Excellence. Always. If not excellence, what? If not excellence now, when?

“Best practice” = ZERO Standard Deviation

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“Best practice” = ZERO Standard Deviation

“‘Decentralization’ is not a piece of paper. It’s not me. It’s either in your heart, or not.” —Brian Joffe/BIDvest

Enemy #1 I.C.D. Note 1: Inherent/Inevitable/ Immutable Centralist Drift Note 2: Jim Burke’s 1-word vocabulary: “No.”

“If if feels painful and scary—that’s real delegation” —Caspian Woods, small biz owner

“Ninety percent of what we call ‘management’ consists of making it difficult for people to get things done.” – Peter Drucker

Can’t Live Without ’em, Can’t live With ’em Office A, Executive Row: C.I.O. Office B (Across the hall): C.S.D.O./ Chief Systems Destruction Officer (007 License)* *Chief of Anti-matter; Deputy Chief, Grunge Removal Section; Chief, Crap Accretion Police; Chief, Office of Bullshit Detection; K.I.S.S. Kops

volcanic struggle!

“Centralization” vs. “Decentralization” = Everything

Institute of Public Administration, last question … Centralization vs Decentralization = EVERYTHING (Business, government, child-rearing) Jefferson vs Hamilton (D.C. vs “states rights”) Nelson, Grant: simple-clear-brief orders, then lots of leeway Ike (and CEO Koppers): plan like hell and burn the plan (literally) Ceaselessly talk through the values, then enormous space within Bossidy: 2-page strategy (pre-Welch, strategy doc was budget doc) Katrina: USCG (“history of trusting their captains”) vs US Navy Rommel on Americans in North Africa No autonomy, no resilience (Yunus: “We’re all entrepreneurs”) CIO; across the hall anti-CIO (Mr Build, Mr Destroy) Drucker: “Ninety percent …” ICD/Inherent Centralist Drift Gary Hamel and “sell by” “Anthropological analysis,” McKinsey Degree of staff diversification is also Cent. vs De-cent issue (homogeneity grows over time) Jim Burke: “No.” (Watson: “never do a System 360 today”) Norberto Odebrecht and 2nd Law Thermodynamics (Foster’s data) Sloan: Dynamic approach, never get it right TP: dynamic approach, never get it right, lean “big time” toward decentralization, open warfare on “necessary” systems

Ex-e- cu-tion!

“In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. Pick a general direction and implement like hell” —Jack Welch

Execution is the job of the business leader.” —Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/ Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

“Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.” —Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/ Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

(1) sum of Projects = Goal (“Vision”) (2) sum of Milestones = project (3) rapid Review + Truth-telling = accountability

“Costco figured out the big, simple things and executed with total fanaticism.” —Charles Munger, Berkshire Hathaway

“almost inhuman disinterestedness in … strategy” —Josiah Bunting on U.S. Grant (from Ulysses S. Grant)

U. S. Grant *No interest in grand strategy. *Do the thing until it is done. *Do not over complicate. *Do the next thing. *Pleasure in perseverance per se. *Not ask for help or advice. *Not complain of difficulties or ask for more time or resources McClellan: delay; plead for more forces Grant: “When do I start? What I want is to advance.” Source: Josiah Bunting, Ulysses S. Grant

Excellence in Execution = Deepest “Blue Ocean”


“GE has set a standard of candor. … There is no puffery. … There isn’t an ounce of denial in the place.” —Kevin Sharer, CEO Amgen, on the “GE mystique” (Fortune)

CF: 30% (no salesfolk) MH: 80% (salesfolk)



  • Part SIX
  • #80

“I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, ‘How do I build a small firm for myself?’ The answer seems obvious

“I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, ‘How do I build a small firm for myself?’ The answer seems obvious: Buy a very large one and just wait.” —Paul Ormerod, Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics

“Mr. Foster and his McKinsey colleagues collected detailed performance data stretching back 40 years for 1,000 U.S. companies. They found that none of the long-term survivors managed to outperform the market. Worse, the longer companies had been in the database, the worse they did.” —Financial Times

“Forbes100” from 1917 to 1987: 39 members of the Class of ’17 were alive in ’87; 18 in ’87 F100; 18 F100 “survivors” significantly underperformed the market; just 2 (2%), GE & Kodak, outperformed the market from 1917 to 1987. S&P 500 from 1957 to 1997: 74 members of the Class of ’57 were alive in ’97; 12 (2.4%) of 500 outperformed the market from 1957 to 1997. Source: Dick Foster & Sarah Kaplan, Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market

“It’s just a fact: Survivors underperform.” —Dick Foster

Dick Kovacevich: You don’t get better by being bigger. You get worse.”

“The difficulties … arise from the inherent conflict between the need to control existing operations and the need to create the kind of environment that will permit new ideas to flourish—and old ones to die a timely death. … We believe that most corporations will find it impossible to match or outperform the market without abandoning the assumption of continuity. … The current apocalypse—the transition from a state of continuity to state of discontinuity—has the same suddenness [as the trauma that beset civilization in 1000 A.D.]” Richard Foster & Sarah Kaplan, “Creative Destruction” (The McKinsey Quarterly)

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