Greg Githens is Vice President Strategic Initiatives and Innovation. He helps executives turn vision into results and is available for short- and long-term leadership.
Read these recent articles
- Accountability is the Willingness to Have Your Performance Measured
- Three Tips for Leading Strategic Alliances
- Don’t Ask About Deadlines and Due Dates
- Launching a Strategic Initiative? Here are Three Good Practices
- B.A.R.E.D. – Five Domains for Program Management Performance
- Strategy Execution Priority #1: Effectively Communicate Strategic Decision(s)
- Strategic Initiatives Case Study: Best Buy’s “Renew Blue” Turnaround
- The Business Value Proposition
- Strategic Thinking: Seven Questions for Your New Year’s Resolution
- Use Small Wins to Attract Allies To Your Strategic Initiative (and Overcome Shabby Thinking)
- Strategic Initiatives | What Are the Metrics That Matter?
- S.T.I.C.C. – A Useful Communication Tool for Critical Situations
- The “20%-of-Your-Time” Rule-of-Thumb
- That’s the Fact, Jack: Data Drive Strategic Initiatives
- A Simple Idea that Every Good Strategist Knows
- Apple versus Samsung: Three Lessons for Strategic Initiative Leaders
- Four Things Strategic Initiative Leaders Need to Know About Requirements
- The “Call to Action:” A Useful Leadership Tool
- Strategic Initiative Steering Teams: A Sharp or Dull Blade?
- Identify Performance Gaps and Get Out of the Rut of Solutioneering
- The Job of the Program Manager is to…..
- Use the Prospective Hindsight Technique to Improve Your Vision Statements and Story Telling
- The Purpose of a Strategic Initiative is Closing a Performance Gap
- How to Develop Completion Criteria and Success Metrics
- Ask Informed Questions
- How to Identify Strategic Assumptions
- Strategic Initiative Case Study: Intel’s Product Development Turnaround
- Strategic Initiatives | Are You Ready to Implement?
- Incremental Benefits Delivery: The Key to Sustaining Commitment to Strategy
- The Strategic Initiative Leader: The #1 Success Factor!
- Strategic Initiatives | Executive Sponsor Roles, Power, & Politics
- Know The “Follow-The-Money” Story. How was Your Strategic Initiative Funded?
- Path Finding and Way Finding
- A Powerful Idea for Your Strategic Initiative: Program = Brand = Trust
- Case Study: Strategic Initiative Kickoff in a Global Joint Venture
- Five Rules for Managing Complex Strategic Initiatives
- Advice for Strategic Initiative Charters
Talk to the ExpertNeed a strategic planning facilitator, implementation coach, neutral mediator, workshop, seminar, or hands-on program manager? Greg Githens provides coaching, workshops, hands-on, and more. Contact him at GregoryDGithens@cs.com or 419.424.1164
- Competencies of Strategic Initiative Leaders
- Examples of Strategic Initiatives
- How to Improve Your Story Telling Chops
- Incremental Benefits Delivery
- Interpreting Strategy Documents
- Program & Portfolio Management
- Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives
- Strategy Coaching and Facilitation
- Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking
- Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives
- Transforming the Organization
- Useful Practices & Management Tools
Category Archives: Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives
Accountability is frequently cited as a strategic initiative success factor.Strategic initiatives reflect and are constrained by the culture, but a leader and create a “micro-culture” for the team. With that idea in mind, I offer this definition, Accountability is the willingness to have your performance measured. The practical implications are: Performance outcomes must be known. Consequences should be discussed. Transparency is valued in the initiative. Sponsor and program roles become clearer. Integrity becomes thought of as the alignment of thought, words, and actions.
Trust is improved. Continue reading
Strategic alliances are a growing subset of strategic initiatives. A Strategic Alliance is a relationship between two or more parties where they collaborate to capture an opportunity or extend their reach into complementary areas. Author and consultant Greg Githens has participated in many strategic alliances, both as a leader and as a consultant and offers three tips that will increase the probability of success. Tip #1 – Meet in Person, Frequently. Tip #2 – Find and Articulate Strategic Insights. Tip #3 – Explicitly discuss risks, risk tolerances and risk response strategies. Continue reading
Program management performance domains can be understood as B.A.R.E.D: Benefits, Alignment, Roadmapping, Engagement, and Decisions. The article illustrates how BARED is applied in Wal-Mart’s strategic initiative for sustainable operations in China. Continue reading
Executives say that the top priority for strategy execution is to effectively communicate the decisions made. Three examples of good communications are provided. The basic message to the reader is to think through the announcement process. Continue reading
Leaders of strategic initiatives need to have a working knowledge of the various perspectives on value propositions because organizations often charter strategic initiatives to close the gap (or create advantage) on value propositions. Using Best Buy’s Renew Blue strategic initiative, Greg Githens describes the business canvas approach and VALiD approaches to understanding value propositions. Continue reading
Organizations often use strategic initiatives as a tool for improving operations. The success rate for these process-improvement initiatives is about 1 in 3. I find it best to think of tool and process deployment as a social process of adopting an innovation. The bottoms-up approach of small wins is a useful alternative to autocratic approaches. A small win, defined by Karl Weick, is a “series of concrete, complete outcomes of moderate importance that build a pattern that attracts allies and deters opponents.” An example is provided, with the leadership lessons of defining benefits, being authentic, generating trust, and encouraging experimentation.
The word “opponent” is a bit of an overstatement for most internal change efforts.The opponent is often not a person, it is a ill-defined ideology. Recommendations: Base your conclusions on good evidence, not gut feelings. Don’t let half-truths go unchallenged; over time they become accepted truth. Continue reading
Leaders of strategic initiatives should regard good metrics as a priority. Metrics will help foster learning, support the strategic initiative story, integrate the many components, and encourage good decision making. People can only pay attention to a handful of things, so the question for any change agent is what metrics are preserved and what new metrics are needed to encourage people to move in new directions. A good metric – or set of metrics – does these six things:1. It measures something important. 2.It has relevance to the audience. 3. It measures something that is directly controllable by individuals or small groups. 4.It is resistant to gaming. 5. It is a member of a very small, lean set of measurements. 6. The set of metrics includes both leading and lagging indicators.
Gaining the commitment of the right resources is arguably the greatest success factor for strategic initiatives. I inevitably hear people on the strategic initiative team verbalize this pattern: “This performance gap is huge and needs to be addressed. I am happy to be part of the solution. But where am I going to find time to participate?” When resourcing of a strategic initiative, follow this rule, “Each key player in the strategic initiative must devote at least 20% of their time to the initiative.” The article also includes a list of five challenges for resourcing a strategic initiative: Ambiguity about purpose, Novelty, Run-the-business work consumes time, Corporate-level budgeting & talent management processes don’t plan with enough granularity, Burn-out and balance of personal life with work life. Continue reading
A strategic initiative is more likely to be successful if there is an accessible record of facts, data, and patterns. Domino’s Pizza and Google are discussed as two good examples where data support a valid, useful diagnosis and narrative for the strategic initiative. By contrast, a failed initiative at Cooper Tire failed to convince middle managers. Because stakeholders often don’t agree on strategic direction, the leader can use tools like the ladder of inference and White Hat thinking to get facts and connect them to strategy. Continue reading
Here are three lessons for strategic initiative leaders drawn from analysis of the Samsung Apple iPhone patent infringement verdict. 1. Tell the better story. 2. Make better strategic bets. 3. Value originality. Continue reading