Posts Tagged ‘strategy execution’

In 100 Words: Pattern or Anomaly?

Friday, September 14th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

How well do you distinguish between patterns and anomalies when assessing an issue? Sometimes we approach anomalies as if they were patterns and waste resources. Two types of anomalies should give us caution – problem anomalies and success anomalies. Our key risk with problem anomalies is we end up increasing complexity, frustration and cost by adding processes across a broad array of activities in the organization to ensure “X never happens again.” Create process solutions to problems that exhibit a pattern. Train staff to navigate anomalies as they arise – greater freedom and less process.

Success anomalies will be next edition’s topic.

“To understand is to perceive patterns.” Isaiah Berlin

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In 100 Words: Be Patient with Pivots

Friday, June 15th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

The pace of market change has many organizations currently in some stage of a business model pivot. To successfully execute the shift leaders should actively:

1. Engage deeply in early conversations and projects with customers. Listen closely and iterate quickly.
2. Shape the “Why and How” message to people inside the organization. Repeat yourself frequently.

It will require patience to see the full pivot… the change will likely take longer than initially anticipated. People need time to adjust their thinking and behaviors. It also takes effort to build new capabilities and the related inter-linking delivery systems. Give the pivot time.

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace

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In 100 Words: Obsessing Over Big Ideas

Thursday, March 15th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

Big Ideas are grand! Some leaders obsess over finding the next Big Idea. The latest company that races from concept to billion-dollar valuation captures our imagination. Strategy conversations spice up the humdrum of business. Leaders can become distracted pursuing new Big Ideas. Take note, there is a little secret with Big Ideas – you only need a few because the right ones remain true over time (e.g., faster delivery, more individualized service, exclusive prestige). Clarify your existing Big Ideas which will remain true over time. Invest to increase capabilities around those Big Ideas. In short, obsess over executing your Big Ideas!

“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” Jeff Bezos

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In 100 Words: Don’t Let Urgent Win

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by AdvisorCatalyst

Urgent and Important spar for supremacy in our minds and work. Intentional and strategic thought and action is many times held at bay by the press of immediate demands flying at us. “I’ll get to it tomorrow” quickly becomes next week or month.

Then sometimes a person or event forces us to slow down, and we gain new perspective. We are forced to step out of the day-do-day and think more deeply. If you want to see Important win out in your work and life, consider creating forced slowdowns. Quarterly calibration sessions are one way of accomplishing this exact thing.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (quoting an unnamed former college president in a speech)

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In 100 Words: Your First and Best Time

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 by AdvisorCatalyst

Why do we spend time setting the top few quarterly priorities (a.k.a. Rocks) only to put off working on them until we get some free time? Free time will not simply appear in our schedules. To accomplish Rocks we must put in the time. This doesn’t mean all, or even the majority, of our working time has to be dedicated to Rock work.

We should, however, invest our first and best time – our first and best time each day and week. Watch results accelerate when you commit the first hour of your working day to the Rock you are leading.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Alexander Graham Bell

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In 100 Words: Time for Strategy Planning

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

As leadership teams craft strategy plans for the upcoming year, they should remember the following lessons:

• There are no formulaic answers, however, you can benefit from a systematic approach to both your preparation and strategy planning conversations.

• Markets are dynamic so be disciplined in your strategy thinking. Challenge and test your basic assumptions – even if they are producing good results. Things change.

• Strategy requires clear choices and resource commitment. Each decision either reinforces or weakens the whole. The strength of how the decisions weave together form the fabric of compelling business models (think IKEA, The Container Store and Southwest Airlines).

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” – Peter Drucker

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In 100 Words: Don’t Fly Solo on Quarterly Rocks

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

Flying solo is a major accomplishment for a learner pilot. It is, however, a poor approach for a Quarterly Rock Champion. The Rock was selected because the leadership team thinks it will have significant impact on the organization’s future if it is accomplished during the next 90 days. This typically requires deep work and focused use of resources.

A Rock Champion should set up a strong team and utilize project management disciplines. Along the way, keep the leadership team regularly apprised of the status so they can: generate ideas, challenge the work, and commit resources necessary to complete the objective.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

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In 100 Words: Limit Your Options

Monday, June 15th, 2015 by AdvisorCatalyst

Common sentiment seems to hold that we are back in a period of strong economic growth. Leader’s radar screens are filled with many new and exciting opportunities. We can get downright giddy after slogging through years of a tough market.

We may also find ourselves unprepared for saying NO to the majority of good opportunities. Yet, it is critical we do so. Instead, too many leaders will do almost anything to keep all their options open. In the end, hedging options typically slows down decision making and robs resources (commitment) from the best opportunities.

How can you limit your options?

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

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In 100 Words: Calibrating Your Annual Plan

Saturday, March 14th, 2015 by AdvisorCatalyst

How is your annual strategic plan faring now that we are almost 90 days into the year? In What Makes an Effective Executive, Peter Drucker makes this statement regarding the strategic plan:

“It must not become a straightjacket. It should be revised often, because every success creates new opportunities. So does every failure. The same is true for changes in the business environment, in the market, and especially in people within the enterprise – all these changes demand that the plan be revised.”

It’s hard to say it any better. What fine-tuning adjustments do you and your team need to make?

“A written plan should anticipate the need for flexibility.” Peter F. Drucker

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In 100 Words: Key Practice of a Level 5 Leader

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 by AdvisorCatalyst

Alan Mulally’s upcoming retirement as CEO of Ford Motor Company is big news these days.  All organizations, not just those in the automotive sector, should take note.  Mulally’s leadership in turning around Ford highlights a key Level 5 Leader practice he, and the executive leaders, used to take Ford to the top of the industry.

A tight weekly executive team meeting (Mulally’s BPR – Business Process Review) was implemented to drive both business plan execution and building a strong leadership team.  Candor, along with accountability around data, virtually non-existent in past Ford culture, have paved the way for consistent business performance.

 “Running a business is a design job.  You need a point of view about the future, a really good plan to deliver that future, and then relentless implementation.”  Alan Mulally

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