The Root Cause

Rethink Your Approach To Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems


            People ask me WHY I wrote THE ROOT CAUSE: Rethink Your Approach To Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems? So, let me tell you.

            You know what they’re saying:

“You don’t pay the plumber to bang on the pipes.
  You pay for knowing WHERE to bang.”

            Business is a conduit and its THROUGHPUT is called WORK FLOW.
INPUT variables go in at one end, and OUTPUT variables go out at the other. What happens in between both ends is known as TRANSFORMATION―the process of creating added value.

            There are buyers or users with unsatisfied needs at one end of the conduit, and their needs are being met or satisfied at the other end. Satisfying needs consists of an exchange of your products and services for their monetary equivalent—money or income, which includes a profit margin.
How much buyers are willing to pay in addition to the cost of your input variables—in profit margin—depends on your capability to add unique value or utility for users. Therefore, profit margin is the applause for a job well done, and great jobs command a standing ovation, given without hesitation!

            Performance of any given conduit is limited by its CAPACITY; the amount of work flow that can pass through that conduit per unit of time. And, its capacity is limited by the CAPABILITY of the transformation process―its EFFECTIVENESS and EFFICIENCY with which it creates value.

            We know from physics that no system is 100 percent efficient due to friction, which causes VARIATION in the conduit’s output or results. Friction is further aggravated by conflicts regarding, for example, people, goals, resource availability, budgets, information, time schedules, quality standards, and government regulation.

            Consequently, MANAGING PERFORMANCE is a function of controlling variation. The key to controlling variation is knowing WHERE to adjust the transformation process in order to make OUTPUT more uniform, which in turn reduces variation while making OUTCOMES more predictable.
Note that performance includes aspects such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement, corporate responsibility, and environmental consciousness in addition to output and bottom line results. After all, while having a transformation process is NECESSARY, it is not SUFFICIENT in and of itself; it needs a cooperative ENVIRONMENT in order to thrive.

            Everything I have heard, read or seen thus far about leadership, executive development, strategy, management consulting, or coaching does NOT deal with The Executive’s Achilles Heel: Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems.
Instead, I observe a focus on optimization of a business’ individual component parts separate and in isolation of all other component parts. Typically, optimization seems to translate into increasing efficiency by cutting cost in order to maximize contribution to bottom line results of an individual department―a.k.a. line-Item responsibility on the Profit & Loss Statement.

            BUT, business is a SYSTEM; a network of component parts and their interactions. Therefore, no component part has an INDEPENDENT effect on the system as an integrated whole. No wonder, often times the cure turns out to be worse than the ailment!

            And so, I wrote a book about executives needing to Rethink Their Approach to Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems, and McGraw Hill published it.
Take a peek inside THE ROOT CAUSE 

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