A marketplace coup: Your Sales Team + Your Customer = 1 Super Team

July 27, 2011

Customer involvement in planning their own future purchases really works

This post discusses a new trend in the B2B marketplace, where the seller does a much better job at pulling the buying customer into the planning, solution design, and decision-making process of a significant purchase.

For purposes of this post, we are focusing on an area where the authors have a great deal of experience.  The markets we will discuss include the sectors where the seller is offering complex, multi-part solutions to their customers.  Examples of the kinds of B2B markets where this approach is especially valued include Telecoms, Business Software, Logistics, Energy, Transportation, Banking and Finance, etc.

The 20th Century — the way it worked in the past

We are assuming the reader of this blog is already well aware of how the purchase of moderate-to-large size deals worked in years past. We are referring to the whole business of RFI’s, RFP’s, etc., and how the sellers would react to these opportunities with bids.

Not to oversimplify, but this was a largely reactive selling market. The buyer decided what they wanted, when they needed it, how much they could afford, and drove the selling dynamic accordingly.

The 21st Century — a new business model

The game is changed. The emphasis is shifting to what is in effect, a proactive selling market, which in fact is a better way of doing business for both the seller and the buyer.

So what is going on different? Well most everything… are we exaggerating?

Now buying and selling happens in more of a “business ecosystem” than a conventional market with clear boundaries for buyers and sellers. The supply chain for design, build and sale of the kinds of solutions we are discussing, is a much more complex landscape and environment to work within. Technology is evolving at warp speed. Relevant information for a given market, literally doubles each year, and is expected to continue to grow at an explosive rate.  Companies are morphing thru mergers, acquisitions, and personnel changes at executive levels at an unprecedented pace. And average tenure for retaining the smartest and most productive employees has decreased at an alarming rate.

So what should we do now?

Back in the late 90’s the authors of this Blog started experimenting with a new concept. What if the seller started viewing their relationship with the buyer differently than in the past. Instead of the seller seeing itself as a vendor or supplier to the buyer… what if the seller were able to create a relationship with the buyer as if — and this is the key — the seller and buyer were actually true business partners?

This would mean the seller would now sit on the same side of the table with their buyer.

  • There would be much more open communication between the seller and buyer, especially of internal company knowledge that heretofore has been much more guarded and withheld.
  • The buyer would have greater trust that the seller actually had the buyer’s best interest at heart, and was not merely looking for a revenue score for the seller’s Board to admire.
  • They may even share the same goals — formed directly because of the unique value that both the seller and buyer bring to the relationship — which served both parties equally well
  • They could both realistically factor in financial factors as well, with again both parties benefiting from a symbiotic business case which provided significant economic value to both sides.

Now that sounds to us like a true business partnership, and not all like a vendor/supplier relationship. This trend is particular exciting in the contemporary global economy, where the traditional vendor/supplier relationship with the buying customer is just not working as well as maybe it once did, in more comfortable economic times.

The experiments were very successful

We mentioned that the authors of this Blog had started experimenting in the late 90’s with a new approach to the buyer/seller relationship. We learned much about the best way to pull off this entirely new way of thinking about the seller/buyer relationship. But most of all, we learned this could be done, and done well it meant a substantial improvement in the selling game for our clients.

We eventually branded the partnering relationship, as the development of “super teams”. We have previously had several posts about this uniquely valuable business concept.

What is a Super Team?

There are several previous posts in this blog that define and discuss the super team concept, as well as provide successful case history examples. To mention a few…

Definition:  Super Teams

Teamwork-between-teams is an unnatural human tendency

The 7 key ingredients to a successful Super Team

7 examples of effective branding of Super Teams

In upcoming posts, we will provide some insight into the why, how, when, and who of developing this One Super Team — sometimes called a 1ST [i.e., One Super Team] Program.


The two most frightening words in a business vocabulary “Trust me!”

July 20, 2011

What do you mean, trust what?

In business, and therefore the consulting profession, one of the most important concepts is trust.  Every tenet of success in business has trust as a cornerstone premise.

But, when I hear someone say “Trust me!”, my brain always stops whatever it is doing. Kind of like a neural knee-jerk. Regardless of what frame of mind I might be in at the time… positive, upbeat, humorous, work-focused, or perhaps on the negative side — uncomfortable, impatient, peeved… you get it.

My knee-jerk thought is… “Which one?” Meaning, what kind of trust are you demanding from me?

Isn’t there only one kind of trust? Oh, that’s right…

Remembering this blog is dedicated to the management consulting business, we won’t get philosophical. However, trust is of course, all about setting and keeping expectations… and since that is what the consulting business is all about, then this is a key topic.

In the real world of business today, being clear about what we mean to say is very important.  I know, duh! We are consultants, and we live and breathe clarity.

But I would not be wasting your time and mine (well I can’t speak for your time), unless I had seen this all too often. In fact, I refer to situations where a person is using the word “trust” in a conversation, and it soon becomes clear that the talker and the listener came away with two different messages.

In fact, I see this especially when a person is speaking with another individual for whom English is their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best language.

M.A.K.E. – Trust

In the affirmative position of trust, here are at least four different interpretations of the word TRUST that might have significant bearing on a consulting activity:

  • Motivation — I trust you will weigh in on our relationship at whatever level of drive you declare. If you say you are enthused about my idea, I can trust that your motivation about responding to my idea will be exactly as you said. Or if you say you are seriously concerned about my statement, I can trust that you will be tentative in considering any support I may want from you, connected to my statement.
  • Action —  I trust you will do exactly what you commit to, and do so on a timely basis. If you say you will deliver to me some information by close of business on Tuesday, I can trust you will get me that information on or before 5:00pm on Tuesday. Or if you tell me I can count on you to say something favorable to your boss, I can trust that you will indeed say something positive to your boss, and say it soon.
  • Knowledge —  I trust when you explain something, you fully know what you are talking about. If you are explaining to me something about one of our Customers, I can trust that you have the understanding to support the conclusions you are presenting to me. Or if you are telling me that one of my peers said something positive about me, I can trust that you either heard that peer speak directly, or you otherwise are quite confident that statement was indeed made by my peer.
  • Ethics —  I trust you are governed by decent moral values.  If you are acting on my behalf in a business situation, I can trust you will act with the same ethical standards that I hold. Or if you are describing to me a delicate inter-personal situation, I can trust that you have not bent the truth to better suit your own purposes.

Why we need to be careful

I may hear someone say… “I just don’t trust Bob.” [a fictitious name here used for illustration]

If I don’t know Bob, my mind might automatically surmise, “Bob must be an unethical person. So I probably don’t want to do business with him.”

But the person muttering his distrust of Bob, really meant, “I don’t trust it when Bob says he’ll do something by Tuesday. He is always late with his deliverables”. In fact, it turns out that Bob is one of the most ethical people this guy knows. Yet now, because of the original talker’s careless use of the word trust, I have an entirely wrong idea about Bob, who is in actual fact, a really nice dude.

In the business of making Super Teams [see the articles in this blog tagged accordingly], virtually all 4 types of trust — Motivation, Action, Knowledge, and Ethics — are vitally important. Super Teams are built on strong interpersonal relationships.

Elsewhere in this Blog there is a post on “The 7 key ingredients to a successful Super Team“.  One of those seven successful ingredients is Trust.

“There are at least four kinds of trust that each of the two original teams must continually prove worthy of to the other team. Demonstrating worthiness of trust will inspire confidence in the other team – they will reliably produce whatever they commit to.  With bilateral trust, each team will continually discover that the higher value of full trust is much more rewarding – both for the company and the individuals – than the alternative.”

Actually the argument could be made that the other six success ingredients are all underpinned with trust…. a member of the Super Team trusts that all other Super Team members will make their best effort to deliver against the other ingredients to success. When trust is highest, the performance tends to reflect accordingly with a high performance output.

Joe Bob teaches Kim his first lesson in Business Leadership

June 29, 2011

I was first starting my professional career, many years ago. Was in my late 20’s, and was recently out of college with a Masters in Psych. I had always been told I was pretty smart, a myth which I tended to really want to buy into. But somehow I believed down deep, that perhaps I was only beginning to wake up.

Had become pretty successful in the social services arena in Dallas/Ft Worth. At that time, I was the Director of a Drug Abuse Education, Information and Referral organization.

But was also starting a family and decided could better support my family if I got into business. Great idea, but unfortunately… I had no background in doing business, no training, and my Mom and Dad were school teachers. Nothing about business in my genes.

At that time, we lived in “Cow Town”, Ft Worth, TX. One night I decided to go to a nightlife area in Fort Worth called the Stockyards, on the North Side of town. Not sure why I did decide to go there, as I rarely went much further than the taverns in our neighborhood. I had $40 in my pocket, all the disposal cash I had to my name.

Early in the evening, I found myself sitting at a classic Fort Worth bar a few seats down from a cowboy, probably in his mid- or late 50’s. He was wearing a $5 Big Mac work shirt from JC Penny’s, very dirty Levis, cowboy boots covered in cow poop, and a sweaty red bandana around his neck.

We got to talking and I offered to buy him a drink.  His name was Joe Bob, and he seemed to know a bit about life. I guessed he was a classic “good ol’ boy”, hard working, tuff cow hand out to relax for the evening with a few drinks at his favorite “waterin’ hole”.  So I asked him a few questions, and I found interesting what he said.

As the conversation progressed, I began to believe he had real, if not refreshing wisdom about life. I figured he had had a tough life, not because of what he said, exactly. In fact he was very positive and upbeat, but in a very practical, matter-of-fact way. Very likeable guy. .

After a while, and a few more drinks, I asked flat out. “Joe Bob, how can I be successful in business… do you know anything about business you can tell me?”

  • “Son. You and me struck up a friendly conversation at this here bar. We never met before, but you kindly offered to buy me a drink. That’s bein’ neighborly.
  • “Then we talked for 2 hours, you bought me 8 more drinks, and I have not paid for a single drink since we started. I think you paid for the drinks because you were interested in what I had to say. That’s doin’ business.
  • “You are young, probably don’t have much money, yet you still spent all your money on me. I own the 3rd largest ranch in North Central Texas. I could have bought you a few drinks as well. In actual fact, I could buy this bar and 20 more just like it. In truth, I have enough cash in my pocket right now, to buy a fully loaded Cadillac outright. But I let you buy all the drinks, because you wanted to. That’s business leadership.”

He then raised his glass to mine, toasted me, threw down his last shot, and walked out of the bar.

I turned to the bartender, and asked, “Was he pullin’ my leg? Is he really that rich?”

The bartender just gave me one of those knowing smiles, the kind that comes from a casual observer who just watched a young well-meaning, but really naïve kid get schooled. “Son, did Joe Bob mention the oil wells all over his ranch?”

Some guys are educated in business at Harvard, Haas, Wharton, Kellogg. I learned in 2 hours and $40, a single, priceless lesson about business success. Joe Bob Business.  I never saw him again, nor do I even know his last name. But it’s been 30 years, and I have never forgotten him, nor the difference between doin’ business and business leadership.

It took me another 5-10 years to begin to understand what Joe Bob was saying. I’m still working on it. But this lesson rarely has let me down.

The 7 key ingredients to a successful Super Team

June 28, 2011

Two separate teams begin to act as one team, with a unifying purpose

In the Super Team concept, the two original teams must learn to abandon certain behaviors and practices in favor of newer, more productive actions and attitudes. This post provides a brief overview of what these ingredients are.

1.  Mutual Goals

Not overlapping goals, nor coincidental similar goals… but starting from scratch, both teams must define and jointly develop goals that will direct the teams cooperative efforts in all future combined activity. This is the backbone of a successful partnering relationship.

2.  Shared Risk

Both of the original teams will demonstrate they each are putting some “skin in the game”. Each team validates to the other team they are committed to the future relationship by putting tangible value on the table for the other , and thus there is good reason for this relationship to work

3.  Trust

There are at least four kinds of trust that each of the two original teams must continually prove worthy of to the other team. Demonstrating worthiness of trust will inspire confidence in the other team – they will reliably produce whatever they commit to.  With bilateral trust, each team will continually discover that the higher value of full trust is much more rewarding – both for the company and the individuals – than the alternative. See the post in this Blog on the 4 kinds of trust.

4.  Personal Stake

There is an inspiration and enthusiastic rationale held by individual members of each team involved… to do their respective parts to make Super Team relationships work very well. The individuals all find personal motivation to serve the collective and individual purposes of the Super Team activity that are relevant to the individual.

5.  Two-way communication

Without effective and timely bilateral communication, all of the above attributes become a moot point. Each team must continuously demonstrate to the other team, openness and  transparency in cooperative interactive information sharing. This same point holds for collaboration as well, activities that contribute to both of the original teams work [now working as one Super Team] proficiency and ultimately is evidenced by improved cooperative work performance.

6.  A partnering plan

If the work relationship between the two (or more) participating teams is sufficiently important to merit the implementation of a partnering program/workshop… then it is equally important to memorialize and manage the relationship through effective control procedures.  A well prescribed, significantly documented plan will provide the support needed to help keep the newly improving partnering process on track between the participating teams.

7.  A champion

Because the notion of teamwork-between-teams is unnatural, we have found that the opportunity for success is greatly increased by the presence of a “champion for the cause”.  The champion is a person who fully grasps the importance of the concept, method, and tools that are being applied to the particular Super Team.  The champion will socialize the Super Team purpose and activity within the team and across the organization. The presence of the champion both encourages those that want the Super Team to succeed, and may also put some pressure on those that may be not on board.

Definition of a “Super Team”

June 22, 2011

Overcoming an unnatural human tendency

On June 15, 2011, this Blog posted an article… “Teamwork-between-teams is an unnatural human tendency“. Is there a solution to overcoming this unnatural human tendency?

“When it is highly important  for two or more specific business teams involved in critical part of your business, to improve their combined business performance… turn the two teams into a Super Team.”

Definition – In every sense of the term ‘super’

The dictionary defines super,  “…of the highest degree, power, etc.; of an extreme degree.”

We coined the term Super Team to imply firstly, that two (or more) existing teams can be combined together to form an entirely different level, or higher power of a team… i.e., a super team.

But the word super also can imply superlative characteristics such as superior, outstanding, superb, cracking, brilliant, excellent, enhanced, topnotch, etc. Are we implying that a super team is also an entity that is somehow superior to the sub-teams that comprise it?

Inasmuch as the level of work performance, productivity, innovation, and other terms important to a business or organization… yes, a properly trained and well-executed Super Team is indeed superior to its constituent sub-teams.

Depending on the actual mandate of the Super Team, the Executive Leadership of the org should expect one or more of the following valuable results…. increased revenues, greater cost savings, superior planning and implementation, improved ideas and innovation, superior leadership, and many other possible positive outcomes.

And the object of a Super Team, these organizational benefits should not be expected to apply only within the domain of the two or more teams that comprise the Super Team. The whole point of a Super Team is to generate value beyond the bounds of the original teams’ part of the organization.  A Super Team is often intended to produce value for the entire company’s business or operational performance.

Value is for the whole company

For example, a sales team is combined with a sales support (engineering) team, to form a Super Team that not only helps assure the sales function accomplishes its objectives. The ‘selling’ Super Team is expected to propel the rest of the organization to greater heights for all the reasons one might expect…

  • They create more money that provides more options for the rest of the company,
  • They generate cost savings that also provide additional resource for other parts of the org,
  • They produce new product and solution ideas that help improve market positioning, etc.,
  • They work under an improved planning process that allows the other parts of the business to more proactively anticipate the needs,
  • And much more…

And the same kinds of benefits can be enjoyed for other kinds of Super Teams comprised of the following cross functions:

  1. R&D teams combined with Manufacturing teams
  2. Sales teams combined with Solutions and Delivery teams
  3. Sales teams combined with Financial teams
  4. Operational teams combined with IT teams
  5. Marketing teams combined with R&D teams
  6. Installation teams combined with Customer Service teams
  7. Sales teams combined with Customer teams (yes the company’s Customer actually forms a team with the Company’s own selling personnel to increase sales production for the business!)

A Super Team takes two or more existing teams and forms an improved organizational function, a business capability whose total is greater than the sum of the parts.

All of the 7 examples noted above — in combining existing teams to form Super Teams — have been successfully produced by the Clients of our own Super Team [consisting of the authors and associates of this Blog].

A gentle reminder

A Super Team is formed for these reasons, but again it should be reminded… it is an unnatural tendency for teams to work better together, than they do individually. This is where a Super Team program actively creates the circumstances and mind set within the company that allows the Super Team to excel to it’s level of superior work performance.

If we only knew what we know

May 27, 2011

“If HP knew what HP knows, it would be three times more profitable!”
Lewis Platt, Former CEO, Hewlett Packard

Lew was correct. He could not have summed it better. In this simple quote, he has summed the quintessential reason for the products and services our company, Intelligence-NEXT: offers.

Lew’s comment was not a frivolous comment. He knew well, what he was speaking of. The good people at HP also knew it. And if it were not the CEO of HP, it could have just as well been the CXO or Senior Exec of any number of other Fortune 1000 companies. It is a comment that is profound in its simplicity, simply because when we hear it, we instantly recognize its fundamental truth.

The year that Mr. Platt made that comment, HP’s net earnings totaled $2.4 billion. Given the order of magnitude of this number, why didn’t he go for the 3x? What would keep Lew from going for another $6 billion?

In one sense, it is a silly question indeed to ask “…why don’t they do something about it?”.

Many have tried, many are still thinking about it

OF COURSE: if Mr. Platt knew… how to help HP better know what it knew already… they probably would have made that extra $6 billion. Unless of course, it required a few $Million to improve the knowledge game in the company. Then they would have only made and extra $5+ billion.

In the 21st Century global enterprise this comment is no longer even remotely flippant. In fact, this question is a key to success in the highly competitive, information avalanche that is the contemporary business environment in which we all work.

So what’s the big deal? What is being done? What is NOT being done? And why aren’t we doing it?

There are many, many off the shelf programs available and armies of consultants who are at the beckon of any enterprise that wants to improve its knowledge game. For example, there are over 400 software programs on the market that classify themselves as “Intelligence” applications. Depending on how you define “knowledge management”, there are over 1,000 applications available to support what the market has defined as a range of software solutions used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness and learning. And there are tens of thousands consultants offering advice on the same topics.

So there is no shortage of suppliers and products to help discerning executives raise the level of performance for the knowledge game in the enterprises for which they are responsible. In 2003, KM World Magazine reported, “The knowledge management market as a whole will continue to be the fastest growing segment of the software market over the next five years, totaling more than $21 billion by 2006.” This is not a trivial market and most of the largest global consultancy firms have entire practices dedicated to this very same market.

And of course, many enterprises have tried, and many more are… well they are thinking about it.

Although it is impossible to accurately describe the history, the current practices, and the future visions of major enterprise players in the knowledge game. There are clearly some brilliant players with innovative solutions and the prognosis could be considered bright, in terms of future solutions.

But for those leaders who are still hesitant to shoot for that multiple of 3 to the bottom line (as Lew Platt suggested)… what’s up with those guys?

The top 10 reasons why NOT:

The Founders and Partners of Intelligence-NEXT: have led and supported knowledge-focused initiatives on a global scale for over 20 years. In that time, we have collected an extensive database of executive viewpoints on the importance of knowledge in the contemporary organization. Ironically, although most executives acknowledge the substantial role and significance of developing knowledge-focused initiatives throughout the enterprise, they very often find reasons to delay or avoid making the decision to proceed.

Here are the top 10 reasons why executives hesitate to initiate knowledge development projects:

1. My leadership team already has an exceptionally full plate we should wait until they have the time and attention to devote to this important project.

2. We have tried to implement knowledge management projects before and have not been successful we need to study the matter further before we start yet another project of that kind.

3. Projects involving new technology are always more complicated and more expensive than first projected.

4. Our enterprise team is already very intelligent, and frankly they have been performing well without the benefit of a new knowledge management capability.

5. Knowledge management projects are very difficult to measure how will we know that performance improvements are in fact attributable to the knowledge management project, and would not have been realized anyway?

6. Knowledge management projects tend to involve much more resource and business scope than are actually needed we are not trying to solve world hunger here.

7. We already have implemented a competency development strategy which includes excellent recruiting, hiring, training and mentoring components any knowledge management initiative might dilute the effort on our competency development projects.

8. It is already the responsibility of each and every enterprise team member to improve their own knowledge and skills for their given job roles so knowledge management is really more their responsibility than it is the enterprise’s.

9. Although my leadership team agrees we should build our knowledge management capability, they all have completely different ideas about how that should be accomplished it is too difficult to get them all on the same page.

10. Our Board of Directors and stakeholders will view a knowledge management initiative as a sign of enterprise weakness and an excuse for past failure

At the time of this posting, we are conducting a survey to update our 10 years of observation. Please feel free to take this 7 minute exercise, with no obligation. Link here for the survey

Also, if you want to know how your results fare with other enterprises, there are options in that survey to contact us for further details. If you would prefer to just contact us directly for more details, click here.

A little bit of knowledge should go a long way

May 11, 2011

“In the world of business, knowledge is an interesting but useless commodity – until it is put to good use.”

A quote from countless clients and customers
Intelligence-NEXT: Inc.

Where are you now?

In the 21st Century enterprise, the knowledge game should be well focused on increasing the likelihood that individual knowledge will benefit the enterprise… and do so on a timely basis. Are you doing this now?

From the framework of “where we are now, and where we should be soon”… On the plus side, most enterprises have a variety of policies, processes, practices, cultures, and conventions that are already in place to promote the advancement of knowledge utilization within the organization. On the minus side, whatever the enterprise is doing, it is rarely sufficient… almost everyone will tell you so… and there is not much clarity on how things will get better.

To expand, on the plus side the enterprise will provide a variety of tools email, databases, document libraries, and a variety of software applications that help in the transfer of data and information into potentially useful knowledge. The enterprise will also occasionally provide learning experiences or promote some type of knowledge sharing activities training, lectures, workshops, newsletters, idea forums, etc., that seek to convert individual knowledge into applied knowledge of potential value to the enterprise. And ultimately, the enterprise will provide some structured business processes or best practices project management, decision review bodies, peer reviews, focus groups, etc. – that serve to convert knowledge into executable intelligence.

On the minus side of the knowledge game, the enterprise will readily admit that so much more could be and should be done to improve or enhance knowledge utilization within the organization. The enterprise also has likely had a history of less than successful attempts at improving the collection, distribution, and timely usage of its knowledge assets. Further, the enterprise in general has no central executive strategy to improve its performance in the knowledge game… even in areas of the business where it is understood that incremental improvements may mean huge improvements in marketplace or organizational performance.

Playing it safe and maybe losing the game

For sake of discussion, let’s call it “playing it safe”.

When an executive or leadership team is not quite sure how best to describe the problem, OR what a desirable solution might look like, it typically will just leave the issue alone. There will be some discussion about how important the knowledge game is to the future of the company, but no action will be taken.

To help illustrate this observation, the Intelligence-NEXT team provides a survey on its web site, The top 10 reasons why executives hesitate to initiate knowledge development projects. This survey is the result of 10 years of research, and will help the discerning executive team rate itself in this matter against other leadership teams from global enterprises.The executive team will typically tell you that with all the other priorities on its plate, improving their knowledge game performance as ultimately important as it may be will simply have to wait. They have a business to run that has more urgent priorities. And BTW, there will be nine other reasons that seem pretty good in justifying why the “improving knowledge game” project can wait.

So the apparent safe course is to take no action. No worries… history will later reveal how good a decision it is to postpone active improvements in the enterprise knowledge supply chain. And since it takes a while for history to show up, then a non-decision seems OK… it almost always seems OK in matters such as this.

Playing it safe – and winning the game

Is there a better way to “play it safe”? Our answer is emphatically, YES. In fact, for sake of discussion in this post, we will call it the SAFE approach. And we want to strongly emphasize that the reader should not confuse our notion of the SAFE approach with any contemporary market offerings labeled as knowledge management, business intelligence, communities of practice, distant learning, innovation, etc.

Frederick Presentation 1Quite simply, the SAFE approach provides the enterprise with a means to establish a well-defined and reasonably structured business process… maintaining a central focus in all cases on the role that knowledge plays in enterprise performance improvement.

As critical content flows through the knowledge supply chain from data, to information, to knowledge, and ultimately to executable business intelligence there are many intersecting points where this content is impacted by the people, processes, and technologies within the enterprise. Without judicious management, the knowledge supply chain content can get easily distorted, distracted, morphed, or lost along the way. The end result of a poorly functioning knowledge supply chain often equates to substandard business performance.

The SAFE approach simply takes care to address most if not all of those intersecting points along the knowledge supply chain.

Here is the extremely GOOD NEWS! Achieving a high performance knowledge supply chain does not involve a major, expensive, resource-intensive, long term project. Typically 80% of the ingredients of a successful knowledge-driven enterprise are already possessed by the enterprise… and simply require a bit of restructuring to realize considerable growth in leveraging of enterprise knowledge assets. The following are important points of understanding on the part of the Enterprise Decision Executive or Sponsor who may be considering a SAFE approach to the knowledge supply chain initiative:

  • This is not a complex nor an expensive undertaking; the success formula has been well proven
  • Once implemented, it requires a relatively short period of time to begin to realize impressive gains in enterprise knowledge and executable intelligence
  • The ROI will be readily visible and understandable
  • The upside gain will almost always be substantially greater than anticipated

The key message for discerning executive… improving your performance in the knowledge game is clearly not the substantial undertaking that you may have previously envisioned.

Ingredients for success

Once the decision is made to undertake a knowledge supply chain project… there is a straightforward tactical approach, complete with well-defined roles and responsibilities, and with checklist-driven tasking. There are four important points to bear in mind about applying a SAFE approach to the knowledge game.

  1. You will find out quickly if your enterprise staff and associates are poised and possess the appropriate mindset to drive a knowledge asset enhancement initiative.
  2. To ensure success, you only need a strategic direction for the knowledge supply chain – not a well articulated, detailed business plan.
  3. Any reasonable change management approach to project development and implementation can be utilized – you probably already have a process you use that will work quite nicely with the knowledge supply chain model.
  4. Most of the resources, technology, and competency required for a successful knowledge development initiative, are already in place within your enterprise.

This posting has been classified as a “concept” because it lays the conceptual foundation for a simple yet thorough method developed by Intelligence-NEXT: In upcoming posts we will provide more detail on how to structure an effective knowledge supply chain, using a SAFE approach. It is elegantly simple.