Business leaders and employees are all keenly aware of the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses around the globe. The pandemic has imposed significant strain on budgetary and operational resources for businesses large and small. Those disruptions are being felt far and wide.

Fortunately, this is also an opportunity. Business leaders willing to rise to the challenge can better address their organizational needs through leaner operations.

Fostering a culture focused on strategic action and resiliency will lead to success in the current climate.

Here are 5 steps that can be taken now to focus on the essential and ensure the future of your business:

  1. Realign with your company’s strategic vision
  2. Problem solving: be accountable, be part of the process
  3. Own the message and communicate actively
  4. Continually engage with your workforce
  5. Connect creatively with your customers and capture their insight

1. Realign with your company’s strategic vision

Whether you share an optimistic viewpoint that the economy will reignite in the coming months or feel otherwise, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst is both practical and beneficial.

Take this time to realign your focus with the core values and strategic vision of your business. This will ensure you remain on track, no matter what the future holds.

The only constant is change and the current market demands it. Times like these put businesses to the test. We can already see examples of those that are rising to the challenge.

Manufacturers, retailers, and service industries are all adapting to meet market demand in new and innovative ways.

For example, manufacturers are altering production lines to support hospitals and medical care providers with needed equipment. Textile facilities are making masks, distilleries and breweries are making sanitizers, and additive manufacturers are making faceshields. Even some of the largest auto manufacturers in the country have shifted gears to deliver other mission-critical medical equipment.

For many, using innovative software solutions to take their services online is part of the equation. Retailers and restaurants are are making the effort to offer online or curbside ordering and pickup in line with CDC recommendations and customer demand.

Fewer resources at your disposal naturally leads to doing more with less. Rethink any activity that isn’t lockstep in tandem with your strategic vision.

Reevaluate every process and take the time to get input from your employees, those who are carrying out those processes daily, weekly, or monthly.

Meeting with your first line managers is a good place to start. Use their insights between both your company and customers to inform your actions moving forward. you will also be able to identify key areas and resources ripe for redistribution.

2. Problem solving: be accountable, be part of the process

Time is perhaps the most finite resource for many business leaders. When disruption hits, it can be even more critical to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, most will agree that time is wasted in abundance when it comes to streamlining business processes. This waste can be the result of unpreparedness, distraction, or inability to focus. Simply put, it’s not harder work that will save you time, but smarter work.

When your teams are tackling their respective components of a problem, they are looking for leadership to keep an eye on the prize. That is the bigger picture.

Be that foundational resource they are looking for and lead by example with smarter budgeting of time in tackling problems.

For example, make a shift in meeting culture. Keep meetings down to a condensed time frame and commit to ensuring all discussion topics and resources are shared and reviewed prior to the meeting. This leaves little room for wasted time in explaining and rehashing ideas.

When it comes to email communications, do away with novellas and stick to bullet points. Clean, clear, crisp communications get ideas across faster. No one should have to spend more than 60 seconds reading an update.

Committing to incremental and cultural changes pays off big in saved time. By showing, rather than telling, how to solve problems and work more intelligently.

This is how business leaders improve organizations and inspire team members to focus and prioritize.

3. Own the message and communicate actively

While there are times when delegating communications, tough times are not those. When times are tough and uncertainty is in no small supply, your workforce wants reassurance from the top of the organization.

Direct and open communications between upper management and teams fosters a cooperative atmosphere and lightens the burden of anxiety. If changes need to be made, be explicit about them and hold true to those directives.

For example, if cash flow issues make salary reductions a necessity, do the math upfront. Lay out how you reached your calculated requirements for salary reductions across the board. Give a time frame. Stick to it. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and follow through once you’ve set your parameters.

Trust and reputation take time to built and a moment to ruin. Be the leader your teams look up to by instilling confidence, trust, and respect by giving clear instruction, finding compromise, and living up to your word.

4. Continually engage with your workforce

Maintaining employee engagement is a constant challenge for most businesses. COVID-19 and the nature of remote work has compounded that difficulty through distance. So, the question is, with all these factors, how do you keep your people connected?

Now is the time to recognize your employees at an individual level. Everyone has different ways of processing change and reactions to the current environment. There is no one size fits all solution in the New Now.

It’s up to you as a leader to recognize and be mindful of your staff’s unique reactions and feelings, if they may differ from your own. When you see negativity in the ranks, don’t dwell on it. Find ways to be supportive and create the environment for positive outcomes using your positive perspective of the big picture.

The isolation some may feel in a remote position can put people in a fog. Structure can easily go overlooked when it surrounds us every day. Now that that environment has fallen from view for so many, new and creative ways to remain connected are necessary.

Social media and networking tools are some of the available options for keeping your workforce engaged. Virtual happy hours, hobby threads, internal contests, games, and general intranet activity can help keep employees connected even though they are apart.

5.Connect creatively with customers to capture insight 

With traditional face-to-face meetings out of the question for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get more creative in how you interact with customers.

With a new landscape laid out before us, the same way of operating just doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, modern virtual meeting platforms and social media tools make it easy to at least see each other face-to-face. Leveraging these resources gives us the virtual eye contact we need in healthy human interaction. It also reassures your customers that you are proactive and engaged with them in conversation. Conveying the tone, body language, and other social cues that email and phone calls fall short with make these tools invaluable.

Rise To The Challenge As Business Leaders

In summary, now is the time to actively adapt and strategically realign with your strategic vision. Respond to disruption using the modern resources available to you. Stay the course in regard to your company’s long-term vision and continue to strive in meeting your customers’ needs. Get rid of the wants and focus on the needs of your organization in the New Now. This is the time to run lean.

Lastly, your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Be clear and transparent in your communications with them. Lead by example and hold true to your word. This will ensure confidence, focus, and engagement as your continue to strive for success.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The article “How to Consider the “What-ifs” in Times of Uncertainty” by Wayne Slater was originally published on the Prophix blog in April, 2020. you can read the original article, Here.

The word “uncertainty” immediately invokes feelings of anxiety and fear. This is not unusual, as it’s a natural human reaction to prefer the comfort of predictability over the vagueness of uncertainty. It’s in our nature to plan our day, week, and year on the data available to us. Businesses and finance professionals are no different. When the future is uncertain, this increases the risk to businesses and anxiety escalates around how to tackle the situation quickly.

Uncertain times are just that, uncertain. They make predicting the future much harder at the precise time you need to plan for it the most. Like people, businesses need to change with the times as well. Plans are no longer set in stone and need to be revisited more than twice or thrice in a year.

The need for active forecasting based on real data is paramount to making well-informed decisions about the future. In uncertain times, it’s all about becoming agile. Think about how the United States went from one COVID-19 case in Jan. 2020 to over 140,0001 by the end of Mar. 2020. Whether your organization operates in healthcare or hospitality, your plans need to adapt quickly because new decisions need to be made. Project management has already started moving from waterfall methodologies to agile for more frequent output. Ask yourself, has this sort of innovation happened in FP&A? It’s high-time finance teams are equipped with the right tools to “shift from generating data to producing insights2” that drive superior decisions.

Get access to our short 20-minute webinar on how your business can better react to and prepare for market volatility with CPM software.

an image of the future-proof your business webinar hosted by Prophix

The World of CPM

Welcome to the world of CPM – Corporate Performance Management – a tool that transforms your finance department by making processes more efficient, agile, and automated, so that you can leverage your data to improve planning, reporting, security, workflows, and consolidations, all while reducing human error. Ultimately, CPM lets your organization be proactive, forward-thinking, and enables finance leaders to better guide the organization during uncertain times.

Agile Scenario Planning

An especially important application in these uncertain times is scenario planning (see Fig.1 for contextual and transactional environmental factors involved in scenario planning). What realities is your business facing? What happens if consumer spending falls by 25%? Or if product revenue falls by 15%? Or customers need to renegotiate payment terms? Whether sales are booming or declining, finance leaders need to go back and revisit their forecasts to assess the impact to cash flow and profitability and set correcting strategies. Having a centralized CPM tool like Prophix can make your life easier because it allows you to easily run scenarios on-the-fly.

Fig. 1: The Role of the Contextual Environment in Scenario Planning | https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/using-scenario-planning-to-reshape-strategy/

an iamge of how to future-proof your business using contextual planning

Powerful tools let you transform your data and allow you to better model your operations, especially in regard to “what-if” scenario planning. Positioning your company for success involves tough modeling to ensure business continuity.

Some industries are experiencing tremendous growth like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and groceries. Concurrently, there are those that are being hit hard financially such as hospitality, aviation, and retail. Cash flow planning becomes critical during uncertain times. With a robust CPM tool, you can easily model changes to your plans and move forward. It’s all about enabling you to plan smartly.

Your finance department probably spends long nights doing month-end and operational tasks. If they’re already spending 80% of their time on transactional tasks, it can be hard to shift focus to complex planning. Is your team equipped and ready to model endless scenarios in price adjustments, changes in capital spending, and fluctuating labour needs? Now, try to imagine a world where you already had a plan and solution in place to successfully steer you out of uncertainty…

Unsure how to move forward in uncertain times? Listen to the upcoming Prophix webinar on the benefits of proactive scenario planning.

Planning for Uncertainty

So, how you do you plan for uncertainty (see Fig. 2 for some tips on scenario planning)? Well, it depends on many factors, but it starts with having a tool that can effectively and centrally manage your data, so that all your users can view and interpret the same information.

To prepare for uncertainty, you need to set the baseline financial plan and the appropriate objectives/strategic goals. Next, prepare for different outcomes by involving more people in your planning process and consider best- and worst-case scenarios. CPM software lets you do this seamlessly through workflow project management capabilities.

Once your data is centralized, it’s easy to assess your performance against planned objectives. As you understand your variances, you can measure performance, visualize the future, and adapt accordingly with agility. Once everyone agrees, you can automate report distribution, buying you more time for value creation and generating insights.

Get your guide to corporate financial planning during the pandemic – watch the webinar.

Fig. 2: The DOs and DON’Ts of Scenario Planning | https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/overcoming-obstacles-to-effective-scenario-planning

an image of how to future proof your business using the do's and don'ts of scenario planning

As you can see, scenario planning is closely linked with both budgeting and forecasting. Things change, uncertainty arises, and plans evolve. In finance, scenarios act as guiding frameworks about events that may or may not take place in the future.

As finance leaders, we must proactively plan for the unknown and incorporate it into our forecasts. We must assess more frequently whether we are meeting our objectives, and if these objectives need to be changed. Scenario planning helps mitigate variances by focusing on the realities of the business. It helps finance leaders manage resources and improve decision-making by considering opportunities and risks.

In summary, the strategy is all about envisioning and implementing ideas and goals that let you compete and win in the marketplace. Don’t let old habits of the past slow down your organization and its predisposition to change. CPM tools like Prophix provide you with the technological solutions that help innovate the Office of Finance in a rapidly evolving environment to give you a competitive edge in a world of big data and increasing complexity.

Consider the “what-ifs” in Prophix’s webinar on proactive scenario planning – watch now.

Join the live discussion with Q&A to learn what CFOs around the globe can do to respond to changing conditions and ensure business continuity while improving planning and minimizing risk.

Footnotes:

1 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

2 – https://images.info.deloitte.ca/Web/DeloitteManagementServicesLP/%7B161111db-4cc2-4d68-a272-96bd0a7d551a%7D_ca_en_FinanceTrends_16_3730T.PDF

About Prophix

Prophix develops innovative software that automates critical financial processes such as budgeting, planning, consolidation and reporting — improving a company’s profitability and minimising its risks. Thousands of forward-looking organisations in more than 90 countries use software from Prophix to gain increased visibility and insight into their business performance.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Sudden and abrupt change can interrupt anyone’s mode of operation. This couldn’t be truer than in manufacturing and distribution industries. When that change affects supply chains, livelihoods, and communities, anxieties are compounded. In these situations, people look for business leadership as a source of answers to the unknowns that are feeding their anxiety. Here are 3 ways to lead your organization through a crisis and towards a better outcome.

Business Leadership – Success From Uncertainty

There are many qualities that make a great leader, such as passion, delegating, owning responsibility, honesty, and active listening. However, not all leadership qualities are created equal when it relates to business. This is punctuated when situations are considered critical. Our current business and economic climate qualify soundly for this designation. From this point of view, below are three of the most effective and essential business leadership qualities that will help your organization endure a tough situation and lead to overall business success.

1. Give Clear Direction

A light in the dark can be more than a means of finding your way around after the power goes out. A clear path delivers comfort and confidence to move forward. In the dark, your teams may stumble over their anxiety of what may or may not come next. Direction delivers many essential signals to your organization, here are four among the most effective:

Be Calm – “Calm is Contagious” I’m not sure if its an idiom, but it should be. People react to the signals they are given every day. The most primal of which is behavior. Your calm and reassuring body language, sincerity, and timeliness reinforce the reassuring effect that essential to every level of your organization. Understanding you’ve provided a behavior to emulate every member of your organization can move forward with focused and unencumbered with anxiety.

Communicate Openly – By maintaining direct and open communication, you negate the inherent anxiety that comes with moving through the dark. Whether delivering good or bad news, your communications need to come when they are needed and provide details that lead forward. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you must let your teams know the one’s you do have.

Be Precise – Clarity is an important part of giving direction. Don’t leave room for misinterpretation. Keep your workplaces free of inefficient language and processes. By communicating in clean, clear, crisp directives, everyone remains on the same page and works towards the common goal.

Maintain Your Connection – Your organization may have been founded by an individual, but I guarantee it was built by people. Some of them may be senior members of your organization, some of them may have joined you days before any significant change upended your day-to-day. It’s important to remember that they are all invested in your continued success. If you don’t treat them as though they have a stake in the game, you may be compounding the problems you are already facing.

By giving your teams a clear direction moving forward, you enable them to keep their focus and put the unanswered questions out of their path. This leaves them free from distractions to continue towards their goal. This leads us to the next point.

2. Outline achievable goals

One of the biggest components of business leadership is to include yourself as part of the solution. Having a goal in mind helps to maintain focus. To that effect, the notion of “here’s what I, you, and we can do now…” can be real foundational support for those who can let their minds wander into the great expanse of what comes next.

By ensuring everyone has a goal, is on task, and maintains accountability throughout your organizational structure, your place in the supply chains remain uninterrupted, your products reach their destinations, and your relationships remain in good standing.

3. Identify Opportunity And Implement

This is where you show your organization that you are in control of the situation. You’ve given everyone the rundown on what’s happening form an operational standpoint and measures being taken to alleviate constraints. With the staff at ease, they can go about achieving goals and completing tasks in their “new now” modes of operation.

By identifying key opportunities that you can take advantage of during this change of pace, you communicate to everyone that growth is still happening, even if it may not be apparent on the surface. Big ships take time to steer and those efficiency projects that kept being pushed onto the back burner due to high volume orders fulfillment or staff shortages are now primed and ready to be implemented. At the very least, you can outline your strategy to achieve the implementation of new ideas and projects so that you can hit the ground running when the conditions permit.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


I’m Samuel Kniseley Ballesteros, and I’m an EOS Implementer™. You may already be familiar with EOS® or the book, Traction, by Gino Wickman, founder of EOS Worldwide. If you’ve never heard of EOS®, it stands for the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, and this short video clip tells The EOS® Story.

The EOS® Method

I help business owners who are overwhelmed with the 136 issues they’re wrestling with simultaneously. It’s all about getting a grip on their business and getting what they really want from the business. I do that by providing a complete system with really simple tools. These tools help you do three things we call Vision, Traction® and Healthy.

  • Vision from the standpoint of first getting your leaders 100% on the same page with where your organization is going and how it is going to get there.
  • Traction® from the standpoint of helping your leaders become more disciplined and accountable, executing really well to achieve every part of your Vision,
  • Healthy, meaning helping your leaders to become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team because leaders often don’t function well as a team.

From there, as goes your leadership team, the rest of your organization follows. We get to the point where your entire organization is crystal clear on your Vision, all much more disciplined and accountable in executing on your Vision. The result is gaining consistent Traction® and advancing as a healthy, functional and cohesive team.

I love to meet business owners to hear their story and what they are trying to accomplish with their business.  I also enjoy giving away some of my time (no charge) to get to know them and their leadership team. This includes teaching them the EOS® tools and proven process.  After that, I want them to feel absolutely comfortable calling me anytime with questions. It’s important for them to know that I won’t ever push them to start implementing EOS.  I’m a teacher, facilitator and coach, not a sales guy.

About Samuel

In his 20s, Samuel began leading the International Division for North America’s top architectural metals company. His Cuban heritage gave him the language skills to conduct business with customers in Latin America. Samuel was part of the team that set and realized strategic goals. During that time, the company grew from almost $30 Million to over $100 Million within 10 short years.

The skillset Samuel learned there led him to an opportunity to start his own firm. With that opportunity, he focused on helping companies improve their profitability.

Samuel’s firm picked up a client that helps CPAs become forward-thinking advisors. He worked directly with their team to refine a tool that helps CPAs measure a company’s business potential. The tool ultimately identified opportunities to increase value by improving the key components of the business.

After joining Stewardship Legacy Coaching to lead the Business Coaching Solutions Division, Samuel was introduced to the wonderful world of EOS®, and he was immediately attracted to the simplicity and practicality of EOS® to help entrepreneurs and their leadership teams make their vision clear, simple and achievable.

Now, as an EOS Implementer™, Samuel is excited about helping business owners thrive as they achieve what is best for their families and their companies.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


A concept coined by Douglas Adams in his famous science-fiction novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the Someone else’s problem (SEP) Field masks objects and concepts. According to Adams:

An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem…. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.

In the field of social psychology, SEP goes by another name: the bystander effect. The phenomenon revolves around the concept that an individual is less likely to help someone in need or solve an existing problem in direct correlation with how many other people are present.  In this case, the larger the number of bystanders, the tendency for the individual is to believe someone else has taken the agency to get things under control. The individual is, therefore, less likely to lend aid.

 

A photo of a woman covering her eyes. encompass solutions erp and business consulting.

Someone Else’s Problem is a dangerous concept to underestimate or allow to become established as the status quo.

Other Factors Contributing To SEP

Some other concepts that come into play are the ambiguity of the problem at hand, group cohesion, or how close the social ties are between members of a group, and the diffusion of responsibility. That last concept is perhaps the most significant of the three, whereby the individual in question may believe the responsibility lies solely on other group members or that those individuals are assumed to have already addressed the problem.

The Harm Of SEP In Business

When it comes to business, the concept of SEP can emerge with significantly detrimental results. When it comes to the operations of an enterprise, Someone Else’s Problem is a dangerous concept to underestimate or allow to become established as the status quo.

Playing games of tag on tasks within a department or between departments can choke a business’ efficiency and mishandle resources when they can be put to more efficient use. For example, try to assign a list of tasks for your team to tackle as a whole and a list of tasks for each individual member. Team members will consistently take on the individual tasks first and consider the broader tasks as secondary priorities.

What if one, or several, of the team tasks, is a blocker for one, or several individuals’ tasks? who takes the initiative to resolve the issue(s)? Who in your organization has the visibility and understanding to prioritize and delegate essential tasks? Being able to prioritize accordingly and assume ownership is essential in keeping the business functioning at peak performance. The problem is a common one and, fortunately, the solution an accessible one.

Keeping SEP At Bay

The good news is SEP doesn’t have to be a plague upon your business. According to social psychological research, the most effective solution emerges in the reinforcement of teamwork and forming of strong bonds between coworkers. A business’ investment in the employee also tends to lead to their reciprocated investment in the company. Issues that can be detrimental to the business are viewed as detrimental to the individual by association. In this way, the issue isn’t kicked further down the road or ignored altogether as SEP, because, while not everyone may have the ability to address the problem, they are invested enough to acknowledge it needs to be addressed, resolved, and learned from.

Once your team is functioning together and understands working towards the success of the business is an investment in their own success, you can focus on reinforcing strategies for collaborative problem-solving. Quality training along with clear workflows and processes play important roles in keeping SEP at bay. A quality ERP solution can also provide the essential visibility and task management capabilities a business needs to avoid the pitfalls of SEP peril.

Having the right tools on-hand, a procedural plan of action, and an answer to ” It’s Someone Else’s Problem” is the best way to keep your business SEP-free before the phenomenon can take root within your workforce.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Is your reading list looking a little thin these days? Haha, right, sure: as if there were enough hours in the day and days in the week to read every book you needed, let alone wanted to read. We put in our best efforts but the list grows and grows and nothing is quite so frustrating as realizing a few chapters in (or, heaven forbid, at the very end) that the book you’re working on is Just Not That Good. Here’s some good news for you: We’ve got a list of the top 10 manufacturing books that are definitely worth adding to the top of your list. If you have any role in the manufacturing technology sector, are wanting to improve performance in any business, or even do a little bit of personal organization, you’ll find great advice and information in any of these.

Are you looking to continually improve processes and cut down on wasted resources like time and money, whether it be in the back office or factory floor? Get in touch with the expert analysts and consultants at Encompass Solutions today.

Here Are those Which We Believe Make The List Of Top 10 Manufacturing Books

top 10 manufacturing technology books

Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno

In this classic text, Taiichi Ohno–inventor of the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing–shares the genius that sets him apart as one of the most disciplined and creative thinkers of our time. Combining his candid insights with a rigorous analysis of Toyota’s attempts at Lean production, Ohno’s book explains how Lean principles can improve any production endeavor. A historical and philosophical description of just-in-time and Lean manufacturing, this work is a must-read for all students of human progress. . .

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Built To Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day — as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?” (Amazon.com -2015)

 

Good To Great  by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.  But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Give and Take by Adam M. Grant

Named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal as well as one of Oprah’s riveting reads, Fortune‘s must-read business books, and the Washington Post‘s books every leader should read. For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Dealing With Darwin by Geoffrey A. Moore

The Darwinian struggle of business keeps getting more brutal as competitive advantage gaps get narrower and narrower. Anything you invent today will soon be copied by someone else—probably better and cheaper.

Many companies thrive during the early stages of their life cycle, only to fall slack during periods of inertia and die out while others surge ahead. But as Geoffrey Moore shows, some notable companies have figured out how to deal with Darwin in their mature years—making changes on the fly while fending off challenges from every quarter.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

The Outsiders by William N. Thorndike

“An outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.” — Warren Buffett

. . .
Named one of “19 Books Billionaire Charlie Munger Thinks You Should Read” in Business Insider.

“A book that details the extraordinary success of CEOs who took a radically different approach to corporate management.” — Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation

“Thorndike explores the importance of thoughtful capital allocation through the stories of eight successful CEOs. A good read for any business leader but especially those willing to chart their own course.” — Michael Dell, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Dell. 

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Anti-Patterns  by Brown, Malveau, McCormick, and Mowbray

Are you headed into the software development minefield? Follow someone if you can, but if you’re on your own-better get the map! AntiPatterns is the map. This book helps you navigate through today’s dangerous software development projects. . . .

While patterns help you to identify and implement procedures, designs, and codes that work, AntiPatterns do the exact opposite; they let you zero-in on the development detonators, architectural tripwires, and personality booby traps that can spell doom for your project. Written by an all-star team of object-oriented systems developers, AntiPatterns identifies 40 of the most common AntiPatterns in the areas of software development, architecture, and project management. The authors then show you how to detect and defuse AntiPatterns as well as supply refactored solutions for each AntiPattern presented.

 (Amazon.com – 2015)

 

The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Yes, And by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton

Executives from The Second City—the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation—reveal improvisational techniques that can help any organization develop innovators, encourage adaptable leaders, and build transformational businesses.

For more than fifty years, The Second City comedy theater in Chicago has been a training ground for some of the best comic minds in the industry—including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. But it also provides one-of-a-kind leadership training to cutting-edge companies, nonprofits, and public sector organizations—all aimed at increasing creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name.

Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us—but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.