When Executives and Managers Change So Do Their Organizations
The Lefkoe Institute has helped many organizations produce greater profits by changing the beliefs and behavior of managers. Below are several examples.
Lands’ End Reduces the Time it Takes to Bring an Idea to Market from 14 Months to 6 Months
For years the people at Land’s End tried and failed to reduce the time it took to move new products from conception to catalog. Before we began working with them it took 14 months. The Gap and Limited went from idea to store in six months. The people at Land’s End were vastly inefficient by comparison and they knew it.
The executives and the managers in each department tried to make the departments more efficient—they tried to speed up design, purchasing, inventory, quality control and catalog. They barely made a dent in the time it took to bring a product idea to market despite all their efforts.
When I worked with them I knew that a breakthrough was needed and that this breakthrough wouldn’t come from doing anything obvious like trying to improve the efficiency of the different departments. I also had no idea what they needed to do. But I knew my approach to creating innovations would help.
So I held workshops to help the top management and department managers examine their assumptions using the Lefkoe Method.
Over 700 people began to question their definitions of their jobs and the role of their departments. They came up with many suggestions and a company-wide committee was formed with people from all departments and all levels of management to solve the problem.
What they found was very simple yet it led to a very powerful solution.
We discovered that everyone in the company had the belief
We have to have different departments, each of which is responsible for a different function.
This “department system” was every inefficient. Each department had to communicate with other departments to get things done. This caused tasks that required several departments to work together to take a lot of time.
Once this belief was identified and eliminated, we put together a team of management and non-management employees to come up with an innovative solution to the problem that would’ve been impossible before.
They suggested that Land’s End get rid of the many cumbersome departments and replace them with “product teams” that had specialists in the different areas (i.e., Catalog specialist, Design specialist, Inventory specialist etc).
Management loved the idea and decided to put it into action. Each group, such as the men’s accessory team, was responsible for coming up with ideas for new products, contracting with vendors, being responsible for inventory and quality control, etc. No time was wasted in interactions between departments because they no longer existed.
The new time from conception to catalog: six months.