Blog Posts

Post Category: ‘Strategy: Strategic thinking, Planning & implementation’

A strategy document is different to a strategic plan

A strategy document serves a different purpose to a strategic plan.  Confusion between these different documents causes good strategies to be described badly. The difference between strategy document and strategic plan At Excitant, we make a very clear distinction between these two documents: they have quite different purposes. ·         A strategy document explains the strategy.  It documents the strategy. ·         …

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Definitions of strategy: A persistent pattern of behaviour

When a client tells me “We don’t have a strategy”,  I don’t believe them.  I use a simple question to tease out what their strategy is, or has been.  A question works, evsn when I encounter an organisation who claims they don’t do strategy (Yes I have met a few).  It is amongst the most useful amongst all the definitions …

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ISO9000:2015 Strategic Direction – A strategy management perspective

Are you planning to upgrade to ISO9000:2015?  If so, this article provides practical advice for organisations wanting to establish and demonstrate the links between their Quality Management System to the ISO9000:2015 Strategic Direction requirements. In this post I look at what the ISO9000:2015 standard says about strategic management, some of the issues it raises and how to think about the …

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Good consultancy is about how to do things, not simply what to do

Boy was I getting frustrated!  I was reading the latest version of ISO9000:2015 and the link it says organisations should establish between its quality management system and the organisation’s strategic direction.   As I spend all my time helping clients with their strategic management system and making such links into the organisation, I was intrigued what the quality community was …

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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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