Ohmae's Key success factors LO11715

Scott Simmerman (74170.1061@compuserve.com)
Tue, 7 Jan 1997 19:02:30 -0500

in LO11682, Kent Myers says, in part:

> The concept of 'key' or 'critical' success factor is the perfect opposite
> of systems thinking. I've always used it as an indicator: if a person
> uses the phrase or responds to it favorably, he is not a systems thinker
> and we will have a hard time communicating.

My guess is that this will stimulate a most interesting discussion.

My consulting and coaching experience is that one can often find a small
behavior that a person is doing that DOES make a critical difference in
productivity or quality. This is not to say that the system is not
important, but that a "Best Practice" may be possible that has an
immediate impact and that may even free up the resources to do more
analysis of the system.

Sure, one can lean too far or even go overboard in one direction or the
other. But the pendulum does swing back and forth (re-engineering to
relayering), productivity to quality, etc. And I have yet to see THE
approach that offers a lifetime guarantee for positive results in
consulting. Yet ever year....

MY systems thinking tends to move around a bit. On some things at some
times, I am very analytical and detailed in looking at what is operating
(in reality). At other times, a simpler and more basic approach may be
what I use to generate positive results and impacts. How many of us have
gone through such shifts over the years? So, I don't look for The Answer
much anymore and don't take the position that something will always work.

When I first started consulting, I was doing industrial behavior
modification cutely called Behavioral Engineering Systems Training (tm, Ed
Feeney & Associates).

We would FOCUS on indentifying small, high-impact changes and often set up
feedback and measurement systems of teensy tiny little Critical Behaviors
that often generated massive results, payoffs of 400% were the norm in
client after client, workgroup after workgroup. Some of my results were
written up by the Associated Press (cool!) and all kinds of other
publications talked about the general results of these approaches. Back

What is also interesting is to see the pendulum swing back in this
direction with one (the?) current Hot Topic of "Performance Consulting."
Thus, my company name, Performance Management Company, is moving from
meaning performance appraisal back to meaning performance improvement,
which is what it meant when I started back in 1982.

I think a Systems / Learning Organization approach makes a great deal of
sense. People can understand the basic philosophy. But we also find that
some people don't understand the specifics, like they don't really know
what to do with Stewardship -- sounds marvelous, now what do I DO?

In watching all this movement, though, sometimes I feel like the Net in
the game of tennis. So, I am open to looking and listening on these
different approaches -- maybe we should all share that particular "core

And I hope that Kent and I can discuss this and not, "have a hard time

For the FUN of It!

Scott J. Simmerman
Performance Management Company
3 Old Oak Drive
Taylors, SC 29687-6624 (USA)
SquareWheels@compuserve.com (new name, same address!)


Scott Simmerman <74170.1061@compuserve.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>