Let system thinking become the leader’s “muscle memory”

Businesses will encounter various problems in their daily operations. If we are stuck in the problem itself every time to find a solution, we will find ourselves like a firefighter who is always busy solving the problems in front of us. The root cause lies in the lack of systematic thinking ability.

The recent “Three Axes of President Evolution” course held by the New Business School emphasizes that the top leaders of enterprises must focus on three things-strategy, culture, and talent performance, and they are trinity and interact.

The strategy must start with the end, returning to customer value. Zhu Liang, a consultant of Lakeside University and former senior expert of the strategy department of Alibaba Group, believes that the formulation of a strategy must have a vision of the future and an overall view, and plan ahead. To formulate a strategy, we must also proceed from customer value, keeping in mind the founder’s original intention and corporate mission.

Strategy drives culture and culture supports strategy Ou De Zhang, former political commissar of Alibaba Guangdong Region, pointed out that once strategic opportunities are found, a series of business design actions such as strategic planning, strategy execution, and strategy decoding must be done to build the enterprise on this basis. culture. He also emphasized that we must go uphill to think about problems and go downhill to solve problems. Some problems are human resource problems on the surface, but when you look at the top level, they are organizational problems. The next level is strategic problems, which are related to external trends, customer needs, and the source of mission vision.

Personnel integration, the former senior expert on organizational development of Alibaba Group, Huang Ying, introduced how Alibaba does organizational inventory and talent inventory: After the strategy is determined, the following strategy implementation paths and key battles and projects will be determined immediately. And clarify the corresponding position of each person, and set personal performance goals based on organizational performance goals. Through challenging goals, let employees grow by doing things.

Wu Beihong

What is the most important ability of the leader in the company? System thinking.

Enterprises will encounter various problems in their daily operations, such as market expansion problems, shortage of talents, declining performance, and so on. If we just get stuck in the problem itself to find a solution every time, we will find that we are always busy solving the problem at hand, just like a firefighter who puts out the fire everywhere, burnt and exhausted.

In order to help the senior leaders of enterprises to jump out of a narrow perspective and think about problems from a higher dimension, the New Business School recently held the “President’s Evolution Three Axes” course to strengthen the students’ overall view and make system thinking become their muscle memory.

The top leaders of the enterprise should focus on three things-strategy, culture, and talent performance. Corresponding to the “three axes” of Alibaba’s head managers, it is to determine strategy, build soil, and employ people.

These three are a trinity. It is meaningless to talk about strategy, culture, and talent performance separately: strategy is related to mission, vision, and values. Culture supports strategy. Without the matching of talent performance mechanism, strategy cannot be implemented.

If other companies learn from Ali, if they just copy one piece of content, such as formulating strategies for 10 years and 3 years, writing letters on cultural walls, and adopting the 361 final elimination system for performance evaluation, etc., they fail to see the underlying logic that runs through these appearances. If you make unique thinking based on your own company’s situation, you are likely to be biased and do more harm to your company.

The strategy should start with the end and return to customer value
Zhu Liang, consultant of Lakeside University, former senior expert of Alibaba Group Strategy Department

The strategy must be future-oriented. When you are describing the corporate strategy, if it has nothing to do with the future, it is likely that this matter is only a battle-level or tactical level, and it is solving your immediate problems.

A good strategy will think about what the future will look like as much as possible and make arrangements in advance. When future opportunities arise, they can be firmly grasped. As the saying goes, “Those who do not seek for the whole world are not enough to seek for a while” and “Those who do not seek the overall situation are not enough to seek a domain.” The strategy must have a vision of the future and the overall situation.

For example, China’s fertility rate is falling and the demographic structure is changing, which will in turn lead to changes in the consumption structure; Sino-US relations deteriorate, and domestic demand may be more concerned. In addition to first- and second-tier cities, it will also sink to third- and fourth-tier cities; Paying more and more attention to health and pursuing the convenience of food, what impact will this have on the catering industry?

To cultivate this kind of outlook on the future and the overall situation, one must go out frequently and open up the horizon instead of thinking about KPIs. Jack Ma wanted to participate in the Davos Forum a long time ago, just to experience the perspectives of different senior people.

The strategy must be based on customer value. Every year, the Ali strategy meeting will experience such soul torture: Who are the customers? What is customer value? Where is the uniqueness? How sustainable is it?

This goes back to the founder’s original intention and corporate mission. What do you want to do and who do you want to serve? What value does it provide them? The mission is the purpose of the long-term development of the enterprise. The vision is the long-term goal of 5 to 10 years, and the strategy is the stage goal of 3 to 5 years. Different industries have different life cycles of strategies. For example, the selection of a model in the automobile industry may take 5 years to go public, while the life cycle of Toutiao’s core strategy is 6 months.

Once the strategy doesn’t match the company’s mission and vision, it’s not easy to stick to it when encountering major challenges, and sway, and sway is the big deal of strategy. People below will be keenly aware of this hesitation Will firmly gather resources towards the same goal.

Behind Alibaba’s mission to “make the world have no difficult business” is Jack Ma, a teacher, who wants to share and achieve growth for more people. When the mission is determined, you not only know what to stick to, but also know what to give up, and will do subtraction.

To understand industry trends outward, and to seek corporate mission and capability genes inward, the intersection between them is the strategic direction the company should go to.

Strategy drives culture, culture supports strategy
Ou De Zhang, former deputy general manager and political commissar of Ali Guangdong Region

After finding the strategic opportunity point, a series of business design actions such as strategic planning, strategy execution, and strategy decoding must be done. If these key actions are not done, what value is there in building an organizational culture and organizational capabilities no matter how much effort is spent?

The production director of a cake company had a quarrel with the sales director. The production director wanted small batches and large batches, advanced notification, and standardized production. The sales director needed to meet multiple small batches and personalized temporary orders. The sales director thinks that there is a problem with the KPI setting of the production director, and the company should let people on the front line make the decision.

On the surface, this is a human resource problem, but we cannot solve the problem with the thinking of creating problems. Instead, we have to jump to the appearance level, find the fundamental level to solve the problem, and think about dimensionality reduction.

The upper level of human resources is the question of organizational ability—whether flexible production is possible, and whether flexible production is to be done is a strategic question, which is related to external trends, customer needs, and the source of mission vision.

You must go uphill to think about problems, and go downhill to solve problems. The mission of this company is “commit to make every piece of cake that can breathe with heart, and witness laughter and joy with deliciousness.” This has resulted in two approaches, one is to sell more cakes, and the other is to provide a warm and touching moment for young white-collar workers in first- and second-tier cities.

The former is to make a large total, have the ability to receive major customers, and engage in 2B, while the latter is to get close to customers and meet customers’ hidden needs for a sense of cake eating ceremony. The former requires high-quality, high-efficiency product capabilities, while the latter requires innovative capabilities that satisfy experience, agility, flexibility, and continuous iteration.

Further supporting human resource actions, the former is to train production and delivery capabilities, key customer development capabilities, and evaluate production costs, product quality, safety, and project efficiency. The latter is flexible production and continuous iteration must allow mistakes to reduce the proportion of cost control .

When the organizational ability is innovation, it requires employees to be obedient. This is inherently contradictory. It is necessary to allow them to make mistakes and encourage them to be no big or small, but to consider how to build certain rules in no big or small.

What dominates the minds of customers is called strategic positioning, and what dominates the minds of employees is culture. How do you spread your brand externally, and through what kind of story marketing, this kind of visualization work can also be done internally. However, senior corporate leaders often remember the birthday of an external VIP customer very clearly, but they can’t even tell the birthday of the senior executives. In fact, you only need to take back all the successful methods of facing external customers, and facing your employees, the culture will be established.

Employees’ most direct feelings about culture are not the so-called “cultural wall”, but who you fired, hired, promoted, rewarded, and punished.

Integration of personnel and affairs
Huang Ying, former senior expert on organizational development of Alibaba Group

In Alibaba, every year, we will do an organizational inventory from a strategic perspective.

After the strategy is determined, several strategies will be determined to realize the path. It is necessary to describe clearly what the purpose and objectives of this strategy are and what the challenges are; who is the business position of the strategy, and what is its performance and potential; What are the key battles, who is the leader of each battle, and what are the items below the leader. Such an inventory jumps out of the organizational structure and returns to the strategy itself to see what kind of people are responsible for each layer of the strategy.

When HR is doing inventory, it will continue to find business leaders (leader) to discuss. Counting down, there may be no one under some battles, and some people may appear in multiple positions, in this case, there will be problems with strategic landing.

After the market is over, the business leader knows exactly where his strategy is, and some may have to make trade-offs; the organizational structure will also be adjusted accordingly, because you know where the resources are to win this battle; the next most important thing is The job is to find people and form a team, and train talents across levels.

After the strategy is disassembled, each person is placed in the corresponding position in the organization to set goals, and each individual’s individual performance has also set goals, and then review the process, evaluate the results, and improve the cycle. Finally, a closed loop is formed.

Individual performance goals must be derived from organizational performance goals, and individuals know the background of strategy generation or campaign generation, so they know exactly what they want to do. Therefore, the personal performance goals of Ali employees are all set by themselves, and they are proofread by the superiors, not written by the boss.

In the process of leading troops to fight and advancing business, Ali emphasized that “seeing people as people, cultivating people through things, because people make things happen, and everything is one.” By setting challenging goals and job rotation, employees can grow by doing things.

And in some companies, it may just arrange things for employees and use them as a tool to achieve results. They do not put forward the growth needs and nourish him in the matter, or give him constant changes to do things to expand him. The boundary of the city, carefully look at where he needs to break through.

Ali regards the performance management mechanism as the most important employee growth mechanism, and rewards the good and punishes the bad through the performance 361 ranking. If the two performance scores are 1 (10% after the performance score), the employee will be eliminated. In terms of performance management, there is a requirement for the leader that “a leader who has not hit 1 is not a true leader.” This is very challenging to human nature, but let the leader realize that hitting 1 is to better help team employees to know themselves and better help employees grow.

Small good is like big evil, big good is like ruthless. And because the usual performance appraisal standards have been clear, the employees are also clear about the goal setting, and there are coaches in the process, so they are finally beaten 1. The employees should also have expectations and know where their gaps are.

After three days and three nights of learning and rehearsal, the trainees finally stood at the height of No. 1 to systematically think about the problem, find their original intention and mission, and use this as the starting point to re-match their strategic goals, organizational culture and talent performance system.

However, as Teacher Huang Ying said at the end of the course, there may be many problems in the organization’s mechanism structure and cultural capabilities. Even if there are many methodologies and tools available, it is impossible to achieve an easy leap in change. Sometimes it is necessary to go deeper in the pain Bottom-out rebound is more powerful. You also need to go back to the source, find out who you really want to do for, position yourself, position your business, restructure your organization, and restructure your people in order to get to the other side.