Blog Archives: Renita Wolf

Book Recommendation – “Why Simple Wins – Escape the Complexity Trap and Get to Work That Matters” by Lisa Bodell

In Book Reviews // on July 12th, 2017 // by // One comment

In Why Simple Wins, Lisa Bodell explains why it is so vital for people to incorporate simplicity into every type of work. Through detailed case studies, interviews with company executives, and clearly explained group exercises, this book outlines how all types of organizations can cut through needless complexity and master the power of simplicity. With a simplified core as the main objective, employees at all levels will be granted the opportunity to discover work that really matters.

In today’s corporate world, everyday functions such as email communication, protocols for approval, and required meetings can hinder individuals’ ability to get their work done. Lisa Bodell examines the main strategies that can simplify how businesspeople approach their work in order to be productive and gain a daily sense of accomplishment:

  • Reclaiming time by removing unnecessary work. When workers can eliminate the tasks that waste their time the most, they will be able to take on more creative endeavors.
  • Defining complexity. To uncover more streamlined approaches, individuals must address and resolve complex operational problems.
  • Finding work that matters. By stripping away complex layers, businesspeople will be able to discover the work that brings meaning to their daily endeavors.
  • Attaining a simplicity mindset. When workers at every level look for ways to simplify, businesses as a whole benefit.
  • Becoming a Chief Simplification Officer. No matter what roles workers occupy, they all must play a part in the simplification process. This ownership will provide them with opportunities to remove outdated, overused, or ineffective procedures.
  • Perfecting simplicity. Simplicity is a constant work-in-progress that must be perfected over time.


About the Author –

Lisa Bodell is the founder and CEO of futurethink, which enables organizations to embrace change and become world-class innovators.

A globally recognized innovation leader and futurist, Lisa founded futurethink in 2003 to provide a simple approach to the otherwise complicated topic of innovation. Working with leading brands such as Starwood, Merck, and Bosch, futurethink has become the largest source of innovation research, tools, and training curricula in the world. She is the author of the provocative culture-change book, Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, which was named one of the Best Business Books of 2012 by booz&co.

More Info at: @LisaBodell @futurethinktank

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Business Planning Building Blocks

In Best Practices, Finance, Strategic Planning // on December 27th, 2016 // by // No comment

Business PlanningThe Building Blocks for Business Planning

Data and dashboard and scorecards are building blocks that support valuable business planning practices. The execution of business strategy is often hampered by a lack of reliable information. In a 2013 report on business planning practices KPMG determined that “seven out of ten executives do not get the right information to make business decisions.”


Data provides a common business language, a set of definitions and agreed standards. Data organized through the use of corporate data models ranging from corporate to individual systems should adhere to a common set of standards. There should be robust controls of the master data and clear ownership demonstrated throughout the organization around data requirements. A system of controls and governance should be in place to ensure the quality, consistency and completeness of information resulting in data that is consistent where applicable across multiple business units.

Dashboards and Scorecards

A dashboard measurement system provides a simple, clear message about the strategy that all employees can understand and internalize in their everyday operations. Design an efficient system that includes automated dashboards and scorecards. Build alerts and early warnings into the system by setting limits so that material variances get flagged when you hit that limit. This eliminates the need for someone to sit down and sift through a monthly report that has 200 variances and try to determine which ones are important. You also get agreement among company leaders as to what are the most important measures.

A well-constructed dashboard provides the roadmap for achieving the company’s strategy. It decomposes high-level stretch targets into ambitious targets for the linked objective and measures on the dashboard. The organization can then define the strategic initiatives designed to close the planning gap between the stretch targets and the organization’s current performance. In this way, the organization provides the knowledge, tools and means to achieve the stretch targets. The dashboard helps the organization mobilize by focusing and aligning all of its resources and activities on the strategy for breakthrough performance. Employees are more willing to sign up to the stretch targets because they can see the linkages, integration and initiatives that make achievement possible.

The most important criterion for initiating the dashboard is that the initiating unit has a senior leader whose leadership and management style emphasizes communication, participation and employee initiative and innovation.

Follow me on Twitter @RenitaWolf

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Dynamic Business Planning

In Best Practices, Finance, Strategic Planning // on December 20th, 2016 // by // No comment

Business PlanningDynamic Business Planning

The plan must be dynamic to respond to changes in the industry, the economy, the competition, key commodities and other planning assumptions. A dynamic plan enables the organization to adapt and grow to meet changing competitive conditions.

Analytic Tools and Predictive Models

Analytic tools and predictive models are excellent methods for enabling organizations to adjust to changing conditions. They require fewer inputs than traditional planning and help to automate and shorten the annual budget cycle. Analytic tools incorporated into the business planning process enable finance to generate scenarios needed to question old assumptions. They also stimulate new thinking by churning through internal and external data. Analytic tools challenge the idea that professional experience and intuition are reliable substitutes for fact-based decision making – it takes all three.

Predictive models enable organizations to design models that focus on leading versus lagging indicators and provide much greater insight into what’s happening in the organization. In addition, predictive models enable planners to evaluate alternative scenarios based on driver fluctuations.

Predictive models should be designed and implemented using a driver-based planning model. The models should incorporate critical operational data or drivers that influence financial outcomes. Over time they increase the predictive accuracy of plans. A driver-based planning model is not purely financial in nature; the model captures the inter-dependencies of the business and provides a better-rounded picture for the future of the business.

Value drivers include market share; service and products – existing, new, mix; customer channels – channels, segments, service; and market growth – contract life cycle. These value drivers are owned by business managers to drive the focus across the organization. Clearly defined value drivers measure progress against targets that are linked to the organizational strategy.

If you’re new to designing predictive models, start small, use model-based forecasting to support target setting and build your experience using data to create meaningful scenarios.

Retain Best Practices

In the end, when it comes to designing your planning blueprint, determine what works for your company and confirm with stakeholders. Retain practices that add value and eliminate the rest.

Follow me on Twitter @RenitaWolf

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