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Management Insights

Busy Executive Graphics  The Wass Consulting Group periodically publishes topical white papers titled "Management Insight", which summarize our thoughts on specific issues of timely interest to our clients. A synopsis of selected articles follows, along with links to each article.

Click the "PDF Format" link below to view the entire article, or click to subscribe for e-mail notification of future Management Insight articles.

Is Culture the Culprit?
A series of five articles on how to "improve business results through cultural change"
Following a number of high profile cases in both industry and government (e.g., Davis Besse Nuclear Power Plant shutdown, the failed merger between Time-Warner and AOL, and the reporting of intelligence difficulties at the CIA) where culture was identified as a root cause of a variety of problems, the need to reconsider the impact that a company/organization's culture has on its performance has never been greater. To address and help resolve this important issue, the Wass Consulting Group has teamed with Trenkle and Associates of Farmington Hills, Michigan to help our clients "improve business results through cultural change". This series of five articles addresses the following five topics.

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Is Culture the Culprit? 
Why Should You Care? 
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Is Culture the Culprit? 
What are the Symptoms and Indicators? 
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Is Culture the Culprit? 
How Can You Tell (for sure)? Part 1 
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Is Culture the Culprit? 
How Can You Tell (for sure)? Part 2 
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Is Culture the Culprit?
Aligning Your Company to Improve Business Performance

Breakthrough Performance ResultsSM
Achieving Strategic Leverage Through Six Sigma & Lean

First in a series of articles on the application of Six Sigma and Lean in service organizations
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Announcing a unique, results driven approach to the strategic deployment of Six Sigma and Lean for service companies and their business processes. This article will help you know where and how to get started. Critical elements to achieving Breakthrough Performance ResultsSM include the effective selection, pace and alignment of Six Sigma and Lean programs with your organization's vision, business strategy, culture, history and business priorities.

Strategy Based Budgeting
A focused approach to allocating resources
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Traditionally, both operating and capital budgets have been established in a number of different ways - top-down, bottom-up, historical or even zero-based. The impact of these efforts is often chaotic and even counter-productive, as the business seems to stand still as managers wrestle with their numbers. Stratgey Based Budgeting enables companies to focus and refine budgeting, and also provides a sound foundation for streamlining costs and operations.

Reevaluating Your Business Management Model
Are all of its gears meshing?
First in a series of articles on effective employment of a Business Management Model
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Is your Business Management Model hitting on all cylinders, or is it a clunker that could use a tune-up or perhaps even a complete overhaul? This article, the first in a series, will help you conceptually frame your own existing management model, evaluate its thoroughness and applicability to your current challenges, gain insights into why your business may be struggling, and see how an effective management model can help chart a course for markedly improved performance.

Energizing/Activating Your Vision
The Importance of an Operating Philosophy
Second in the series on a Business Management Model
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In this article, we address the importance of documenting and communicating the firm's Operating Philosophy to help ensure that high level vision, values, mission statement and business strategy are implemented accurately and consistently throughout the organization. What is an "operating philosophy", how do we determine the elements, what level of detail is appropriate, how formal should it be, and how can we most effectively communicate it? When properly executed, the approach we have described will improve alignment. How will you know? By the obvious improvement in day-to-day decision-making throughout the business.

Hands-On Management is Making a Comeback
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Executive management teams are evolving from a hands-off laissez faire approach to a much more hands-on, proactive and involved style to survive and prosper. Recent experience shows that in today's increasingly hostile business environment, giving a subordinate enough rope for him to hang himself only ensures that you will hang alongside him when things go wrong.

Securing Business Continuity is more than Disaster Recovery and Emergency Preparedness
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In light of recent events, executive management and Boards of Directors should take a more pervasive, end-to-end look at ensuring business continuity. Experience shows that business continuity involves much more than emergency preparedness and disaster recovery planning, and that typical enterprises are not well prepared to meet a wide range of threats to their business survival.

Finding Top Executive Talent in the Energy Industry Requires Special Search Skills
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Increased competition and the accelerated pace of change demand that companies attract, hire and retain the very best executive management talent. Hiring decisions are often the most important decisions an executive makes, and may impact their own success or failure. Search consultants have an obligation to deliver top talent through a disciplined and thorough process.

Continuous Improvement, an elusive goal for Many Companies
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Answers the question of what separates those companies who successfully achieve cultural transformations from the "also rans". Our analysis and experience point to two critical factors - the quality of executive leadership, and the activation of a conceptual management model we term "The Culture Loop".

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