
4.When and how often strategic objectives are communicated?When and how often strategic objectives should be communicated?
5.Why holistic strategy development processes are critical to achieving strategic objectives?Why holistic strategy development processes should be critical to achieving strategic objectives?

Tactical Perspectives on Strategy:

 

Today

Tomorrow

1.Who is incentivized at the middle management level to give feedback on strategy?Who should be incentivized at the middle management level to give feedback on strategy?
2.What business units, functional areas, and teams are included to develop a strategy?What business units, functional areas, and teams should be included to create a strategy?
3.Where technology hinders strategy development processes?Where technology might hinder strategy development processes?
4.When is the start and end of meeting strategic objectives communicated?When should the start and end of meeting strategic objectives communicated?
5.Why strategy development processes are critical to achieving tactical objectives?Why strategy development processes should be critical to achieving tactical objectives?

Operational Perspectives on Strategy:

 

Today

Tomorrow

1.Who sees strategy development processes as an obstacle?Who might see strategy development processes as an obstacle?
2.What business processes provide views on the organization’s actual vs. perceived strategy?What business processes should provide views on the organization’s actual vs. perceived strategy?
3.Where is the technology part of your understanding of the organization’s strategy?Where should technology be a part of understanding the organization’s strategy?
4.When were you informed about the strategic objectives and strategy development processes?When should you have been informed about the strategic objectives and strategy development processes?
5.Why strategic objectives are critical to achieving your daily tasks?Why strategic objectives should be critical to achieving your daily tasks?

To be clear, strategy and strategy development affects everyone inside and outside your organization which includes executives, middle management, front lines employees as well as the customers you are trying to acquire. Thus, your organization’s strategy development processes should be robust enough that they take long-term holistic views but also flexible enough to cater for bumps and take advantage of technological advancement.

5 Questions to About Your Organization's Strategy

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75 Questionable Thoughts About Organizational Transformation

Questionable Thoughts
  1. Strategies
    • People
      • Only executives can transform organizations
      • Internal expertise have no/minimum value
      • Everyone will be eager to contribute
    • Processes
      • Internal business processes and Information Technology (IT) processes don’t matter
      • Interfacing processes with partners and vendors don’t matter
      • All processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been documented and followed without deviation
    • Products
      • Our products can’t serve beyond current client industries
      • We don’t need to look for best-of-breed products
      • We don’t need product evaluation feedbacks from customers, employees, partners, and vendors
    • Services
      • Employee experiences are not important
      • Customer experiences are not important
      • Partners and vendors’ experiences are not important
    • Technologies
      • IT doesn’t need to get involved
      • Shadow-IT doesn’t exist
      • IT is just an enabler
  2. Politics
    • People
      • All title-holders have the same power
      • Only leaders can be the go-to people
      • There are no biases at play
    • Processes
      • We always have fairways of making decisions
      • We always methodically assess the power and its effects
      • Power-grabs don’t happen
    • Products
      • Personal experiences don’t affect product selection
      • Personal experiences don’t affect product selling
      • Personal experiences don’t affect product development
    • Services
      • There is no correlation between employee services and customer services
      • Customer services don’t affect partners and vendors
      • Unconscious favoritism doesn’t happen during the decision-making
    • Technologies
      • Technologies keep us unbiased
      • The ecosystem of technologies ends within organizational boundaries
      • IT can’t help
  3. Innovation
    • People
      • There is no correlation between organizational innovation and individuals being innovative
      • The innovation and experimentation of partners and vendors don’t affect us
      • People need to explore being innovative in their own time
    • Processes
      • Incremental and disruptive innovations follow the same processes
      • Can’t learn from others failures
      • Innovation doesn’t require a methodical process
    • Products
      • A particular department/individual is responsible for innovation
      • The innovation of others doesn’t affect us
      • There is no need to have feedback loops from employees, customers, partners, and vendors
    • Services
      • Only customer services can improve customer services
      • There is no need to test and improve customer service journeys
      • Wise to follow industry status quo standards
    • Technologies
      • There is no innovation left in technologies
      • Adapting technologies is the easiest thing to do
      • IT is a cost center and doesn’t require an innovation budget
  4. Culture
    • People
      • Only executives can set the cultural norms
      • External environments don’t affect culture
      • Culture is only about people
    • Processes
      • Business processes and IT processes don’t create a culture
      • Culture is unquantifiable
      • Culture isn’t a learned behavior
    • Products
      • Culture doesn’t impact the products we buy
      • Culture doesn’t impact the products we sell
      • Culture has no implications for product development
    • Services
      • Culture doesn’t impact the services we buy
      • Culture doesn’t impact the services we sell
      • Culture has no implications on employee and customer journeys
    • Technologies
      • Technologies can’t augment the culture
      • Technologies can’t destroy a culture
      • Culture-clashes need to be normalized
  5. Execution
    • People
      • Preparing sponsors, champions and leaders isn’t necessary
      • Only a handful need to know about the overall strategy
      • Layoffs are on the table
    • Processes
      • No business processes and IT processes need to be adopted for transformation
      • No business processes and IT processes need to be adapted for transformation
      • No business processes and IT processes need to be abandoned for transformation
    • Products
      • Don’t need to learn and quantify how products succeeded
      • Don’t need to learn and quantify how products failed
      • Customer, employee, partner, and vendor product usage has no relevance
    • Services
      • Customer experiences aren’t a priority to execute strategy
      • Employee experiences isn’t a priority to execute strategy
      • Don’t need to map the gaps of experiences
    • Technologies
      • Technologies can’t be used to execute strategy
      • Technologies can’t be misused to execute strategy
      • Technologies aren’t and can’t be ingrained into every aspect of executing strategy

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