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NOTE:To appreciate this presentation [and ensure that it is not a mess], you need Microsoft fonts:“Showcard Gothic,”“Ravie,”“Chiller”and“Verdana”


I have discovered that sometimes the most important points I want to make are buried somewhere in my presentation. Hence, of late I start presentations with “two things I am determined to leave behind—which, if you attend obsessively, will cover my fees X1000.”


The Strategic Importance of XFX(Cross-functional eXcellence) I believe that in most any organization of, say, more than a dozen people, the #1 issue is “cross-functional communication-integration.” It is both “Problem #1” and “Opportunity #1.” From intelligent pattern recognition to order execution to innovation, our INTERNAL barriers, not our competitors’ cleverness, are the principal impediment to effectiveness. I suspect we all agree with that. But is it—AND IT RARELY IS—literally seen as “SO1” —Strategic Opportunity #1? (Please do me the honor of thinking about this.)


Much more needs to be said, but the assumption that XFX depends on great systems is fallacious. Great systems are important.But …the #1 issue in achieving XFX is …SOCIAL!That is, XFX is dependent on the breadth and depth of social relationships among members of various functions. And such relationships in turn are 1st and foremost the provenance of …DOING LUNCH!(I’m not kidding.)


% XF lunches*

*Measure! Monthly! Part of everyone’s evaluation!

The working year amounts to about 240 days. 240 days = 240 lunch opportunities. Or, in my lingo:240 At Bats.So …


> SAP/



Employee Retention & Satisfaction:Overwhelmingly … based on the first-line manager!Source: Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently


If “people are everything”— AND THEY SURELY ARE —then their effectiveness “is everything.” And without a shadow of doubt the #1 determinant of their effectiveness—productivity, engagement, teamwork—is the quality of the 1st-line manager.**I cite Marcus Buckingham’s excellent research in the prior slide. While his work is indeed seminal, there is in fact a ton of evidence that supports this point.


Capital Asset!**Selecting and training and mentoring one’s pool of front- line managers can be a “Core Competence” of surpassing strategic importance.**Put under a microscope every attribute of the cradle-to- grave process of building the capability of our cadre of front-line managers.


I do not suggest for a second that organizations don’t take the 1st-line manager’s job “seriously.” I do suggest that 9.7 out of 10 are less than …OBSESSED… with the selection and training and mentoring of these organizational lynchpins.And fail to see the “portfolio of 1st-line managers” as a premier …STRATEGIC ASSET.