Category Archives: Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives

Useful strategic initiative execution information, that will help strategy formulators think through the implementaion of vision and strategic intent.

Avoiding Four Pitfalls of Rapid Growth

I was recently invited to join an expert panel who were addressing the challenges of strategic initiatives. This question was asked, and what follows is my response: What is your best advice for avoiding common pitfalls during rapid growth? #1. Adding … Continue reading

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Operational Excellence or Strategic Excellence?

The following question was asked by an executive at a startup: Is it ever too soon to start working toward operational excellence? What, if anything, needs to come before this? Here is my answer: Excellence is one of those “know-it-when-I-see-it” … Continue reading

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Seven Must-Do’s for Better Strategy Execution

A 2005 survey identified seven factors necessary to close the strategy-to-performance gap and those factors are valid for strategic initiatives launched in the present day. The survey 197 senior executives at companies with sales of at least $500 million. You can … Continue reading

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Facilitating the Business Model Canvas: A Few Lessons Learned (Part 1)

This short article describes some lessons learned by the author in facilitating the Business Model Canvas. He recommends providing clear and relevant examples and providing plenty of time. It is also important to set up the benefits to the individuals and the organization in using this useful tool.
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How to Prioritize Strategic Initiatives

This article concludes with five recommendations for prioritizing strategic initiatives. It describes a the challenges that organizations face with too many projects, and explains that strategy is used to screen all of these important – or so-called strategic – projects into a much smaller portfolio of projects.
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Scope Creep in Strategic Initiatives: How to Recognize It and Avoid It

Scope creep is a frequently-heard complaint. The word scope is ambiguous; experience shows that even highly experienced and trained professionals cannot agree on its meaning. The Includes-Excludes Table is a simple two-column table with the word “in” placed at the top of the left column and “out” at the top of the right column. It helps us to visualize scope creep as something that was determined to be “out” now has crept over the line to become “in.” The advice for the strategic initiative leader is straightforward: pay attention to the partitioning of in and out. Don’t let something that is out cross the line unless you understand the impacts on the governance of the program. Also, use preferred modifiers: Problem Scope, Product Scope, and Work Scope.
This process of describing the in and out, and making choices, encourages the strategist to think about their business model in a more complete and logical way. The Includes-Excludes Table can help you stay focused on root causes and core strategic problems. They key is to maintain a focus on the problem scope, and avoid the tendency to start designing solutions and implementing them.
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S.T.I.C.C. – A Useful Communication Tool for Critical Situations

Situation, Task, Intent, Concerns, Calibrate (STICC) is a useful communication template for situations where time pressures and mistakes can lead to grave consequences. The article uses an example of prioritizing a set of strategic projects, considering each piece of the STICC message. Continue reading

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The “20%-of-Your-Time” Rule-of-Thumb

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

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That’s the Fact, Jack: Data Drive Strategic Initiatives

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

Posted in Competencies of Strategic Initiative Leaders, Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives, Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

A Simple Idea that Every Good Strategist Knows

Strategy is a series of conversations about important business issues culminating in the commitment to act. The trick to implementation success is to use conversations as a tool for gaining agreement on problems and solutions and to make commitments to each other. Strategy implementation depends upon its socialization by stakeholders. A good strategy is the right actions on the right things. Continue reading

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