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Privacy

Overview M Corp and its affiliates (alternately, “we”, “us” or “our”) respects your privacy and is committed to complying with this privacy policy (“Privacy Policy”), which describes what information we collect about you, including how we collect it, how we use it, with whom we may share it, and what choices you have regarding our use of your information. This Privacy Policy applies to information collected through our business’s operations, on our website located at the-mcorp.com (the “Website”), any current or future mobile application (the “Mobile Application”), all interactive features, applications, widgets, social networks and social network “tabs”, and other online or wireless offerings that post a link to this Privacy Policy (collectively, the “Services” and, together with the Website and the Mobile Application, the “System”). We encourage you to become familiar with this Privacy Policy. Changes to our privacy policy We may change this Privacy Policy at any time and from time to time. The most recent version of the Privacy Policy is reflected by the version date located at the top of this Privacy Policy. All such updates and amendments are effective immediately upon notice thereof, which we may give by any means, including, but not limited to, by posting a revised version of this Privacy Policy. We expressly reserve the right to make any changes to this Privacy Policy at any time, without prior notice to you. The version of this Privacy Policy posted on our website on each respective date you visit the System shall be the Privacy Policy applicable to your access and use of the System on that date. Our electronically or otherwise properly stored copies of this Privacy Policy shall be deemed to be the true, complete, valid, authentic, and enforceable copy of the version of this Privacy Policy which were in force on each respective date you visited the System. This Privacy Policy is not intended to and does not create any contractual right in or on behalf of any party. What information do we collect? Personal information means information that identifies, or is reasonably capable of being associated with a particular consumer or household and includes identifiers such as a name and email address. This is not an exhaustive list, but a few examples aimed at explaining the definition of personal information. The specific categories of information that we collect are listed below. In order to continuously improve your service and tailor our subsequent communications to you, we may also ask you to provide us with additional information regarding your comments and contact preferences. Non-personal information is data that should not identify or reasonably relate to a specific person or allow M Corp to contact a specific person. Some examples of non-personal information are information about a user’s computer operating system or browser, the number of users that visit the Site and the pages of the Site which are visited, as well as information about how consumers use our Site in a way that is not connected to any particular user. M Corp uses the information that we collect to support the operations of our residential units and to provide Services that are available via the Website and Mobile Application. Categories of personal information collected, and the purposed of such collection The categories of information that we collect include identifiers (such as your name and email address), payment information, and phone number, to our service providers who process the information for the purpose of managing services and processing payment, market to you, and for our internal business administration. M Corp and/or its third party service providers collect this information directly from you or from reports that we receive from third parties. We collect browsing information and IP address, when you use our website. We collect information about consumers’ preferences from third parties to market our services. Categories of personal information sold about California consumers M Corp does not sell California consumers’ personal information. Categories Of personal information disclosed for a business purpose We disclose identifiers (such as your name and email address), payment information, and phone number, to our service providers who process the information for the purpose of managing services and processing payment. Cookies and usage reports By placing a small file known as a “cookie” on your computer (or other device), M Corp’s and/or its third party service providers’ servers passively gather information about all visitors’ use of the System for several reasons, including, but not limited to, the following: statistics collection and analysis, System optimization, analytics (as described below), market research, and maintenance of user login information. The information that we and/or our third party service providers track with cookies includes, but is not limited to, the type of browser (such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer) and Internet-connected devices being used to access the System, your Internet protocol (“IP”) address, your home domain or Internet service provider, your referrer URL (which is the URL for the website that you were viewing prior to visiting the System), how you were directed to the System, which specific pages you access on the System, how long you view each page, the time and date you access our System and the total number of visitors to the System and any portions thereof. We, and/or our third party service providers, may use the information collected from cookies or similar files on your computer for security purposes (such as authentication), to facilitate site navigation and to personalize your experience while visiting the System. This data helps us and our third party service providers improve our respective products and services. Most popular Internet browser applications will allow you to configure the browser so as not to accept cookies. However, setting your browser to reject cookies may, in certain instances, prevent you from taking full advantage of the System (or some portion thereof) and its capabilities, or cause some features of the System to function improperly or more slowly. Correspondence We appreciate your questions and comments about the System and Services and welcome your messages. If you correspond with M Corp through email, the Personal Information may include the content of, and metadata regarding, any correspondence you may have with us. We may share your messages with those within our organization who are most capable of addressing the issues contained in your message. We may archive your message for a certain period of time. How can I opt-out of promotional correspondence? M Corp and/or its third party service providers may send you emails with promotional offers. If you would no longer like to receive information or other promotional messages from us, please click the link at the bottom of any such email you receive from us and follow the instructions, or alternatively you may contact us at info@the-mcorp.com with the word “UNSUBSCRIBE” or “REMOVE” in the subject line. Your email address will be removed from our marketing list. Please allow us a reasonable period of time in order to satisfy your request, as some promotions may already be in process. How do we use and share the information that we collect? M Corp and/or our third party service providers collect and use the Personal Information to operate the System and deliver the Services, including to provide certain services and improve the user experience, address System integrity or security issues, and conduct research and analysis to maintain, protect, develop, and improve the System, and, additionally, use any information submitted by users as described below or elsewhere in this Privacy Policy. We may send you information that you request from us, promotional materials regarding M Corp or any third party entity or individual affiliated with individual members of M Corp, and any other communication for any other legitimate and lawful business purposes. Additionally, we may retain and use certain Personal Information to facilitate and otherwise address certain inquiries or requests regarding the Services or the System, or respond to your questions or requests for information about or from M Corp. We may also use Personal Information as necessary to ensure compliance with any M Corp policies and any applicable law, regulation or order. Except as set forth in this Privacy Policy, M Corp will not use, disclose, or transfer your Personal Information unless: you expressly authorize M Corp to do so, it is necessary to allow M Corp’s service providers to provide products or services for or to M Corp, it is shared with our affiliates and business partners who may also be responsible for managing and/or otherwise operating a property, M Corp is sending you other information that may be useful to you, subject to applicable contractual or legal restrictions, it is disclosed to entities that perform marketing services on M Corp’s behalf or to other entities with whom M Corp has joint marketing agreements, it is necessary to protect the confidentiality or security of your records, it is necessary in connection with other business purposes including, without limitation, verifying identity, age, and/or payment details, investigating complaints about the System, risk assessment, security, fraud and crime prevention/detection, monitoring, research and analysis, marketing, customer purchasing preferences and trends and dispute resolution, it is necessary to comply with law enforcement, governmental mandate, court order, subpoena, or other legal requirement, if appropriate, for your protection or in connection with an investigation or prosecution of possible unlawful activity; subject to applicable contractual or legal restrictions, it is necessary in connection with a sale of all or substantially all of the assets of M Corp or the merger of M Corp into another entity or any consolidation, share exchange, combination, reorganization, or like transaction, including when M Corp ceases to manage a property, in which M Corp is not the survivor, or it is otherwise necessary for M Corp to disclose it as required or permitted by law. Job Applicants Any personal information you provide us, such as identifiers or employment history, when applying for a career position with M Corp, will be used solely to consider and act upon your application. We may retain your personal information for a period of time, but only for as long as necessary for such purposes. We may disclose your personal information to our agents for the purpose of evaluating your qualifications for the particular position you applied for, or other available positions. We may also disclose your personal information to third parties hired by us to collect, maintain, and analyze candidates for career positions. How do we protect personal information collected about you? Personal information processed by M Corp and/or its third party service providers is processed and stored by M Corp in the United States. M Corp and/or its third party service providers implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices such as physical, technical and administrative measures to safeguard all personal information that is processed. Please be aware that no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, M Corp and/or its third party service providers cannot guarantee or warrant the security of any personal information that is processed. Linked websites For your convenience, some hyperlinks may be posted on the System that link to other websites not under our control. We are not responsible for, and this Privacy Policy does not apply to, the privacy practices of those sites or of any companies that we do not own or control. We cannot be responsible for the privacy practices of any such websites or pages not under our control and we do not endorse any of these websites or pages, the services or products described or offered on such sites or pages, or any of the content contained on those sites or pages. We encourage you to seek out and read the privacy policy of each website that you visit. In addition, should you happen to initiate a transaction on a website that our System links to, even if you reached that site through the System, the information that you submit to complete that transaction becomes subject to the privacy practices of the operator of that linked website. You should read that website’s privacy policies to understand how personal information that is collected about you is used and protected. User provided content Any information, communications, or material of any type or nature that you submit to the Website or any Mobile Application by e-mail, posting, messaging, uploading, downloading, or otherwise (collectively, a “Submission”) is done at your own risk and will be treated consistently with this privacy policy. Social media platforms and websites Any Submission that you submit to any of our pages contained on a social media platform or website by e-mail, posting, messaging, uploading, downloading, or otherwise is done at your own risk and without any expectation of privacy. We cannot control the actions of other users of a social media platform and we are therefore not responsible for any Submissions contained on a social media platform or website. By visiting any of our pages that are contained on any social media platform or website, you are representing and warranting to us that you have reviewed the applicable privacy policy and terms of use of such website or social media platform and that you will abide by all such provisions contained therein. Children The System is intended for a general audience and is not intended for use or view by children under 13 years of age without parental consent, and we do not knowingly collect information about children or sell products to children. Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, we will not knowingly collect any information from children under the age of 13. California consumer privacy rights This portion of our Privacy Notice advises California residents of the applicable rights as provided in the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and how to effectuate these rights by communicating with us. Please note that we will verify your identity when we receive an individual rights request from you in order to ensure the security of your personal information, which may require us to collect further information about you. You may also designate an authorized agent to make requests on your behalf. If you are a California resident wishing to make any of the requests as described below, such as access and deletion, please contact us by: Emailing us at info@the-mcorp.com, or Calling us and leaving a message at (916) 254-0355 Right to deletion of personal information California residents have the right to request the deletion of personal information as prescribed in Section 1798.105(a) of the CCPA. M Corp may not delete some or all personal information if it is necessary for us, or our service providers or affiliates, such as to: Complete the transaction for which the personal information was collected, provide a good or service requested by the consumer, or reasonably anticipated within the context of M Corp’s ongoing business relationship with the consumer, or otherwise perform a contract between the business and the consumer, Detect security incidents, protect against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity; or prosecute those responsible for that activity, Debug to identify and repair errors that impair existing intended functionality, Exercise free speech, ensure the right of another consumer to exercise his or her right of free speech, or exercise another right provided for by law, Comply with the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act pursuant to Chapter 3.6 (commencing with Section 1546) of Title 12 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, To enable solely internal uses that are reasonably aligned with the expectations of the consumer based on the consumer’s relationship with M Corp, Comply with a legal obligation, or Otherwise use the consumer’s personal information, internally, in a lawful manner that is compatible with the context in which the consumer provided the information. Your Right of Access (Request Disclosure of Data Collection and Sharing Practices) You may request to receive details about how we collect, use, and share your personal information. Specifically, you may request to receive the specific pieces of information that we have collected about you. You may also request to receive: the categories of personal information that we have collected about you, the categories of personal information that we have disclosed for a business purpose, the categories of sources from which we collected the personal information, our purposes for collecting that personal information, and the categories of parties with whom we share your personal information. Right to not be discriminated against for exercising your rights We do not discriminate against you for exercising any CCPA rights, such as the access and deletion rights discussed above. However, we may offer you rewards or benefits which we need your data to provide, but we will only provide those rewards or benefits if their value to you is reasonably related to the value provided to M Corp by your personal information. “Do Not Track” requests Certain State laws require that we indicate whether we honor “Do Not Track” settings in your browser concerning targeted advertising. “Do Not Track” is a standard that is currently under development. As it is not yet finalized, we adhere to the standards set out in this Privacy Policy and do not monitor or follow any Do Not Track browser requests. How you can exercise my rights and to whom can you contact for more information? If you have any questions or suggestions about the System, M Corp, our services, or our privacy practices, please contact us by calling us at (916) 254-0355; or by emailing us at info@the-mcorp.com.

Don’t let bias cloud your decision-making: eight ways executives cloud judgment

Photo licensed from Shutterstock The mainstream business community talks about emotional intelligence more than ever. At a time when daily headlines confront our nation’s history of prejudice and inequity, painful self-reflections are helping us grow better at seeing things for what they are. In the technology industry, decision bias is pervasive in our everyday thinking, whether you are a Fortune 500 CEO launching a new product, or an IT project director fighting the odds against failure. People are vulnerable to blind spots that hide the truth and keep us from making sound judgments based on data. Numerous studies, including one published by the Harvard Business Review, show that even highly accomplished professionals are subject to distractions, which say “the problem is that humans are unreliable decision-makers; their judgments are strongly influenced by irrelevant factors, such as their current mood, the time since their last meal, and the weather.” Here are some dangerous forms of bias that lead to flawed decision-making: Confirmation bias Seeking and prioritizing information that confirms your existing beliefs, or using information to justify what you already believe. Framing bias When you draw different conclusions from the same information presented differently, such as when you use proforma spreadsheets to display financial or budget information skewed toward a certain outcome. Anchoring bias Excessively focused on the first information you are presented with when making a decision. Gossip works this way, the first thing you hear about a person can change your perception forever. Sunk cost bias The refusal to abandon something that is not working or underperforming simply because you have invested in it. Monte Carlo bias Named after the famed gambling destination, this bias means putting excessive weight on previous events, believing they somehow represent future outcomes. It’s the assumption that past performance dictates future results. Availability bias Overestimating the importance of information that is easiest to recall, or taking whatever is right in front of you as gospel truth. Self-Assessment bias Unskilled individuals sometimes overestimate their abilities and experts sometimes underestimate theirs. Understanding how people tend to assess their own skills can reveal common bias in performance. Bandwagon bias When we jump on the bandwagon, it means we do something simply because people around us are doing it. We say, “this is what everyone else is doing, so I guess it’s the thing to do. They must be right.” By no means is this an exhaustive list, but these are important clues to understanding dangerous bias that can undermine an executive’s ability to make objective decisions based on data and rational thinking.

Is your new project set for success or destined to fail? How do you know?

After planning for months or years, your executive team is ready to launch a major initiative. You have sized up the budget, talent, requirements, and all needed to guarantee project success. But how do you know if your organization is ready? Having measurable insight into your organization’s ability to deliver a successful project is the first step to getting ready, followed by the team’s actual execution. Like a credit score that measures your ability to pay back a loan, having a deep understanding of a situation will reveal strengths and weaknesses. It should ultimately determine whether any effort is worth the risk. Key domains should be measurable across any industry or type of initiative, creating insight free of bias that is applicable to any situation, much like a FICO score doesn’t care if you are a Fortune 500 CEO or a kid fresh out of high school. Developed by studies from MIT, Princeton, Ohio State and McKinsey, among others, fourteen domains should be analyzed for an organization’s strengths and weaknesses before any project receives a greenlight. 1 Alignment Within a single measurement, consider three relevant themes: alignment to strategy, alignment to culture, and alignment to mission or market need. If one or two of these values are out of bounds for your organization, say culture, for example, misalignment will be an obvious red flag for people in your department. 2 Technical Capabilities In today’s world, 80 to 90 percent of all projects have a technical component. Whether you are working on a new product or back-office optimization, technical capabilities are vital to the success of a project. Your team’s technical chops must be accurately assessed. 3 Management You might have a great idea, but do you have the right people in place to lead the initiative? Do they have the emotional intelligence to inspire leadership? 4 Technical Environment Have you migrated to the cloud, or do you still own your own servers and data warehouses? What personal information do you collect on people, and is that data secure? These are complex considerations that must not only comply with industry standards but are many times determined by statutes and regulations. 5 Priorities Priorities shift over time. Can your major initiative change alongside your priorities? Do you have a way to measure your organization’s larger mission or put an executive’s changing priorities into a greater context? 6 Stakeholders Leaders tend to narrow an initiative to the people they believe should be the stakeholders, and in the process, they watershed away anyone they think will be an interference. Even if they don’t do this overtly, their biases cause them to favor those who are advocates of the initiative. Narrowing stakeholder perspectives can limit critical feedback. Have you appropriately defined your stakeholders in an unbiased way in order to capture all types of feedback? 7 Business Process and Rules Maturity In a company or back-office system that is more than five years old, most people tend to only understand the top layer of rules and processes. They lack a deep understanding of those rules and processes, which can become a major hindrance when attempting to implement an initiative. How can you deepen the understanding of these processes within your organization in order to effectively implement change? 8 Business Capabilities When adding a new initiative, are you adding to the workload of a business unit that is already struggling to keep up? Will the added workload require new skills, capacity or knowledge that doesn’t currently exist in the business unit? 9 Governance Do you have a governance process that is well-known by the people participating? Is it well-structured and well-articulated, or overly complex? Does it conflict with other decision-making processes or operating units? If the new initiative doesn’t follow established governance, it will cost the project valuable time getting everyone on the same page. 10 Decision-Making Every organization, department and operating unit has its own decision-making culture and approach, so the effectiveness of that culture needs to be measured. You need to make sure you have a decision model that complements the initiative. If you have an initiative that moves quickly, but your operating unit has a decision-making model that is meticulous and slow rolling, you’re going to run into a problem. 11 Subject Matter Understanding How well does your leadership or business understand the subject matter of what they are trying to achieve? If you are launching a new product, do you have a subject matter expert in-house? Because of biases, many people overestimate their understanding of what they are getting into, so this domain provides a clear metric on whether an understanding of the topic already exists or if more research needs to be done. 12 Organizational Adaptability Depending on the type of business, this domain is where you tend to see a significant bias and impact. Suppose you are trying to move an organization from Point A to Point B. In that case, Point B may scare many employees because it’s changing their jobs and eliminating what they believe to be job security (such as their existing subject matter knowledge) or exposing them to a new way of doing things. Their day-to-day work can feel so disruptive that it results in resistance against the new initiative. 13 Criticality How critical is the initiative in meeting the organization’s growth? How critical is it in meeting your intended targets? Some projects get prioritized over others, despite an initiative’s path to business viability or some other merit. Criticality provides a better understanding about how vital a specific initiative is to the overall vision of the organization. 14 Vision Without a vision, an initiative just becomes an activity you’re doing on a daily basis. With a clear vision and the ability to articulate it, you will find it easier to get all participants fully committed and moving in the right direction together. Research has shown that these fourteen domains identify critical points at which strategic initiatives fail. By harvesting data on these domains, you reveal your specific vulnerabilities so you can address them before moving forward. This article is based on the book Measure, Executive, Win! by Alex Castro. 

Improve Project Success with Data That’s All Around You

Every executive considers whether they are dedicating resources to initiatives that may not pan out. Too often, project directors use their best guess at what will make them successful, including the past performance of similar initiatives. Using internal data harvested from across your business or program will help reduce bias and create a decision engine that exposes weaknesses and pinpoints high performance, both of which will eliminate guesswork and create a path to successful projects. Harvesting data from within your organization based on fourteen domains of measurement, such as alignment, governance and vision, will help you identify a rich source of information that will improve over time and pay off in unexpected ways. For example, a critical turn in the history of Netflix came after company executives discovered a chasm between rigid operations and the ability to keep up with market shifts. They realized they needed to compensate by hiring high-performance people. A deep understanding of the problem revealed the solution. Here are some ways to harvest data from within your organization: Eliminate bias that says there is not any useful data, or the only data is related to past performance. Data is all around you; look closer until you see it. For example, just because you are implementing an information technology project doesn’t mean relevant data only comes from IT. Collect data from the fourteen domains to begin embracing a wider and deeper understanding of where relevant data comes from because resources are rarely siloed. People working in a different part of the business will usually touch on other parts from time to time. With any initiative, some degree of overlap will take place. You have untapped resources for harvesting data in your teams. Resist relying on historical performance data to guide your decisions. Fight the temptation to look to the past to inform the future. This bias is common among executives. Such data is only accurate if you are executing the same project with all the same variables, which is unlikely and why companies often end up with Frankenstein models made of bits and pieces of past initiatives. While you are collecting data about your program’s ability to execute a specific initiative, aggregate the data for future and ongoing visibility into your organization. You will gain insight into the capacity of your business or program to adapt to the next iteration or strategy quickly. This will give you broader insight into a program that most executives have never had, which will prove to be invaluable in making future decisions. While data is the world’s most valuable resource, knowing how to leverage it to enable project success remains elusive to many executives—harvest organizational data by taking these first steps. This article is based on the book Measure, Executive, Win! By Alex Castro

Move beyond innovation with a project readiness score

Half of all new initiatives fail, regardless of how creative or innovative a project might be. Expedited by digital transformation in almost every industry, the culture of innovation in the business world has enhanced the way executives approach any program or project. People today are much less conservative with their strategies and decisions. But, projects are destined to fail without the correct data that measures your organization’s ability to deliver. Leaders need a readiness score that provides critical information and a continuous feedback loop. No matter how great your idea is, if you can’t execute your strategy, it’s worthless. Often, company executives do not realize this until they are already compensating for or even stumbling over an invisible hazard that could be remedied with measurable data and a focus on real solutions. For example, as your initiative grows into new phases, a gap in capacity emerges as your people, processes, and technology become more complex. In the interactive chart above, the gray square (where the orange squares overlap) represents the skills your organization retains as the initiative moves forward. Ultimately, the more aggressively you pursue goals, the more quickly you will experience misalignment and a growing risk of failure. It may be counterintuitive for an executive, especially one whose leadership has long created confidence within the company, to question his or her instincts about a team’s ability to adapt. However, confidence bias will lead to blind spots and should never take the place of measurable data. By harvesting data from within your organization, measuring proven domains, and identifying dangerous bias to help improve decision-making, you can develop a true metric and control factors that will improve project success.

Build a ‘hive mind’​ within your organization to ensure project success

Photo by Boba Jagilicic on Unsplash Project success requires eliminating guesswork and biased decision-making to acquire a deep understanding of your organization’s ability to deliver results. Nature gives an example of how gathering and organizing real-time data across an enterprise takes any initiative to the next level or beyond your imagination. A key component of measuring execution capability is the application of swarm intelligence, or hive mind, which was developed in 1989 by Jing Wang, for Cellular Robotic Systems. This concept involves using a swarm platform, such as a REM score, as a network of distributed users contributing real-time feedback, as revealed by Louis Rosenberg, PhD. Such real-time systems enable groups of people to behave as a unified collective intelligence that works as a single entity to make predictions, answer questions, and evoke opinions. It has been referred to as artificial swarm intelligence, or the brand name Swarm AI, which proves to amplify human intelligence significantly and has resulted in a string of high-profile predictions of extreme accuracy. Famously, human swarming was used in 2016 to correctly predict the Kentucky Derby superfecta against 541 to one odds in response to a challenge from reporters. By tapping into the collective intelligence resident in your organization, you will have the ability to identify which initiatives can be delivered and what vulnerabilities they possess. Fourteen key domains outline execution capability metrics on an ongoing basis. For example, if you have 10,000 people working for you, you have 10,000 perspectives just waiting to be leveraged as a hive mind. In the process, you acquire data about the nimbleness of your organization, your ability to adapt and move forward and identify any bottlenecks or roadblocks. Ultimately, an execution capability score is a data collection system. You are harvesting data about your adaptability out of your own business daily. With the power of a hive mind, you will no longer have to rely on opinions. Assumption and guesswork will be replaced by hard facts and clear data. When you start collecting data, the patterns will begin to emerge, revealing which functions or units prevent you from moving forward. You now have something quantifiable to add to your decision-making process.

Project Success: Execution Versus Strategy

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash. The most critical part of any strategy isn’t the innovative idea or clearly defined outcome; it is the answer to the simple question: “Can we execute it?” As Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and many CEOs after them have said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” If you can’t execute a strategy successfully, it might as well not exist. For reasons we’ll explore in this article, many organizational leaders aren’t using the available data to strengthen their strategies. However, if you’re able to harness data and plan for strong execution, you’ll be well-positioned to bring your most innovative, exciting ideas to life. Let’s take a closer look at why execution is the most important aspect of any plan and how you can make sure your organization is ready to execute your ideas before investing in your next major project. What about Execution? Countless words and hours are spent discussing strategy, but too often, the execution of said strategy doesn’t receive the same treatment. It’s easy to get swept away by the energy and passion of generating new ideas and overlook the comparatively dull task of measuring execution readiness—your organization’s ability to execute your plan. Why aren’t leaders talking about and, more importantly, planning for execution instead of assuming their strategies will go off without a hitch? Old decision models are to blame. To move past these obstacles, we need to unlearn practices that no longer apply in today’s landscape. Evolving Beyond Old Management Theories Downplaying execution is a symptom of traditional management theory that has overstayed its welcome. This old approach results in failure because it leads to biases and other poor decision influencers, such as overestimating the value of past experiences. Leaders pursue ideas and attempt to make up for shortcomings later, often to disappointing and costly results. Instead of moving ahead with ideas and trying to force the issue, decision-makers would benefit from being more selective about which initiatives to pursue from the start. By using the data already available, organizations can measure their capability to execute their ideas before spending time and resources on new initiatives. Forming strategies around realistic goals—goals they demonstrably have the money, skills, and people to achieve—is the key to outperforming the average 50% failure rate of all organizational decisions. Rely on Data, Not Intuition If you’re relying on the traditional intuition-based decision-making models, now is the time to forget what you’ve learned and let your ideas reach their full potential. Your gut is not a good decision-maker. There’s a reason critical scores, bond ratings, and personality tests exist: there is value in measuring data in a neutral way. Experience gives you the ability to absorb raw information and process it better, but to make truly informed decisions and accurately gauge your ability to execute your ideas, you must rely on unbiased data. Decision-making is the hardest part of running an organization, and no amount of experience or process will replace measuring the execution readiness of any initiative. No executive has the crystal-ball intuition to look into their operation and instantly understand their team’s ability to execute their vision, but they do have the data. This article is based on the book Measure, Executive, Win! by Alex Castro

Navigating Project Success

Photo licensed from iStockphoto.com In the spring of 1953, mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary earned recognition for being the first climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest—but he wasn’t alone. Accompanying Hillary was Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, who helped guide Hillary up the treacherous slopes. Without Norgay’s insight and familiarity with the terrain, Hillary likely would have never made it up on his own. Like Norgay, we’re here to help our clients reach their summits. We built ReM Score™ with the goal of being our clients’ Sherpas as they navigate difficult business situations. Our clients are leaders who possess incredible vision and ideas but are struggling to make them a reality. We help them find the footholds that will elevate their performance to new heights and empower them to deliver on their promises to their employees and customers. While our clients enjoy the spotlight of their successes, we thrive on the feeling of satisfaction gained from seeing our clients reach the peaks of their personal Mount Everests. The most exciting day of a new partnership is always the first—seeing the passion and purpose in our clients as to what the journey we are about to embark on can produce—and the last, as we join them in celebrating their victories. Of course, our process wasn’t always as streamlined as it is today. In the early days of our firm, we realized that many clients were not optimally positioned to succeed. In response, we developed ReM Score(™) as a way to prepare clients to execute on their visions. We created an approach that would streamline on-boarding efforts and help us understand where the vulnerabilities were before we launched into the work of the strategic initiative or project. It’s a way to measure what we now call Execution Readiness. We wanted our clients to succeed more. Opening Pandora’s Box To build our better way, we needed to understand the root causes of why strategies and projects were not working. We needed to understand if what we were seeing was isolated or in alignment with a larger spectrum of efforts. The data was overwhelming. As it turns out, this topic has been documented and studied for over twenty years by universities and behavioral economists with the following high-level conclusions: 50% of all strategic initiatives succeed 20% of back-office optimization projects succeed 20% of acquisitions add value The root cause is bias-based decision-making before the efforts began. Our clients’ biggest problem, which we realized was widespread throughout the business world, was that they weren’t optimally positioned to tackle the work they had hired us to do. This widespread lack of readiness was reflected in data showing that only 50% of all business decisions succeed. This meant that our clients had the exciting potential to double their success by improving their execution readiness. We faced several challenges in helping our clients reach this potential. For example, it was difficult for clients to define what success looked like for them, and therefore, it was difficult for us to map out. As a company, we’d built a reputation on providing an incredible delivery experience, but we faced the challenge of engaging with clients, 85% of whom weren’t starting from an optimal position. After years of experience across many different consulting situations, we decided we needed a method to onboard clients that would help us better understand their situation before committing resources to the project. The method would allow us to identify gaps in the client’s readiness so we could understand where we needed to bolster their skills, strategies, or resources. This information would help our clients and us avoid rushing headlong into initiatives that, in the end, would fall short or fail because of a lack of preparedness. The Onboarding Process We began developing a client-onboarding process, which included an initial interview, qualification review, and gap analysis to identify weaknesses. As we onboarded clients, we noticed patterns in their readiness, regardless of the type of initiative they were attempting. It didn’t matter if the initiative was a technology effort, an acquisition effort, a new product or market, or a business-process reengineering. Considering how we didn’t intake a thousand clients a year across dozens of industries, we lacked the amount of data needed to decipher the meaning behind the pattern. We turned to research, and in searching for answers, we found an overwhelming body of information on the topic. However, the biggest gap between the research and what we were experiencing was that much of the research being done was an inch wide and a mile deep. It was incredibly focused in highly specific areas. Behavioral economists had produced most of the data that connected people’s—especially business leaders’—decision practices to the financial impacts on the economy. A huge amount of data existed around why business decisions failed, but nobody was connecting the dots. More importantly, there was no method of application to help leaders improve their outcomes. What we experienced and saw in our data was in line with what was happening globally at every imaginable scale of company, and had been happening for decades. Our data wasn’t unique—it was mainstream but overlooked. Measuring Execution Readiness All of the data pointed toward the existence of a sickness, but we didn’t have a test to determine whether or not a company suffered from it. To fill this gap, we needed a method to identify readiness problems in our clients. We defined what we call the fourteen domains of measurement: alignment, technical capabilities, management, technical environment, priorities, stakeholders, business process and rules maturity, business capabilities, governance, decision-making, subject-matter understanding, organizational adaptability, criticality, and vision. These domains span every aspect of a business and measure key impact points associated with the delivery and execution of the client’s initiative. Combined, these domains allow for the calculation of a single number measuring execution readiness, the ReM Score(™). The ReM Score(™), or readiness score, informs businesses of their vulnerabilities and areas where they need to improve before they can successfully execute an idea. It allows them to address any shortcomings before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and weeks or months seeking that opinion. Will a project take longer than they expect? Will it cost more than they’ve planned to spend? Does it require expertise they don’t have on their team? The readiness score provides these answers and more. Giving Businesses the Power to Diagnose Their Weaknesses In developing our platform and approach to measuring execution capability, M Corp created the phrase “execution readiness” as a fully realized concept, not simply two words tied together. Execution readiness means scouting the mountain and gathering a full kit of gear before you take your first step skyward. It’s knowing you have what it takes to reach the top. We’ve embodied our role as Sherpa through the ReM Score process, helping our clients overcome their biggest obstacles as they climb toward peak performance. Now, with our guidance and insight, businesses can diagnose and address their weaknesses using the self-paced, comprehensive readiness test. By ensuring they’re prepared to succeed before investing in a new initiative, leaders are empowered to beat the average 50% success rate and potentially double their wins. They can pursue innovative, thrilling ideas, fully confident that they have what it takes to turn their goals into reality.

Remove Bias from Your Decision-Making So More COVID Economy Ideas Work

We are at a fork in the road; companies that can adapt to better decision-making and execute their ideas will continue to exist, those that don’t won’t be here for much longer. Nothing stops a new digital transformation or innovation in its tracks faster than “but we’ve always done it this way.” It’s the same stumble caused by “it worked before” or “this way will cause less conflict” that causes progress to falter and strategic initiatives to fail ultimately. The one thing these phrases share is that they’re rooted in bias, especially pre-pandemic ones, and bias prevents business leaders from making the most winning decisions. By learning to recognize and overcome biases, you can unlock an advantage that many business leaders have yet to discover. This advantage will allow you to view your company’s execution capability data from an objective perspective and make more impactful decisions. Let’s explore how biases can influence the decision-making process and how you can improve your strategic outcomes by recognizing and deflecting your own. Neutralize Bias in the Decision-Making Process In my experience as a business strategist, I’ve helped countless executives prepare to undertake major strategic transformation and innovation initiatives. While situations and leadership styles differ, one element in the problem-solving equation is nearly constant: most clients don’t lack amazing ideas. In fact, they possess a consistent ability to generate great ideas—their problem is that those ideas aren’t coming to life. Many business leaders struggle to realize their ideas because they’re stuck repeating behavioral patterns and making biased decisions that don’t produce the desired results. What do these biases look like? Consider an executive currently in the process of gauging their company’s execution capabilities—how prepared they are to successfully carry out a digital transformation or innovation effort. While measuring the company’s capabilities, they are asked to gather feedback from eight participants, but there is hesitation. “Is there any way that we can pare this down to four or five participants?” they ask. “Because I don’t want to involve other people. Bringing them in will only cause tension in the organization.” That pushback is their bias speaking. Instead of prioritizing what would get the best results, their first instinct is to reduce potential conflict or resistance. However, getting results often requires taking the more uncomfortable road. Sometimes, we get feedback we don’t want to hear. But, often, painful feedback is also the most helpful. What about Execution? Countless words and hours get spent discussing strategy, but too often, the execution of said strategy doesn’t receive the same treatment. It’s easy to get swept away by the energy and passion of generating new transformation or innovation ideas and overlook the comparatively dull task of measuring execution capability for each—your company’s ability to execute your plan. Why aren’t business leaders talking about, and, more importantly, planning for execution instead of assuming their existing capabilities can handle it? I believe old decision models are to blame, and to move past these obstacles. Leaders need to unlearn practices that no longer apply in today’s markets. Why the Capabilities You Built for Today Don’t Translate to Tomorrow Assuming your current people, process and technology have the capabilities to deliver your transformation or innovation ideas is a symptom of traditional management theory that has overstayed its welcome. This old approach is subject to biases and other poor decision influencers, like overestimating the value of past experiences, that you have great hiring models, or that you have an aggressive project portfolio management (PPM) model is a direct indicator that you are relying on bias. Instead, leaders pursue ideas and attempt to make up for shortcomings later, often to disappointing, costly results. Instead of moving ahead with ideas and trying to force the issue, leaders would benefit from being more selective about which initiatives to pursue from the start. It’s time to transform the decision-making process so we can position our companies with increased precision. We’re in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, an era ruled by data, and by applying that data to our decision-making processes, we improve our initiatives’ chances of success. By using the data already available, companies can measure their capability to execute their ideas before spending time and resources on new initiatives. Forming strategies around realistic goals—goals they demonstrably have the money, skills, and people to achieve—is the key to outperforming the average 50% failure rate of all business decisions. Measure Execution Capability to Drive Growth If you’re relying on the traditional intuition-based decision-making models, now is the time to unlearn what you’ve learned and allow your ideas to reach their full potential. Your gut is not a good decision-maker. There’s a reason critical scores, bond ratings, and personality tests exist: there is value in measuring data in a neutral way. Experience gives you the ability to intake raw information and process it better. Still, to make truly informed decisions and accurately gauge your ability to execute your ideas, you must rely on unbiased data. Decision-making is the hardest part of running a business, and no amount of experience or process will replace measuring the execution readiness of the business itself. No business leader has the crystal-ball intuition to look into their business and instantly understand their team’s ability to execute their vision, but they do have the data. This article is based on the book Measure, Executive, Win! by Alex Castro.

M Corp Promotes Melissa Brunetti to Vice President of Solutions and Services Delivery

M Corp, data services that fuel your analytics, has promoted veteran consultant Melissa Brunetti to serve as Vice President of Solutions and Services Delivery. “Melissa is taking on this key leadership role at a time when utilizing data services and robotic process automation are supporting government’s ability to direct more resources to analytics in support of critical mission work,” said M Corp CEO Alex Castro.  “Her talent and background will serve to enhance our end-to-end customer experience and continue our long tradition of partnering with clients to meet their critical data needs.” Brunetti brings more than 20 years of experience as a consultant serving high-profile clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies across several industries and intergovernmental organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and United Nations.  As a senior analyst at Gartner, Inc., she led specialized teams to collect and manage data to help client organizations optimize technologies and improve operations.   She also served as a consultant for The Rising Tides – Making the Workplace Better for Women, assisting companies in transforming their organizations to include more gender diversity. As VP of Solutions and Services Delivery, Brunetti will work directly with clients to ensure the best possible customer experience.  With a special emphasis on data collection, analysis, and automation, she will oversee all model standards for M Corp delivery teams to provide superior service. Brunetti graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communications with a specialization in Business Administration. Based in Sacramento, CA., M Corp’s focus is to deliver better data for better decisions to government and private sector clients. ###