strategic planning

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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