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Chicago Region Strategic Planning Meeting

             FOCUS 2002:
    Defining and Planning for Our
   Strategic Competitive Advantage

                   September 13-14, 2001

         McDonald’s Chicago Region Training Center
                     Warrenville, IL


                       Presented by
                  James D. Ludema, Ph.D.
                   Benedictine University
             Strategic Planning Meeting

                 Purpose & Objectives

The purpose of the meeting is to define and plan for
McDonald’s strategic competitive advantage in the Chicago

 Build on the strengths and successes of the Chicago
 Envision and clarify a strategic competitive advantage
  for the Chicago Region.
 Align and focus all regional team plans (strategies and
  tactics) on sustaining this strategic competitive
  advantage through 2002 and beyond.

          Chicago Region Strategic Planning Meeting


                                      Day 1

Thursday, September 13, DISCOVERY & DREAM

8:30 am      Continental Breakfast

9:00 am      Opening/Welcome – Ed Schneider, Phil Gray, Larry Kosanovich

             Conference Overview – Bob Roberts & Jim Ludema

             The Power of the Positive Question: A Brief Introduction to AI

             Learning from Stories of Peak Performance: One-on-One Interviews

             Discovering the Chicago Region’s ―Principles to Preserve‖

12:00 noon   Lunch

1:00 pm      Mapping the Chicago Region’s Positive Core

             Envisioning Our Strategic Competitive Advantage

             Positive Image, Positive Action: The Conceptual Basis of AI

6:00 pm      Conference Adjourns

             Leadership Team Meets to Review Competitive Advantage

          Chicago Region Strategic Planning Meeting


                                      Day 2

Friday, September 14, DESIGN & DESTINY

8:00 am      Continental Breakfast

8:30 am      Begin Session: Reflections and Overview of the Day

             Report from Leadership Group/Discussion

             Fit: Designing to Support Our Strategic Competitive Advantage


             Strategic Planning: Regional Team Strategies and Tactics

12:00 noon   Lunch

1:00 pm      Strategic Planning: Regional Team Strategies and Tactics (cont’d)

             Finding Fit: Report Out Regional Team Strategies and Tactics


             Execution: How to Drive Process and Keep Out Disruptions

             Wrap Up, Closure

4:00 pm      Adjourn

                            Appreciative Inquiry:
                         Framework for the Meeting

―Appreciative inquiry gets much better results than seeking out and solving problems.
We concentrate enormous resources on correcting problems…[but] when used
continually over a long time, this approach leads to a negative culture, a descent into a
paralyzing sense of hopelessness. Don‘t get me wrong. I‘m not advocating mindless
happy talk. Appreciative inquiry is a complex science designed to make things better. We
can‘t ignore problems—we just need to approach them from the other side.‖

Thomas H. White, President, Telephone Operations, Verizon Wireless

―We introduced the concept of Appreciative Inquiry into our Breakthrough Leadership
Program at Roadway curriculum in 2000. Our senior managers have been so
enthusiastic…everyone is focused on what‘s possible. The output has been amazing and
provides a great map to desirable outcomes.‖

Jim Staley, President & COO, Roadway Express, Inc.

―Appreciative Inquiry is currently revolutionizing the field of organization
development…it is a process of search and discovery designed to value, prize and honor.
It assumes that organizations are networks of relatedness and that these networks are

Robert Quinn, M. E. Tracy Distinguished Professor of Management, University of
Michigan Business School, in Change the World: How Ordinary People can Achieve
Extraordinary Results

―Watch out Dilbert. Your view of corporations as hotbeds of meaningless work and
chronic alienation may hold center stage for now, but an alternative view that finds the
glass half full, not half empty, is gaining followers daily. Eventually it will replace your
terminally cynical take on the world. One thing‘s for sure: Dilbert‘s method to search
for and highlight the most hilariously counterproductive workplace behavior and the
times when workers are most dispirited is nearly reversed through the method of
Appreciative Inquiry.‖

Eric Ramy, Human Resource Executive Magazine

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative inquiry is an approach to organization change that has been used
successfully in small and large change projects with hundreds of organizations
worldwide. It is based on the simple idea that organizations move in the direction of
what they ask questions about. For example, when groups study human problems and
conflicts, they often find that both the number and severity of these problems grow. In
the same way, when groups study high human ideals and achievements, such as peak
experiences, best practices, and noble accomplishments, these phenomena, too, tend to
flourish. Thus, appreciative inquiry distinguishes itself from other change methodologies
by deliberately asking positive questions to ignite constructive dialogue and inspired
action within organizations.

How to Use Appreciative Inquiry

As a method of organizational intervention, appreciative inquiry differs from traditional
problem-solving approaches. The basic assumption of problem-solving methodologies is
that people and organizations are fundamentally ―broken‖ and need to be fixed. The
process usually involves: (1) identifying the key problems; (2) analyzing the root causes;
(3) searching for possible solutions; and (4) developing an action plan.

In contrast, the underlying assumption of appreciative inquiry is that people and
organizations are by nature full of assets, capabilities, resources, and strengths that are
just waiting to be located, affirmed, stretched, and encouraged. The steps include: (1)
discovering and valuing; (2) envisioning; (3) design through dialogue; and (4) co-
constructing the future. In other words, the appreciative inquiry 4-D model includes
discovery, dream, design, delivery.

                                           D I SC O V E RY
                                            A p pr e ci ati ng
                                      ― T he B es t o f W h a t I s‖

                   D E ST I N Y               PO SI T I V E                 DR E A M
                   S u sta in in g                                        E n vi sio n i ng
                ― Wh at W i ll B e‖
                                                T O PIC                ― W h at Co uld B e‖
                                                C H O IC E

                                             D E SI G N
                                         C o- C o nst ru c tin g
                                        ―W h a t Sh o uld B e‖

                   What to Expect from this Summit

Role of Conference Leaders
 Manage the overall conference process
 Set the structure and time frames
 Monitor the overall process and group effort
 Highlight themes that emerge

Your Role
 Contribute ideas
 Analyze information
 Self-manage own group
 Focus on the future of what you want to create

Ground Rules
 Everyone participates
 All ideas are valid
 Everything is written on flip charts
 Listen to Each Other
 Observe time frames
 Seek common ground and action
 Differences and problems are acknowledged—not ―worked‖

Self-Management Leadership Roles
Each small group manages its own discussion, data, time, and reports. Here are useful
roles for self-managing this work. Leadership roles can be rotated. Divide up the
work as you wish:

   DISCUSSION LEADER—Assures that each person who wants to speak is heard
    within time available. Keeps group on track to finish on time.

   TIMEKEEPER—Keeps group aware of time left. Monitors report-outs and signals
    time remaining to person talking.

   RECORDER—Writes group’s output on flip charts, using speaker’s words. Asks
    people to restate long ideas briefly.

   REPORTER—Delivers report to large group in time allotted.

                             Activity #1: Task Brief

                    Learning from Stories of Peak Performance

            One-on-One Interviews: “The Chicago Region at its Best”

Purpose:      To discover the forces and factors that give McDonalds its success
              and vitality when it’s at its best.


   Select an interview partner from your table group.

   Interview your partner using the interview guide on the following page.
    Each person will have 30 minutes to interview his or her partner.

   Encourage your partner to tell his/her story, draw them out with your
    positive energy and excitement.

   Take good notes and be listening for great quotes and stories. You will share
    the results of your interview in the next session.

   The information you collect in this interview will be used today and
    tomorrow to shape the strategic future of the Chicago Region.

         A McDonald’s Inquiry Into Strategic Competitive Advantage

                                 Opening Dialogue
                      (In diverse pairs: across functions and levels)

1. What Attracted You
   Think back to when you first decided to join McDonald’s, what attracted you? What
   were your initial excitements and impressions?

2. High Point
   During your entire time with McDonald’s, I’m sure you’ve had some ups and downs,
   some peaks and valleys, some times when your stores and region were performing at
   their best and some times when they were not. I’d like you to reflect for a moment on
   a high point experience, a time when your stores/region were operating at peak
   performance…tell the story. What happened? What was going on?

3. What Enabled Your Success
   What was it about you, others, and the organization that made your high point
   experience possible?
    What were your best qualities, skills, approaches, values, etc. that made it a great
    Who were significant others and what did they contribute?
    What were the most important factors in the organization that helped (e.g.,
      strategic focus, leadership qualities, best practices, traditions, structures,
      procedures, skills, relationships)?

4. What is Our Strategic Competitive Advantage: A company can consistently
   outperform rivals only if it can establish a competitive strategic advantage – a unique
   value proposition that it produces better and more completely than anyone else. This
   kind of advantage requires the full investment of every member of the team – building
   on traditional strengths and discovering new capabilities that will carry the
   organization to higher levels of strategic excellence.

   A. As you look at the Chicago Region from the perspective of our strengths, and as
      you think about the business context and opportunities, what do you think our
      strategic competitive advantage could and should be? Define it: what is the
      strategic competitive advantage you want and believe we have the capability to
      create? Right now? In the moderate time frame? Longer term?

5. Imagining New Possibilities for Competitive Advantage
   If anything imaginable were possible, if there were no constraints, what would the
   ideal McDonald’s organization look like if we were to maximize our strategic
   competitive advantage? Describe, as if you had a crystal ball, what we would be
   doing new, better, or different? Envision it happening? What do you see happening at
   the store level…among operators…within McOpCo…with regional staff…with
   McDonald’s corporate…with suppliers…with customers…with the media and special
   interest groups? What do you see that is new, different, better?

6. Three Wishes
   If you had a magic wand and could develop or transform the Chicago Region in any
   way to maximize its competitive advantage, what three wishes, in order of priority,
   would you make?

                                Activity #2: Task Brief

              Discovering the Chicago Region’s “Principles to Preserve”

Purpose:       To develop a shared understanding of the core principles you want to
               preserve as you move into the future?.


1. Assign self-management leadership roles (see p. 7 for these).

2. At your tables, have each person share highlights from interview questions 1-3.
   Focus especially on the stories of peak experiences at McDonald’s.

3. As a group talk about what these stories and responses tell you about the Chicago
   Region when it is at its best? What are the core ―principles to preserve‖ that have
   given us success in the past and that we want to continue as we move into the future?

4. Prepare a 3-5 minute presentation that includes:
    A story from the interviews that powerfully illustrates the Chicago Region when it
      is at its best.
    A list, in order of priority, of your group’s 3-4 most important principles to

                                Activity #3: Task Brief

                 Envisioning Our Strategic Competitive Advantage

Purpose:      To establish a core competitive advantage that will allow us to crush the
              competition in the marketplace.


1. Assign self-management leadership roles (see p. 7 for these).

2. At your tables, have each person share highlights from interview questions 4-6.

3. Spend enough time talking as a group to come to agreement on (a) what you think our
   strategic competitive advantage should be and (b) what the organization would look
   like if it were perfectly aligned to support this strategic advantage.

4. Prepare a presentation that includes:
    A flip chart with a statement of what you think our strategic competitive
      advantage should be.
    Choose a creative way to present your collective vision what the organization
      would look like if it were perfectly aligned to support this strategic advantage
      (e.g., A TV Special, Magazine Cover Story, Skit or Drama, A Day in the Life, A
      Work of Art, other). 5-minute max. presentation.

                                 Activity #4: Task Brief

           Fit: Designing to Support Our Strategic Competitive Advantage

Purpose:       To align Regional Teams so they provide maximum support to each other
               and to our strategic competitive advantage.

Guidelines:    This activity has two parts.

Part I, in pairs, respond to the following questions:
Making Trade-Offs: The essence of strategic competitive advantage is making trade-
offs. Successful organizations know both how to ―preserve the core‖ of what they do best,
and how to simplify by letting go of things that are no longer needed. Knowing what to
preserve and what to let go of is essential. Think long-term (3-5 year timeframe).

A. Recall a time when our strategic competitive advantage was at its best…tell the story.
   What happened? What was going on?
    What were your best qualities, skills, approaches, values, etc. that made you
    Who were significant others and what did they contribute?
    What were the most important factors in the organization that helped (e.g.,
      strategic focus, operations, marketing, partnering, leadership approaches, ways of
      developing others, accountability systems, ways of delegating and building trust,
      technologies, etc.?
    What makes our strategic advantage work?

B. Assuming that no organization can do everything well, there is a need to simplify and
   streamline. There is a need to let go of things that given precious time constraints are
   not needed. Assuming that very few things are sacred, what things (little or large) do
   you feel we should consider letting go of in order to sharpen our focus on our
   competitive strategic advantage (consider all four pillar areas – marketing, ops.
   excellence, people, and profit)?

C. What is the smallest step (an action, a decision, an initiative) we could take that
   would have the largest impact?

D. What is one innovation we have not even thought of yet – something that could give
   us a quantum leap and have an enormous payoff?

(Turn page for Part II)

Part II


1. Once you have finished your one-on-one interviews, return to your table.

2. Assign self-management leadership roles (see p. 7 for these).

3. At your tables, have each person share highlights from the interview questions.

4. As you are listening to the responses of the other members of your group, jot down
   notes to yourself about the best 1 or 2 ideas you hear for your pillar area. Listen also
   for ideas that cross the boundaries of the pillar areas.

    a. Things we do well and should keep doing…

    b. Things we should let go (stop doing) to sharpen our focus…

    c. New things we should start doing that could have enormous payoff…

5. Take these notes with you to your Regional Team meeting (next).

                                Activity #5: Task Brief

     Strategic Planning: Regional Team Strategies, Tactics, and Measurements

Purpose:       To decide on the highest-impact measures, strategies, and tactics your
               team can do to advance the strategic competitive advantage we desire.


1. Assign self-management leadership roles (see p. 7 for these).

2. Share with each other your ―best ideas‖ for measures, strategies, and tactics. Spend
   enough time discussing to agree upon the strategies, tactics, and measures that will
   have the highest impact on driving our strategic competitive advantage. Think long-
   term (3-5 year timeframe).

3. As a group, agree on your top strategies, tactics, and measures for the next 3-5 years.

4. Agree on your top strategies (no more than 2), tactics (no more than 3), and measures
   (no more than 3) for 2002. This is an exercise in focus and precision. Select only
   those strategies, tactics, and measures that will have the highest leverage and impact.

5. Determine what kinds of help (resources, support, etc.) you will need from specific

6. Finally, create a work plan for your team (use form) and prepare to report to the large
   group. 10 minute max. presentation.

                          Professional Biography

                           James D. Ludema

             Associate Professor of Organization Development
                          Benedictine University
                            5700 College Rd.
                             Lisle, IL 60523

James D. Ludema is an Associate Professor of Organization Development
at Benedictine University. Jim has lived and worked in Asia, Africa,
and Latin America and has served as consultant to a variety of
organizations in the profit, non-profit, and government sectors including
BP-Amoco, McDonald’s, John Deere, Ameritech, Northern Telecom,
Square D Company, Essef Corporation, Bell and Howell, Kaiser
Permanente, World Vision, the City of Minneapolis, and many local and
international NGOs. Jim's areas of interest and expertise include
appreciative inquiry, organizational redesign and whole system change,
large group interventions, the people side of mergers and acquisitions,
human motivation, and organizational storytelling. Publications include:

   Appreciative inquiry: The power of the unconditional positive question
   From local conversations to global change: Experiencing the
    worldwide web effect of Appreciative Inquiry
   Appreciative future search: Involving the whole system in positive
    organization change
   Organizational hope: Reaffirming the constructive task of social and
    organizational inquiry
   From deficit discourse to vocabularies of hope: The power of
   Partnering to build and measure organizational capacity: Lessons
    from NGOs around the world

Jim lives with his wife and three children in Chicago, IL.
(May, 2001)


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