Foresight "Group Genius" Weekend
Leaping the Abyss:
Putting Group Genius to Work
Bringing the Future Back Home
Like leaves scattering to the winds, these
teams who have achieved so much together now separate onto planes that will
carry them to California, Florida, Illinois, Texas. Even members of the
same companies are often returning to distant branch offices, and may not
see each other again.
Surprisingly, there is none of that bittersweet
nostalgia that usually comes with marvelous experiences that end and will
never be recaptured. Instead, there is the feeling that the experience,
the DesignShop event itself, hasn't ended. Why?
Back here in Philadelphia, one obvious point
is that the whole support team keeps right on working, even after the last
participant is gone...although participants can stay and keep working alongside,
if they want to.
Preparation of the various work products from
this event continues seamlessly as participants leave the DesignShop session
on Friday. The knowledge worker team produces the entire three-day event
as a database-a knowledge base-so that all the information, the entire experience,
is captured, indexed, searchable, and findable. They'll build a web site
for the DesignShop event. There is the video, the transcripts, the read-aheads,
the online searches, the evolving Knowledge Wall, everything becomes available
to help a participant recreate the experience months from now.
Now, from the perspective of the last three
days, they will produce a new work product that synthesizes, explains, heightens,
and extends the work done in the DesignShop session. This work is in addition
to and beyond the journal which captures the chronology of the DesignShop
event. This new piece of work is intended to take the thinking further.
But the participants, though heading out of
the door for home, are also still in DesignShop mode. When they walk into
their offices on Monday morning, they have a list of specific action items
generated at the session to start implementing. And, within days of their
return, the materials that the support team is working on right now will
be there on their desks. The adventure continues.
Participants now have to make their future
visions real. Taking it back home is one of the toughest challenges faced
by the DesignShop participants. Back home, you're facing the ongoing structure
of physical environment, tools, techniques, policies, people's beliefs,
knowledge, or lack thereof. It's not uncommon to return from a DesignShop
event and experience a tremendous sense of culture shock. Worse, you're
facing an established structure. Usually, this means that the structure
is going to win; you're playing a game with the deck stacked against you.
Chip offers this note: "This is the toughest
thing-how to internalize the gains from this event. We keep in touch with
the senior people. They need to make things tangibly different, move into
a different space, get rid of meetings that are not called to take some
action, bring the future to the present."
"Structure wins," says Matt. Think
about the millions of New Year's resolutions made each January 1: I'm going
to exercise more, smoke less, drop my weight, give up this Bad Habit and
adopt that Good Habit. The evidence is overwhelming that despite willpower
and intellectual understanding that more fruits and vegetables and exercise
and stress reduction are essential, the odds are that the new goal will
not succeed. The reason is not Personal Weakness and Huge Moral Flaws. The
reason is structure: a structure in place supporting the status quo. The
structure makes the old way convenient. What does the structure of other
people's actions do to support or hinder? Unless you can restructure enough
of the environment-getting rid of the barriers to the Good Habit, getting
rid of structures that support the Bad, adding structures that support the
new habit-the old structure wins.
A typical pattern in business is coming back
from lectures full of enthusiasm for team building, or TQM, or whatever,
and trying to educate the people back home. After fighting an uphill battle
with people who don't get the idea, you forget all about it and go back
to life as usual. What has happened is simply that you returned to the same
old environment, the same old structures, and with people who have the same
old knowledge. Unlike you, they have not just gone time-traveling to see
the future and returned with knowledge, revelations, and powerful secrets.
Somehow, you have to communicate the power
of this shared experience to people who weren't present. You have to share
your new knowledge with them: that dark taboos have dissipated under the
light of day, that the old "problem" has disappeared and been
replaced by a new vision of how you are going to do business. That in three
days you have managed to come up with a complete strategic and tactical
plan with practical, implementable steps on an issue that you hadn't been
able to crack successfully in three years. That you have learned some things
about increasing your own creativity and productivity-things that you yourself
might have thought were kind of weird or pointless five days ago-but now
you would like others to make this a standard way of working for yourself
and others. Wouldn't it be fantastic, you're thinking, if my whole team
back home could be this creative and cooperative on a daily basis! We would
The response you can expect? "This can't
really be my manager saying thismaybe it's sunstroke. Or too much stress.
Overwork. Or bad airline food on the flight home."
Good luck. Transferring your insight, your
vision of the future, and instituting the changes you will need to make
to have it succeed is one of the toughest leadership and educational tasks
You Might Think of This Problem
as Being "Merlin's Challenge"
Much of the success and the failure of the
glory that was Camelot-King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Merlin, Lancelot and
the other Knights of the Round Table, Morgan le Fey, Mordred, objects of
power from the sword Excaliber to the Holy Grail-turns on exactly this point.
Merlin, born in the future and living backward
in time, knew what the future held, because he had already been there. No
one doubted his wisdom or his powers, which had been proven repeatedly over
the years. And yet, with this most critical vision of the future, with his
knowledge of which path led to tragedy and which to triumph, he could not
find a way to communicate, educate, enlighten, and transform the actions
of the people of Camelot. Noble king, queen, and brave knights, a whole
world doomed because they would not-could not-listen. Merlin, for all his
magic, could not create a way to get his message across, to transfer his
experience of the future into something that could transform Arthur's thinking.
Camelot has many of the dynamics of a business:
the corporate Knights gathered at the Round Table, the reliance on the wonderful
technology of the sword Excalibur, a variety of personnel problems and office
intrigues, the need for leadership to face painful truths. And, as with
any body of people endeavoring to move forward, so much wonderful that could
have been achieved. If only
Solving Merlin's Dilemma
You've got a couple of things going for you
that Merlin didn't:
First: You have a very detailed vision of
your desired end state. You are not just aware of the tragedies you have
to avoid, you have worked out how to avoid them, dissolved the problems
that have stymied you, and have a subset of your company sharing a vision
of a truly desirable goal and a plan to get there.
Second: Because you have worked on a real
business problem, your tactical plan has action items and assignments for
specific people that begin making a change on your office environment the
minute you get back.
Third: As part of your plan, you have probably
selected certain visible, physical changes that you are going to make immediately
upon your return. These physical changes literally import something from
There-the DesignShop and the Future Vision-into the Here and Now. With
each change you make, the Here and Now becomes a bit more like the future
The changes you make will probably be of two
types. The first are changes relating directly to your new business plan.
The second are changes you decide to make to bring various aspects of the
DesignShop environment, tools, and processes home with you. If over the
last three days you found things that helped you be creative and productive,
don't wait until you do another DesignShop event to experience them again.
Don't forget about them. Grab some paper or a wall and sketch out the things
that you want to add to your work environment. Then do it.
By the third day of a DesignShop session,
many participants will have recognized that the improvements in creativity,
intelligence, cooperation, and the resulting superior work performance have
come about because of the supportive environment. By changing their environment,
intelligence-suppressing factors and creativity-suppressing factors have
been removed. People have been given an enhanced set of knowledge tools
and processes that let them be more effective-they are using power saws
and drills instead of rocks. People are operating closer to their maximum
There can be real culture shock arriving back
home to the old unchanged office environment, with its traps of marginal
functionality, barriers to creativity, and lower levels of productivity.
When this happens, and it will, remember that
it's not that the people back home aren't willing to change-the problem
is that the organization is held in place by structure.
To create a DesignShop environment, MG Taylor
has done an audit and removed from the environment every known obstacle
they can-physical, psychological, social. They have created an environment
you can play in. They have facilitated the environment by setting the moods
which are designed to encourage creativity and cooperation. Then, people
behave very differently. One of the real goals of the DesignShop process
is to teach you how to recreate this improved environment yourself and create
your own high performance organizations. What can you do to recreate as
much as possible of that environment back home?
Most people don't have the freedom that Col.
Bill had to build a Management Center based on DesignShop principles, send
employees to train as facilitators, and get intensity by running a two-year,
ongoing program of DesignShop events and smaller DesignSession activities.
Even Col. Bill's personal office is heavily DesignShop-influenced: "My
normal environment is not too far off of a DesignShop environment now. My
executive officer is a knowledge worker who learned with MG Taylor. That
makes him a much more effective executive assistant. He operates much better
than if he did not have that training, knowledge, and understanding. I love
it. I wish I could operate that way all of the time.
"The benefits are tremendous," says
Col. Bill of using knowledge workers to provide intellectual support. "It
puts the value where I can put value-using my brain. I get to think about
the enterprise and what we are doing and how I can help create the vision
for it and how we can work on that."
But even if you can't have your own personal
knowledge facilitator, there are dozens of ways that anyone can begin changing
their structure at home. Ralph Graham uses his office as a mini-"Management
Center," employing the same kind of physical, collaborative exercises
used in AEDC's Gossick Leadership Center. Managers and individual contributors
in different companies have changed the way meetings are run in their groups.
Many people have come home with an appreciation of how useful toys, modeling
equipment, and art materials are, and have stocked their offices with them.
The important part of being a kid is the
ability to explore and extend. I have toys in my office. Some people have
puzzles, basketballs, stuffed animals, etc. They will fool with it-it works.
I don't do it as often as I ought to do it. One of the books I read recently
says you don't have to come home from the office exhausted. It talks about
the ability to play. If you have something to play with in your office-stop
for five minutes and fool with it. If you have a ball around, it is hard
to resist. Look how much fun participants had with building the models.
By starting to change the structure in these
obvious, visible ways, other people in your company just can't help noticing
it. Change begins to spread.
One highly effective thing that almost everyone
does is display information or images that really crystallized something
essential about your company or the vision. Maybe it's something you developed
during a breakout session, or maybe something from the final work product.
Charts, posters, and graphics are all candidates.
A DesignShop participant for a leading American
technology firm-a client of Ernst & Young's-had a flash of insight during
a DesignShop event: "We're just like the Lion King!"-referring
to the Disney movie of childhood, exile, and triumphant return to kingship
of young Simba the lion. Hearing that insight, an artist went to work and
created a poster showing the company as the Lion King surrounded by the
parallels between the complex world of savanna and jungle, and the participant's
realm of business and technology. The poster was included as part of the
final work product that arrived on all participants' desks on Monday morning.
Almost immediately, copy after copy of that
poster was up on the participants' walls. And just as quickly, people started
asking-"What is that?" From there, more and more people heard
the story of the DesignShop session, the experience, the Aha!, the vision.
The picture, plus the story, communicated the learning and the vision that
had been achieved. For once, no one had to give up and say, "Well,
I guess you just had to be there to understand." Instead, they heard
fellow employees saying, "How can I get one of those posters?"
Within weeks, over five hundred posters supporting the vision of the company
as the Lion King were displayed on office walls.
The goals of the DesignShop event don't stop
when you walk out the door. That is why the final work product acts as a
lever for future growth: indicating what you need to keep working on, points
you need to have reinforced-good stuff that came up during the three days
that there wasn't time to address, but was captured and now can be worked
with at home. Facilitators stay in touch with sponsors to keep working on
how to get the results implemented. Participants get the contact information
for all other participants, so even though they may be widely geographically
dispersed, they stay in contact to keep working the solutions. Additional
workshops can help spread what has been discovered throughout more of the
So how well did the Wharton DesignShop participants
do? How much value did they really get out of their three days in Philadelphia?
How well did they do at implementation?
The Ernst & Young Story
We have visited with some of the Ernst &
Young people during this story, but we haven't taken a focused look at the
Ernst & Young LLP is a management consulting
giant-the second largest in the world. They have well over $6 billion in
global revenues, and a roster of glamour clients including Kellogg's, TRW,
Digital Equipment, and Northern Telecom. E&Y had sent five participants
to the Wharton DesignShop event.
At Wharton, we met Lee Sage, he of the fiercely
set shoulders and the umpire's face. Because titles aren't emphasized at
DesignShop events, we didn't find out until later that he is a partner at
E&Y-a major player responsible for their global re-engineering practice,
about $750 million in annual revenue.
Lee and four other E&Y partners were sent
on the expedition to Wharton with a mission: find out whether there is something
important going on with DesignShops, something E&Y needs. Sending five
partners to a three-day event was a significant investment of time for E&Y-whatever
it was, it had better be awfully good.
Lee looks back at his initial reactions and
recalls a metamorphosis:
My partners and I went through that first
day, thinking all the while that, "We can do this, there's nothing
here, we know how to do this. This is sizzle in packaging, but no substance."
And then about late afternoon or evening
of the second day at Wharton the little voices started to say, "Be
careful, there is something here. Don't conclude too quickly: there is
something here. Look below the surface as to what is really happening."
By the time we got through the third day,
we saw the amount of collaborative thinking, the convergence, and the amount
of work that we were able to do as a group. This convinced us to come back
and say, "We need to carry this forward and do a couple of internal
DesignShop sessions on some business problems."
Lee brought his excitement back to E&Y:
We assembled forty Ernst & Young professionals-not
all partners, there were some managers as well as partners from various
offices and practice areas. We had two three-day DesignShop sessions, and
by this point we were beginning to see that the work environment, the collaborative
style, the new thinking that the DesignShop process and environment caused
to occur was beginning to grow on us. We were starting to grasp what was
happening to us in the power of the process. We did not understand all
the reasons why Matt and Gail do certain things when they do them, but
we were finding a positive experience in going through the process.
As E&Y held more DesignShop events internally,
one of the first lessons to hit home was the connection between the special
environment used and the quality of the learning achieved:
We at E&Y spend millions and millions
of dollars training our own people. Now, with the DesignShop process, our
professional organizational development bunch is close to being convinced
that our people learn through experience and observation, not through lecture
and viewing overheads, and that this new environment is helping. This may
sound obvious-people learn better experientially than by sitting and listening-but
before we had the DesignShop environment and process, we had no way to
make it happen.
The whole environment of the DesignShop session-what
you do, what sharing goes on, what experiential learning occurs by having
fifty people working on a common business issue-has been breathtaking for
us. It has been staggering for us to find out what our people capture and
retain in business without one overhead being used. It's phenomenal.
This should change the business environment.
Today, if you look at a typical Ernst & Young office throughout the
world, you'll find 80 to 90% of our space devoted to individual space,
and the balance is group space. The association with Matt and Gail Taylor
and the DesignShop process has convinced us that it should be exactly the
opposite. We need 80-90% group space and 10-20% individual space.
Based on this, back in October 1995, our
consulting executive committee, which makes the decisions on major investments,
committed to going forward with this whole approach and building our own
MG Taylor helped E&Y build their own Design
Center: the 12,000 square foot Accelerated Solutions Environment. In the
same way, the Gossick Leadership Center was custom-tailored to AEDC's needs,
the accelerated Solutions Environment is designed to handle E&Y's multiple
design activities. E&Y uses the center for ongoing work with their clients,
and uses it internally among E&Y employees for work that they do on
behalf of their clients. The DesignShop vision has become the path on which
E&Y is taking their own corporate development. It has become the method
by which they work, and by which they work with their clients.
In explaining why E&Y is adopting the
DesignShop process so enthusiastically, Lee returns again and again to the
issue of speed:
The business we're in-management consulting-can
be frustrating, because you are obviously dependent upon other people to
actually pull the switch and get things done. So, we are always very interested
in new approaches and ideas that can get us through the design process
and get into implementation faster, and that was the major draw that brought
us to the DesignShop process.
Because of competitive pressures and customer
issues and shareholder activism and so forth, executives today at the major
companies around the world need to get benefits faster than ever before.
So the design of the solution-as well as getting the alignment of objectives
and the executive group sponsorship and so forth, all at once and quickly-is
a major reason why we are so excited about and have become so heavily involved
The key is being able to drive through the
design activities and get the buy-in built much faster than we have been
able to do in any other way. In the first half of 1996, we have had somewhere
in the neighborhood of twelve of our clients go through three-day DesignShop
events. These are companies like Digital Equipment, TRW, British Petroleum,
First Chicago Bank, Monsanto, Hewlett Packard, and Xerox.
In every instance, we are getting done in
three days what we would have historically accomplished in somewhere between
six weeks and three months.
That is an increase of a factor of ten to
thirty: a solid order-of-magnitude improvement in speed. It's accomplished
through a deliberate effort to stretch the participants:
There's more parallel processing in the MG
Taylor approach than what you would have found typically in our previous
methods. Gail Taylor tells a story in which elementary school teachers,
as they see their students not learning, try to solve the problem by "dumbing
down" the material. As Gail says, that is exactly the wrong thing
to do. You should be stretching them, pushing them, and pulling them into
other scenarios and new angles to consider. We have grown to the point
where we believe that. It's not yet totally incorporated into our approach
and methods, but parallel processing, team activities, getting much more
done faster-these are key elements for us.
Given that the process is producing excellent
plans so quickly, how can that speed be maintained during implementation?
Here E&Y got a pleasant surprise:
That is another huge plus in using the DesignShop
process. Previously, if we were in a six-month consulting assignment, the
amount of time, visibility, and internalization we got with the decision-makers
and key executives at the client company might have been six hours over
a six-month period. Now, with the DesignShop process, you get them for
35-40 hours in a three-day period. Their ownership of the designs, the
decision-making, the commitment to go forward, the allocation of the resources
and so on, all get done in three days, because you are able to get a much
higher level of individual participation. And this is participation by
individuals with much greater influence and-pardon the use of the word-power
inside their organization.
In a typical consulting engagement, you wouldn't
get that amount of time, and you wouldn't have it as concentrated. Therefore,
the buy-in, implementation, and effective execution of the design is diluted
and degraded, whereas in the three-day deal they come out of there ready
to shoot the rockets and go.
We've already seen some dramatic examples.
Typically it used to take a month to set up a meeting and get a decision
made. But now there have been four situations-at places such as Digital
Equipment, and the merger between First Chicago and National Bank of Detroit-where
people were coming out of DesignShop sessions on a Wednesday night, and
on Friday morning they are presenting to the Chairman.
E&Y is now beginning to combine the DesignShop
process with its huge existing base of solutions for business-a skills-and-knowledge
base already bringing in a billion dollars of revenue per year. Lee tells
of an early example showing what kind of results are possible:
This is a case we just had recently: two
companies have merged, and these two companies are both very large and
successful in their own right. They come together, and one company has
the tradition and history of building their own systems, their own applications;
they were all internally developed and managed, maintained, and so on.
The other company was a package-oriented company. They would go buy whatever
they could find and develop very little, and let the outside firm take
care of the management and the upgrades and so forth.
Well, you bring those two organizations together
and obviously there are some philosophical differences. How they are going
to manage data, what is the architecture of their technology, what kind
of applications are going to be used, what is the competitive advantage,
what is the core competency that they need to manage and maintain internally
versus what can be acquired outside that doesn't really possess any real
differentiation? There is a huge amount of work to be done on these things.
This group came for a three-day DesignShop
session and, in the clients' words, they got 90% of the work done-decided
upon, with an action plan agreed upon-in the three-day deal that they didn't
believe they were going to get done in six months.
They agreed to the strategy, the technology,
architecture, what applications were unique and provided differentiation,
and, therefore, would be internally maintained and developed, what would
be packaged solutions, what would be transformed or carried over into the
other organization, which ones would go across the bridge in opposite directions
and the like. They believed that they built synergy and relationships that
they couldn't have done otherwise.
They believed that they got things done,
as I said, in three days that they couldn't get done in six months. And
it's worth a lot of money to them, because it allows them to get busy on
implementation and begin to save money that in normal circumstances they
wouldn't have begun to realize for another year.
Six months' work done in three days. Synergies
that couldn't have been achieved in any other way.
Lee summed it up: "It's very quick, powerful,
very decisive. It's faster and it's better."
That was in 1996.
Since then, clients have come back for second
and third DesignShop events-and some for eight and nine- in rapid succession.
When Chip told us about the president of a major consumer products company
smashing through a brick wall, he was describing a group holding their second
DesignShop event. Their first DesignShop session had focused on cost reduction.
At the end of the event, during which they'd discovered how to make a savings
cut of $250-300 million out of their supply chain, the president told the
facilitation team that he wanted to come back for another DesignShop session
in one month. This one he wanted to focus on growth-and that is where he
picked up the $1 billion in new product opportunities.
MG Taylor is introducing DesignShop processes
to more and more E&Y branches with successful work for major medical
industry and tax and audit clients. Teaming with MG Taylor, they have held
a series of DesignShop events for high tech, aerospace, consumer product,
telecommunication, and medical industry clients from their Fortune 500 roster.
"The theories and practices tell you
what to manage and change instead of managing people. Now, the client and
E&Y have had a taste of a different, better way to work. Potentially,
this can revolutionalize the way they do business.
In 1997, with a year and a half of DesignShop
experience under their belts, E&Y is doing very well. Revenues, which
had been on a cheery growth curve anyway, were up over 100% in one year.
The other stories are just as interesting,
whether they are the corporate stories or tales of the individuals involved.
- For CKE-the hamburger folks-the positive
impact of their first DesignShop event has been dramatic.
Before: After four years of declining
same-store sales, CKE's stock was down to 6 7/8, with only one stock analyst
even willing to follow their progress-everyone else had listed CKE as a
After: As soon as the analysts saw
the first prototype store based on the DesignShop work, there was a tremendous
response-they could immediately tell the difference, as did the customers.
Sales went up immediately at that store, and went up consistently at each
store as it was re-done.
Eighteen months after the DesignShop session,
Bill Espinosa tells us that CKE has announced the new image a success and
is rolling transformed Carl's Jr. locations out at the rate of four stores
per week. Sales are up 40%, a consistent upward trend that shows the redesign
is working in the long-term. The stock price has risen from 6 7/8 to 32-enabling
a 3:2 stock split raising $71 million in equity in one year-directly due
to the DesignShop event results. Twenty months after the Wharton event,
CKE took its next step and began its spread to the East Coast by acquiring
Hardee's, the fourth largest burger chain behind McDonald's, Burger King,
- Frances Gillard--the shy secretary who went
with trepidation to her first AEDC DesignShop session and ended up convincing
her husband to handcraft a coffin in which to bury the hatchet--convinced
herself that this strange facilitation DesignShop stuff was actually a
wonderful new career. Her gut instinct to get in on the ground floor of
something this dynamic has paid off. She has since left her job as Center
Master at the Gossick Leadership Center to become an entrepreneur. She
and her husband have opened a successful joint business in Tullahoma where
he offers custom woodworking services and she offers facilitation and knowledge
support to businesses and individuals. She has since become heavily involved
with opening new management centers and educating new Knowledge Workers
to the DesignShop process.
- · Wharton was the first and only
DesignShop Event for Orlando Health System, although a few individuals,
like George Fortier, a consultant with the OHS team, attended several prior
DesignShop activities. Because the Wharton event was a gathering of many
different organizations, Orlando was not going to get the intensive focus
on their issue that they would get if the event was custom-built to serve
their needs. And, unlike the AEDC team who knew the ropes and could dive
right in, the Orlando team were virtually all first-timers. Given this,
was Orlando able to reap any benefit at all from its participation? It
wouldn't be surprising if the take-home value was minimal. We checked in
with Gary Strack a year and a half later to see what his perspective was.
Gary: "It stimulated thinking in our
organization about the future and forced us to revisit our strategic plans.
It hasn't fundamentally changed the way we work. It's hard to quantify
the impact of the DesignShop process, because it's not measurable. But
it has influenced our thinking and therefore influenced our organization
in many ways."
- For AEDC, the Wharton event was one in an
ongoing series of DesignShop sessions which continue today. One of the
items on AEDC's agenda at Wharton was to phase in a new contractor with
the aid of a departing contractor. This raises the whole question of labor/management
relations, which had once been so rocky. What has happened?
Eighteen months after Wharton, relationships
between contractors, labor unions, and managment are excellent, and continue
to work successfully. The hand-off from old contractors to new ones flows
smoothly as new members are merged into Team AEDC through the DesignShop
process. As the word on AEDC has spread, General Basilio of the Air Force
Materials Command now uses AEDC as a model of how to have better partnerships.
The most impressive part of the AEDC story
is the network of partnerships and alliances-the web of value-that now
links commerical industry, military customers, and educational work to
do good together and contribute more fully to all aspects of American aerospace.
Today AEDC has increased its full service
to the country to become a joint operation with all service branches. In
addition to an Air Force Commander, they now have a Navy Vice Commander,
and the Army also now does testing there. In the future, it is expected
that the Army will bring people there full-time.
AEDC based the network on a covenant: a statement
of principles committing everyone to do good together. "If you are
doing anything complex, first sign a covenant of principles before you
sign a contract," says Colonel Bill. Far from being an empty gesture,
the covenants have in fact led to contracts, and tens of millions of dollars
of commercial testing work continues to grow for AEDC.
- The task for the F15 Eagle team at Wharton
was to develop a vision of how to get F15 jet to go into 21st century in
an effective, efficient way. The Wharton DesignShop event provided the
roots of what became the "Intelligent Partnership" strategy for
linking the war fighter, the contractor team, and the taxpayer. Arising
from the DesignShop work, the notion of the covenant has also become the
basis for how the F15 has successfully structured itself to move into the
future. This covenant has been signed by thousands of people, and continues
to gain participants.
The Intelligent Partnership covenant lays
out the principles under which anyone associated with the F15 will operate
as a team.
The Partnership has to decide what is better and more efficient for
the contractor to do, and what is better for government to do, so that
what happens is best for both the taxpayer and warfighter. In many ways,
it is not simple-the government entities are giving up activities that
they've been doing for fifty years. Col. Bill stressed the importance of
doing it properly: "You don't want to damage the war fighter. You
don't want to damage the taxpayer. You don't want to damage individual
people, whether they are in industry or government. Jobs will change, and
work can change from one side of the equation to the other without hurting
anyone. The F15 group learned that through the DesignShop process."
In order to have their strategic vision become
real, the F15 team focused on "what do we have to do, starting today,
to make this happen." This bringing the future to the present, bringing
the There to Here, is something that F15 learned straight out of DesignShop
First they came out with the Intelligent
Partnership strategy, then a strategic plan, and a detailed tactical plan
for operating. They came up with a dynamic process for evaluting the needs
of the airplane. They developed an effective decision-making process to
decide how to spend limited dollars on the airplane. The war fighter could
now set priorties to ask for budgeting money. Everybody has agreed on what
the key decisions are, on what money should be spent for, what is the most
valuable. The whole decision process is now focused on what is most valuable;
both the process and the quality of the decisions have improved. Squeaky
wheels go away. They may squeak, but just squeaking loudly no longer generates
funding, because in the new process everybody agrees on what is most important.
The F15 team is now working on organizing
their next DesignShop event.
Back in 1994 and 1995, Jim Champy, author
of Reengineering the Corporation, had intensively studied a handful of
leaders from across the country who had successfully transformed their
organizations. Of these people, only one was not from industry and finance:
Col. Bill, who was transforming AEDC using the DesignShop process. Champy's
management consulting firm rounded-up Col. Bill and a half dozen other
executives to come and teach Fortune 500 companies and Harvard Business
School folks what they had learned.
Col. Bill must have liked the teaching experience.
After holding two top jobs for five years, Col. Bill chose to compete with
120 other colonels for a teaching post. He won out and is now teaching
leadership, management, and communications to MIT and Harvard students.
- Back in 1990, it was Jack Yurish and Vince
Wasik's leveraged buyout of National Car Rental that brought that company
to a DesignShop session. National is now implementing that prescient plan,
developed almost a decade ago.
Jack Yurish and Vince Wasik have moved on
to other ventures and adventures. They continue to use DesignShops as a
potent tool. Jack attended the Wharton event to keep his thinking sharp
on the type of flexible, interactive organization structures companies
need to survive the complexity and change of the future.
Vince, through his investment capital firm,
Morningside Capital, runs his new companies through DesignShop activities
to jump-start them and give them a competitive edge. One of Vince's main
objectives is to help African-Americans realize the rewards of the free
enterprise system. In August 1994, he invested in Carson Products, a company
run by an executive staff of African-Americans, manufacturing hair care
products for African-Americans. In October 1995, Vince took the company
to a DesignShop event with the intent of getting everyone on the same sheet
of paper, and moving the company forward to the point where it could be
taken public. The results were so dramatic and produced such tremendous
progress in such a short period of time that Merrill Lynch, the main underwriter,
said "No, we don't have to wait three years before an initial public
offering. We could do it in thirteen months."
As we write this, Carson Products has just
gone public with a ten times gain in value, after completing many mergers
and having recently bought out a division of Johnson Products.
- Michael Kaufman, the facilitator who so
impressed the E&Y team in their breakout group, has moved to Palo Alto
to work in the West Coast's first KnOwhere store. Coming right out of the
world of DesignShop events, these stores give people across the U.S. access
to the creative tools and toys, books, the weird and wonderful furniture,
office design services, and the DesignShop facilitation teams-the people
who custom design the ride to creativity and provide valet service for
your mind. People from big businesses and small, cruise into KnOwhere locations
to hold one-time DesignShop activities targeted on a specific business
problem. Or they get the facilitation team to help outfit their personal
work environments or create their own management centers. Sounds like Michael
is heading for serious, high-tech fun, and the Silicon Valley is getting
a new form of creative technology that it can profitably use.
For people working in the form of art called
"business," the creative process continues forever. But just like
a painting is a work of art that stops at an interesting place, this book
has to pause somewhere.
In the appendices and bibliography are tools
to help you continue on your journey. Start making changes. Travel to the
future and bring your vision home.
We would like to leave you with the kind of
closure and drive to action that propels people out of the DesignShop event
on the last day, and sends them home motivated to do what it takes to change
your environment into that envisioned state. Our last set of exercises is
designed to help you get yourself back to the future.
1. This is the last opportunity we have to
work together in the main body of this book: we the authors, and you the
reader. We have established a ritual of recording impressions and questions
upon completing each chapter of the book without looking back at it for
analysis. It has become a comfortable habit by now, and we will ask you
to do it one more time.
2. What are parts of the old structure that
you want to leave behind? Write these down on a separate piece of paper.
Now take a match, and burn the things that are part of the past.
3. Structure wins. The best of visions perish
if the structure that must be employed to realize them is not simultaneously
set in place. What pieces of the environment, tools, policies, processes
can you establish now to help facilitate your work and incubate your vision?
How can you bind these together so that they reinforce each other and cease
to be pieces, but a self-organizing whole?
Take these with you into the future.
4. It's time for you to formulate the questions.
What is your next challenge? How can you keep learning? How can you keep
powerful collaboration going without the slipping back into the traditional
sense of control? What questions do you need to ask of yourself to take
the next leap?
For more information on the DesignShop process
and related ways of improving your organization's ways of working, contact:
MG Taylor Corporation
2044 Sea Loft
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 USA
phone: 888-knowhere (888-566-9437)
Additional facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Palo Alto, California
Pergamit & Peterson
PO Box 60775
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
For Taylor-designed Client and Partner Management
Centers, Navigation Centers, and Work Environments, see: http://www.mgtaylor.com/mgtaylor.htm