strategy implementation

Problem solving isn’t highly overrated . . .

Posted by on May 8, 2012

. . . when you’re solving the right problems. Last week I read an article by Lorne Armstrong titled “Problem Solving is Highly Over-rated”. It tweaked my interest since much of my work involves helping leaders to clearly define, and to avoid or overcome, important strategic problems. When a blog article makes a few good, practical points that readers can use immediately, the writer has hit the mark. Armstrong succeeds. He points to common deficiencies that undermine the value of problem-solving, beginning with weak problem definition. For example, he notes that many people cite the absence...

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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...

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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....

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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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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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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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