Organization Effectiveness Simulator by Booz Company

October 25, 2008

Recently I have used the ‘Organization Effectiveness Simulator’ offered by Booz Company.

Purpose of using this simulator is to determine where the client organization is positioned, with regards to implementing a Change Strategy.

I highly recommend this simulator for the following reasons:

– it helps you to quickly establish the current status of your organization;

– it enables you to have focused internal discussion by your management team, on which kind of measures will help best in implementing a Change Strategy;

– results of this ‘management game’ can be used to align more internal stakeholders to the agreed actions plans

The background of this tool is described in an article in the Harvard Business Review of June 2008: ‘The Secret to Successful Strategy Execution’ by Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elizabeth Powers.

One of the main messages of this article is:

‘(…)we’ve identified four fundamental building blocks executives can use to influence those actions

  • clarifying decision rights,
  • designing information flows,
  • aligning motivators,
  • and making changes to structure.’

(…) In fact, our research shows that actions having to do with decision rights and information are far more important—about twice as effective—as improvements made to the other two building blocks’


How does the simulator work:

First step:

As a management team, you answer some 18 questions to determine the kind of organization you are right now. Examples are:

  • ‘The Passive Aggressive Organization’
  • ‘The Over Managed Organization’
  • ‘The Outgrown Organization’
  • ‘ The Fits and Starts Organization’
  • ‘The Just-in-time Organization’
  • ‘The Military Precision Organization’
  • ‘The Resilient Organization’

Second step:

Based on one of these organizational types, you are then offered some 28 possible strategic actions, from which you can choose 5.

Actions such as:

  • ‘Clarify Key processes’
  • ‘Create Centers of Excellence’
  • ‘Delegate more decision making’
  • ‘Introduce a knowledge management system’

And so on.

Based on a large database of Booz Company (with results of interviews and business results of a large number of interviewed companies); the simulator gives you then a clear indication whether the actions that you have chosen are effective (compared to best practice actions).

Especially the discussion around choosing the right actions are very helpful in defining your own strategic action planning!

We found that indeed, actions that clarify decision rights and actions that improve information flows are most effective in implementing the Change strategy.


Visual thinking solves your business problems

July 28, 2008
by Jeroen de Miranda

The Back of the Napkin is a great book on Visual Thinking. It is written by Dan Roam.

Watching this video of his presentation at Google, you will learn how to use this method to solve many different business problems.

I highly recomment reading his book if you want to get a real understanding of Visual Thinking!

Authors@Google: Dan Roam

YouTube video

Some highlights of this show:

  • Who can use this: anybody!. Dan classifies people into three catagories:
    – ‘black pens’ (start to draw right away),
    – ‘yellow pens’ (drawing comments on drawings of others),
    – and ‘red pens’ (do not want to draw; but often turn out to have the best ideas. You have to challenge the ‘red pens’ to start drawing).
  • Core idea: reduce complexity of a problem by slicing it into 6 slices: the 6 ways we are seeing:
    – what,
    – where,
    – how much,
    – when,
    – how,
    – why
  • Use the corresponding drawing:
    – what: portrait representing a person or object
    – where: map
    – how much: chart
    – when: timeline
    – how: flowchart
    – why: multi-variable plot
  • Talking while drawing leads to better understanding of a problem
  • Dan gives examples of his work with Microsoft
  • Dan uses a drawing to give an explanation of the strategy behind the Yahoo takeover over by Microsoft

More resources on Visual Thinking:

I have used visual techniques in several workshops that I have facilitated; I now intend to extend my workshop tools by using these ‘Back of the Napkin’ techniques!

The Innovator’s Solution

July 21, 2008
by Jeroen de Miranda

This is perhaps the best book on innovation!

Examples of disruptive IT innovation are (IMO):

I can much better understand these disruptive innovations after having read this book!

From Newspapers Beware: Blogs are A Disruptive Technology – some key factors are:

  • ‘print publishing has overshot the needs of the market’
  • ‘Sure, the new versions aren’t as high quality (fact-checking, writing, spelling, design), but they get the job done’
  • ‘And eventually, the old model will have lost so many customers that it will no longer be able to support itself.’

At the website of the authors Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor you can find some ready to use ideas and templates to shape new disruptive innovation ideas:

1. A Template for Shaping Disruptive Ideas :

  • Target nonconsumption
  • Leverage the low performance hurdle
  • Make it “foolproof.”
  • Lock in and take over

2. A Game Plan for Would-Be Disruptors : How to Turn the Innovator’s Dilemma into the Innovator’s Solution

More information on innovation at:

Enjoyed this post? Get more like it by subscribing to this blog: press the ‘subscribe now’ button below:

The Skilled Facilitator

July 20, 2008
by Jeroen de Miranda

I am reading ‘The Skilled Facilitator’: this is a great in-depth book on facilitating groups!

Amazon reviews at: Author: Roger Schwarz.


This book will really help me to become a better facilitator of groups. It contains a complete Systems-thinking based approach to facilitation.

Core statement: ‘The facilitator’s main task is to help the group increase effectiveness by improving its process and structure’.

It complements some of the ideas of Manager-Tools in a great way! There are some similar ideas; e.g. on WWWTALA sessions; dealing with emotions; setting the Agenda of meeting etc.
Of particular interest is the model for Interventions in groups.

It is highly recommended reading! You can find more at the site of Roger Schwarz; a summary statement from this website:

‘ (…) The Skilled Facilitator Approach: Outcomes and Key Features

Whether you are working with another person, a group or team, or an organization, The Skilled Facilitator approach will help you create the following outcomes:

  • Decisions that get better results
  • Decisions that people actively support
  • Decisions that save time
  • Better relationships – at work and in your personal life
  • More personal satisfaction and less stress
  • Learning that allows you and others to adapt and change where most others can’t

To achieve these outcomes, the Skilled Facilitator approach has a number of key features:

  • Exploring and Changing How We Think
  • The Group Effectiveness Model
  • A Clearly Defined Role
  • Applicable To a Wide Range of Roles
  • Explicit Core Values
  • Ground Rules for Effective Groups
  • The Diagnosis-Intervention Cycle
  • Non-Judgmental Thinking
  • A Process for Agreeing on How to Work Together
  • A Systemic Approach ‘

Has anybody read this book? Or other books on group facilitation? Please feel free to comment / contribute to this post!

The Skilled Facilitator Field Book has lots of practical examples and applications of TSF:


Amazon review .

Bottom line: ‘The Skilled Facilitator’ is a great book on group facilitation!

Bookmark and Share

More on Facilitation at this blog!

Enjoyed this post? Get more like it by subscribing to this blog: press the ‘subscribe now’ button below:

Web 2.0 and Management

“Those hospitals that publish their results will do better” – transparency and quality improvements in healthcare

April 28, 2008

Healthcare providers that make their quality of services more transparent to patients will improve quality of service in that way!

This is a very entertaining presentation of Paul Levy at a Dutch healthcare congress 2008.

Paul Levy

Paul F. Levy MBA, CEO & President, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
“Those hospitals that publish their results will do better”

When starting at the BIDMC, Paul Levy was new to the health care sector. He used his experiences from the sewer and electricity sectors in helping the BIDMC back to the top of the Boston health care market. Essential in his strategy is transparency. Transparency in what he does as a CEO but mostly and foremost transparency in the quality the hospital achieves.

He states that transparency is essential to holding ourselves accountable. Because when we know our results are open, will do just a little better. And with the increasing cost, hospitals are more and more pressured to be open, clear and helpful in improving the quality of care. Hospitals are political institutions; they are paid by the public and offer care to the pubic; being in a capitalist or social system. br> During his speech he refers to various urls: (home page results of BIDMC by Harvard) (patients feedback)’


Interview with Paul Levy:

Favorite books on Management Consultancy – LinkedIn Question

April 10, 2008

‘Favorite books on Management Consultancy?’

is is a question that I have posted on LinkedIn Q&A at:

(LinkedIn login is required to access this question)

‘What are your favorite books on Management Consultancy?
I am curious to learn from others at LinkedIn what you like and would recommend!
Some of my favorites are:

Here are some answers that can help you find the best books on Management Consultancy!

Some real new insights for me are – I will look into these books in the coming weeks and months:

Thanks to all contributors !!

Any additional ideas are welcome on this blog!


Karthik Rao

Project Management at Ernst & Young

Jack Walser, CGC

Experienced Project Management and Process Improvement Executive / Strategist

I’m a big fan of these:

The first book takes a look at systems thinking and can help you with roadblocks within an organization. The second provides a tool that will help you channel organizational resources to achieve a strategic goal.
Good luck!

George Dinwiddie

Owner, iDIA Computing, LLC and Computer Software Consultant and Coach

George Dinwiddie also suggests this expert on this topic: Jerry Weinberg

Leif Andersson

Owner, Proicio and Management Consulting Consultant

My favourites:

Jonathan Arnold

Energy Enterprise Solutions

  • I read David Maister’s “Managing the Professional Service Firm” , “The Trusted Advisor”, and “True Professionalism…” and would recommend these books to anyone at any level. I re-read the first book regularly.
  • Soneone gave me Goldsmith’s book. I think it was a hint, and it was very helpful.

Alco van Neck

Ing. at Getronics PinkRoccade

Jakub Nosek

Management consultant – Experienced problem solver

My favorites are:


Patrick Ahern

Branding and Employee Performance Expert, Professional Speaker – Partner, Brand Integrity, Inc.

  • Achieve Brand Integrity: Ten Truths You Must Know to Enhance Employee Performance and Increase Company Profits by Gregg Lederman. The book recently won the 2008 Axiom gold medal for Best Business Books in association with Inc.Magazine.

Jim Parnitzke

Independent Executive – Enterprise Architecture, Business Intelligence, BPM, CDI/MDM

  • Plenty of terrific ideas and books already mentioned, all are worthwhile. A little off-beat, but no less valuable to me was Barbara Minto’s book labeled “The Pyramid Principle – Logic in Writing and Thinking” first published in 1987. Since we (management consultants) live in the world full of abstractions, creating a powerful, compelling, and concise message to communicate our thinking is pretty much fundamental blocking and tackling. This is especially true if the subject matter is complex or not well known to our clients or management peers. Heavily recommended for anyone who makes a living in the world of thought and communication (this is our business right?), and certainly more approachable than the Rhetoric (yes that one – Aristotle <g>)
Gail Bubenick, Psy.D.,Ph.D.

Owner, Sierra Communications, Inc.

Darryl Dioso

Principal Consultant, Resource Management Solutions Group – Sales Recruitment | Sales Training | Sales Assessments

  • Management Consulting” by Biswas and Twitchell – Let me know what I was getting into.
  • “Dr. Deming” by Aguayo – Not really “on Management Consultancy” but he’s one of my (and I’m sure a few of you) MC ‘idols’.
  • “The Goal” by Goldratt and Cox – A book about Process Improvement that I couldn’t put down…How crazy is that?

Roberta Chinsky Matuson

Owner, Human Resource Solutions and Management Consulting Consultant



Dorina Grossu

Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Program Management, Quality Management, Business Process Re-Engineering


Bookmark and Share

top-4 management consultants

April 5, 2008

This is a list of my favorite management consultants:

Mike Horstman and Mark Auzenne – Manager Tools – on generic management skills

Manager-Tools is a podcast series ( more than 100 podcasts; weekly a new edition). You can learn many important management skills, such as giving feedback, coaching, delegations, organizing meeting etc.

David Maister – on Professional Services

David Maister is the world leading ‘guru’ on Professional Services. He covers all aspects of implementing and improving this kind of organizations. Think of how to sell, training of consultants, marketing, building trust with your customers, etc.

Marshall Goldsmith – on FeedForward

Marshall Goldsmith is the most recognized management consultant worldwide. He coaches many managers of Fortune 500 businesses, also on CxO level. His teachings have an immediate impact on your management style. Highly recommended!

John Kotter – on Change Management

John Kotter is recognized as one of the most important leaders on Change Management.
Bookmark and Share

Enjoyed this post? Get more like it by subscribing to this blog: press the ‘subscribe now’ button below:

Web 2.0 and Management