CounterPoint Learning Center
We have created this area as a means of sharing ideas, concepts, tools, processes and perspectives that are relevant to the owners, leaders and managers in privately held companies that are looking to improve their performance and that of their organizations.
Over the years of leading businesses and working with owners and leadership teams we have built out our beliefs about what creates business success and from that we have developed a number of unique tools and perspectives. The presentations contained here are designed to introduce you to the ideas and hopefully pique your curiosity and stimulate your thinking about your company and its future.
What We are Reading (and you should be too)
There are a lot of smart people out there who are continually expanding the body of knowledge around the art and science of creating and running successful businesses. We attempt to explore as much of that as possible and then focus in on those few elements that appear to provide the most sustained leverage. We have integrated much of this thought into the work we do but there are truly important ideas worthy of your effort to bring them into your leadership and business practices.
We have tried to sort these resources out between:
• Foundational Ideas and Practices
• Application Ideas and Practices
• Special Topics and Skills
• Deep Subjects
Tools and Papers
POOLS TOOLS TALENT®
Master Operating Cycle
Acting Strategically – Every Day
The business organization can be pretty complex as well as dynamic. With so many moving parts and the external dynamics to tend to day to day, the practice of strategy gets relegated to a "retreat exercise" of big thinking. The resulting "plan" typically gets put on the shelf and may be revisited in year or two.
But thinking and acting strategically is essential in building an organization that wants or needs to achieve long term exceptional performance. In its simplest form according to Michael Porter, the strategy and competition guru, "strategy explains how an organization, faced with competition, will achieve superior performance".
Even Porter admits the definition is deceptively simple as a leadership team still needs something to help craft, modify, evaluate and connect the strategy to daily decision making and execution.
POOLS TOOLS TALENT®
A practical and strategic way to view and operate a company for long term growth and performance.
Master Operating Cycle - MOC
Clarity, alignment and accountability are essential to organizational performance and this process and tool set identifies, anticipates and integrates important activities across the organization. Originally designed to help improve the functional flow inside seasonal businesses, this process has been adapted to many organizational structures.
POOLS TOOLS TALENT®
POOLS TOOLS TALENT® is a tool, a framework and a discipline that starts with a simple premise and then shepherds the evolution of thinking and acting strategically within an organization. This approach was born out of years of working with privately held companies, all of whom shared some level of frustration over how to make strategy "relevant" in their business environment. For many business founders and owners, doing is better than theorizing, and simple intuitive explanations are better than complex multi-layered definitions.
POOLS TOOLS TALENT® takes advantage of our natural ability to quickly grasp and process things in groups of threes and is further reinforced by the power of visuals. It creates a strong foundation for seeing a company through the lens of the three most important determinants of the health and welfare of a business:
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2. Its Infrastructure – the mechanism that develops, makes, market, sells, delivers and collects on the product or service that mine the markets
3. Its People – the talent that can "keep the company relevant, viable, and on purpose". They see the markets and build and run the infrastructure to connect to the opportunities, both uncovered and created.
The integrity and strength of each of these components is critical to the strategic foundation of the company, but it is in their interrelationship and the effect that each has on the other where the core strategy lives. If the relationships and relevance between these areas are sloppy or undefined the organization will be sluggish or perform in an irregular manner. If the connections are well honed, tended to and focused, the organization will be more resilient and perform at a higher, more consistent level. POOLS TOOLS TALENT® provides a discipline for seeing and evaluating these connections and bringing the strategic mindset into the daily decision making. Strategy needs to be lived daily and be accessible and visible to everyone in the company. In our view, exceptional performance is deliberate and is only possible if the entire organization is engaged and focused.
The Master Operating Cycle (MOC)
A Tool for “Allowing Deliberate Success”
Clarity, alignment and accountability are essential to organizational performance. But they are not separate, independent factors as each is essential but not sufficient on its own to create truly sustained, exceptional performance. By engaging the leadership, management and supervisory teams in a process that requires them to collectively map out the annual phases of the business, and then regularly recount - clarity, alignment and accountability are put front and center.
Although any organization can benefit from the discipline of this process, it is particularly effective in highly seasonal businesses. At different times of the year the seasonal organization is either primarily focused on delivering its product or service or its focus is planning and then preparing to deliver. Quick, smooth transitions between these phases and faster learning curves within them are possible using this process.
The MOC is a deliberate way to bring all of the elements into focus. Each organization creates its own tracks to follow but some of the typical activities in that cycle are:
1. Budgeting and Goal Setting
2. Product and service development
4. Training and Development
5. Product and service delivery
8. Equipment changeovers
Advantages and Benefits to the MOC Process
Our Book List
• Foundational Ideas and Practices – should be part of your core as they tackle the "broader understanding" of building exceptional business organizations. We find that these are typically deep, rich and well researched, which means they will have some timeless quality to them and also warrant revisiting as the ideas will unfold with your changing experiences.
• Application Ideas and Practices – help leaders and other in the company with building and refining their skills and perspectives around the POOLS TOOLS TALENT™ framework. Each of the three vectors represents a critical component for success and developing a more refined understanding of each contributes to performance and effectiveness.
• Special Topics and Skills – deal with special situations, for example, family business, or provide a particularly insightful or useful model for dealing with a specific issue, such as team dynamics or conflict resolution.
• Deep Subjects – really get in behind the science of people and the dynamics of business. These will vastly increase you level of understanding about the subject but the applications are not always spelled out. These may also have applicability in other aspects of your life
What We Are Reading
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