The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade

The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade

by Michael Hammer
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The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Hammer became a guru by coining the term reengineering and writing bestsellers on business processes. Reengineering was a revolutionary 'big idea' that took businesses with storm in the early 1990s. A decade after his first publications, Hammer's book, 'The Agenda', acknowledge that reengineering is no 'silver bullet' ... it cannot stand alone. Modern management needs to use several business concepts simultaneously to thrive in the new customer economy, i.e. where supply exceeds demand (overcapacity), customers are sophisticated and informed buyers, and many products are becoming commoditised. With long-term trends like globalization and technology, there's no foreseeable end to the customer power that flows from it. So we better be prepared. The nine building blocks of Hammer's 'Agenda' address the ways in which firms are managed, organized, and operated: 1. MAKE YOURSELF EASY TO DO BUSINESS WITH (ETDBW). Take a long hard look at yourself ... from your customers' point of view...!, and then redesign how to work to save them time, money, and frustration. 2. ADD MORE VALUE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS (MVA). To avoid the trap of commoditization, in which you fight for a minuscule margin against a horde of look-alike, you need to do more for your customers. 3. OBSESS ABOUT YOUR PROCESSES. Customers care only about results, and results come only from end-to-end processes. Manage them, improve them, appoint owners for them, and make everyone aware of them. 4. TURN CREATIVE WORK INTO PROCESS WORK. Innovation doesn't have to be chaotic. Bring the power of discipline and structure to sales, product development, and other creative work. Make success in these areas the result of design and management, not luck... 5. USE MEASUREMENT FOR IMPROVING, NOT ACCOUNTING. Most of your measurements are worthless; they tell you what has happened (sort of) but give you no clue as to what to do for the future. Create a model of your business that ties overall goals to things you control; measure the items that really make a difference; and embed measurement in a serious program of managed improvement. 6. LOOSEN UP YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE. The days of the proudly independent manager running a sharply defined unit are over. Collaboration and teamwork are now as necessary in the executive suite as on the front lines. Teach your managers how to work together for the good of the enterprise rather than the stab each other in the back for narrow gain. 7. SELL THROUGH, NOT TO, YOUR DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS. Don't let your distribution channels blind you to your final customer, the one who pays everyone's salaries. Change distribution from a series of resellers into a community that works together to serve that final customer. Be ready to redefine the roles of everyone involved in order to achieve that end. 8. PUSH PAST YOUR BOUNDARIES IN PURSUIT OF EFFICIENCY. The last vestiges of overhead lurk, not deep in your company, but at its edges. Exploit the real power of the Internet to streamline the processes that connect you with customers and suppliers. Collaborate with everyone you can to drive out cost and overhead. 9. LOSE YOUR IDENTITY IN AN EXTENDED ENTERPRISE. Get past the idea of being a self-contained company that delivers a complete product. Get used to the notion that you can achieve something only when you virtually integrate with others. Focus on what you do best, get rid of the rest, and encourage others to do the same. The first two agenda elements are concerned with customer management (ETDBW and MVA)- i.e. how to distinguish firms from look-alike rivals and how to create loyal customers. The third and fourth are about business processes - Hammer's old theme of reengineering. The fifth is about measurement systems and the sixth about the teamplayer role of the manager. The last three are about using modern technology such as the Internet to create value by linking firms with one another - instead of t
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book truly wonderful. Came across it completely by accident, and the clarity of the thinking, and it's relevance to my own experience and needs was amazing. Dr Hammer's passion and concern for making businesses successful shine through. I intensely dislike the motivational (pep rallies, motivational speakers etc.) approach to achieving business success since such approaches are not sustainable. Dr Hammer unflinchingly talks about making life easy for the customer, and the fact that being a process fanatic is the only way to achieve high performance at scale. How many of our leaders understand this? how many businesses do you know where things really work, consistently?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Hammer is the man responsible for the early 1990s reengineering craze, but we¿ll forgive him for that after reading the mea culpa that he includes at the start of his newest book. While it¿s unlikely that the remedies Hammer prescribes in The Agenda will be misused as a business cure-all in the same way that reengineering was co-opted, the methods, techniques and philosophies that he presents this time around are actually more practical and on target. In a nutshell, Hammer tells us that the customer is now in control and spends his entire book explaining how to re-build your company around meeting your customers¿ needs. For that simple lesson, we from getAbstract highly recommend this book to all readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since Hammer wrote his Reengineering the Corporation he has continued to observe organizational processes,learn from them, and reject, revise and refine his original hypotheses. To anyone studying business processes, performance metrics, change management or the topics of any of the other chapters virtually each sentence delivers a combination punch of theory and real life application. Don't expect to read this at one sitting. Like eating the elephant it has to be taken piece by piece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There¿s an old saying to the effect that a carpenter sees every problem as a nail. To Dr. Hammer, every opportunity or problem looks like it needs new and better processes. The Agenda is structured as follows: It makes the case that business is ¿not so easy any more.¿ Then Dr. Hammer describes 9 ways that companies have been and could continue to improve. Become easy to do business with. Make what you provide more valuable to customers. Focus on improving processes. Where you have no processes, make some. Put in processes for all of your innovation. Use measurements to improve processes in ways that help customers. Tear down functional and business unit walls. Look beyond immediate customers to the ultimate end user, and partner with distributors to be more effective. Lower barriers between your company, customers, and suppliers. Do less, and electronically connect yourself with outsourced partners. Think of all this as the left-brained approach to whole brain problems. Then in two final chapters, you are given tools for implementing this agenda. These include watching out for new trends and making your organization more nimble in adapting to new conditions. You are also encouraged to focus your leadership on taking a series of coordinated steps forward in putting these many new processes in place. He predicts it will be ¿a trying experience.¿ Since this agenda is much more extensive than reeengineering was, that may be an understatement. Most people found reengineering to be pretty trying. Is there a single new idea in the book? I¿m not sure I found one. Is any idea explained better than in some other book? I don¿t think so. As a result, the mini-essays become very short statements of what are book-length problems. As a result, these sections are not enough to guide you. You will need to seek out other books that have more specialized material. For example, you should read the books about the balanced scorecard to really understand the point about measurements. Essentially, what is happening here is that Dr. Hammer first saw that fixing broken processes needed to be done (Reengineering the Corporation). Then, he saw that corporations needed to become process centered to fix lots of processes. So he shifted to talking about organizational development. But if you fixed unimportant processes, you still had a problem. So The Agenda shifts to the idea of picking important processes to build or rebuild. On the other hand, the book¿s key strength is found a number of detailed examples that I have not read about before in the business press about establishing or improving business processes. As a source of interesting case histories is the only purpose this book serves. Basically, this book calls for becoming the most efficient version of what you are today that you can be. I think that¿s totally backward based on my research with the most successful CEOs in growing their companies. In the beginning, Dr. Hammer says that success ¿is not about having the right business model.¿ I parted company with him there, and the gap just kept widening. If Sears had made its business model more and more efficient, would it have outperformed Wal-Mart¿s business model? Would the most efficient version of American Airlines outperform Southwest Airlines? The other problem with this book is that Dr. Hammer has a very large sense of self importance. Many will find it grating to read his description of his historical importance to world business, and how Professor Drucker¿s ideas no longer apply. I¿m not sure I will read his next book. Inevitably, it will be on how to create processes to tie all individuals, businesses, and governments together to make us all one big enterprise. Why do these books sell so well? I don¿t know. My guess is that they appeal to all of the engineers out there because the books rely on metaphors that make sense to engineers. I know they appeal to consultants because they create bill