When I started GlobalEdg in 2006, one of my long-term goals was to continue to teach and coach leaders on how to think strategically, solve problems quickly and build that capability into their organizations. I underestimated how our approach and tools were really going to help make a difference. Not only were we building critical leadership skills, we were helping leaders knock down barriers and drive a culture where innovation could flourish!
What we have been finding
We consistently come across (no matter how large the organization) 6 common roadblocks:
- Functional (Siloed) thinking, multiple sub-cultures, and lack of focus make it difficult to “talk to each other” particularly on strategic issues.
- Resources are wasted in trying to get “people on the same page”
- There is a lack of clarity around what people are really trying to solve for
- Open to new ways of thinking “We have always done it here this way” honest assumptions are not challenged in a non-threatening way –
- People are never really empowered because they have not been trained on a common approach on how to solve problems
- They focus on the right answers versus the most important questions.
The Implication — Less alignment, focus and slow uninformed decision making
Innovation stalls because people tend to approach problems in different ways … with different disciplines… and even used different descriptors and languages. These multiple and divergent approaches to problem-solving aren’t unusual.
So, what can you do?
- Assess current strategic thinking and alignment capability. What is the information telling you?
- Implement a proven, systematic, strategic thinking process for analyzing and implementing business opportunities
- Train cross-functionally as people learn from each other and can practice using the process to demonstrate proficiency
- Use a common toolkit which allows you to begin applying the process to a real-life business opportunity/challenge
- Utilize a shared strategic communications framework for written analysis and “presentations”
- Use senior leaders as faculty and coaches
*Behavior does change as our research shows improvement in the three key areas:
- Focus: a 90% increase in the ability to focus on the most important issues
- Decision Making: 53% increase in fact- based decision making
- Alignment: Increase in alignment of project plans to strategies by 68%
In the last 10+ years our — STAR (Strategic Thinking – Action – Results) alumni have grown to over 3,000 people. Many have gone on to build great brands, turn around failing business or launch successful startups. They have applied the learning and scored incredible wins.
For more information about diagnostics and bringing the capability into your organization, including certification programs –please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Source: Think-to-Win Unleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking, McGraw-Hill 2015 http://www.thinktowin.net/book.html
Whoever takes the White House is going to face a country in transition. Here’s what the experts want POTUS to know on Day 1.
Shift the Tone – Our country needs leadership – and it needs to come from the top on day one. You need to shift the way people think about how Washington works. It is not all about “executive orders” or what you are going to “tear up.” It is about changing the America Psyche. Set a new tone with the American people —- let them know that there “is” a solution to every problem … and the best way to solve them is collectively with those who have strong differences. It is about relationships and not just rules. Think about the relationship that Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill had. There was a mutual respect and they genuinely liked each other. Reagan and O’Neal were able to find common ground even though they philosophically were polar opposites. Many credit them with saving Social Security. As the President, your words and actions mean much more than they did after the November Election. During your first official day in office, bring the leaders from both parties together and announce that you will be hosting a Camp David Summit. Why Camp David? For decades it has been a place to bring world leaders together to build broken relationship and address the most important problems. Couldn’t leaders from both our parties use that? With the desire to change the tone, I would suggest a theme – How Good Can America Be? The purpose would be to outline an agenda and jump-start an important Leadership conversation around clearly identifying what has given the U.S. a competitive advantage in the world; and, more importantly how we sustain that for the years to come. Not only would this be symbolic, it would show leadership and action.
Paul V. Butler President, GlobalEdg and Co-Author of Think-to-WinUnleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking
In today’s fast-paced environment, the window that a new leader has to win is short. If you do not have a way to quickly determine who on your team you can depend on – you can’t WIN!
I was on the phone last night with the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) from one of our new clients. A pulse check on how her team was doing led to a discussion on how she uses the strategic thinking approach to quickly assess the capabilities of the people she has on her team. “When I come into an organization, I have a quick window to not only assess my function, but to determine who best fits with where I want to take the organization. As a leader, I have been brought in for a reason — to help an organization grow. We can only do that if we know where we are – where we want to go – and who is going to help us get there.” I want everyone to succeed, and I need to see who on my teams can and will contribute immediately and what help others might need to quickly get there.
A disciplined approach to Thinking, Planning, and Acting does more than just produce a great plan. When done collectively with a new team, it provides a new leader a chance to observe and work with his or her team and quickly assess who is going to help you produce quick wins. An approach that combines the tools of strategic thinking with the principles and practices of collaboration is powerful. It helps a new leader quickly begin to answer the following:
Who is able and willing to work as a team member to collectively solve problems?
Who on my team is open to new ways of thinking about previously held beliefs?
Who is able to quickly identify and communicate the most important issues?
Who has displayed both functional skills and leadership capabilities?
Who can get things done?
For more visit: www.thinktowin.net
NBA’s Champion Stephen Curry busted every assumption people have been making about him. He knows his strengths and further develops them into a competitive advantage. Dan Wetzel provides us with a beautiful example of how to challenge assumptions and think like a winner.
Curry worked hard to build those strengths into a collective competitive advantage. Wetzel writes — he just kept developing what he could — an even better shooting touch, more floaters, ever-refined ball-handling skills, even smarter understanding of spacing and pacing and passing. Hard work, and focusing on what is most important can do to lead your team there. He knows what is unique about him and leverages that to win! Curry proves he is a leader and leaders win!
While browsing through today’s Wall Street Journal health journal section, I can across an interesting, but not surprising statistic. A recent survey found that 56% of the people say they are in more in need of a vacation that in past years. Of all work /life balance issues I have found in my work, one of the most obviously happens unintentionally. When a small team of people working together to produce outstanding results they often come to a breaking point. They can not sustain the current way they operate due to the added complexity of what they are trying to manage. Projects get added and what usually happens? They continue to add “stuff” without taking anything off of the plate. They do not collectively ask themselves, “What can we stop doing?” Individuals heroically try to continue providing value to internal or external customers –often at the expense to their personal well being. A tried solution –- run an exercise with your team on what to stop doing – try it. It will immediately relieve the organizational, team and individual stress levels.
While facilitating a team of executives recently, one of the leaders talked about how the newer and younger employees were not self-motivated. I asked what that meant. “They are not as committed to the organization and what we are trying to do.” When I asked what they were committed to do, it was hard for him to articulate that.
Try this on — look through a different lens. Work hard to find out what your employees are committed to – use that as a starting point. When we work with teams that are struggling, the first question I ask the group is, “Who in here comes to work each day trying to screw up?” After much laughter, I ask if they believed the same of their people. It really is an “ah ha” moment. I encourage you to look through a different lens. As a manager, what types of environment are you creating that allow your team to commit to doing their best each day? It’s amazing how this simple approach can make a difference in organizations.
If you get chance, pick up this the May 25, 2009 issue of Time Magazine and turn to page 41 — Read Justin Fox’s article. It references the Oath of Honor that all graduates of the Thunderbird School of Global Management recite during their graduation ceremony. It speaks of honesty, integrity, and individual accountability. With everything we have experienced over the last six months, can you think of anything more important?
Corporate Values are important and when an organization and its leaders follow them, they do make a difference; however, it does begin with personal accountability. In the new book by our colleagues at the RBL Group entitled Leadership Code, Five Rules to Lead By, (Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood Kate Sweetman) outline it clearly. Rule FIVE – “Invest in Yourself” which they argue is the ultimate rule of leadership addresses integrity and character. I believe their questions get at what I call Leadership and Purity of Heart:
Integrity at the core of your character shows up in many ways: Do I live according to legal and social norms? Do I keep promises? Do I live a moral life outside of work? Do I avoid gossip, lying and stealing time? Have I established a code of conduct for my company that I demonstrate through my behaviors?
Do you lead from the heart? Ask yourself these questions to find out. Then ask yourself how you can do better.