How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things – 12 Principles

I just finished an excellent book on driving change in business: Neil Smith’s “How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things”

Here’s the 12 principles that cut through the barriers:

  1. The CEO must personally lead and support and change process carried out across the entire organization and a majority of senior management must also support it.
  2. The entire organization must be engaged in the change process.
  3. The project must be guided by “stars” who are willing to change the status quo.
  4. There must be no up-front targets for the company as a whole or the individual departments within it.
  5. Those who will implement the idea must own the idea.
  6. It must be easy to put ideas into the change process but hard to remove them.
  7. Consideration of ideas must be based on facts and analysis, not opinion.
  8. Consensus must be built.
  9. There must be a focus on increasing revenue, not just reducing expenses.
  10. The change process must not disrupt normal business.
  11. Implementation must be nothing less than 100 percent.
  12. The change process must be about culture change, not just a completed project.

Smith is right, constructive change that you want to see in your business is going to begin at the top and must be measured and deliberate.  Don’t mistake success for luck.  It’s not going to come easy!


The astonishing piece that is often left out of recovery plans

It’s astonishing in it’s simplicity.  The business often gets left out of disaster recovery and the resilience picture.  Disaster recovery is the continuity of your information systems but you certainly can’t recreate your business with simply a server.  That server has to live somewhere, it needs people to love and care for it and it needs a purpose.  Your IT manager cannot determine your purpose.  It must be held in the core vision of the organization.  Your plan needs the core competencies of your organization – how you create value.  This is the deliverable for the Business Impact Analysis process.  Don’t leave yours out!