Posts by rick650pres

What can entrepreneurs and professional managers learn from each other?

Posted by on Mar 19, 2012

More importantly, when and where should these lessons be applied?  A lot has been written about the differences between entrepreneurs and managers, often with the underlying message that professional managers should try to be more like entrepreneurs. The praise showered on entrepreneurs includes that they: see opportunities where others don’t have the knack of making something out of nothing are “fearless”, “independent minded” and “adaptable” are constantly scanning for new opportunities are avid information-gatherers and opportunistic learners see and pursue opportunities without the need...

Read More

Two practical ways to implement your strategic priorities FAST

Posted by on Feb 29, 2012

In all my years as a management consultant, one of the funniest expressions I’ve heard is “it may work in practice, but it will never fly in theory”. Our last two articles on strategic prioritization were more theoretical and conceptual, but this week, let’s get practical. Senior managers may put a lot of effort into selecting the right strategic priorities, but it goes for naught unless they’re converted to action.  This week we’ll describe two simple, practical ways to convert your priorities to understanding throughout the organization, and most importantly, ACTION at the front lines....

Read More

How to prioritize for faster strategy implementation

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012

The hard choices of strategic prioritization So you know you have to finally decide  Say yes to some and let the other ones ride  There’s so many choices, not all can be tried  Yes you know you have to finally decide (With apologies to the “Lovin’ Spoonful”) In last week’s article we discussed the importance of setting a few critical strategic priorities to accelerate implementation, and the reasons why teams often neglect this important step. This week we’ll set out guidelines for prioritization to help your team become very clearly focused on the most critical...

Read More

A little-known secret to successful strategy implementation

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012

Set strategic priorities for fast implementation We all know that success requires a sound strategy that fits your know-how and resources. However, there’s an often overlooked but critical factor required for successful implementation – strategic prioritization. Strategy has always been about getting the biggest bang for the buck.  But this is different.  This is about focusing on a few of your initiatives for immediate implementation, while others await their turn. The concept is very simple, yet few senior teams do it.  Most find it difficult to narrow their priorities further than dozen...

Read More

Why plan in a retreat setting?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012

Retreats can be highly productive During my career I’ve worked with more than 100 client organizations, public, private, for-profit and not for profit. The most productive planning meetings I’ve facilitated have been multi-day meetings held offsite, usually in locations requiring an overnight stay. The reason for selecting a retreat location is well known to those who have participated. These meetings are nobody’s idea of a vacation. It’s common to work 10 to 12 hours per day, interrupted only by breaks, and without the distraction of people rushing off to deal with “emergencies” or...

Read More

Are CEOs really overpaid and mostly not worth it? Part 3

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012

Recap In Parts 1 and 2 of this topic, we reviewed studies and opinions on executive pay. We found that the research shows: CEO pay has grown faster than the capitalization or profits of the companies they head, and this is most likely the result of measurement difficulties and remuneration policies that may be skewed by self-interest. This week we’ll conclude by answering the key strategic question “what should companies do about it”.  Our answer may surprise you. What the data does – and doesn’t – tell us As with nearly all population statistics, the pay received by...

Read More

Are CEOs really overpaid and mostly not worth it? Part 2

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012

Last week, in Part 1 of this topic, we introduced the following questions: Are the highest paid CEOs really worth what they’re being paid? And does paying top dollar for a CEO add to the bottom line, where it really matters? The answers, supported by studies cited last week, are that the Fortune and FT 500 firms with the highest paid CEOs experienced negative abnormal returns over the subsequent 5 year period. (See details in Part 1 of this report.) This week we’ll explore more data and review opinions from some of the top researchers in the field of executive pay. We’ll answer 2 key...

Read More

Are CEOs really overpaid and mostly not worth it? Part 1

Posted by on Jan 10, 2012

Are the highest paid CEOs really worth what they’re being paid? And does paying top dollar for a CEO add to the bottom line, where it really matters? CEO compensation has come under the spotlight in recent years like never before. Smoldering public outrage burst into a brush fire after the US government bailed out major financial institutions with more than 1 trillion dollars in taxpayer money only to see some of it doled out as bonuses to bank executives whose actions either caused the debacle or whose inaction allowed it to happen. The discontent this has sparked now threatens to spread....

Read More

Are you troubled by visions?

Posted by on Nov 23, 2011

Visioning: Timing, Involvement and Format are Critical Several of our clients have confided recently that they are troubled by “visions”. But before you reach for that long-sleeved canvas jacket, note that they’re talking about vision statements! Common concerns we’ve heard include whether having a vision statement is important or, for those who already have one, whether it’s actually helping. Almost any organization would benefit with the introduction of a clear, compelling vision that convincingly summarizes leaders’ aspirations and infuses employees with a renewed sense of purpose....

Read More

In the absence of strategic thinking, strategic planning will probably maintain the status quo

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011

How to Stimulate Strategic Thinking In last week’s blog we wrote about the importance of advance preparation for strategy sessions. A comment from one of our clients got us thinking more systematically about what kind of advance preparation is most helpful, and we decided to share our thoughts in this week’s article. What is best for advance preparation depends on where the leadership team is in its progress towards becoming a strategy-driven team. Most clients come to us in when they are in one of four categories. Each benefits from a different approach to advance preparation.  This...

Read More

Grow your payoff by investing more in the highest leverage leadership activity.

Posted by on Sep 19, 2011

What is the highest leverage leadership activity? Since we began consulting on strategic planning in 1989, we’ve been strong advocates of advance preparation for planning sessions.  When client teams short-change advance preparation, it takes longer to create plans.  Perhaps worse, the resulting plans tend to focus on short term and operational issues.  In short, lack of preparation means your plans aren’t likely to have the desired positive impact on your organization’s future. We can’t think of a better way to increase your organization’s effectiveness than by making great...

Read More

Strategic ch-ch-ch-ch-changes – turn and face the strain?

Posted by on Sep 12, 2011

Keys to successful strategic change management A client recently remarked that strategy seems to be more about what glam rocker David Bowie once called ch-ch-ch-ch-changes than any other factor. We couldn’t help but agree. Change is what drives the need for strategy, and change management is an important tool for implementing new strategies. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of strategic change management. Done well, it means faster implementation, faster growth and higher profitability. We can’t think of a more important reason to manage change effectively. What’s driving your...

Read More

If you can’t answer this question, you may be a sitting duck!

Posted by on Jul 25, 2011

What is your business model? Lately we’ve taken to asking every prospective new client the same question in our exploratory discussion: “What is your business model?” A bit of history will help to explain why we think this question is important. When I began consulting on strategic management, I thought it strange that in the five days it typically took to create a strategic plan, very little time was spent actually discussing strategy. We devoted many hours to SWOT lists, mission statements, climate goals, objectives and action plans. Strategy was implicit in many of these discussions, but...

Read More

Is Creative Thinking An Oxymoron in Your Strategic Planning?

Posted by on Jul 18, 2011

Why strategic thinking stops during strategic planning In his book, “The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning”, Henry Mintzberg noted that strategic thinking occurs more or less continuously in most organizations. Paradoxically, it seems to stop only during strategic planning sessions! After leading strategic planning sessions for 22 years, I agree. During strategic planning sessions ideas are presented, socialized, debated and polished . . . but seldom actually created. The vast majority of the new ideas presented in planning sessions were conceived before the planning session – often long...

Read More

The Weak Linkage Between Employee Engagement and Productivity

Posted by on Jul 11, 2011

Look Before You Leap Managers often leap from the notion that “employee engagement is low” to “engaging employees will increase productivity and our strategic success”. While there may be a strong link between these ideas in some cases, it is far from universally true. Some will undoubtedly wonder how we strayed from strategic management to productivity. After all, isn’t productivity primarily about operations management? The answer is an emphatic no! Productivity is defined as “the value of outputs divided by the inputs required to produce them”. By that definition, an effective...

Read More

Are published “values statements” a waste of time, or worse?

Posted by on Jul 4, 2011

What’s wrong with values statements? A formal statement of organizational values, it’s said, defines acceptable standards of behaviour for members of the organization. Without values, the narrative goes, people will act as it suits them rather than following organizational norms. Given the large numbers of organizations that publish values statements in their strategic plans and similar official documents, leaders apparently take values quite seriously. But the apparent lack of intention with which most organizations launch and publicize their stated values suggests that leaders...

Read More

20 Tips for Successful Strategy Implementation: Part IV – Evaluation and Adjustment

Posted by on Jun 27, 2011

Phase IV Evaluation and Adjustment Ongoing strategic success requires vigilant management—continually tweaking the strategy, implementing changes quickly and effectively, and keeping the strategy fresh and alive. A fast, flawless implementation may yield better results than a “brilliant” strategy poorly implemented. Following are five tips to help you manage the execution and evolution of your strategy effectively. 16. Focus on progress against milestones . . . and on results As implementation proceeds, it becomes both possible and vital to see whether planned actions are producing results....

Read More

20 Tips for Successful Strategy Implementation: Part III – Tracking and Managing Progress

Posted by on Jun 20, 2011

Phase III – Tracking and Managing Progress This is the third in a series of four posts describing 20 effective practices to help you accelerate the implementation of your strategy. In the first few months of implementation changing environmental conditions, planning oversights and implementation mistakes may begin to compromise your success. Staying on track in the early going requires more focus on action and troubleshooting than on results These five tips will help you get the most from your strategy during this phase. 11. Focus initially on progress against action milestones Results...

Read More

20 Tips for Successful Strategy Implementation: Part II – Aligning Your Organization

Posted by on Jun 13, 2011

Phase II Aligning your organization This is the second in a series of four posts describing 20 effective practices to help you accelerate the implementation of your strategy. A new strategy is certain to disrupt the complex system of people, processes, policies, plans, systems, and structures that makes your organization work. The next 5 tips will help you align these elements to accelerate and enhance the success of your strategy. 6. Provide resources for change Almost every new strategy creates a “change bulge” which, like a pig in a python, must be broken down and digested before it can...

Read More

20 Tips for Successful Strategy Implementation – Communicating Your Strategy

Posted by on Jun 6, 2011

Vision without action is merely a dream, just as a strategy without change is nothing but noble words.  So how do leaders turn the noble words of their strategies into successful change?  Our next four blog posts will describe 20 effective practices gleaned from our work with more than 100 client organizations to help you accelerate the implementation of your strategy.   This week – Communicating the Strategy. Phase I: Communicating the Strategy Unfortunately, the way most strategies are communicated generates more boredom than interest.  Here are 5 tips to help you stimulate interest...

Read More