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Q-Loop: The Art & Science of Lasting Corporate Change Hardcover – June 13, 2013
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"The Q-Loop is the rare ‘how to’ book that provides a step-by-step action plan for achieving transformational change. Over my 30 years working with Six Sigma, ISO and Kaizen, I’ve never seen anything as effective at driving operational efficiency as the work pioneered by Brian Klapper. In addition, because of his work with us, our customer service scores and employee satisfaction are rising. We are far from finished but what I will have in the end is a culture of process improvement and an organization that is much more scalable and operationally efficient." (David Castellani, CEO, New York Life Retirement Plan Services)
“This book takes the change bull by the horns – it gets directly at what management needs to do to tee up and implement productive change, rather than announce yet another change program.“ (Ian MacMillan, PhD, the Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Director, Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center, Wharton Graduate School of Business)
"Brian Klapper weaves together two seemingly unrelated disciplines, the hard science of operational transformation with the art of behavioral change, to create a breakthrough approach to corporate transformation. The Q-Loop is an innovator’s guide to accelerating transformational change and more importantly, making it stick. If you are involved with any aspect of business transformation, you will read it, reference it, and use it as a daily companion." (Tom Kelly, CEO, Silpada Designs)
"The Q-Loop combines two critical elements for achieving real results: 1) a practical methodology rather than a bunch of theory and 2) a unique approach to accelerate implementation. Change is hard and the Q-Loop model helped us meet our aggressive goals." (Dave Benson, CIO, Progress Software)
“We've employed the Q-Loop for roughly three years now and can honestly say that it has positively contributed to our culture of change by enabling ownership and accountability to be better distributed throughout our organization. The approach has also generated a consistent series of relatively quick ‘wins,’ which has directly translated into dramatic bottom-line results. This has reinforced our vision and motivated participation in the next project and the one after that. The Q-Loop provides an effective vehicle upon which to embark on a journey that demands patience, candor and endurance.” (Drew Lawton, senior managing director, New York Life Investments, LLC)
“The Q-Loop treats the management of organizational change in a new and powerful way. It concentrates on the often overlooked requirement for vitalizing the organization to see the need for the change and to become enthusiastic about the future offered by it.” (David J. BenDaniel, PhD, Don and Margi Berens Professor of Entrepreneurship; Professor of Management, Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University)
“If you are in a leadership role in any organization, The Q-Loop is a must-read to drive your business and team cultivate a strong culture of creativity and adaptability. More than just great guidance and insights, the book is presented in a very user-friendly, interactive style that enables you to immediately apply Q-Loop's valuable concepts into your organization – a start down the road toward a successful and lasting positive transformation. As a bonus, it's also thoroughly enjoyable and fun to read!” (Janet Tsai Dargan, EVP, Strategy and Operations, Sony Pictures Television)
"A must-read for anyone interested in delivering enterprise-wide change. The Q-Loop is a unique yet highly pragmatic approach for crafting solutions that are actionable, achievable, and sustainable. We have used the approach in our portfolio companies with great success.” (Neal Pomroy, partner and managing director, DLJ Merchant Banking)
About the Author
Brian Klapper is the President and Founding Partner of The Klapper Institute. He is an internationally recognized expert in business process transformation who has worked with global companies in a variety of sectors including financial services, consumer products, manufacturing, food service, utilities, retail, and healthcare. Brian's experience spans all elements of the value chain and across all customer touch points. Prior to founding The Klapper Institute, Brian served as the President of The Tatham Group, a boutique strategy implementation firm, and was a Partner in the Financial Services practice of Oliver Wyman/Mercer Management Consulting. Brian is a recognized thought leader, speaker, and writer. He co-authored a chapter in Redesigning Healthcare Delivery, which has become an industry standard. Brian has been profiled in several publications including: The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and The New York Times. He holds an MBA from The Wharton Graduate School of Business.
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- Your writing style: Your conversational style, and ability to anticipate what the reader might be thinking, helps to get across your own thinking in a way that has a good chance of changing the reader's thinking. (Which of course IS the point, and it very difficult since the reader's thinking is very likely to be ingrained and in need of some "revising".)
- The sequencing/pedagogy. Again, we know the point is to open the reader's eyes and cause learning, and we think you've done very well on that.
- The practical tools/surveys. We think these do a great job of making everything real to the reader...allowing the reader to adapt his/her thinking real time based on the learning that is happening.
- The data points and mini-stories are very well placed, reiterating the key learning points. The stories of course make key points real. And the data points "twist" the reader's head to see key points from a slightly different, yet reinforcing angle.
- You are critical of "traditional consulting" (and rightly so!)...but not in an offensive way. (It must have been hard to hold back at times.)
- And of course, our views are very much aligned...especially with regard to people and change.
There are a few things that we think most readers/organizations will need more help on (but we also think might well have caused distractions to include them in this book):
- A "process" for selecting problems/initiatives (i.e. the beginnings of some sort of initiative portfolio governance approach), to ensure that all initiatives are the right ones done in the right way, and that the Klapper approach is fully leveraged.
- An illustration of some kind of what a transformation in full swing looks like...meaning, what it looks like when many teams/projects are in flight. One major issue in many companies is that, while there might be some level of discipline around deciding and executing each individual initiative, there often is NOT enough consideration of how to align, decide, resource, manage and track a large squadron/portfolio of them. (Siloed decision-making is of course the culprit.)
- New kinds of leadership roles (for example, a role to own the end-to-end process, its design, and its performance results, on an ongoing basis), and especially change in leadership styles needed to sustain newfangled "horizontal", silo-crossing solutions. The reader can certainly deduce how leadership behaviors must be changing or must have to change to carry out the actions you describe, and of course a lot of change happens sort of automatically as leaders get powerful new insights and ways of thinking. But we have found that "old" ways of managing (I intentionally did NOT use the word "leading") have very strong muscle memory, and take a concerted effort to change. One thing we have that has proven very useful is a leadership model which incorporates globally proven "best behaviors" for leading in an organization intended to continuously transform. Our experience is that the "HR professionals" who usually develop leadership models just don't "get it" yet...they are usually a few years behind in their thinking as it relates to what is really needed from leaders in a world of constant change. Many believe they "get it", but don't...which is even worse!
- We agree that a Transformation Office is essential...but only for an interim period of time...or else there is a risk that transformation will be seen as a "program". Said another way, shouldn't the C-suite BE the Transformation Office? (at least eventually?) We think so. But to do this requires the organization's chief governance process (which includes how strategic planning, annual planning and budgeting, initiative portfolio management, problem-solving, change management, measurement, and ongoing business performance management are done), ALONG WITH several key HR processes (which includes selection, talent planning, leadership development, rewards and recognition, and individual performance management) to be changed significantly to embed practices that will sustain transformation. The chief governing process (which we call "Set Direction"), and the HR process (which we call "Provide Capable and Motivated People"), can be EITHER accelerators or brakes. In most organizations they are brakes! They are built for control and stability...NOT continuous transformation.
We say it this way: Leaders spend the overwhelming part of their time doing the things just mentioned, and it was their highly ineffective ways of doing them in the past that actually CAUSED and perpetuated many of the problems and issues that Klapper projects are going to solve. But the governance and HR processes will UNDO the new powerful solutions if they too are not permanently changed. Without actually redesigning the roles of leaders, and the processes in which they work most of the time, it is quite difficult to sustain new ways of thinking, acting and behaving. We believe that turning "leadership work" into reliable processes IS THE KEY to sustaining transformation! (And we have done this in our own work with clients, though it is the hardest part of all in any transformation effort, precisely because of who the "process performers" are!) Knowing that it NEEDS TO BE DONE is the first step toward actually tackling it. Believing, erroneously, that it is too "sacred", or too "off limits" to be done is a recipe for failure.
All in all, you have provided a tremendously insightful and valuable resource, that will benefit any who take it seriously enough to apply!
Steve Cantrell and Sharol Henry
Cantrell, Henry + Associates, LLC