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brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns


pyramid to dna

Trigger points (by Mike Kami)


    • The only thing we can depend on is unpredictability.

    • Our economic output is slowing down—and our standard of living isn't rising as fast as it used to.

    • We'll have a high rate of chronic unemployment for some time to come.

    • The mass market is splitting apart and, more than ever, the customer is the ultimate rule,

    • An outside-in strategy is the only sensible option.

    • Raise productivity at least one and a half times higher than the real interest rate.

    • Beat your competition by 10 percent.

    • Make decisions three times faster, implement them faster and make sure they are economically reversible.

    • Shoot for zero turnover of your real, genuine 24-carat talent.


  • INTRODUCTION Managing the Future, Beginning Now

  • PART ONE Four trigger point assumptions about the world of 1988 to 1993

    • TRIGGER POINT ONE The only thing we can depend on is unpredictability.

      • Don't Commit Yourself to Something That Probably Won't Happen

      • The One Key Assumption You Must Make

      • Why More Knowledge Means More Unpredictability, Not Less

      • Energy Use No Longer Determines Our Standard of Living

      • Why Bother Planning in an Unpredictable World?

    • TRIGGER POINT TWO Our economic output is slowing down and our standard of living isn't rising as fast as it used to.

      • Fact: We Have a Basically Flat Standard of Living

      • The Battle for Customers Grows Fiercer

    • TRIGGER POINT THREE We'll have a high rate of chronic unemployment for some time to come.

      • Our New Full-Employment Standard: 7 Percent Out of Work

    • TRIGGER POINT FOUR The mass market is splitting apart and, more than ever, the customer is the ultimate ruler.

      • The End Customer Is Emperor

      • Understanding the New Customer

      • What Happened to the Middle Class?

      • Don't Shoot for the Middle!

      • How to Succeed in a Polarized Society

      • Pluralism Replaces the Mass Market

      • Getting to Know You: A Look at Our Segmented Society

      • Our Economy Depends on Consumer Whims—So You'd Better Know What They Are

  • PART TWO Choosing your basic strategy for success in an unpredictable world

    • TRIGGER POINT FIVE An outside-in strategy is the only sensible option.

      • The Four Deadly Sins of Inside-Out Thinking

      • Oops!—or Excellence Revisited

      • You Must Be Alert to Outside Changes

      • How to Be an Outside-In Company

      • And Don't Forget the Basics

  • PART THREE Corporate goals for 1993—trigger point targets to shoot for

    • TRIGGER POINT SIX Raise productivity at least one and a half times higher than the real interest rate.

      • We're in Deep Trouble

      • The High Price of Arrogance

      • Yes, Productivity Can Be Revived

      • Boosting Productivity: There's a Right Way and a Wrong Way


      • What You Must Do to Lower Your Break-Even

      • Automation: Some of Our Best Friends Are Robots

      • Manufacturing Flexibility Is the Key

      • Lower Your Break-Even through Work Force Reductions

      • Achieve Higher Labor Productivity through Motivation

      • Integrate Your Operations through Computerization

      • Hands-on Management Is Essential—We have Too Many Layers!

      • Get Me to the Line on Time: A Better Approach to Inventory Control

      • How Do You Measure Productivity?

      • Summing Up: A Productivity Action Plan

    • TRIGGER POINT SEVEN Beat your competition by 10 percent.

      • The Price of Staying in Business Is Eternal innovation

      • There's More Than One Road to Uniqueness

      • How to Acquire Uniqueness

      • A "Ridiculous" Idea That Made Millions

      • Another Example of Uniqueness That Beat the Competition: Applying Innovation to a Bilge Pump

      • Establishing Uniqueness in Packaging: The Brik Pak Success Story

      • Potential Winners in the Innovation Sweepstakes

      • To Beat the Competition, You Must Make Innovation a Way of Life

      • Which Strategy to Beat the Competition—Commodity or Specialty?

      • The Specialty Strategy: Commodity Companies Can Change Their Spots

      • Consumer Whims Must Determine Your Strategy—and Your Opportunities

      • Beating the Competition on Quality Is a Must

      • Right Now, U.S. Products Are Losing the Quality War

      • Japanese Quality Is Better—So Let's Learn from the Japanese

      • We Have a Service Economy without Service—and That Presents a Tremendous Opportunity for Beating the Competition by 10 Percent

      • Market Research, Yes—but Better and Faster

      • Can You Beat the Competition by Getting into the Merger Game?

      • A Much Better Idea: Joint Ventures

      • Stripping Down to Bare Essentials Is Another Way to Beat the Competition

    • TRIGGER POINT EIGHT Make decisions three times faster, implement them faster—and make sure they are economically reversible.

      • First Requirement for Faster Decisions: Better Data

      • Second Requirement for Faster Decisions: Better Communication

      • Third Requirement for Faster Decisions: Better Analysis

      • You Must Be Able to Say "Sorry … Never Mind"

      • Faster Decision Making: Get Started Now

    • TRIGGER POINT NINE Shoot for zero turnover of your real, genuine 24-carat talent.

      • How to find Out If You Have the Talented People You Need

      • The Three Capabilities You Must Look for—in One Employee

      • Keep Your Gorillas Happy

      • You Need Flexible Policies to Hold on to Your Talented People

  • PART FOUR Five tools for triggering action next monday morning

    • TOOL ONE Pyramid thinking

      • Example 1: A Small Printing Company

      • Example 2: An Automobile Giant

      • Example 3: A Slipper Manufacturer

    • TOOL TWO Directed brainstorming

      • Prerequisites

      • Phase 1: Factors

      • Phase 2: Potential Impact

      • Phase 3: Priority of Factors

      • Phase 4: Possible Actions

      • Phase 5: Priority of Actions

    • TOOL THREE Razor blade reading and clue management

      • Reading Process

      • Clipping Process

      • Filing Process

      • Analysis Process

      • Action Process

    • TOOL FOUR Gap analysis

      • What Do We Mean by "Gap'?

      • Some Basic Deltas You Must Consider

      • Plan Only What's Important—and Have Fun

      • Step 1. Where Are We? External Environment Profile

      • Step 2. Where Are We? Internal Environment Profile

      • Step 3. Where Are We Going? Future External Environment

      • Step 4. Where Can We Go? Capabilities

      • Step 5. Where Might We Go? Future Internal Environment Comparison

      • Step 6. Where Do We Want to Go? Objectives

      • Step 7. What Do We Have to Do? Gap Setting

      • Step 8. What Could We Do? Opportunities/Problems

      • Step 9. What Should We Do? Selection of Strategy and Programs

      • Step 10. How Can We Do It? Implementation

      • Step 11. How Are We Doing? Control, Control, Control

    • TOOL FIVE Action proposals: The task force approach

      • Appointed Task Forces

      • Voluntary Task Forces

      • How to Sell an Action Proposal

  • PART FIVE Winning and losing strategies: Twelve case studies

    • CASE STUDY ONE Eastman Kodak: A powerful giant pays the price for inflexibility.

      • Anatomy of a Decline (1980-1983)

      • Kodak Tries a Turnaround—But Will It Work?

    • CASE STUDY TWO Hasbro: From "hasbeen" to No. 1 toy maker

    • CASE STUDY THREE Toys "R" Us: Implementing three simple principles pays off big.

      • Objective: More Growth

    • CASE STUDY FOUR IBM: Learning that nothing is forever

      • A Giant with Giant Problems

      • What IBM Has to Do

    • CASE STUDY FIVE Beatrice: Presiding over disaster

    • CASE STUDY SIX Sakowitz and Commodore: Victims of a fast-changing world

      • Sakowitz

      • Commodore

    • CASE STUDY SEVEN People Express: Crash landing for a high flyer

      • The Biggies Declare War

      • How to Turn Triumph into Disaster

    • CASE STUDY EIGHT Harley-Davidson: Revving up for a fast turnaround

      • Sputtering toward Disaster

      • Gearing Up for Recovery

      • Back in the Black

    • CASE STUDY NINE Sony: A premium-price innovator is plagued by low-price imitators.

    • CASE STUDY TEN Procter & Gamble: A faltering giant changes its ways.

      • Discarding the Old "Winning" Ways

    • CASE STUDY ELEVEN Federal Express: Using advanced technology to win big

      • Will Success Spoil Federal Express?

    • CASE STUDY TWELVE H-C Industries: How to bet your company—and win

      • The "Rags" Years

      • Necessity Is Still the Mother of Invention

      • Betting the Company on Plastic

      • A Big Gamble Pays Off Big

  • PART SIX Conclusion: Let's have action.

    • Action Areas

    • Talent

    • Rewards

    • Delegation/Participation

    • Bureaucracy

    • Intrapreneurship

    • Loyalty

    • Innovation

    • Productivity

    • Research and Development

    • Marketing

    • Long-Term View

    • Fanatical Dedication

    • Adaptive-Reactive Style

    • Psychological Cost of Change

    • Alternatives

    • Management Time

    • Control

    • Priorities

  • PART SEVEN Trigger point resources

    • RESOURCES Keeping informed on key external factors

    • Journals and Magazines

    • Statistical Reference

    • Specialized Material

    • Selected Bibliography on Planning and Strategic Management: Classics, 1945-1982

    • Selected Bibliography on Planning and Strategic Management: New Publications, 1983-1987





Razor blade reading and clue management

Ideas and concepts for innovation and uniqueness are usually inspired by external events and subtle changes in the external environment.

The fact is that most major innovations in a particular industry originate outside that industry.

The microwave oven developed from military contracts with Raytheon, not from the work of the home-appliance industry.

Most IBM innovations did not come from IBM or even the computer industry; they came from the communications industry.

Keep in mind that you can’t control your own future.

Your destiny is not in your hands; it is in the hands of the irrational consumer and society.

The changes in their needs, desires, and demands will tell you where you must go.

All this means that managers must themselves feel the pulse of change on a daily, continuous basis.

To rely on expert opinion and on consensus is to rely on conventional wisdom and the law of averages.

This is not conducive to innovation because it is tied closely to the status quo.

So managers should become socioeconomic crystal ball gazers themselves.

They should have intense curiosity, observe events, analyze trends, seek the clues of change, and translate those clues into opportunities.

One practical, tested method for doing this is razor blade reading.

Here’s how it works:

Reading Process

Don’t depend on print or audio clipping services—they do your thinking for you.

Instead, subscribe to at least 30 magazines covering fields in which you are interested.

Have them come to your home, because if you have a boss, it really doesn’t look too good when you’ve got 30 magazines on your desk and you’re reading them.

Don’t read the magazines—scan them.

And scan them yourself.

Don’t delegate razor blade reading to your secretary, because after a year you will have a very knowledgeable secretary and you won’t know a damn thing.

However, if you have a big company, you could get four or five people to take 10 different topics each and do their own razor blade reading.

Once every 2 months, get together for dinner, have a little wine, and exchange views.

When do you have time to read magazines?

You’d be surprised at how many opportunities you have: early morning, at night before you go to sleep (I find that the Journal of Petroleum Statistics is better than a sleeping pill), in the bathroom; waiting in line, while you’re traveling.

Whatever you read, ask yourself:

bbx Can it affect my business?

bbx What problem may it create?

bbx What opportunity may it create?




Clipping Process

Whenever a piece of information triggers a potential connection with your business, cut out the item with a razor blade (or suitable substitute that you always carry with you).

Don’t hesitate to mutilate your newspapers and periodicals—then throw them away.

Don’t keep useless information.

And don’t read for “later reference.”

Clip immediately and date the clipping.




Filing Process

Establish no more than 10 files in ordinary manila folders, each representing a key interest or area of responsibility in your business. Some examples:

bbx Overall economic trends

bbx Taxation

bbx International trade

bbx Status of competition

bbx Raw material costs

bbx Capital costs

bbx Wage costs

bbx Union settlements

bbx Productivity

bbx Quality

bbx Personnel

bbx Motivation

bbx Automation

bbx Robotics

bbx High tech

bbx Computers

bbx Bonds

Every day, file your clippings in the appropriate folders to create chronological series of data, information, and clues on the particular subjects.




Analysis Process

Review each file once a month.

You’ll find that it can be a revelation.

When new things begin to happen, you find references to them in many different sources.

When you put all the bits and pieces together and review them, you can see a definite trend, whether opportunity or threat.

You know something is happening, and that’s your trigger point for corporate action.

Just 6 months ahead is all you need to beat the competition.




Action Process

Razor blade reading is useless unless it leads to a decision and action.

This is the final test of the real value of the process.

Will it generate better decisions and trigger earlier actions to exploit new opportunities or solve or prevent potential problems?

Try it and see.




Pick your own reading material according to your specific interests, but a good basis for getting started is the carefully selected list you’ll find at the end of the book.

For daily coverage, The Wall Street Journal is essential.

Another outstanding newspaper is The Financial Times of London, which has a high-technology communication system for early distribution in major U.S. cities.

Business Week and U.S. News & World Report are excellent weeklies, and an informative biweekly is The Economist.

Among monthlies, Fortune, Forbes, and INC stand out, and an indispensable quarterly is Quarterly Economic Outlook U.S. A., put out by the University of Michigan.

For statistical reference material, the U.S. government is the most prolific source.

Some useful monthly publications are Economic Indicators, Survey of Current Business, Business Conditions Digest, and Monthly Labor Review.

For annual statistics, consult the U.S. Statistical Abstract (Commerce Department) and the Economic Report of the President, available from the Government Printing Office.




Razor Blade Reading in the Sky

I subscribe to 120 magazines—and scan them all.

(I don’t recommend this for busy executives, however.)

Since I also fly a lot, I combine the two activities to get much of my reading done in the air.

Flight attendants see me stagger on board with about 30 pounds of magazines-and then walk off at the end of the flight without any.

They’re neatly stacked up on my seat—all I’m carrying is a small bundle of clippings.

It works well.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is to cut my address label out of each magazine.

I’ve done that ever since a friend called me and said he’d found a stack of magazines I’d accidentally left behind on an airplane seat—and he was sending them all back to me.

Useful RADAR articles: and society, events, stuff happening


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence;

it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker



The shift from manual workers
who do as they are being told
either by the task or by the boss —

TO knowledge workers
who have to manage themselves

profoundly challenges social structure


Managing Oneself (PDF) is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” …

“It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities:
Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life),

and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context



More than anything else,

the individual
has to take more responsibility
for himself or herself,
rather than depend on the company.”


“Making a living is no longer enough
‘Work’ has to make a life .” continue

finding and selecting the pieces of the puzzle


The Second Curve




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving relentlessly toward unimagined futures.



What’s the next effective action on the road ahead




It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then working out a plan for coping with what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise.

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