Are You Setting Your 2018 Goals Too Low?

January 10, 2018 | Posted by Chris Ehlinger

If you’re not setting “unreasonable” goals for the year then you may be setting the bar too low as Carol Roth of Business Unplugged points out in her "New Year's Business Resolutions for 2018". Quoting our own Stephen Wilson on his new book, Growth in the Age of Complexity, Carol encourages us to aim higher this year.

"Don’t waste time with 'reasonable' goals. Instead, consider what you truly and uniquely believe differentiates you from the crowd, and put resources behind it. Then ask, 'How do we get to 10x improvement?' To get to the 10x better, you need to reject the incumbent conditions and constraints. You need to commit to using your creativity and new technology to run a completely different race than the current set of competitors are running."

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Benchmarking – A Step In The Process, But Not The Solution

September 13, 2017 | Posted by Andrew Chan

While benchmarks are certainly helpful, they are rarely the whole solution. Applying them hastily, without first understanding the underlying context and broader system of processes, can cause leaders to overlook key issues and lead to missed targets and sub-par results. In an increasingly complex environment, business processes are more interconnected than ever before. As such, a singular approach is no longer sufficient to yield results.

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Mythbusters: Start-up Growth

July 26, 2017 | Posted by Chris Ehlinger

There’s a myth out there that simply doesn’t hold water: management systems stifle innovation and growth. No need to bring Jamie and Adam in to bust this myth. It has already been put to bed.  

The truth is quite the opposite, start-ups with management systems in place exhibit faster growth. This is not to say that A equals B, but the probability of growth is less likely without management systems in place.1 A study of 78 high-growth startups determined that not only did management systems show a significant correlation to growth, but that those with the highest management systems score outperformed by a factor of 3.2

To put it in their own words, “management systems are associated with growth, growth and management systems go together.”3

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Achieving the Results Promised by ISO Management Systems

June 19, 2017 | Posted by Chris Ehlinger

The International Standards Organization's many products have become the default for improving performance across the globe. Despite its popularity, many users fail to capture the full improvement promised by ISO and its proponents. We believe that while the ISO approach can add value, it is fundamentally flawed and incapable of delivering the long-term, sustainable results of other approaches. In this series of blogs, we explore what makes ISO incompatible with our changing world and present a simpler approach to managing your business that can deliver what ISO has long promised.

In the previous two articles, we discussed why ISO management systems aren't compatible with long term results and the first step in your Operational Excellence journey, discovering where you are to identify where you need to go. In this final article, we'll discuss the key principles, incomplete or missing from ISO management systems, which are necessary to get the long-term, sustainable results you were promised: leadership and culture.

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The Paradox of Growth – Can Sainsbury’s avoid a maze of complexity in their search for pastures green?

May 30, 2017 | Posted by Tom Hamnett

 A bold move

Finding growth in an increasingly crowded, mature market is the number one topic in the boardrooms of the UK’s high-street brands. Navigating a competitive, globally connected retail landscape, these brands are balancing an invariably bloated portfolio of products with an immobile, expensive asset base. As such, it is intriguing to consider that J Sainbury’s – famous for selling the British public their bread, beans and bacon for more than a century – will be pushing its trolleys further beyond the grocery aisles in an attempt to make an impression on the high-street with its clothing brand ‘TU’.

TU has been around for a while. However, unlike its garment-vending counterparts Tesco, Carrefour and Walmart, who have conspicuously focused on cheaper, low-end items, Sainsbury's is now reportedly attempting a more upmarket play. This will see them competing directly with more mainstream UK fashion chains, such as Next and M&S.

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Brexit: Impact on European Economies and Citizens

May 18, 2017 | Posted by Chris Ehlinger

Isabel Fernandez, Manager at Wilson Perumal & Company, was recently featured on Contraportada. Join the discussion on Brexit; its implication on the 4 freedoms; and how it can shape the economy of both UK and Europe going forward.

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A simple answer to a common management system question: "Where do I begin?"

May 12, 2017 | Posted by Chris Ehlinger

The International Standards Organization’s many products have become the default for improving performance across the globe. Despite its popularity, many users fail to capture the full improvement promised by ISO and its proponents. In this series of blogs, we explore what makes ISO incompatible with our changing world and present a simpler approach to managing your business that can deliver what ISO has long promised.

Let’s start this section by addressing a question we get frequently: “Where do I begin?” The look accompanying this question can sometimes be utter bewilderment. ISO encourages organizations to take a process approach in developing, implementing, and improving the management system and we agree that a process based approach is fundamental to getting it right. Rarely though, is this concept enough to fully relieve the initial perplexed look. That’s because the ISO Process is missing a key starting step! Discovery.

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Landmines Along the Path to Changing Your Company's Culture

May 08, 2017 | Posted by Ernie Spence


This is the sixth article in a series on changing organizational culture and the role leadership has in a culture transformation effort.  The first three articles focused on defining culture, the importance of understanding how values and beliefs manifest in a company’s culture, and defining the characteristics of a healthy culture.  In the fourth article, I discussed the challenges of measuring culture, while the fifth article outlined a proven process for getting culture change started quickly and making it stick.  In this article, I am going to focus on the common mistakes companies make when trying to change their culture.


While there are many reasons why a culture change effort can fail, stumbling across any of these landmines will surely derail any change initiative no matter how badly the change may be needed.  It may be an obvious point, but it is worth stating none-the-less: Being aware of potential failure points is a critical and necessary first step in avoiding them. 

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The optimal go-to-market strategy changes over time

April 28, 2017 | Posted by Madison Gardner

As the world becomes increasingly more complex, companies must be constantly adapting its Go-To-Market Strategy (see our previous blog post on what a GtM strategy is). Many companies struggle to accept this new reality as they try to grow revenue without considering what and how they sell.

A successful construction materials company wanted to reignite growth and took the position it just needed to double-down on what it was currently doing. The general thought was to just do more of the same, only do it better. But the board wasn’t as convinced and pushed the leadership team to take a more innovative approach to growth. Ultimately, after taking a step back from an in-depth analysis of the business, it was determined that despite past and even current success, the best path forward meant fundamentally changing the way it went to market.

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Getting Go-to-Market Strategy Alignment Right

April 12, 2017 | Posted by Josh Wilson

A Go-to-Market (GtM) strategy is made of three components—growth strategy, products/services portfolio, and front office structure—but those components are not independent of each other (see our previous blog post on GtM strategy). An effective, sustainable GtM strategy requires clear and deliberate alignment between its components to ensure they support each other and do not pull your organization and customers in different directions. Your growth strategy can’t be executed without the right product portfolio and sales force; your sales force needs to be focused on how/where to grow and have the right product portfolio to sell; the shape of your product portfolio will be informed by how you plan to grow and the capabilities of your sales force.

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