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: Transforming the Organization
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
A strategic initiative is a rejection of the status quo and with a movement towards a new vision. A call to action is a request to the audience that describes specific actions and the rationale for taking those actions. A well-constructed call to action helps people grasp a vision, contrast it with the status quo, and make a choice about their response.You will always get better support for a strategic initiative if the call for action is presented as a choice, and not a commandment. The article references several practical tools,and addresses the issue of the refusal of a call to action. Continue reading
Organizations need to mature new product development processes, product life cycle processes, and other processes. The article describes Intel and its product development framework. The first case study failed to deliver benefits, in part because the team tried to make the organization comply and conform to a model. It requires skill to navigate and change culture. The second case was successful, in part because the CEO made it clear he was unhappy with product quality. The article lists numerous lessons learned for strategic initiatives. Continue reading
You can build support for strategy by understanding and using the strategy-operations polarity map.First, you acknowledge the values of the operational perspective (e.g., it gets results) and the downsides of strategy (it consumes time). Then, you can introduce some of the benefits of strategy work. This article will help the strategic initiative leader assure that the initiative does not flounder. Continue reading
How a manager saw an opportunity to align his work with executive vision for IT cost savings, and drove significant benefits through a large healthcare organization. Summarizes value of elevator speech, key actions, team building, managing around a boss, and incremental benefits delivery. Continue reading
Provides three examples of Director Business Transformation roles at Hertz, Sears, and SuperValu and suggests that there are similarities and distinctions with roles for VP, Director, or Manager of Strategic Initiatives. Continue reading
Companies are shifting into a growth mode and we will see more strategic initiatives that emphasize a blend of incremental, platform and radical transformation. The drivers of growth may be strategy innovation, product innovation, or process innovation. It may be organic or inorganic growth, with use of open innovation straddling the two. The leader will need to develop an understanding of what growth means, and apply the described techniques for structuring a strategic initiative to gain growth. Continue reading
Leaders use the word innovation frequently, but often it’s a buzzword. Innovation is not the same thing as invention or as creativity. Innovations do not sell themselves. It is a gross exaggeration to declare that people “resist change.” Innovation involves choices and decisions. Leaders help others cross the chasm. Greg Githens explains the TACOS criteria for speeding the adoption of an innovation. Continue reading
Competitive industries – for example the travel industry – use strategic initiatives to create competitive advantage. Greg Githens explains that there are 5 important tasks for leaders of strategic initiatives to create growth through innovation: understanding the brand promise, understanding the voice of the customer, effectively leveraging business intelligence, establishing appropriate success metrics, and driving effective and fast decisions. One example is how Vancouver’s port made it easier for US citizens to clear customs for cruise ships. A second example is how Hilton is innovating in its design of hotel business lounges. A third example for Marriott hotel’s bedding initiative. Continue reading