To stop the insanity, Rinke points to research showing that four basic, “somewhat nonsexy” practices lead organizations to outperform their peers:
- Adopt a clear strategy based on market needs that are communicated consistently to employees, customers and shareholders.
- Commit totally to disciplined operations.
- Build and maintain a high-performance, ethical culture.
- Design and maintain a flat, flexible and fast organization.
Leaders at winning organizations supplement those basic approaches with two of the following secondary strategies: (It doesn’t matter which two, and there’s no advantage to excelling at more than two.)
- Recruit and retain top people.
- Create revolutionary products, services and systems.
- Develop leaders who enjoy people, solve problems and anticipate opportunities.
- Boost growth with small acquisitions that support your core business.
Changing the behavior of many people takes at least three to seven years, Rinke says, adding that, over that much time, several fads will come and go.
“What I’m saying is ... that just about any management or model works if you build a strong foundation and if you have the guts to stick with it over the long term.”
— Adapted from Don’t Oil the Squeaky Wheel, Wolf J. Rinke, McGraw-Hill.