ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

October 1999


Not So Common Sense

A Fresh Squeeze On Labor Relations

Toughening Up Today's Change Efforts

People Before Strategy: Four Types of Employees that Help or Hinder a Changing Corporate Culture

The Missing Link
Failed Mergers Linked to Poor Management of Workforce Issues

A Few Kind Words: The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

Tool Time
Assessing Management Tools


Turnabout Is Fair Play
by Peter Block


Brief Cases

Diary of a Shutdown

Views for a Change



Tool Time
Assessing Management Tools

A recent study conducted by the consulting firm Bain and Company, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, ranks "Strategic Planning" as the top management tool in use worldwide. In fact, 92 percent of executives cited Strategic Planning as the management tool they use most frequently, and the tool with which they had the highest level of satisfaction.
"Scenario Planning," however, weighed in on the low end of the spectrum. Only 27 percent of companies surveyed cited "Scenario Planning" as a tool they used, and it subsequently had the lowest satisfaction rating of any management tool.

A large number of managers surveyed cited a need for short-term contingency plans, not a need for the long-term plans associated with "Scenario Planning." In other words, most managers seem to be struggling with the ways to accomplish day-to-day work with the resources they have and are too busy to develop strategies for future "what if" situations.
"Unfortunately, 'Scenario Planning' is often misapplied, with emphasis placed on long-term planning. As a result, companies get too much cost and too little benefit," states Darrell Rigby of Bain and Company.

Hot and Cold
Other tools that ranked high in use included Mission and Vision Statements (86 percent) and Customer Satisfaction Measures (80 percent).
The lists of tools whose usage has slipped since previous surveys includes: Reengineering, Bench Marking, TQM, Market Migration Analysis and Value Chain Analysis.
Reengineering (which had ranked as high as fifth in usage and seventh in overall satisfaction) hit an all-time low by ranking in the bottom four for overall satisfaction.

Other Survey Highlights
"Knowledge Management," one management tool that has received extensive media attention lately, was used by only 25 percent of respondents. Furthermore, "Knowledge Management" also registered low on the satisfaction list.

And while the past year saw record numbers of mergers and acquisitions, only one third of the companies surveyed used "Merger Integration Teams" as a management tool.
Also, the survey indicates a continued boost in internet-based business with 64 percent of companies responding saying they are aggressively expanding e-commerce strategies.
These findings came from Bain and Company's annual "Tools and Techniques" survey that profiles the usage and effectiveness of management tools. This year's survey included 631 global companies who responded with input regarding 25 management tools.

Rigby concludes that the success of any management tool lies in how the tool is integrated into a company. "Many companies jump at the opportunity to employ the latest management tool but fail to align it with their corporate strategy," he adds.

October '99 News for a Change | Email Editor
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