Problem Solving

Use Breakthrough Solution Cost Reductions as a Management Development Tool

Donald Mitchell asked:

If you have a valuable leadership and management tool, I’m sure you make it a point of emphasis to be sure that everyone learns how to apply the tool. Otherwise, it’s like leaving large gold nuggets and bulging diamonds lying around on the floor in your offices: You are making a lot less money than you would with more focus on what’s valuable.

In larger organizations, developing the candidates to fill key positions in the future is a key management task. Depending on the organization’s circumstances, those with different kinds of skills are likely to be favored.

For example, when the economy is weak, those with cost-reduction skills will be in favor. When times are robust, those with sales talent will be considered more seriously. When interest rates are volatile, financial acumen and experience are more highly valued.

I have a different idea for you. Consider having everyone who wants to be a senior member of your organization demonstrate skill in creating breakthrough solution cost reductions. This approach has several potential advantages:

-This skill will be seen as more desirable by those with upper management ambitions.

-Experience will be gained more rapidly in all functional areas.

-You will create a common language and understanding of the subject that will allow cross-functional breakthrough solution cost reductions to be developed more often.

-The organization will have another point of common comparison among all of its top candidates for key jobs.

Naturally, you can also push this tool deeper into the organization so that people experience breakthrough problem solving earlier in their careers. For many organizations, cross-functional task forces of younger people are often assembled in part to see who can do what. These task forces could become breakthrough solution cost-reduction proving grounds for those who want to show their aptitude to move upward from technical, analyst, and support positions into managerial roles.

A reward for good performance on such task forces could be assignment to the team that implements the breakthrough cost reduction. In that role, those with primarily analytical skills can have a chance to show what they can do in managing change.

Here are questions to help you create more breakthrough solution cost reductions to make greater progress:

-How can you schedule and ensure repetitions of breakthrough solution cost reductions in the same areas?

-What can you do to expand the focus of your cost-reduction activities into higher potential areas?

-Which barriers to expanded use of breakthrough solutions for cost reductions do you need to remove?

-How can you expand your organization’s ability to generate and implement breakthrough solutions?

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