Last published in this blog November, 2017 I am sure that if I posed this question to a group of 100 managers and leaders, barely a few will put their hands up. Micro-managers either don’t know that they are micro-managers or don’t want to admit it. If you are one of...
Well, actually it was time to find your coach a long time ago. But that’s alright. There’s still time. They figured out many moons ago that professional athletes needed coaches. Why wouldn’t the same be true for all of us in the business world? It is the...
(Originally published April 2014 but always worth a re-read) Let’s start by getting over the spelling thing. For my readers south of the border, read ‘humor’. Everyone else, read with ‘humour’. Back in 2014, Forbes offered up a list of the top 10...
I launched ProjectTalks Virtual this past week. I must say, running a conference virtually is not easy. We certainly ran into our fair share of technical issues – but learned lots. Preparation is now in the works for ProjectTalks II. My session at...
This post was originally published in October, 2016. With the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting all of us world-wide and the much closer-to-home mass killing in Nova Scotia, it was time to talk about compassion. Every project team needs a member who can add...
“Culture drives strategy” says my podcast guest, Michael O’Connor. Michael is the Director of Strategy and Project Management at Medtronic out of the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area. Metronic is a global healthcare solutions company operating in approximately...
Communicating like a leader is critical today more than ever. But do we need to rethink HOW we communicate? Maybe the email blast to all of our customers or staff or team is not enough. [embedded content] Share this:
At the time of writing, our world is in a state of crisis – with the Covid-19 virus taking control. For many of us, times like these pose immense obstacles as we try to plan for the future: organizationally, professionally or personally. Please join me for 4 minutes as we think about how to think […]
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“Two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, Courage in your own.” Adam Lindsay Gordon These beautiful words are inscribed over the fireplace in the building my Great Grandfather called home for many years. He lived by them. They are also inscribed on the side of his tombstone. He died by them. Today, […]
Leaders at all levels, these days, are dealing with rapid change and uncertain times. This has brought a new reality to our planning and the execution of our plans. More than ever, we need to be able to ask, “Why are we still doing this?” – and act on the answer. In the past, we […]
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(first published in April, 2014 – three months into my blogging journey!) Good leaders don’t need just one plan – they need three! A organizational strategic plan A professional strategic plan A personal strategic plan The organizational strategic plan is the core to any successful organization. Any student of business would not argue with this. […]
If I suggested to you that your current plan was going to fail somewhere down the road, would you be ready? The optimist would say ‘I don’t need a Plan B because this IS going to work’. The realist would say ‘absolutely’. Which side do you fall on? Whether you are planning for your organization, […]
Respect, trust and loyalty are earned over time. We have heard this many times before. And then in walks the new boss and within the first few months it becomes very apparent that he or she did not read the manual. Frankly, it never ceases to amaze me that...
My friend Mona Mitchell and I published our book called “The 7 Elements of Strategy Execution” back in 2018. In the process, we interviewed a number of senior executives and leaders on the subject. One of the more interesting meetings was with Rob McLellan, a past board member of the TD Bank and past Chair […]
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In my last posting, we explored the business of decision-making. Great leaders know how to make decisions logically and in a timely manner. In post #1, I suggested that good decision making requires: Solid research A good evaluation of all the options...
Good decision-making skills are in my top 5 list of the most important leadership qualities. If you ask a group of employees about what they look for in a good leader, you will get many answers. Most certainly, the ability to make good decisions, will rank up...
Originally published in August, 2015 I was recently listening to a group of teenagers talk about their summer jobs and most of the talk was about the leadership style that one of them was dealing with. I heard the words, “They don’t set a good example” numerous times...
I am swamped! I have a to-do list as long as my arm. Everyday I walk into my office, new stuff pops up. I feel like I am always fighting fires or dealing with the regular day-to-day administrative duties and sales functions. And when I’m not doing any of that, I’m on the road. Yes, […]
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When leaders start thinking strategically, the creative juices flow. What are we capable of doing? How far can we take this? What could tomorrow look like? What would happen if…? This is the fun part! But guess what? Now we have to make it happen. We have to execute, and this is where, so often, […]
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Whenever I present to audiences about strategy or strategic thinking, our minds always go to our organisations, divisions or departments – our corporate lives. But strategic thinking actually starts in the home. In my mind, our lives roll out in one of two very different ways: let the wind and the currents and the […]
If you want to get from here to there, successfully, you need a CSO – a Chief Strategy Officer. When my friend, Mona Mitchell, and I wrote the book “7 Elements of Strategy Success” we studied the key elements that would not necessarily ensure strategy success but that would certainly help you along the way. […]
Are you thinking efficiently or effectively? This is a question I heard posed by my friend, Wissam Al-Hussaini, during his delivery of one of the three modules in a new program at Schulich called Beyond Project Management. His section was all about thinking strategically. His point was very simple. Do you think about what you […]
I was working with an organization last week who has a great mantra or mission statement: “Small enough to be agile, large enough to be global”. I loved it. I was talking to them about strategy execution. The agile reference was enlightening. It suggested that we needed to be agile enough to change the plan […]
I have a family member who some people suggest is rushing her career. It seems that when you talk to her and ask her about her job, you not only get a picture of today, but you often see a glimpse of tomorrow. She is always thinking about her next position at the company and, […]
We don’t often see a good plan in place for an organizational strategy. This is wrong. Unfortunately, the execution part of strategic planning is either mismanaged or missed completely. The reason is simple: the people in charge so not realize that their strategic plan is really a project or program and it needs a project […]
Strategic Planning is not easy. But all of the effort, time and resources you put into its creation can go right in to the junk pile if you do not address the execution phase. This is the part that most organizations take for granted. And that is a mistake. Over the summer, I have been […]
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Over the summer, I have been reviewing some of the Clear Signals That Your Strategic Plan Is Going to Fail from a book I recently published with Mona Mitchell called “7 Elements of Strategy Execution”. Our first four… Your Leaders cannot articulate the plan You do not have a scorecard for your plan You do […]
Most organizations are still planning too far out. In this day and age, realistically, how can we? With so many changes to our markets, politics and competitive playing field, we need to be more agile in our approach to strategic planning. Breakdown your long-range goals within the strategic plan in to short sprints – maybe […]
The plan looks good and you seem to have all the pieces in place, but when asked, no one seems to know what success will actually look or sound and feel like. Sound familiar? I was working in an environment recently where there was no confusion about strategy success – because it was never discussed. […]
Happy Summer, 2019! In this first week of July, I continue my summer series on the seven Clear Signals That Your Strategic Plan Is Going to Fail and what you can do about it. You have created a strong team, held a very productive, off-site strategic planning session, documented all the ideas and plans, published […]
You have created a strong team, held a very productive, off-site strategic planning session, documented all the ideas and plans, published the official “Strategic Plan” and told everyone about it at one of your Town Hall Meetings. And nothing is happening. Your strategic plan is heading for the pile of failed strategic plans and you […]
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The Toronto Raptors have just won the 2019 NBA Championship and today (June 17, 2019) ‘we’ celebrated. The ‘we’ is Canada. They really are Canada’s team. People flooded into downtown Toronto from all parts of Canada (and a few from the US) to be a part of this historic day. The victory parade drew an […]
“…astute leaders tune in to others’ feelings and predispositions, and acknowledge different opinions from a variety of sources. Now (when you may not necessarily need it) is the time to seek out and establish a professional support system so that it is there when you really do require it. No matter what your career aspirations, […]
Originally posted June 10, 2015 “(Strategy) execution is the great unaddressed issue in the business world today. Its absence is the single biggest obstacle to success and the cause of most of the disappointments that are mistakenly attributed to other causes.” ― Ram Charan, author of What the CEO Wants You to Know and Boards […]
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Every great organization conducts a strategic planning session, of some sort, every few years, which produces a strategic plan that, in the majority of cases, goes no where. Forbes.com suggests that most organisations don’t do a very good job with ‘life after publishing’ when it comes to the strategic plan. For various and sundry reasons, […]
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Every once in a while, I get the urge to connect with the Project Management Institute (PMI) Board of Directors to suggest a name change. Project Leadership Institute (PLI) In my humble opinion, not only does it sound better, but it makes a lot more sense. We are project leaders much more than we are […]
“Culture is the often-overlooked foundation of an organization. It determines how the group retains talent, how it develops and releases new products and whether it meets targets. It affects how happy and satisfied employees are at work.” 7 Elements of Strategy Execution When Mona Mitchell and I struck out to research for our book “7 […]
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Five Key Elements to Building a Strong Strategic Plan Company X gets it now! They realize how important it is to focus on the execution of the plan as much as it did on the creation of the plan. In fact, they hired a well-respected team to come in to help them with the execution […]
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“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of disengagement to each one who is striking at the root.” Today I want to highlight the comment of one of my readers after the post “Working with Disengaged Teams”. Peter Hadas is a Change Management consultant located in Toronto. He wrote… “I enjoy your blogs. Here’s […]
Originally posted August, 2015 I was recently listening to a group of teenagers talk about their summer jobs and most of the talk was a rant about the leadership style that one of them was dealing with. I heard the words, “They don’t set a good example” numerous times in the rant. Coming from a […]
I have been watching a friend struggle recently as she tries to manage a team of people who were not engaged. Read… ‘they really didn’t care’. The result is demoralizing for everyone: infighting, poor quality work, absenteeism, poor customer service and more. Admittedly, this is a very large corporation where the bottom line is far […]
This week’s post is an interview with Dan Watt, Sr. Director, Large Program Enablement at RBC. Dan is a real visionary and has always had a very unique perspective on the work we do in today’s organizations. This interview highlights Dan’s idea that our strategic plans and strategy execution plans should be managed in sprints. […]
I was watching the news last week that featured clips of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, ‘performing’ at a series of Town Hall meetings he was conducting across the country. He did well. But these meetings were pretty-well scripted. There was one central issue that drove the effort (pipeline expansion) but the PM […]
Whether you are selling to a client, trying to influence an internal decision, creating a business case or convincing a team of stakeholders that your project needs more time or money – the Golden Rule will always be “know your audience”. One of my ‘people’ shared an article with me today entitled “Making a Business […]
(This blog is an update on the first version published in 2014) I have been working through an article from Forbes.com this summer that listed the top 10 qualities that make a great leader. The last on the list is ‘The Ability to Inspire’. I get a lot of calls from people looking at the […]
As I sit here during the first week of January, I can’t stop thinking about the exciting year ahead. I have some new adventures planned that will make this a fun, exciting and hopefully prosperous year. But I have learned some very important lessons along the way and one of those is that none of […]
You need the right people and the right team in place to make any critical plan work – especially if it produces change for the organization, its customers, key stakeholders and employees.
“Targeted tools, processes and rewards will help you generate and nurture commitment from employees.
Synergy is linking it all together. It’s ensuring teams and units have the right infrastructure and structures to get the job done.
The key to success? Well, there are many but one of the big ones is Clarity. Just like a project execution plan or a strategy execution plan, at the core, we need clarity.
There was no one clear reason that everyone could agree on but what they did agree on was that strategies do fail, often, and that without care, attention and a lot of work, they will continue to do so.
Let’s start to think outside the box and focus on the business.
A solid strategic execution plan starts with these questions. Just taking the time after the initial planning phase, to go through this list, is more than most organizations will do.
Change management and strategy execution.
That’s what I do – help leaders, of all types, get ‘stuff’ done.
The foundation of your strategic plan must start with a detailed, in-depth analysis of your organization. Without it we cannot plan the path to our future state.
Numerous online sources will use the number 60% these days – the share of strategic plans that never get off the ground and of the other 40%, they suggest, at least half were not implemented successfully.
Our critical strategic plans need someone in charge, someone ultimately responsible for the ‘project’ and someone who has the experience dealing with this kind of work in the past.
Good leaders know how to carry strategy through execution to completion. They know how to tie strategy to everything the organization does from the bottom right through to the top. And these leaders know how to create a culture that supports the strategic plan:
Strategic planning used to be the domain of our senior leaders and board of directors. As I said in my previous post on Strategy Execution, this is one of the reasons that many strategic plans collect dust on the shelves. It was never communicated to the organization.
The strategic plan is probably the most important tool that any leader has at their disposal. The strategic plan drives everything within, and a well-run organization should be able to connect everything it does back to that plan.
Personal strategic planning is the key to managing personal change and long term goals.