Teaching new ideas to an old org LO21880

Winfried Dressler (winfried.dressler@voith.de)
Tue, 11 May 1999 11:09:43 +0100

Replying to LO21552 --

[Host's Note: Oops! I hit the wrong button on May 11 and placed this msg
from Winfried in a hidden spot. My apologies to Winfried, Kim, and
everyone else for the delay. ...Rick]


let me begin with a few sentences on the meaning and purpose of strategy.
If you can agree with them, you may want to give my recommendation below a
chance. If not, I am curious to learn your (and others) reservations.

The purpose of strategy is to set the direction in which you want to move
your company now and in future (time horizon I - III).

In order to set the direction effectively, the strategy must show, how to
continuously ensure or even improve on the goal/purpose of the company
while following this direction.

And in order to be able to show this, a strategy must show, how following
three necessary conditions are to be met:

1.) Provide satisfaction to the market now as well as in the future.
2.) Make company goal units (money in your case) now as well as in the
3.) Provide a secure and satisfying environment to employees now as well
as in the future.

The term "necessary conditions" mean, that you are not allowed to violate
any of them. Otherwise the livelyhood of the company is endangered. So
compromise is not an option, if you perceive conflicts between any of the
three of them.

>We may only need 10% of the workers we have today.
>My moral dilemma is what happens to the other 90%?

What you expressed is the sense of a possible conflict between conditions
1 and 2 (which to ensure is the primary target of your efforts now
together with McKinsey) and condition 3. You are aware of all three
conditions as being necessary - this is typical for any company that
managed to survive for more than only a few decades. (Don't forget: Your
company is much older than McKinsey!) I am not sure about the position of
McKinsey today, but I think, that your moral dilemma is not "only" moral,
but the solution (not compromise!) is vital for the survival of your
company. If your strategy don't answer how to also meet condition 3, it
will not be a valid strategy in my eyes.

I guess that you see your situation in the same way, otherwise you
wouldn't have contacted the list to ask for help on how to deal with this

If you feel that this sketch of an analysis fit to your situation, I
recommend to contact a TOC (theory of constraints) facilitator (and if it
is only for the sake of some "original thoughts without McKinsey" as you
wrote). They are specialists in pointing out very clearly underlying
conflicts. Then the task is to design solutions which refuse to accept the
conflict as given and compromise. Such solutions will "evaporate" the
conflict completetly by challenging assumptions, which are believed to be
true, but which are invalid.

To give a famous example: Toyota (Deming, Ohno, Shingo, Juran...)
invalidated successfully the false assumption "high quality is expensive".
They created a huge competitive edge based on the differentiation, that
inspite of the common behaviour, they didn't compromise on quality
anymore. History proved, that they were right.

May be, changing a manufacturing company into a service holding is the
solution, may be not. May be teaching new ideas to an old organization is
what you need, may be not. I just cannot judge without all the details
which makes your company the unique company it is.

For a first taste, I recommend you to read the novel "It's not Luck" by
Eliyahu Goldratt. And if you think that there might be something in it for
you, contact the Goldratt Institute at <http://www.goldratt.com> for
further support.

Liebe Gruesse,



"Winfried Dressler" <winfried.dressler@voith.de>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>