Blog Posts

Post Category: ‘Strategy & Strategic thinking’

Why fly an untested strategy: Testing your organisation’s strategy against the external environment

You would not fly a plane  or drive a car that was untested – so why do we sometimes try to execute untested strategies? There are lots of ways to test a business strategy and check its validity.  Recently, I was running a strategy workshop for an Executive team of an international retail bank: I was delighted when the Executive team did one …

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Strategy does not exist without tensions

Many years ago I realised something while working with clients on their strategy.  I realised that there were points in the strategy process and in strategy workshops, when the strategy, as explored, discussed and articulated, was clearly NOT complete.  We did not have the whole story.  Something important was missing. Then, we would reach a point, or go through a …

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Quick consensus suggests bad decisions

According to Peter Drucker, “all the first-rate decision makers I’ve observed had a very simple rule: “If you have quick consensus on an important matter, do not make the decision. Acclamation means nobody has done the homework”.  In my experience working with management teams this makes a lot of sense, for two reasons: It probably does mean that options and …

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First choose your approach to strategy, then choose your strategy

In the world of strategic thinking and models there are many ways to think about strategy: but there are also several levels.  In this post I want to explore three levels or dimensions. Let me take a simple example.  Some people are quite keen on the Michael Porter model of three ‘Generic Strategies’, in a two by two matrix:  One …

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Mind the gap: The perils of strategy mapping

Strategy maps are a very visual tool.  So sometimes small details catch someone’s eye.  However, the picture might be saying more than a thousand words if you are not careful. Is that small gap important? Earlier this year I was training a group of managers in the strategy mapping process.  They were to take on and develop the higher level …

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The Chief Executive and the Lightbulb: How we think about performance management

As I talked, I noticed that the Chief Executive was no longer listening.  She had gone into that state of deep thought, staring up and away into the distance; thinking intensely: thinking about something – I had no idea what. I decided not to disturb those thoughts for the moment, but to let her ponder, while I continued to talk …

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Passion is NOT a strategy!

OK, I will admit, I am completely fed up reading various web pages, listening to talks and hearing people say, they are “Passionate” about being whatever they are, or doing whatever they are doing. Let me be clear here: Passion is not a strategy! Passion is not a business model! Passion is not even a necessity for running a successful …

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Thinking fast and slow: lessons for the annual off-site strategy event

Ever had an annual strategy off-site, developed some great ideas and plans, walked away….  and a year later very few of those ideas or plans were implemented? So often I hear of organisations, or rather their management teams, who have decided that once a year, they need an off-site to think about their strategy for next year.  (I have certainly …

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Leading indicators: Ten different types for different situations

Leading and lagging indicators seem to create confusion for some people, yet with a clear understanding, it is easy to see explain how they work and help people think productively about how to create and use them. In this article I want to explain how different types of leading indicators are needed and will occur in different circumstances.  I will …

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The Balanced Scorecard and Strategic Goals

A recent LinkedIn question was from a strategy manager wanting to use a ‘strategic goal’ but unsure how this fitted into the Norton & Kaplan Balanced Scorecard framework. One respondent used a good deal of words explaining that the approach does not use the phrase and it was meaningless in the approach.  He should use other language, more suited to …

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