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Alliance Reports

Alliance Reports

By Steven Ouellette
Thoughts on, and answers about, building a modern business infrastructure for a new age of data.
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Trying to Please Everyone Means That You Don’t Please Anyone

Alliance Reports

Is Your Business Like an Orchestra or a Jazz Band?
What does strategic planning have to do with jazz? Listen to my new article to find out!
November 22, 2021
Trying to Please Everyone Means That You Don’t Please Anyone
If Abe Lincoln had been a marketing manager today, well, the US would be a whole lot worse off. But if he were, he might say “You can please some of your customers all of the time, and all of your customers some of the time, but if you try to please all of your customers all of the time, you will please no one.” What is a company to make of that?
August 09, 2021
Right Data > Big Data
“Big Data” is big right now. It offers the promise of turning vast amounts of data into profits. Often, however, this promise is not fulfilled, because in order to reap the benefits of big data, you first have to know what the right data is. And that is a question that no AI can yet answer.
July 09, 2021
The Metrics Catch-22
Joseph Heller’s dark satire Catch-22 proposes the term for problems that inherently prevent their own solutions. Creating good metrics can be seen as a Catch-22: Good metrics take time to create, but until you have good metrics there is no time to create them. How true is this and is there a way to break this cycle?
May 26, 2021
It’s Going to be Harder Than You Think to Go Back to the Workplace
I lived in Western Europe for a year after college when I was a Watson Fellow. Adapting to new cultures and mores was difficult, but I was surprised at how much more difficult it was returning to my own country afterwards. As we near the milestone in the US of 50% with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is time to think about how to begin the transition back to the workplace. I think companies are going to find out that it is much more difficult than just “getting back to normal.” I can offer some things from quality and management to help out.
April 30, 2021
Experience Teaches Nothing
You’ve seen the situation – a manager makes the same mistakes over and over, an executive reads a book or article and decides to implement it at their organization. Why do they fail when they try to use their own or someone else’s experience? It’s because experience alone teaches nothing.
March 22, 2021
One Simple Rule To Control A Business: Emergent Behavior
Even a small business is pretty complicated. I have heard some people say that business is so complicated that no one can really understand or control one. While the former might be true, you don’t need to understand everything about a business to manage it. And it can be understood by watching flocks of birds.
March 02, 2021
How is Making Metrics Like an Organ Transplant?
Most businesses know the importance of using metrics to manage, but a lot of them struggle with creating metrics that actually fulfill their purpose. How do they go wrong, and how is hiring an external consultant to tell you the “right” metrics like getting an organ transplant that fails?
February 22, 2021
Management vs. Project Metrics
One thing I run into at many clients is that they don’t differentiate between metrics for a project and metrics used in management. How does confusing the two reduce your effectiveness and how can you fix it?
February 15, 2021
Statistical Management Control?
Have you ever wondered how statistics can make a manager's job easier? Explore how managers can use statistical process control to support process improvement.
August 27, 2020
Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Half-Assed
Creating and translating metrics to every level of a business is essential to get and stay competitive. But don’t be overwhelmed and think that you have to get everything up and running all at once. As a wise man is misquoted to say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing half-assed.”
July 20, 2020
Thinking Small About Supplier Quality
What is supplier quality assurance, and how did it almost put a client of mine out of business?
July 06, 2020
Where Does Value Come From?
One thing is clear from how we help our clients generate their metrics - where the value is generated. The answer might surprise you!
June 16, 2020
We Don't Need Another Hero
Does your business need a hero to save it? Maybe this is a bad sign...
May 26, 2020
Managing When Working From Home
Millennials (and others) have been asking for more options to work from home, and now reluctant businesses have had to grant that wish. How does this new paradigm affect managing?
May 11, 2020
Opportunity Amidst the Tragedy of the Pandemic
If you are finding you have some time in between trying to keep everyone safe and sane, it might be an opportunity to start looking at how you manage and for ways to improve it for when things get back to something more normal.
May 04, 2020
COVID-19, Black Swans, and Gray Rhinos
What can your business learn from the pandemic? Maybe in addition to how to stay healthy, something that will help for the next, inevitable, unpredictable event?
April 21, 2020
The Cost of Saying "Yes"
If you had a new client offer you $1 million revenue, should you take it? Or is there a price in saying “Yes”?
April 02, 2020
An Employee Fulfillment Model - Part 5
In the past few blogs, I have been building a model to understand and improve employee empowerment and engagement Is there something even beyond those? Listen on to find out!
March 26, 2020
An Employee Fulfillment Model - Part 4
As I described in the last blog, we can measure and improve empowerment using a simple model and some data analysis. If, however, we define “employee empowerment” as when an employee has everything they need to do their job, it is a pretty low bar. Is there something above employee empowerment that we can work towards? Something we might call “engagement?” Read on to find out!
March 19, 2020
An Employee Fulfillment Model – Part 3
Empowering employees sounds great, but is there a way to measure empowerment and actually take actions as a manager to improve it? Listen to the blog and see what the power of data can do for you!
February 27, 2020
An Employee Fulfillment Model - Part 2
If you want to engage your employees, first you need to empower them. But what does that even mean? In this blog I will give you a basic definition and set the stage to measure and improve it with data, so listen on!
February 17, 2020
An Employee Fulfillment Model - Part 1
Has someone ever told you, "Your employees are not engaged," or "I don't feel empowered"? Would you know what to do about it? Listen to the first part of the answer now!
February 10, 2020
Business Metrics and Performance Reviews
As part of the Business Performance Excellence (BPE) process, we help clients create and align metrics from the top of the organization on down to the individual contributor. These metrics can then be used to lead via a strategic plan and manage the day to day operations. I often get asked, “Can we use these metrics in performance evaluation?” Listen to find out the answer!
February 04, 2020
Why Strategic Plans Fail and How to Avoid That
This is part one of how to use the tool hoshin in strategic planning. We will set the stage with some definitions, examine how strategic plans fail, and talk about the optimum time horizon for a strategic plan.
October 18, 2019
Hoshin Kanri - Making Organization-Wide Metrics That Make Sense
 How can does a #business create an integrated set of #metrics? Our new video shows how to use the concept of #hoshinkanri to make sure everyone is measuring the right #management metrics that align with what the organization is trying to do. 
August 16, 2019
Overview of the Performance Excellence Process
This episode provides a high-level overview of a process to help a business or organization align its employees by creating an integrated set of metrics.
June 21, 2019