The Chemistry of Strategy tm Newsletter February 25, 2014

Increase productivity and reduce costs

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The March 2014 issue of Discover Magazine relates the findings of sensor-based research on worker productivity at Bank of America call centers. (Sensing Success) Researchers discovered that changing policy to enable co-workers to take breaks with others on their "team" increased productivity by 15 to 20 percent. Employee turnover dropped from about 40 percent to 12 percent. When employees engaged in informal gatherings of "tight-knit co-workers who spoke frequently with one another, they were not only happier in their jobs, they also got more work done, shared ideas faster and divvied up tasks more efficiently." 

A study of Xerox repairmen also documented the importance of enabling them to get together informally and swap stories. One key to productivity was that the repairmen interacted with the call center operators before and after each call to "train" them to recognize problems that they could handle directly. (HBR Archive) These informal meetings were dramatically more effective than the formal training offered by Xerox.

AT&T's legendary Bell Labs was convinced that physical proximity was everything. (True Innovation) If they expected innovation, phone calls alone wouldn’t do. Quite intentionally, Bell Labs housed thinkers and doers under one roof. They designed their facility and policies with open doors, wide halls and no elevators -- all to promote and enable ad hoc meetings and collaboration. The end results included such innovative products as the transistor, silicon solar cells, lasers, communications satellites, and cellular telephones.

Over the years I've returned with a myriad of practical solutions after informally interacting with other CEOs at my local Vistage meeting and CEO Club. These meetings were an essential tool for me as a CEO.

The above studies and experiences document the importance of creating an environment for informal collaboration. Promoting informal gatherings of small groups of people with common interests and problems builds trust and teamwork, and leads to practical solutions. The higher productivity and employee retention that results will add directly to your company's bottom line.    

Create a strategic plan with your team

"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything."
Dwight David Eisenhower

A well facilitated strategic planning process is a proven way to build a team with mutual understanding of the company-wide consequences of decisions such as setting targets. Implementing the yearly strategic plan provides a framework for creating and utilizing small, collaborative teams.

How long have you been saying that you are going to develop your strategic plan, but you haven't yet done so? Why? Perhaps it remains on your to-do list because it feels like a huge, laborious process and you haven't the time to spare to do it. Peak-performing companies have a clearly defined strategic plan…and it doesn't have to take long to create an effective one.

Your executive team costs you over a million dollars a year. Are you fully utilizing them? It's a waste of time and money to create a plan that they don't own and implement.

John W. Myrna

is co-founder of
Myrna Associates Inc


Create and Communicate Your Strategic Plan

John Recommends

Hire Right, Higher Profits
by Lee B. Salz

The attrition rate for B2B salespeople is 25%, and nearly 50% don’t achieve their revenue targets.

Lee Salz shifts paradigms. Make it a revenue investment decision, rather than a hiring decision.

Here's an approach where 80% of your salespersons can hit 125% of quota.

Speaking Gigs

John loves to share his insights. Email him if you'd like to have him speak at your next meeting.

Coming in April

The Chemistry of Strategy
by John W. Myrna

This book explains the three key elements in the author's "chemistry of strategy," all critical for communicating your strategy to people beyond the executive team and for turning that shared vision into reality.

It's based on our 20 years of experience facilitating strategic planning for hundreds of organizations.


"Myrna is to strategic planning what
Michael Jordan is to basketball.
Michael Sheaffer, President, Hi-Line

More Testimonials

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