Posts Tagged 'Strategy'

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Daddy, Why Is Grass Turning Brown Again?

Daddy, Why Is Grass Turning Brown Again?

My friend’s son asked that question.  We were excited that his son was starting to understand the cycle of seasons—in the fall, the grass turns brown. In the spring, the grass turns green. When you understand the changing seasons, you’ll also know how to prepare your home and your car.  You’ll know which clothes to have ready for chilly mornings in the fall or winter. When you’re three years old, you can start keeping up with seasons to help you live. What if we discovered that there are ‘macro-seasons’? Macro-seasons could be longer stretches of time for cycles to occur.  What if the cycle was about the same length as a human life?  It would be hard for us to see, but once we recognize the pattern, we could better relate to people seeking Christ, to people looking for products and to people finding fulfillment in giving generously to non-profits. The Pendulum Swings Pendulum by Roy Williams and Michael Drew shows that these ‘macro seasons’ are real.  Pendulum looks at history and ...Read more »
What Made You Successful Yesterday Can Make You Obsolete Tomorrow

What Made You Successful Yesterday Can Make You Obsolete Tomorrow

Over the weekend, I looked at the notes from conferences, corporate training events and seminars over the past three plus decades.   A session title from 1982: “The Changes Coming To Retail” caught my eye—funny thing, there was no mention of Wal-Mart or Amazon.com. No one told me this in high school, college or grad school, but knowledge has an expiration date. I find it hard to know when that expiration date occurs.  Knowledge is a lot like when Steven Wright asks, “How do you know when cottage cheese goes bad?” Reappraise the Value of Knowledge Just like a valuable stock or mutual fund, it is healthy to reappraise the value of our knowledge everyday.  Four aspects help me know what knowledge to increase or decrease its influence on my decision-making: New technology, including new applications of existing technology—Is the piece of knowledge antiquated by readily available technology.  For instance, a donor’s home phone number is ...Read more »
Change: Rolling the DICE

Change: Rolling the DICE

"The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." -Harold Wilson Most people don’t like change—even if they know they have to make a change.  There’s many reasons: Change is hard.  It means doing things we aren’t doing now. Change is uncomfortable.  We have to get used to new ways of doing things. Change might not work.  The failure rate for change is enormous. Change requires a plan.  Most of us feel convicted about changing something, but don’t make a plan to make that change. In making change stick, many people focus on the usual targets—the soft issues: culture, leadership and motivation.  Even if you’re great at these issues, change often fails. Our team often work as change agents with our organizations.  We use a change tool called DICE. DICE is a four dimension planning system that Harold Sirkin, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson outlined in Harvard Business Review: ...Read more »
Think strategically, but get it done.

Think strategically, but get it done.

A few months ago, the leader of the organization showed me a two-inch notebook.  “Here’s the strategic plan we put together two years ago,” he said as he opened the book to show off their work.  I read a few pages and congratulated them on the two-year old plan.  The strategy was thoughtful and—although now dated a bit by the prolonged recession—wordsmithed to a fine tone. “So, how much have you accomplished?” I asked. My friend stammered a bit, “Accomplished?  Well, we’re doing things piece by piece.” Smiling a bit, I asked, “What pieces have you completed?” He said,”Well, we really haven’t completed any of the pieces yet.”  He emphasized how everyone was excited about the plan when they began, but they don’t really talk about it much anymore. They spent a lot of time, money and effort to build a strategy, but never implemented it.  They lost the energy of working together to formulate a strategy to leave it in a binder on a shelf. A strategic vision without a strong e ...Read more »
The Macular Degeneration Station

The Macular Degeneration Station

"I'm just too busy running the station to have a vision."

Did that station manager actually say what I thought I heard on the phone? He basically confirmed it when he went on to say that he was having problems:

  • Increasing income to hire more people
  • Getting donors to understand why the station needed a new facility
  • Keeping his staff motivated and heading the same direction
  • Waking up excited about leading his station

These issues are common among managers who don't take a few moments to breathe, envision and write a plan--usually with a trusted counselor.

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