Strategy Dynamics Briefing 79: Quality-related intangibles

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“Quality management” has been of central importance to the outstandingly effective operation of huge numbers of admired companies. But quality is of considerably more importance than merely to make firms cost-efficient and reliable. Quality-related intangibles are of critical importance to the strategic progress of organizations. That is, it has a substantial impact on medium- to long-term development. Intangible quality-related resources show up in many forms:

  • Every aero engine that comes off the production lines comes with a large number of manufacturing ...
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Strategy Dynamics Briefing 76: Measuring state-of-mind intangibles

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If state-of-mind is to be useful in managing, we need to find reliable measures for them. A full exploration of research methods is beyond our scope here, but since the aim is to understand how strongly people are feeling on an issue, scales that in some way indicate a range from “empty” to “full” will often be appropriate. A common example is the Likert scale, which seeks ratings on (usually) a 5-point scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree“.

It ...

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Strategy Dynamics Briefing 75: Common features of ‘intangibles’

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The story of the computer service company in Briefing 74 demonstrates common features of how psychological intangibles show up in organizations’ strategic performance. It is worth considering whether those same features arise in your case, how important each may be, and what you can do about them.

State of mind drives behavior. This is hardly news to the field of psychology, but our method makes explicit the link between some simple measures of how people feel and the rate at ...

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Managing messes

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Making the Most of Mess suggests we manage strategy/policy the same way control engineers manage complex physical systems … which is exactly what system dynamics has made possible for the last 50 years, since it is precisely the use of control-theory principles for understanding and managing social systems. It has its limits but we can go a long, long way …

We may need first to clarify what we mean by “mess”. I haven’t been all through the book, but ...

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Spreadsheets no good for strategy

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This blog post from HBS starts well, but ends in the wrong place, saying we shouldn’t try to quantify intangible issues. We do know how to deal quantitatively with such factors. We can handle both tangible qualities that differ between people, such as differing customer sales rates, and also intangible states-of-mind. A bank tracks ‘miserable moments’ their customers experience and knows well how recent history of those problems affects the likelihood of customers leaving. Call center companies know how ...

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