strategic thinking

Is your strategy right for the challenge you face?

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013

A mismatch between your strategy and the key challenge you face can spell trouble Henry Mintzberg once defined strategy as a pattern of action in response to something . . . However, many strategies lack a clear definition of that “something” . . . the challenge to which they’re responding.  We believe this often results in setting too many priorities. Why?  Read on. Why too many priorities? We recognized 20 years ago that many of our clients’ strategies included too many priorities.  How could a situation analysis with 20 to 30 strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats be focused? So...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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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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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