Tag Archives: strategy

BIV Boardroom Strategy: What does it really mean to think strategically?

MikeOne of the things CEOs ask consistently is how they can foster more strategic thinking in their organizations.

Simply saying “I want to see you thinking more strategically” isn’t direct or specific enough to help guide people in the right direction. Thinking strategically is essentially a way of being – a mindset, a way of looking at things and linking them together.

Here are eight things you can do to improve strategic thinking.

Understand value creation and differentiation. Leaders understand the business and industry they are in, but it’s more than that. You need to understand how the industry adds value to customers and how your business differentiates that value equation from your competitors.

Connect “me to we” to “they to us” (operations to strategy). As a leader you need to be able to understand the overall corporate direction and strategy in the context of your team and your own personal areas of responsibility. Think of it like this: the strategic moves we make today are setting up the operational successes we have in the future. So the better understanding you and your team have of the connection between corporate goals and the work they do day-to-day, the more likely they and you are to focus on longer-term priorities versus staying mired in operations and shiny objects.

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BIV Boardroom Strategy: Focusing on past corporate success to build future success

An enormous amount of time and energy gets devoted to solving problems within organizations, all under the pretence that solving those problems is the best way to achieve success, superiority, a competitive advantage and greatness. The challenge is that growing organizations are constantly changing, which inevitably leads to new and more interesting problems to solve. It’s an endless cycle of focusing on problems that means it’s impossible to solve our way to greatness.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative to the traditional problem-solving approach. Appreciative Inquiry was developed by David Copperrider and his associates at Case Western Reserve University in the mid ’80s. It focuses on doing more of what does work: uncovering the high moments in an organization’s history and using the commonalities of those experiences to build a plan to replicate those wins for the future. Sounds like more fun than constantly problem solving, doesn’t it? Here’s how it works and how it can be applied to your business.

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BIV Boardroom Strategy: star power: how to tackle first things first on your company’s strategic objectives list

When you start working on the action plans for your strategic objectives for the year, one of the most important steps is to understand the order of priority of your objectives.

You might think you know what needs to happen first, but your team might not agree with you. The key is to spend time together as a team to rank the order of your objectives using a technique called the Hoshin Star (a variation of matched-pair analysis).

Originally developed for total quality management, the Hoshin Star helps leaders understand the cause and effect connection between objectives to determine the underlying order of importance.

Using this tool to prioritize strategic objectives can serve two purposes: Continue reading

BIV Boardroom Strategy: how to executive corporate action plans effectively

The last step in the strategic planning process is often overlooked, and yet, it’s one of the most important: the action steps that will lead to the successful completion of your objectives.

But we need well-formed objectives before we can map out action steps.

Here are eight things we need to consider for solid action plans:

Ownership: one person must be responsible and accountable for tracing the progress toward each objective, keeping the team informed, ensuring timely action steps are occurring and adjusting the actions as reality teaches us what needs to shift.

Action steps: each objective needs to have a series of action steps that lay out a clear path throughout the year on how it can be achieved. If the objective is the “what,” then the action steps are the “hows.” It’s critical that the action steps are clear and actionable steps versus vague ideas or thoughts.

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BIV Boardroom Strategy: How to make better decisions faster

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Very rarely do I hear from CEO’s and executives who are worried they will not be able to plot a strategy that makes sense for their company. More often than not, their greatest challenge lies in execution of the plan. One of the core issues in execution that holds back progress is ineffective decision making systems that result from a limited understanding of how decisions are made, who has the ability and responsibility to make decisions and what criterion is being used to make those decisions.

The ability to make clear, definite decisions in a timely fashion can be the difference between leading and lagging the competition. If key people in your organization are in decision paralysis what effect is that having on overall progress? Can you afford the extra time it’s taking to make decisions in your competitive industry?

So what can you do about it? Take a good look at how your decision-making culture might be slowing down the execution of your strategic plan by starting to understand which of these common blocks may be holding you back from making timely decisions:

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BIV Boardroom Strategy: Adopt the right behaviours to help execute your strategy

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Your behaviour as a leader has an enormous impact on your team and your organizational culture. Understanding the effect of your leadership behaviours on the execution of your strategy is the first step in guiding your team in the right direction.

As a leader, the best way to harness momentum and motivation around your strategy is by consistently behaving in ways that you want to see others behave, and exhibit the behaviours that you want to ingrain into your culture and ultimately pass down to everyone in your organization.

Here are a few things you can do to sustain momentum and support the execution of your strategy by being intentional with your leadership behaviours:

Be decisive and take action, however small, towards your goal. When temptation to postpone, cancel or move deadlines presents itself, let people see you take one small step toward the goal – when you can’t do it all, something is better than nothing; if you can’t do all of it, do some of it. When you put a visible emphasis on forward motion in the execution of your plan, chances are others will follow your lead. Continue reading

BIV Boardroom Strategy: How to build a corporate culture that effectively executes strategic plans

[read time: 3-4 mins]

Over the years, I’ve become convinced that the “10/90 rule” is the best guide for dividing your time and energy between strategy and execution: 10% of the value of strategic planning is in the creation of a plan that outlines direction and priorities for the coming year; 90% of the plan’s value comes from an organization’s ability to effectively execute that plan.

If your organization is like many, once the executive team leaves the room after strategic planning, the daily grind takes over, the months start to tick away and before you know it you’re partway through the year and have made virtually no headway in executing on your strategy.

The reality is, there can be a giant gap between what needs to be done to execute a plan successfully and the potential of the organization to make it happen; it’s about more than resources and capabilities. It’s about culture.

The truth is that cultural norms can make execution far more challenging than it needs to be. Execution takes buy-in, emotional commitment to the plan and discipline. But the one element that has the greatest impact on successful implementation is your organizational culture.

Here are a few ways you can begin to shift the culture of your organization toward one that’s focused on execution. Continue reading