Blog Posts

Post Category: ‘Agile & learning organisations’

Organisational agility requires two preceeding capabilities

Many organisations want to be agile.  The problem is that agility requires two earlier steps.  You can have an agile organisation, but if that agility is never exploited, then it is a wasted resource.  Organisational agility is in fact a three-part problem (and I’ll introduce a fourth later). Awareness: First the organisation needs to be aware of what is going …

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Managing amidst uncertainty: How to positively affect shareholder return

What sort of decisions about the crisis improved, or worsened, shareholder value? It is useful to look back at the types of responses and decisions various organisations had to the credit crisis, and their speed, to see if there are patterns that influence performance, and shareholder return.  A new book, Managing uncertainty [1], reports on how it tried to do …

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Rigorous, intellectually honest, learning about our strategy

Isn’t that a great phrase, “Rigorous, intellectually honest, learning”. The phrase comes from a book called Nail it, Scale it by Paul Ahlstrom and Nathan Furr. The book is designed for entrepreneurs who are developing a proposition for a market. The idea being that you nail the proposition BEFORE you start wasting good money by scaling it too full size. …

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Becoming an Agile, Learning organisation

The Benefits of making the way you manage Strategy a Learning Process If, like many organisations, you want a more responsive and agile organisation that is sensitive to the changing demands of your environment, then the answer lies in the way your strategy and plans are managed: Your Strategic Management and Planning Processes. When you get your strategic management process …

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Deliberate vs Emergent strategy: Annual vs continuous strategy

Strategic analysis, planning, design and implementation: Alternative approaches Given our uncertain economic environment, we find clients are looking at their strategy afresh. Or rather they are looking at their strategy processes afresh. We find organisations generally look at, develop and execute their strategy in one of two ways: These look like alternatives. They are not. In reality, the second always happens. …

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Measurement and target cultures: the problem and solutions

If you are in an organisation that has too many measures and targets, or relies on measures and targets to communicate your strategy and intention, then read on. This will help you diagnose the problem and point to some solutions. Watch the video and you can look at the detail of the slides used in it, below. Measures and mind …

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We manage by absorbing friction – and building up heat!

When I did my book launch at the Ritz this week, (Come on allow me to bask in glory for a while) .  When I spoke I suggested that the way we manage is designed to absorb friction.  Let me explain. The challenge of converting strategy into performance is neatly summed up by one of my favourite writers on Strategy, …

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Managing organisations in the same ways birds manage to fly together

Treat this as an off the wall, whimsical post – with a serious intent…. One thing that we all see far too much of –  Management. One problem with many organisations is that we spend too much time managing, we create too many rules and practices and processes for management, in fact we create entire departments (HR, finance, training) to …

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What we want is strategic agility and speed: What stops us and helps us?

Back in the dot.com boom around 2000 I was Chief Technology Officer of a start-up that changed direction 180 degrees in 6 months. Within the first six months we had speed: we had our solution up and running to demonstrate a net-market for trading materials between cable manufacturers and their suppliers.  (The solution cost around £200k – it had to, …

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Our capacity to manage, dictates our ability to improve the world.

Being a manager rarely gets the credit it deserves.  Flicking through Gary Hamel’s blog on Management 2.0 for Wall Street Journal, I came across this excellent quote “Our capacity to improve the state of the world is ultimately bounded by our capacity to manage.” If we want to change the world then our ability to do that is limited and …

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