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What We're Reading - September 2019

September 20, 2019

This month is Malu’s recommendation: State of Readiness, in which author Joseph F. Paris Jr. shares how Operational Excellence (OE) is a precursor to becoming a high-performance Organization.

The book focuses on describing the competitive advantage as belonging to the companies that can quicken the vision-building and strategy-execution efforts where the hidden weapon is their ability to align their workforce through a set of agreed upon prioritization schemes.

Paris claims that the role of the C-Suite is challenged with the ability to swiftly guide the workforce through building a healthy tension between speed and quality and in doing so building a culture of continuous and deliberate improvement of company performance and the circumstances of those who work there.

I recommend reading this book because while it utilizes traditional methods to enable the reader to understand operational excellence it reminds us that ‘speed’ is the enemy of the 21st century and as such it is not only manufacturing businesses like Toyota, Motorola or GE who had to learn how to accelerate production with quality but in a digital world now we see the explosion of Data generation, consumption and monetization. So, as we start treating data as an asset our clients are always faced with the need to remember that if everything is a “burning platform,” then nothing is. We become numb.

It is unwise, unfair, and just plain wrong to believe that all data is to be treated equally. We must look at OE principles and methods to guide us through the prioritization of very complex problems such as solving for Privacy Regulation. I invite you to read this book to gain insights as to how to derive value from your projects and increase velocity while sustaining momentum. After all, it is the KATA of continuous improvement and evergreen readiness that we must exercise to Get Well and Stay Well in this era of more and more data and speed. And to close, welcome 5-G. Our future data super highway will push companies to learn how to become OE relevant in order to yield more focused value of privacy, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance investments.

Cognitive Process Development Specialist Joins FocalPointe’s Advisory Group

September 16, 2019

FocalPointe Group, a leading business and technology consultancy, announced today that Hal Katernick, originator of the cognitive process development technology called the Katernick Method and a Principal of Impact Management, has joined its Advisory Group

“Critical thinking and leadership through massive complexity is becoming key to creating competitive advantage.  The days of methodology and best practices are no longer relevant in the digital world.  Hal brings a proven method of developing higher order thinking skills and we are excited to have him as an advisor in the development of our team and our Clients,” says Jeff Steffens, CEO of FocalPointe Group.

Mr. Katernick develops and teaches advanced thinking skills to business executives, athletes, and students with learning problems in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.  His programs are proven effective for building cognitive skills as demonstrated by extraordinary client gains in executive, athletic, and scholastic performance.

Mr. Katernick has worked extensively as a consultant and specialist trainer of higher order thinking skills to senior management teams in major corporations in London, such as BCTEL, BDDO, BBH, J Walter Thompson, Thames Television, Sky Television, Ogilvy & Mather, British United Provident Association (BUPA), and McKinsey & Co.

“The next big wave is Supercomputing and it's happening now.  It's where Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Text Mining, and Cognitive Computing all collide with our cognitive processing abilities at the individual, team and organizational levels.

Humans will always be smarter than machines because of the things that machines and computers cannot do – things like knowing, being aware, clear and critical thinking, thorough analysis, sharp and appropriate timing, and making meaningful high-level decisions in complex-to-impossible situations.

Even so, the pressure is increasing on humans as managers and leaders to better understand, build and deploy their own best cognitive skills, abilities, capacities and processes.

I’m excited to be part of this team with Jeff Steffens and FocalPointe Group. Jeff has always had a cognitive orientation in the decade I have known him. He is right to be so aware and objective, deeply considerate, and highly flexible and adaptable in his points of view. He is already far ahead of the curve in understanding and implementing cognitive-based strategies and solutions that embrace cognition sciences - for creating respect, focus and positive (brilliant) outcomes for individuals, teams and organizations” says Mr. Katernick.

About FocalPointe Group

FocalPointe Group is a consulting firm with a purity of focus and intent that allows us the freedom to help our Clients determine the right thing to do to achieve their goals.  Our professionals balance critical thinking with practicality to solve problems in addition to leveraging and creating capability within our Clients' ecosystems avoiding long term dependency on us. We don't just define, plan and orchestrate outcomes, we do it in a way that ensures Client sustainability within their operating model.

Media Contact    Media Relations – FocalPointe Group 

Pointe of the Week 9.6.19

September 6, 2019

In a world of Agile and DevOps many development teams are asked to quantify technical debt without foundational quality training. As such the basic premise teams respond to is to make choices in the code, intentionally, to speed up development that is due today knowing we'd have to change it later.

Technical Risk Frameworks should consider the quality metrics of a software project & products created or used to measure Technical Risk versus Technical Debt so risk factors of code as it relates to Risk indicators: robustness, efficiency, security and Cost Indicators: Transferability, changeability, can collectively measure the Technical Risk of the Agile and DevOps Software development lifecycle. Speed is good but not at the cost of comprehensive impact of poor quality.

Let’s measure the total risk of a minimum viable product from the start to ensure user experience, functionality and Technical Risk Management drive effectiveness and efficiency at the same time. Quality by Design is the next frontier in coding.

I was recently asked where I would put ‘privacy’ in context of DevOps. Consider Robustness as a parent of ‘Privacy’. When developing or purchasing IT tools, consider lack of privacy as a technical debt risk factor.

Align Risk to CCPA.

FPG’s Krpan and Polakovic Dicuss Data Privacy in Credit Union Journal

August 10, 2019

Strategy and Business Development Partner, John Krpan, and Governance and Compliance Lead, Ray Polakovic, have co-authored an article in Credit Union Journal.

As Credit Unions focus on a better customer experience in the age of digital transformation and the proliferation of data, will the need to comply with the wrath of regulation manifest itself as a speed bump or a road block? The article helps answer this question.

What We're Reading - August 2019

August 8, 2019

This month is Jeff's book recommendation: The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

The Second Machine Age reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives. Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds—from lawyers to truck drivers—will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die.

Every business is being impacted by the digital/cognitive era and this book does a good job of framing the scope, implications and a view into the future. The challenge is that every journey is different, requiring clarity of core, strong prioritization capabilities, becoming a data company, and transforming the competency set of the organization.

Integris Software Member of Collaboration Network

August 5, 2019

We are excited to announce the addition of Integris Software to our growing Collaboration Network. Privacy is driving significant disruption to every company’s operating model. We view Kristina Bergman and team at Integris as key thought leaders in the space of building technology to meet the growing demands of Privacy legislation in a digital world.

Pointe of the Week 7.26.19

July 26, 2019

POT (Proof of Technology) and POC(Proof of Concept)are not the same thing, you need both to operationalize your digital business(Proof of Business Value).

A POT is a Method used to determine technical feasibility. Provides an approach to validating the multiple technology components that collectively act to fundamentally prove the technology capabilities required to underpin a specific set of business processes.

A POC is a Method used to represent the preparation of prototyped results for operationalization with a specific business purpose. Explores the examination of data sets and process capabilities over the top of validated technology components to create the Business Process Capability Evaluation plan.

Pointe of the Week 7.19.19

July 19, 2019

Critical Thinkers: The Keystone of Data Analytics

How do you add value to the plethora of excellent data tools that have evolved in the last decade? Simple, add critical thinkers!

In response to our “big data” challenges, thousands of tools have emerged to help store, retrieve, manage, cleanse, visualize, mine and analyze data. Arguably, it’s the latter category, analytics, that has the greatest effect on leveraging the power of the data that we store. The icing on the cake, however, may not be a tool at all, but in fact, a person. The absence of a person who thinks critically is a gap that is all too common: one who has cross systems thinking and a strong problem-solving ability. These are critical thinkers. They will effectively augment tools by adding human ingenuity to decipher data patterns, create potent “what-if” scenarios and determine innovative ways to use data to support consumer needs. Make sure you have a critical thinker on your team!

Pointe of the Week 7.12.19

July 12, 2019

Success is determined in the first 20% of a project's lifecycle.

We have been using an assessment model at FPG since 2008 to determine key areas of focus in achieving outcomes for our clients. The model has 4 steps: 1) Belief; 2) Intent; 3) Design; 4) Change. Too often, companies jump to implementation without doing the hard, up front work of Belief...why are we doing it and are all of the people it will affect aligned with the beliefs? Intent - what is the outcome we desire? What will it look like when completed (think Charter). Most failing projects we've helped correct have a root cause in these two areas. Go slow first so you can go fast later.

What We're Reading - July 2019

July 3, 2019

This month is Jeff's book recommendation: Get There Early by Bob Johansen.

These days, every leader struggles with a paradox: you can’t predict the future, but you have to be able to make sense of it to thrive. In the age of the Internet, everyone knows what’s new, but to succeed you have to be able to sort out what’s important, devise strategies based on your own point of view, and get there ahead of the crowd. Bob Johansen shares techniques the Institute for the Future has been refining for nearly forty years to help leaders navigate what, borrowing a term from the Army War College, he calls the VUCA world: a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Continuing with a theme of "planning through massive complexity", I've referenced Bob's model multiple times and in multiple different contexts. Creating an enterprise discipline that supports operating model transformation through a foresight, insight, action process helps generate critical discussions that needs to be happening at every organization. I've heard many times from senior executives that there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with current-state operations, let alone thinking about strategy. At the same time, Digital is forcing operating model changes for everyone so defining a model for evaluating impact, determining investments, and aligning execution that works for your company is imperative. I also like his way of explaining the current operating environment/landscape where we are making decisions: VUCA - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. You will see more from us in the future on what it takes to select and develop leaders that can operate in a VUCA world.