Ray Gagnon

Ray Gagnon

Ray provides business leaders with the best practices, implementation support and coaching required to accelerate positive change in their organizations. The perspective he brings to change management and operational improvement has been developed over some 30 years spent working in and for some of the world’s largest and most respected companies in the areas of strategic planning, GE Work-Out, business process improvement, management development and executive coaching. Read Ray Gagnon's complete Bio here.

Leaders! Dialogue — Don’t Just Preside!

Consider this: There are three kinds of power: position power, knowledge power and presence power. If you’re the CEO or President of your company, or division or group leader in your company, it’s quite possible you have a good bit of all three. You may not think this is a big deal, but make no … More »

Maximize Your Meeting Impact: The Process Check

We’ve written elsewhere about just how critical the effectiveness of your system of meetings is to your company’s organizational health and business success.  But of course, the building blocks of that system are your individual meetings themselves.  Think for a moment of just how much time you spend in meetings.  Then multiply that by the … More »

Empowerment: Buzzword or Bedrock?

As happens regularly in our line of work, we were recently contacted by an industry journalist to contribute our thinking to an article – this time on the topic of “employee empowerment.” “How do you define it?” she asked. “How important is it to business organizations?” “Does it really matter to employees?” “And what are … More »

A New Spin on Supplier Development: Don’t Negotiate — Collaborate!

Cutting costs by better managing supplier relationships is a familiar theme in procurement these days. Phrases such as “earlier supplier involvement,” “tiered supplier relationships” and enhanced “supplier development” are familiar refrains. But if you come from a tradition of tough, power-play negotiations, how do you overcome that history and move to a more even-handed, transparent … More »

A Nine-Point Checklist for Effective Teaming: It Doesn’t Just Happen!

There’s no doubt that teaming is a fact of life in contemporary business. The complexity and cross-functionality of business life require it. But whether you’re talking about your executive team or project or task teams, you’re dreaming if you think that just declaring a group to be a “team” because they’ve been assembled against a … More »

Strategic Planning: The Executive Interview Process

Whenever we’re asked by a client to help with strategic planning, we always begin with the same initial step:  comprehensive, one-on-one, confidential interviews of the company’s leadership team – namely, the CEO and his or her direct reports. There’s a simple reason for this:  As a first step in establishing the context for planning we … More »

Strategic Planning: What’s In It for Me?

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the consulting mentor of ours who was fond of saying that strategic planning was, at one and the same time, the most important task you can undertake as a business leader and also “a waste of time.”  Of course, what he meant was, like New Year’s resolutions, it’s not the resolving that … More »

Strategic Planning: Building to Endure by Codifying Your Company’s “Core Values”

If you’re launching a strategic planning effort in your company, the first step to be completed – assuming you haven’t done so already – is a careful statement of your company’s “core values.”  Since, to some, the term “values” suggests abstraction, we find this task strikes some business people as a bit “squishy” or “touchy-feely.”  … More »

Business Process Improvement: Wring More Productivity Out of Your Key Business Processes

“A bad process will beat a good person every time.”  So famously said quality guru W. Edwards Deming, and we agree.  We’ve seen it time and time again. Business processes – such as your budgeting process, your new-product development process, your engineering process, etc., etc. – by definition, cut across multiple business functions, groups or … More »

Changing Your Corporate Culture — One Meeting at a Time

It’s not unusual for us to meet leaders who have little patience for the topic of corporate “culture.”  That’s understandable.  Business executives, by and large, are practical people, who like dealing with concrete facts and data that can drive measurable results – today vs. tomorrow.

Your Strategic Plan — Tracking Progress to Ensure Success

Probably the biggest “rap” against strategic planning is that, all too often, it’s an “academic,” “blue-sky” exercise that doesn’t translate into concrete results in the “real world.”  While we can’t deny there are probably far too many plans gathering dust on too many shelves, we’d contend this isn’t usually the fault of

Strategic Planning: Planning to Plan

It may sound like the ultimate redundancy, but there’s no denying it:  you can drastically increase your chances of success in your strategic planning efforts by “planning to plan.”  Here’s the point:  you’ll be investing a significant amount of time from the most “expensive” people in your organization in this effort. 

Strategic Planning:  Beyond the Executive Suite

When you launch a strategic planning effort, one of the first questions you need to answer, of course, is:  “Who should be involved?”  The most typical first response to this question is: “the executive team.”  This usually means the CEO and his or her direct reports.  And, of course, this is a valid answer – … More »