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Ray Gagnon
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Ray Gagnon is Principal and Founder of Gagnon Associates, a management and organizational consulting firm located in Metro-West Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The perspective he brings to his consulting work 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, and Executive Coaching.
His consulting industry experience ranges from bio-tech, health-care, high-technology, consumer products and fashion, to chemicals manufacturing, heavy machinery and transportation. Ray has studied, lived and worked internationally, designing and conducting engagements for such global enterprises as GE, IBM, Philips, Novartis and Polo Ralph Lauren as well as for such local companies as Weston & Sampson, Yellow Freight, and The Orvis Company, Inc.
A performing vocalist/guitarist for most of his life, he is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys canoeing, hiking, mountain-climbing and fly-fishing.

Entries by Ray Gagnon

Strategic Planning: Establishing a "Baseline"

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 2:20 PM

We've written elsewhere in THE BLOG about the importance of creating the right mindset among the executive participants of any strategic planning effort before you just plunge in. But if you're planning to lead or facilitate such a process, what about what you need to know and feel...

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Strategic Planning: Deciding How to Decide

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 11:02 AM

We've written elsewhere in THE BLOG about what's probably the major challenge inherent in conducting an effective strategic planning process with the kind of individuals that usually populate the C-suite. Planning teams are invariably composed of very high-achievers with significant egos who hold strong opinions about all aspects...

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So You're Hiring a Consultant? -- A Few Do's and Dont's

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 2:16 PM

After close to 30 years in consulting, we're proud to say we've worked with and for executives from some of the finest companies in the world. In many cases, these relationships have long outlasted the engagements that gave rise to them. In some cases, what began as working...

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Fix It! - 10 Steps to More Effective Problem-Solving

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM

We've spoken elsewhere on The Blog of the importance of carefully planning any meeting or team work-session to make sure it achieves its intended results. Perhaps nowhere is this more important than when you're problem-solving. If it's true, as has been said, that the essence of running a...

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Strategic Planning: A Question of Executive Alignment

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 3:14 PM

Whenever we're hired by a client to conduct a strategic planning process, we recognize, from the beginning, the first pre-requisite for success: quite simply, it is executive alignment.

When we're asked to come back, perhaps a year or two later, to help a client assess to what degree a plan...

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Eliminating Non-Value Added Work -- Or, 'Cleaning the Corporate Attic'

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 9:36 AM

For most of us, perhaps, a quick look in the garage or the attic reveals a number of things that are probably no longer useful but that we just haven't taken the time to get rid of. When we do get around to "cleaning house," though, we invariably experience a...

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Strategic Planning: Hire a Referee So You Can Be a Player

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 3:15 PM

You're going to develop a strategic plan with the help of your executive team and a few other thought-leaders and high-potentials in your company. And when you ask yourself who should direct your planning sessions, your most "obvious" answer is -- you. After all, you're the leader, right?

...
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Your Company's 'Cardiovascular' System: How Healthy Is It?

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 3:24 PM

Think of it this way: Your meetings, collectively, and the culture that holds sway in them, are really the "cardiovascular" system of your company. Just as your arteries bring life-giving blood to all parts of your body, so too does your meeting system channel the communication of ideas, solutions, decisions,...

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'GE Workout': Physical Fitness for Your Organization

(1) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 12:04 PM

As everyone knows, it's not the nature of the human body to automatically become more physically fit. On the contrary, it's a painful fact that flab, sluggishness and poor muscle-tone are the natural order of things. Fitness, stamina and robust health take hard work, not just occasionally but over an...

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Business Process Improvement -- "Nine Blind Men and the Elephant"

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 6:44 PM

Whenever we're asked by clients to explain our approach to Business Process Improvement or Re-Engineering, we invariably begin by telling the parable of the "Nine Blind Men and the Elephant." Here it is:

Nine blind men surround an elephant. Each is grabbing the elephant in a different place. Someone asks...
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Effective Change Management: The Five Critical Steps

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 3:19 PM

You wouldn't blink if someone told you they needed to do a better job managing their company's "budgeting" process or "manufacturing" process or "new-product-development" process, would you? But managing a "change process"? Sounds like "consultant-speak," right? Wrong.

Given the need to make a significant change in your business, especially one...

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Strategic Planning and the "Vision Thing" -- Fire, Not Fluff

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 10:43 AM

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

-- Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

A self-evident statement, right? Maybe. But when it comes to strategic planning, in our experience, it's not at all unusual for leaders who see themselves as...

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So You've Got a Strategic Plan -- Now What?

(2) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 9:17 AM

You've just developed a new strategic plan for your company. You're pleased -- even excited -- about it. And so are the other 10 or 12 people on the planning team. So far so good.

But now you face the next and most critical challenge: How do...

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Strategic Planning: Establishing the Right Mindset

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 5:08 PM

Laying the groundwork for effective strategic planning involves covering many bases: clearing short-term calendars; picking an approach -- which "tools" or "models"?; deciding whether to go it alone or hire a consultant; selecting a conducive venue -- onsite or off? -- and so on and so forth. These...

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Strategic Planning: Laying the Foundation with a Solid Environmental Scan

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 3:44 PM

There's no doubt that defining the future for an enterprise is one of the most important obligations of leadership. There's also little doubt that actually conducting the strategic planning process by which this takes place is one of leadership's most challenging activities.

The issues at play are many...

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Getting "Buy-In": Mobilizing Commitment To Your Change Program or Strategy

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2012 | 10:21 AM

"I say 'Charge!' but when I look behind me, there's no one there."

So says my CEO client as we sit talking at the end of a long day in the quiet and privacy of his inner office. He's detailing for me his version of contemporary management's biggest challenge: mobilizing...

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Why Strategic Plans Fail -- And How to Avoid the Pitfalls

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 1:18 PM

It's true that perhaps the biggest "wrap" against investing time and resources in creating a strategic plan is that so many of them simply "gather dust" in three-ring binders, instead of serving as "living" blue-prints for business success.

Here, from our perspective, are some reasons why...

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Strategic Planning Basics: Simplifying Terms & Nomenclature

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2012 | 3:42 PM

It's not unusual for us to begin working with clients who have encountered frustration and confusion in their previous attempts at strategic plan development. The major cause for this confusion can be the lack of a clear, agreed-upon nomenclature for a plan's key elements. One person's "goal" is...

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Your Strategic Plan -- Dead or Alive? Nine Ways to Make It Live

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 10:37 AM

"There are two schools of thought about strategic planning," said a consulting mentor of ours many years ago. "One holds that it's a waste of time; the other that it's the most important thing you ever do."

"Here's the kicker," he continued, "they're both right."

It...

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