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Greg Githens is the author of How to Think Strategically (2019). He is a recognized thought leader in designing and delivering strategic initiatives.
Read these recent articles
- Better Conversations Generate Better Strategy
- Insights Are the Secret Sauce of Strategy
- How a Strategic Decision Differs From a Tactical Decision
- Unlearning, learning, and a culture of strategic thinking
- How Mapping Can Improve Your Strategic Thinking
- How to Measure Business Acumen
- Strategy Execution as a Learning Process
- Why I favor a mental stance of disorder
- Critical Asking
- Transcending the Status Quo
- Connecting Strategy to Execution
- Complexity: Four Principles for Program Managers
- Use the PAVER Framework to Assure Strategic Commitments
- Strategic Experiments & Agile Responses
- Avoiding Four Pitfalls of Rapid Growth
- Operational Excellence or Strategic Excellence?
- Design Thinking: Five Landmarks for Strategic Initiatives
- Seven Must-Do’s for Better Strategy Execution
- Strategy as Problem Solving: An Example from a Large Technology Organization.
- Five Mental Anchors that Impede Your Strategic Initiative
- Five Must-Know Patterns of Disruption
- Beginners Guide: Competent Strategic Initiatives
- Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, & Ambiguity (VUCA)
- Four Recommendations for Effective Program Governance
- Six Strategic Thinking Skills: Developing the Proactiveness Habit
- What’s the #Strategy? Let Me Tell You a #Story
- Benefits of Being a Visible Expert
- Strategy is Not Long-Range Planning, Vision, Mission, or Values
- Five Ways to Involve Smart New Voices in the Strategy & Agile Innovation Conversation
- Is it Possible to Have a Perfect Strategy?
- Facilitating the Business Model Canvas: A Few Lessons Learned (Part 1)
- Designing Strategic Initiatives for Results: The Two Kinds of Coherence
- Perspective is More Powerful than Vision
- The Real Reason Strategy Implementation is Difficult (and the Solution to It)
- Grasping Essentials When You’re NOT the Expert
- Agile Thinking, Habits, and Strategic Initiative Leadership: Transcending the Buzz for Useful Insights
- Coherence: It is Only a Good Plan (Strategy) If It Makes Good Sense
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
- Ambiguity and Strong-Minded Thinking
- 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
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
Mental anchors are reference points that people use in decision making. As an example, people tend to be loss avoiders when making decisions because they are anchoring to the things they already have. Anchoring to the past or present allows … Continue reading
Few argue that culture is a key factor in the execution of strategy. Culture has many definitions, and one way to understand it is that it is a set of thousands of individual habitual responses. They are also collective, and … Continue reading
Agile Thinking, Habits, and Strategic Initiative Leadership: Transcending the Buzz for Useful Insights
This article is a critique of, “agile thinking,” with examples provided for a strategic initiative at Corning: Agile Business Innovation.
In present use, agile thinking means to embrace the “agile values” declared by agile software evangelists, those values being things like flexibility, speed, customer responsiveness, change, and good engineering. Greg Githens explains that by recognizing that agilists are talking about values, we can then turn our attention to the appropriateness of the values to the situation. We can design an approach that best maximizes our chances of success. The core challenge for agilists is that they are saying that their values might be better than there audience’s values. They want to change habits, but often lose sight of whether changing habits is good for the business.
As a cognitive process, there are no practical differences between agile thinking and creative thinking. The article concludes by suggesting five questions for looking at habits.
Leaders should see strategy as a narrative arc from the founding to the present launch of a strategic initiative. The techniques of corporate time lines and identifying turning points help with the analysis. Then, future cast for a new vision with these questions:What present problems and opportunities are relevant to our future? What are the scenarios of the future? Where (and over whom) will we find advantage? What are the insights? A current strategic initiative could be seen as an episode of an organization’s history, with a turning point. 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
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