Archive for the ‘In 100 Words’ Category

In 100 Words: You Don’t Have to Create Perfect

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 by AdvisorCatalyst

Creative work is important for leaders. This encompasses everything from innovating new offerings and business models to crafting a new process or marketing campaign. There is pressure with this work to “get it right” the first time. However, final-form solutions are rarely the result of the first draft. Innovation involves drafting and re-drafting. This is a tough reality. The pride of authorship may also lead to defensiveness toward feedback.

It can be liberating to know we don’t have to create perfect. Soliciting challenging input earlier typically yields a stronger solution while saving time, energy and money.

Create working solutions and iterate.

“The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” Edwin H Land

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In 100 Words: When to Say No to Good Opportunities

Monday, February 1st, 2021 by AdvisorCatalyst

Most organizations rarely experience a shortage of good opportunities. What is not rare, though, is a shortage of attention span, time, and resources. Despite these limitations, leaders hesitate to keep resources focused on developing the opportunities already in process and say NO to new opportunities.

We get excited and over-value potential returns of the new opportunities. This reveals the flip-side – we under-value the harvest to be gained by bringing our current BEST opportunity to fruition. Fully invest in the opportunity selected as BEST for now until it is mature. Once it is harvested, plenty of new opportunities will be waiting.

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” Tony Blair

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In 100 Words: The Power of Hope

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

Leaders of renown have used one ability to great effect – instilling hope. Hope is a powerful agent of perseverance and improvement which stems from holding up an inspiring vision. God designed humans with the unique ability to hope for something better in the physical and spiritual future – a better future pulls us through any present season of difficulty and uncertainty. We should work to connect with common hopes people share – safety, autonomy, good health, satisfaction from productive work, whole relationships, better opportunities, greater justice, equity, and freedom.

Tap into themes of hope and draw people with you through challenging times.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” Desmond Tutu

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In 100 Words: Pry Open Strategy Thinking…With Questions

Friday, October 30th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

Thinking about the future during times of significant uncertainty can be mind-bending for leaders. A good set of questions is valuable in making sense of what we are experiencing and for setting priorities for the future.

• What brutal facts are we aware of, but ignoring to our detriment?
• Where is our arrogance causing disabling ignorance?
• What assumptions about our business model are no longer valid?
• What offerings are getting the most traction in the market? Why?
• What outcomes have surprised us (good or bad)?

What questions will be levers for your team for thought and conversation about the upcoming year?

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” Francis Bacon

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In 100 Words: Guard Against Over-Correction

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

There is a reason for the adage, “don’t go to extremes.” It is especially difficult for us to gauge risk on problems we have not experienced. When fear increases leaders may begin reacting strongly and severely causing over-correction.

Over-correction can stunt improvement or create new negative consequences. Here are three guards against over-corrective choice paths:

1. Strong teams – experience and trust matter. Surface different perspectives for an informed, balanced view.
2. Decision frameworks – document trade-offs, required resources, and expected outcomes for key options. Note: include “do nothing” in the option set.
3. Faster feedback loops – compare actual to expected outcomes.

“The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.” Margaret Wheatley

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In 100 Words: The Action is at the Edges

Friday, July 31st, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

Phase changes of elemental substances happen at the edges. The edges are dynamic. For example, lava cools, ice melts and water evaporates at the edges. Conversely, the center is static – insulated and isolated.

Yet, leaders typically spend most of their time working close to the internal center of the organization. Consequently, they primarily interact with others inside the same environment – people with similar values, ideas, and assumptions.

Market dynamics shape organizations at the edges. People at the organization’s edges interact with outsiders – customers (or non-customers), vendors, community representatives and competitors. Get into the action – spend more time at the edges.

“When spring comes, snow melts first at the periphery, because that is where it is most exposed.” Andy Grove

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In 100 Words: In Praise of Good Leadership

Monday, June 15th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Does this resonate? This term has been used for decades to describe the environment in which all organizations operate, but for many leaders it’s possibly never been more true than during the last 90 days. These circumstances have been physically and emotionally demanding – leaders have been stress-tested.

Yet, as leaders I know and interact with, you are leading strongly; you are passing the test. You are:
• making timely adjustments.
• focusing on the people under your care.
• keeping your teams connected and effective.

Great job – you are doing important work! Thank you!

“True leadership stems from individuality that is honest and sometimes imperfectly expressed…Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” Sheryl Sandberg

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In 100 Words: Old Trends, New Lines

Friday, May 1st, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

Some trends move slowly and then, BANG, a significant event radically shifts the arc of the curve. A “new” reality emerges as people quickly adjust their decision and behavior paths in response to the major event. Surprisingly, it is easy to get caught off guard with the accelerated trend shift even when the underlying change was happening for years. We became comfortable with the “old” rate of change and assumed it in our plans. Now we must assume the old change rate is gone. Are you examining existing trends for accelerated shifts to help your organization adjust to the new?

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
Peter Drucker

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In 100 Words: Assured Leadership in Accelerated Change

Monday, March 16th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

The current COVID-19 health crisis has people, homes, communities and organizations managing inside a vortex of change. Government restrictions have mandated restrictions by some organizations which in turn are rippling out and negatively impacting most organizations.

In this environment of accelerated change, I hope you can focus on remaining:

• Bold – Clearly lead.
• Healthy – Stress takes an extra physical and mental toll so maintain disciplines that will keep you healthy.
• Genuine – It is okay to not have all the answers.
• Human – Be gracious; realize changes are cascading rapidly, and sometimes severely, into people’s lives.
• Positive – People will feed off your energy.

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” Publius Syrus

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In 100 Words: Why We Plan

Friday, January 31st, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

It’s wonderful to begin a new year with a fresh plan! We enjoy the feeling of getting our organizational and personal goals identified. But,… the process is work. We must understand the market, research opportunities, and then debate which objectives should be priority.

Why do we go to this effort? The answer centers around three ways we, as human beings, are designed. We have:

• A natural excitement for the future.
• The capacity to think and plan.
• The desire to shape the elements around us to realize potential.
In short, we make plans to have an impact and shape our future.

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.” Ronald Reagan

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