Category Archives: Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking

Strategic thinking is a core competency for the strategic initiative leader

Achieve, Preserve, Avoid: Another Nifty Technique for Gaining Strategic Perspective

Strategy is inherently ambiguous, with goals and expectations differing depending upon the stakeholder. Because people tend to feel uncomfortable with ambiguity, a leader needs to clear the fog; a process that is best called gaining perspective. Before the leader can help others, s/he needs to clarify their her/his own view of the rewards and the risks. This article identifies three useful questions for gaining perspective: What do I want to achieve? What do I want to preserve? What do I want to avoid? First answer this for the individual, then for the group. The article provides an example of its application by a newly promoted vice president sponsoring improvements to new product development productivity.
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Posted in Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Strategic Thinking: Seven Questions for Your New Year’s Resolution

Greg Githens provides timely and useful questions: “Am I applying strategic thinking to my career, and to my organization?” What’s Your Personal Brand? Are you thinking strategically? Are you anticipating opportunity? Have you taken the time to reflect on your lessons learned for the year? Do you have stretch goals? Do you carry a mentality of abundance or a mentality of scarcity? Are you paying forward? Continue reading

Posted in Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Use Small Wins to Attract Allies To Your Strategic Initiative (and Overcome Shabby Thinking)

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

Posted in Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Transforming the Organization, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Improve Strategic-Operational Collaboration

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

Posted in Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives, Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Transforming the Organization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to Be Strong Minded (3 Capabilities and 5 Tips for Strategic Thinking)

Strong minds produce strong ideas. Strong minds do not fail. Strong minded thinkers have three competencies: 1) they are good a probing and sensing, 2) they imagine the logical future consequences of decisions and actions, and 3) they look for opportunities to apply ingenuity. The article provides practical questions that will help the reader develop these competencies. The article also provides five tips for robustness: avoid mistakes, develop emotional resiliency, reflect, and generate alternative solutions. Continue reading

Posted in Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Two Tools for Describing Strategic Context (Strategic Thinking Part 3)

Greg Githens explains the PESTLE acronym for evaluating strategic context, and the “walk the fenceline” technique. Strategic thinkers have an “outside in” perspective that allows them understand how external context affects strategy. Continue reading

Posted in Interpreting Strategy Documents, Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives, Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Strategic Thinking (Part 2): Framing Decisions with the Four Types of Ambiguity

Good strategic thinkers are strong minded; they cope effectively with ambiguous information. This article explains how to recognize the four types of goal ambiguity (methods, metrics, priorities, and outcomes). The strategic initiative leader needs to frame decisions to cope with this ambiguity. Continue reading

Posted in Competencies of Strategic Initiative Leaders, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments