Getting to Meaningful Strategy Discussions


Are you finding yourself a little lost in the quagmire of frameworks and theories aimed at helping you in your strategic thinking and planning processes? Would you welcome a fresh perspective?

There isn’t a leader out there who hasn’t studied, discussed and, most likely worried about, the ever present challenge of strategy and being strategic. You can over-engineer and complicate it to death – or, according to a recent article from Harvard Business Review, you can take a practical approach, looking at how well strategic thinking is implemented throughout your organization on a day-to-day basis.

The article I am referring to is entitled, Being a Strategic Leader is About Asking the Right Questions. It offers five very straightforward questions for you to ask yourself and your team. They are presented in a deliberate order, and include the following:

1. What are we doing today?
2. Why are you doing the work you’re doing? Why now?
3. How does what we’re doing today align with the bigger picture?
4. What does success look like for our team?
5. What else could we do to achieve more, better, faster?

Having read the list, you might be tempted to go right to the fifth question, but the article warns against doing that. You must do the groundwork in the here and now, before you can effectively look forward to the new and better.

I have always believed purposeful and relevant questions are the very best tool in the leader’s toolkit. This article proves the point, once again.

To read the full article, you can go to Read More Here

Bad managers lead to lost employees. Period.


This is not breaking news.

This equation is never going to change.

Companies avoid getting rid of bad managers for any number of reasons – he’s a brilliant mind, she’s been with the company since the outset, he has the best sales record in the organization; the financial package to get rid of her would be too much.

A company’s decision to not get rid of that bad manager, however, is also a decision to get rid of any number of valuable employees reporting to him or her over time. These good workers, managers, and possible future leaders of the organization will then be gone before they can even reach their potential within the company.

No amount of bonuses, perks, or external motivators can compensate for the negative impact of a bad boss over the long-term. Employees will stay, either until they can’t take it anymore, or until something better comes along, leaving companies to rehire and retrain a continual stream of new employees who, in turn, are left to deal with the same bad manager until they decide to move on as well.

Read more on this topic in this article from Inc.com:

Read More Here

5 Essential Practices for Leading Cultural Movement


We all know the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

This age old cliché assumes that the dog is too old, or too set in its ways, to change at this point in its life. So why bother – right? But what if the dog’s age, or ability to learn, was never the problem at all? What if the problem is that the change is being imposed, and does not stem from internal motivation or inclination? Yes, it is difficult to impose the learning of new tricks on an old dog but, if you shift the motivation and create a desire for change … well that an old dog is able to learn a few new tricks after all, isn’t it.

The HBR article below is called “Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate.” I think it is a fantastic read for anyone who, in the back of their mind, or even right in the very forefront of their mind, holds a nagging intuition that top-down imposition of mandates for cultural change don’t work. Simply put “someone with authority can demand compliance, but they can’t dictate optimism, trust, conviction, or creativity.”

If you are interested in reading about ideas and practices that can help galvanize employees to create organizational change, or even smaller team movements towards change, then I highly suggest this read.

Read More Here

Why Some People Get Burned Out and Others Don’t

Emotional intelligence.

More often than not, we consider the quality of emotional intelligence primarily in terms of how we relate to others. When we discuss and weigh the impact and positive outcomes of high emotional intelligence, we generally do so based on the connections and relationships it allows us to foster with colleagues and other individuals in our lives.

Another notable impact, however, of high emotional intelligence, is how it enables us to employ emotional skills to help ourselves. The self-awareness, self-management, conflict management skills, empathy and compassion that we employ to foster positive relationships with others, can be used internally to allow us to counteract the physiological impact of stress. In turn, high emotional intelligence can help counteract and reduce the chances of experiencing burnout.

This Harvard Business Review article summarizes how we, as individuals, can leverage emotional intelligence in order to deal with stress, and ward off burnout. The concepts presented aren’t wholly unique, however, they are woven together concisely and provide a pragmatic overview of some of the most basic strategies we can employ to help ourselves through stressful times.

Read More Here

Strategy plus execution: It takes both to succeed


Sometimes I wonder how we are still writing about this.

“Strategy plus execution: It takes both to succeed.”

I balked at the title of this Globe and Mail Business article. I mean is this really news to anyone? But then again, how does it seem so elusive? Why are so many companies still struggling to figure it all out?

We know that Apple does it right, Starbucks, IKEA. We know that there is no real point in even having a strategy if you don’t execute it well. We know that executing without a plan, purpose or focus is equally doomed to fail. We know it all, and yet so many still fail to capture the holy grail of executing strategy effectively in order to ensure organizational sustainability and success.

I am including a link to the article partially because it includes some practical tips, but more so because it serves as a reminder that one of the most basic premises of business success is still a difficult one for many organizations to achieve.

Read More Here

Overlooked leaders and how to find them


Do you find your organization hiring and promoting the same personalities into leadership roles over and over again? The extrovert? The verbose, bombastic luminary? The individual who seems to crave the spotlight and jump at any opportunity to steer the ship? Of course … most organizations do. And there is good reason why these people get noticed and promoted, however, there is also ample evidence to show that introverted and more reserved employees often make wonderful leaders, too, and that a balance of personalities make the whole so much greater than a sum of its parts. After all, not all individuals being led are extroverts either. There isn’t a one size fits all best leadership style.

Thank you McKinsey & Company for reminding us that not all talent looks the same, and not all great leaders are the same. The reality is, there are many potential leaders within most organizations, some of whom don’t get easily noticed – you have to put in some effort to find them.

This is a lengthy article, but I do think it is an important one, and well worth the read.

Read More Here

Archive

Managing Mental Models
GRIT…
the beacon group …
why CEO’s fail
thoughts on thinking
#PrimeDayFail
this idea must die
“I don’t know!”
leading a winning team
Opportunity Sensing
Faint Signals Matter
It’s About Choices
The Coach as Leader
Opening Our Minds
The Human Dynamic
Caution or Courage?
The Evil of Compromise
Karaoke Capitalism
Lies We Tell Ourselves
Shifting Relationships
Mastering Complexity
Breakthrough Strategy
Early Warning Systems
Banishing Dependence
Book Launch Party
Navigating the Future
Disciplined Thinking
No Time to Waste
leading to the future
Mastering Pivot Points