In the old days being boss was like being king of your own little kingdom. It was your job to make decisions and the people who worked for you were there to do what you said. That was then.
In the old days decisions moved up through the hierarchy and change was slow in coming. Customers lived with the slowness of decisions because they had no choice. That, too, was then.
The Age of Mass Production created more wealth than any other economic system in the history of mankind.
Today customers want what they want and the want it now. And thanks to the Internet we live in a world where they can get what they want now. That has given rise to a new economic era, the Age of Mass Customization. This is now.
The shift from then to now changes all the rules — first in the marketplace, but ultimately in the workplace. Today economic success increasingly depends on market agility, and that market agility means employees at all levels need to make real-time decisions, decisions that determine the customer experience, drive revenue, and determine operating costs.
In the then world, decisions were centralized; in the now world decisions are decentralized. That shift completely redefines the role of management — driving a shift from making decisions to enabling others to make decisions.
For employees to make the “right” decisions, decisions that optimize the balance between the interests of customers and company, they need a rich understanding of the company’s vision, values and goals. It also requires access in the now to facts so they can understand the implications of decisions in business terms.
In our then world, life was simpler as it was clear the boss made the decisions. Today, in a Mass Customization world, the need for real-time decision making adds complexity but it also demands that employees be engaged.
Our Love of Speed
BY JOHN M. BERNARD
Before the automobile was in common use many people believed that high-speed car travel would cause the human body to disintegrate starting at about 60 miles per hour. Only 100 years later that belief now sounds so far fetched you probably think I made it up. I did not.
Speed fascinates us and the mystery of it taps into our imagination. As I write this I am traveling in an ordinary jet aircraft traveling some 400 miles per hour and about seven miles above Mother Earth. Ironically, after the flight ended my young daughter told me that the plane we took was “too slow,” which I knew was because once we reached cruising altitude she thought it had actually stopped moving.
It is a strange world.
Second only to our love to move fast is our passion to get information fast. It wasn’t that long ago that a letter from a far away relative was a treasured possession as it took many weeks to travel to its destination.
Today we get information in real-time. An email traveling at the speed of light circles our globe seven times in one second. So, I don’t know about you but when a web page doesn’t load instantly or when I have to wait for my computer to boot, I am a bit impatient.
It is true that we live in a NOW world with instant access to everything. And the faster things move the more we value time. In fact, we so hate wasting time that when an organization puts us through the hoops as we try to get our needs met we simply want to scream with frustration.
Our NOW world has redefined what customers expect. Yes, they expect your organization to meet their needs, although that’s really just the price of admission. Increasingly time is the dimension from which our speed-driven world derives the greatest value when meeting their needs. These are known as the NOW Moments.
That value creation most often requires the intervention of employees. Unless those employees have the skills and authority to take action NOW, your business is at risk of becoming irrelevant to your customers.
And our passion for speed is only accelerating.
We live in a time where we must do Business at the Speed of Now. Management’s new job is to enable their employees to deliver on the NOW Moments.
Ed Israel’s New Adventures NOW
ED ISRAEL LEAVES MASS INGENUITY
December 1, 2011- All of us at Mass Ingenuity are excited for Ed and his new direction. After several years of marketing and sales of the NOW Management System, Ed will be moving into new opportunities, greater leadership roles, and continuing with his sales efforts. Stay tuned as Ed starts to roll out his plans! We know they will be exciting.
Many of you have worked with Ed and know how wonderfully excited he is over our NOW Management System. His excitement and energy have propelled Mass Ingenuity forward and delighted many customers and strategic partners. All of us have benefited from Ed’s vision for how the system has transformed so many organizations.
I am especially excited to see Ed going after new and expanded leadership roles. His ability to build teams and stimulate engagement are much needed. Ed always told me that “achieving growth through an outcomes driven approach to management” is one of his greatest passions. It will be exciting to see Ed apply this type of management and leadership in his new venture.
One question many will have is, “will Ed still be involved with Mass Ingenuity?” Without question the answer is yes. Ed and I have talked about this at length and we will always have a strategic relationship.
Expect to see us supporting each other’s businesses as we move forward. If you have questions don’t hesitate to call or email me. On behalf of the entire Mass Ingenuity team, “we will miss you Ed!”
Aaron Howard | President & CEO | MASS INGENUITY®
Now Look Behind the Curtain
30 days and counting until the release of BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW in fine bookstores and eBooks…December 6th! Available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 800CEOread.com.
Our final superhero in this five-part segment, is the grand and wonderful Wizard of Oz. What (you are thinking) does he have to doing with business at the speed of now? EVERYTHING!
Dorothy’s fanciful longing for something more wonderful led her right back into her own backyard where it was abundantly obvious everything she needed was already there. There she found the heart, brains, and courage it takes to make life work.
We’re off to see the Wizard
The challenge of competing in today’s mass customization-driven economy is daunting indeed if you fail to see you already have all the essential ingredients you need to prosper. All the Wizard was doing was making a lot of noise, all of which was unnecessary. The secret to success in a real-time economy is building a management system that allows your employees to act on the opportunities they see. You don’t need new employees, just like the lion didn’t need a medal to give him courage. He already had it.
Employees who know what they are accountable for, who can see how what they do fits into the grand scheme of things, and who have the skills and authority to solve problems they encounter, will deliver a great customer experience every time. Management’s job was to make the decisions, but that was THEN. In our NOW world, management’s job is to make sure employees have everything they need to make decisions and make them intelligently.
Like the great Wizard, what’s behind the curtain of great management is a system of management that allows the heart, brains, and courage of employees to thrive.
Not NOW: The Odd Thing About Captain Kirk
(Only 52 days remain until the release of BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF NOW!)
Something about Captain James T. Kirk never made sense to me. Here he was commanding a space ship with the incredible technology of the future yet he behaved like a man out of the 1950s. There was never a beautiful woman Kirk didn’t want to kiss or a troublesome alien he didn’t want to punch. I never cared enough to count, but it seems our not-so-enlightened captain managed to get in a fight just about every episode. He was so THEN!
Like our colorful captain, technology has abounded and accelerated around us, yet much of management behavior of the day is stuck in the distant past. While the iPhone dwarfs what the creators of Star Trek had imagined in the Communicator, we still use 1950s logic to run out modern enterprises.
Social media, cloud computing and our hand-held access to the world are tools begging for a social revolution, and we have witnessed it in Egypt this year and in our own cities in Occupy Wallsteet’s leaderless presence. Sadly, most enterprises (private and governmental) and run more like communistic centrally planned economies then the very free enterprise marketplaces they serve.
Our technology revolution has failed to spark a management revolution.
But that won’t be true for long. The simply reality is that competitive forces will demand the creative free flow of value creation that these new technologies not only facilitate, but will eventually demand. It’s the NOW Revolution.
Hang on. Things are about to get interesting!
Steve Jobs, The Power to Inspire All of Us
“Steve Jobs was buried at Alta Mesa in a memorial park shared by some pioneering technologists he admired”
For some reason Steve’s final resting has had a powerful effect on me (not to mention the world). I’m not entirely sure why. Is it is his great spirit? His amazing product vision? His wild management style? The iPhone? Hmm … I suspect not. Steve’s passing and final resting feels like a window into all of our futures. Literally, “our futures.” Will we accomplish our life’s dreams? Will we be the person we hoped to be? Will our friends and family simultaneously celebrate and mourn our passing? Only the future knows these answers.
My many and intense interactions with Steve were amazing. I find it odd that it is only now that I am seeing those experiences through the lens of the future. Steve was all about the future. Our dreams became real through his marvelous ability to know what we aspired to be. How did he succeed in seeing our future in so many ways? I’m not sure and it’s too late to ask any more questions. All we have are speeches, quotes and “expert observations.” I feel like I missed something. This has been nagging at me for days. Why do we seem to “miss the day” rather than seize it. Who knows.
However, like everything in life we have choices. Stay stuck? Move on? What to do? Go? Stop? … or just maybe … make a difference.
I’ve decided that Steve’s passing will be my “wake up call.” We, all of us, have greatness in us. The choice we have is to pursue our dreams or fade into dust. Steve helped us understand that waiting is useless. The fact that he continued to create amazing customer experiences while he was dying speaks volumes. Act and act now is the lesson we gain from Steve. I chose to act NOW. “Business at the Speed of Now” is the mission. Let’s go get it! Get on board!
Thank you Steve. Stay tuned world. We are going to change it for the better.
Aaron Howard, circa 1975
NOW: Superman is so yesterday!
This is the 6th in a 22 post series leading to the release on December 6th of Business at the Speed of Now.
As a kid I was completely impressed with the fact that Superman was “faster than a speeding bullet.” In those days such speed was hard to imagine and certainly elevated Superman in the eyes of any kid to total “wow” status.
Bullets travel between 600 and 3,000 miles per hour depending on a number of variables. Today, we have jets that can fly in excess of 2,000 miles per hour – all this is obviously terribly fast.
There is no part of our lives where we have come to expect more speed than when it comes time to access information. We love to be in the know and the progression of access from Pony Express (10 mph) to the railroads (50 mph) to airmail (600 mph) to email and texting (669 million mph) has fed that passion and made the unimaginable routine. And wow has it changed the nature of competition.
Today, we live in the age of NOW as information travels at the speed of light allowing us real-time access to anything and everything we want. Whether it’s a replacement boyfriend, a craving for an obscure foreign food, or some juicy insider-trading information that you seek now, it’s all within reach within seconds. Get the itch, scratch the itch. And that reality sets the pace for customer expectations.
NOW is all about access, and access is all about choice. In an age of Mass Customization, our economy thrives on choice, and speed feeds it all.
Sadly, today, Superman is just too slow to be relevant. Given the choice, who wants to wait for someone who can just barely beat a bullet to its target. Heck, you can order bullet proof vest NOW – besides, Clark Kent just got laid off from The Daily Planet because print is so THEN.
The Great Recession: Chips and Change
66 days and counting until Business at the Speed of Now will be available in fine bookstores and on eBooks. It’s getting closer to the December 6th release date!
The evolution to a world where we do Business at the Speed of Now enjoyed strange bedfellows, about as incompatible as John Candy and Steve Martin in the goofball movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Henry Ford’s Model T brought into reality mass production management, which shaped and continues to shape how we think about organizations.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
The great age of the television gave a glimpse of the coming of social media. And the computer along with the Internet put into our hands instant access to the world and to each other.
Evidence grows that The Great Recession may be far more than a recession after all. Its’ double-dip nature may prove that our global economy is instead experiencing the grinding gears of a fundamental shift.
“This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle,” says Jeffrey Emmelt, CEO of General Electric. “It represents a reset. It’s an emotional, raw social, economic reset. People who understand that will prosper. Those who don’t will be left behind.”
A century ago we watched the end of the Agricultural Age as the percent of the U.S. population that worked on farms dropped dramatically in response to phenomenal increases in farm productivity. In the past 30 years the same reset has been happening as the Age of Mass Production draws to a close proven by the rapid decline of factory jobs.
If mass production is dying, what’s being birthed? Mass customization – an age when everyone wants what they want and they want it now! The shift is making YES the only viable value proposition (a service economy in the broad sense), and NOW the only acceptable timeframe.
An odd symbol of the changing world is a little object of much affection, the potato chip. While chips are mass produced, today you can find some 1,400 bizarre flavors around the globe as chipmakers adapt to the regional and individual tastes of its customers. While chips are not customized in the NOW, they serve as a greasy example that even mass produced products must increasingly be customized.
The shift has profound implications to how we think about organizations, and profound implications to the critical nature of individual employee autonomy to make the all essential, in-the-now decisions.
This is the final installment of Part One of our series leading to the December 6th release of Business at the Speed of Now. In Part Two, I’ll explore how the birth of a NOW world came to be as seen through the lenses of the heroes of our age: Superman, James T. Kirk, Spiderman, Austin Powers and t
The Model T Ford: It Changed Everything
84 days and counting until the release of Business at the Speed of NOW
Far more than a boxy black horseless carriage, the Ford Model T is a symbol for many things that made the U.S. a great nation. Not only was it the first automobile produced in mass quantity (15 million were produced between 1908 and 1927), but it fueled a revolution in management.
“I will build a car for the great multitude,” said Henry Ford at its initial release. “It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.”
In 1909 it sold for $850 (equivalent in today’s dollars of $20,709), but by the 1920s mass production techniques were so successful that the sales price had dropped to $290 ($3,289 today). At that price, the automobile achieved Ford’s dream and became standard transportation for the masses.
While that reality is incredible in and of itself, the enduring contribution of Henry Ford was a system of thinking – a logic for running an enterprise – a management approach that was so effective and efficient it was widely emulated. Specialization, functionalization, centralization, simplification. Ford tuned his system, employing some of the earliest “management science” techniques, and that thinking is still in popular use in the vast majority of enterprises today.
The result of great efficiency was a circular economic engine that produced affordable products and worker wages sufficient to buy the very products the mass production engine generated. The great American middle class was born, fed, sheltered, and eventually made increasingly comfortable with dishwashers, plasma televisions, computers and an iPhone in every hand.
While a blessing in a thousand ways, Ford’s system of management became so ingrained in our management thinking that we lost track of the fact that it was an ideal construct for its time, not the only way to run an organization. Mass Production worked THEN.
Today, our economy thrives on Mass Customization. We live in an era where YES is the only viable value proposition and NOW is the only acceptable timeframe. This is NOW! Failure to understand this fundamental shift puts any business at risk of surviving through the biggest economic shift in a century.
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We are Adopting the Minions!
The Minions from Despicable Me are a great proxy for Mass Ingenuity! Enjoy.