19 Chapters
Medium 9781576751824

5 ZERO TIME

Lekanne Deprez, Frank Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

WE LIVE IN A TIME in which there is never enough time. As the speed of business accelerates, we are becoming a click-and-go society. Impatience, instead of the exception, is now the norm. We no longer have the time—or the inclination—to wait. A recent management book encapsulated the customer expectations in the title: Free, Perfect, and Now.1

The impact of the Internet cannot be underestimated in the changing attitudes about time in business. With a click we can travel around the world, gaining instant access to information and items for sale. We order an item and then wait for weeks for it to arrive. There is a time lag between our expectations and the ability of the company to deliver.

A company that can deliver faster than its competitors enjoys a competitive edge. This need to move faster is highlighted by a war currently taking place between two Dutch mail-order companies. In a new offensive, the number two company is committed to delivering any ordered item within twenty-four hours.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751824

17 WHAT’S IN STORE?

Lekanne Deprez, Frank Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

SOME ORGANIZATIONS ARE ALREADY EVOLVING toward zero space. We see many companies working in zero time with zero matter, forming networks and communities, and enjoying the benefits of knowledge rather than owning it. This is inevitable. Zero space organizations offer the flexibility that is essential in the face of new—often unpredictable—circumstances. As windows of opportunity increasingly narrow, organizations will need to be able to adapt swiftly and anticipate the direction in which potential gain and success lie.

Yet although there are signs that some companies are moving into zero space, it would be inaccurate to suggest that all are moving in the same direction. Some are actually moving backwards, retracing their past.

This is, perhaps, understandable. Companies and managers today are under enormous pressure. Shareholders are demanding ever-higher returns. Managers must try to satisfy the competing claims of shareholders and the other stakeholders who demand “good corporate governance.” Costs are under constant scrutiny. IT promises increased productivity, which is necessary to defray the investments that IT systems require. Balancing people, planet, and performance is the name of the game. With increased accountability and transparency, there is greater pressure on executives to meet targets. In consequence, many are turning back the clock—and so they centralize and standardize.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751824

19 BREAKING FREE

Lekanne Deprez, Frank Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

W HERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE? What steps should you take? And indeed, how should you take them if the ground on which we are all walking is constantly shifting? How can you mark out a path in quicksand? How can you judge your position when there are no landmarks except those you create yourself? How can we tell you to turn right at the next crossing, when that crossing may very well be here today but gone tomorrow?

Thanks to long experience in the industrial economy, management has learned to go by the book. But there is no book of zero space. Even this present volume can do little more than offer some thoughts for you to take on your journey. It cannot plan the journey for you. For your situation, more than at any time in the past, is unique. And thus your journey will be unique.

Still, amid all the uncertainty one thing is certain: the journey must be made. We must approach the eight zeroes of zero space with zero-mindedness, as well as with curiosity, persistence, and courage. Certainly the fear of failure will surround us. But we must remember that there are only two ways to fail: by not trying and by quitting. All other efforts will be rewarded.1

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751824

6 ZERO VALUE GAP

Lekanne Deprez, Frank Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

HOW OFTEN DO products and services disappoint because they do not meet the customer’s expectations? How big is the gap between promise and result, expectation and reality? Is there a difference between what a customer wants and what a company thinks that customer wants?

This has always been a great concern for all manufacturers and service providers. But in a time when the window of opportunity has become so small, it becomes more crucial than ever. You only have one opportunity—and if you get it wrong, you won’t get another shot at it.

Any value gap threatens the very existence of a company. This is why so many companies invest enormously in getting to know their customers and understanding them. The true value of customers as a major competitive asset is gradually seeping through to all layers of business.

But customer satisfaction—as important as that is—only comes into its own when it leads to customer share. Yeh, Pearson, and Kozmetsky define this as the volume of business a customer does with a certain company versus its competitors over the course of the customer’s lifetime.1 In other words, a company must determine the extent of a customer’s loyalty and how it can take steps to ensure that loyalty over time.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576751824

13 NETWORKING WITH NETWORKS

Lekanne Deprez, Frank Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN something suspect about networks. The word suggests exclusive clubs, sects almost, to which entrance is not by ability but by circumstance: the old boys’ network, the golf club network. Membership is taken for granted by those who “belong” and looked upon with envy by those who are excluded. There are even networks of directors, without whose help things rarely used to get done in business.

Today, that negative association is receding. Managers understand that all organizations are part of a greater whole. They exist thanks to relationships, associations, and connections. There are relationships with stakeholders—whether they are employees, suppliers, customers, or shareholders. Indeed, any company that cannot boast a recurring network of associations is unlikely to exist very long.

According to James R. Lincoln, professor at the University of California, “ To assert that an organization is not a network is to strip it of that quality in terms of which it is best defined: the pattern of recurring linkages.”1 This definition—a pattern of recurring linkages—applies at all organizational levels. There are links within teams or departments or business units, links between suppliers and customers, links between disciplines, links between customers and markets and between innovation and R&D. Many of these links—these networks—are formal. There are contracts with suppliers, for example. There are (one hopes) long-term, ongoing relationships with customers. Other links are more ad hoc, such as teams, 106for, as we discussed in the previous chapter, teams should change with changing circumstances.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters