Category Archives: Useful Practices & Management Tools

Practical idea that will help you lead a strategic initiative team.

Designing Strategic Initiatives for Results: The Two Kinds of Coherence

A leader of a strategic initiative should be asking this question, How can I recognize and increase the coherence and integrity of my strategic initiative? The article describes the concept of coherence and explains that there is narrative coherence and design coherence. The author advises starting with narrative coherence and look at the elements of storytelling to find a tension between two forces and then articulating possible futures, as the strategic initiative is an attempt to navigate the organization towards that new future. Look to identify, historically, how constraints were addressed. Finally, a function of leadership is to impose design onto an organization by persuasion or by more formal authority mechanisms.
http://wp.me/pZCkk-ZS Continue reading

Posted in Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Leave a comment

Perspective is More Powerful than Vision

Having a perspective means that the ideas and direction are open to discussion, inviting more people into the discussion to contribute their perspectives. Importantly, it avoids the elitist nature of many vision statements.

http://wp.me/pZCkk-ZJ

Continue reading

Posted in Interpreting Strategy Documents, Success Principles for Strategic Initiatives, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Reason Strategy Implementation is Difficult (and the Solution to It)

There are two people-related problems that cause poor strategy execution: stakeholders lack a mutual understanding of the nature of the situation & the organization’s social and emotional environment is not supportive for individuals to step outside of their comfort zone. To overcome, use the concepts of dialogue and deliberation, following the analogy of jury duty. An effective jury reaches consensus. Similarly, and effective strategy is one that reaches consensus; that is, people agree to support the implementation. Continue reading

Posted in Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grasping Essentials When You’re NOT the Expert

What can a person do when he needs to quickly grasp essential knowledge and there is little opportunity to delegate the decision to an expert? This article provides you learn a technique for improving the effectiveness of your learning of specialist knowledge. I discovered a solution that finds a middle ground between formalized textbook-style learning and muddling through. This approach, works by asking focus questions and constructing propositions. The result is a hierarchical concept maps that renders a scaffold of relevant knowledge.I heartily endorse concept maps as a useful tool and hope you will practice and build skill. They are deceptively simple when you see a good one that has been developed by someone else. I encourage you to persist.

http://wp.me/pZCkk-Zq Continue reading

Posted in Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coherence: It is Only a Good Plan (Strategy) If It Makes Good Sense

Coherence means that things make sense. In the context of strategy, it means that the committed resources, policies, and actions are consistent and coordinated. A plan is only a good plan if it makes good sense. Unfortunately, most organizations pursue multiple objectives that are unconnected with one another (and sometimes even conflict).They are anything but coherent! Insert the concept of coherence into your discussions. How? One way is to ask simple questions, “Does this make sense? Where are the gaps? Are there conflicting objectives?” Another way to encourage coherence is to activate the Chief Story Teller role. Imposing coherence and discipline on an organization is difficult and takes hard work by the strategic initiative leader.

http://wp.me/pZCkk-Z2 Continue reading

Posted in How to Improve Your Story Telling Chops, Interpreting Strategy Documents, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Four Ideas for Creating Small Wins

Strategic initiatives often depend on incremental progress, realized through small wins. Four ideas for small wins: 1) Don’t let methodology get in the way, 2) Recruit allies, 3) Break things down, 4) Be generous with small rewards.

http://wp.me/pZCkk-S2 Continue reading

Posted in Useful Practices & Management Tools | 2 Comments

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.
http://wp.me/pZCkk-XW Continue reading

Posted in Strategic Planning Issues for Strategic Initiatives, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.
http://wp.me/pZCkk-XP Continue reading

Posted in Strategy Coaching and Facilitation, Strategy, Ambiguity, and Strong-Minded Thinking, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Three Ideas for Motivating Executive Stakeholders

1. People Desire to Part of Something Bigger, 2. People Desire to be of Service to Others 3. People Desire Status and Appreciate Recognition Continue reading

Posted in Incremental Benefits Delivery, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged | Leave a comment

Strategic Leadership is “Replacing Old Stories with New Stories”

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

Posted in How to Improve Your Story Telling Chops, Transforming the Organization, Useful Practices & Management Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments