What’s needed to lead strategy?

Growing a business is hard. It requires two key elements. An idea for how you the business will grow and then the people in the business working together to turn that idea into reality. The idea we can call your strategy and typically involves clever product / service ideas, competitive insights, approaches to distribution, taking advantage of trends in the……

The future of creativity

Last week we worked with the team from Creative Mornings to present scenarios on the future of creativity. Under the theme of Divergent – we polled the audience in the week before asking them for the most uncertain aspects about the future of creativity and then with my colleauge Tim Willard we turned those uncertainties into four different scenarios for……

Recruit better than the Israeli army

A most stunning story from Daniel Kahneman entails his recruitment efforts in the Israeli army. As a young man doing his national service, he was assigned to the Army’s Psychology Branch where they would evaluate candidates for officer training. Using a technique developed by the British Army in World War II they performed one test called a “leaderless group challenge”……

Strategy Coaching

When Timothy Gallwey realized in the 1970’s that his ‘Inner Game’ approach to coaching tennis was applicable beyond the tennis court, I’m sure he couldn’t have imagined that 50 years later a whole industry would have sprung up around coaching for business people. John Whitmore and Gallwey were running tennis programmes when a player, who was also an IBM executive,……

The 3am Test

The test is simple. Wake up anyone in your organisation and ask them to describe the strategy. If the reply is let me grab the strategy doc from the last planning session then you have failed. You also fail if their answer doesn’t match your answer or they cannot name the single priority driving the delivery of the strategy this……

Strategy is about getting into a more powerful position

The problem with the word strategy is that it has been so overused. A good strategy aims to win the war or beat the competition, but the word strategy has been so overworked it is often added just for effect, with little meaning. Strategy implies that you’ve done some clever thinking otherwise it would just be a plan. But the……

Pick one priority. Everything else is a priority-to-be or just not as important.

Neither the Oxford Dictionary of English nor the New Oxford American Dictionary include the word ‘priorities’. That is because the word sits alongside corporate doublespeak such as next level, scalable and leverage. All are futile attempts to improve a business through language rather than coherence. A priority on the other hand is the one thing that takes precedence over all……

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Categorized as priority

Priorities and goals

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."Johann Wolfgang von Goethe This is a video I prepared for a client ahead of their strategy session. We often use the terms priorities and goals quite loosely which can be confusing. I have given some specific examples of how they can be used in the…

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe This is a video I prepared for a client ahead of their strategy session. We often use the terms priorities and goals quite loosely which can be confusing. I have given some specific examples of how they can be used in the……

Doubting our plans

Most things written by academics about strategy fall into the two broad categories of strategic planning and strategic execution. It seems that the academics have not been speaking to people outside their institutions enough.  John Lennon probably had a clearer view of how things really work when he sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other……

Values (2)

Values come in two forms. The ones we talk about every day are our spoken values. These are the ones we normally reach for when asked, ‘what are your values?’. The ones we live are our lived values. The two are not always the same. It is easy to talk about our values, it is harder to live them. Unless……

Values

Underneath all relationships lurks this phenomena called values. Early in relationships they are easy to align because our description of values is often simple. We describe values using words such as honesty, integrity or respect. All people agree on these values. Don’t they? But real values come into play when relationships mature. True colours emerge. The harsh reality of what……

Two ways forward

There are at least two ways to plan and get things done.  One way is to plot. That is breaking everything that needs to get done into smaller and smaller pieces and then manage your way towards the outcome.  The other way is to be ready. When opportunities arise grab them, when they don’t arise sit back and wait for……

Extreme emotions

There are times when something happens that sparks an unexpected emotion. These are not the usual mad, sad or glad – run of the mill type emotions that ebb and flow in our lives. I am talking about the emotions that register high on the richter scale and leave us wondering what happened. I’m talking about extreme emotions. When I am……

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Categorized as emotion

My manifesto on art and life

My life is the sum of what I have created and what I will create. If we judge everything we do as creative, we set our own bar for what we put out into the world. Rather than setting goals, step back and evaluate what I am creating and what do I want to create. Creation is more than goals.……

Mandela: I want revenge but I want something more

There is a line in the movie Mandela, Long walk to freedom which struck for its honesty and insight.  While still in prison and negotiating with his captors, at a point they say that he ‘surely wants revenge’.  “I admit I want revenge”, he says, “but I want something more. I want to live without fear and hatred.” Whether he……

Leadership beyond Nelson Mandela

In today’s Sunday Times, former President Thabo Mbeki called on South African’s to reflect on Madiba’s values. “Mandela’s memory would be best honoured if South Africans assessed whether the country was living up to the icon’s vision of a non-racial society”, he said.   This is a noble thought and worth reflecting on. I think it is more useful though……