Building Bench Depth

Building Depth by Building Breadth

It’s partly because they are so rare that “overnight success” stories of unicorn company founders attract so much media attention.  And all that media attention inspires hordes of other young people Bench Depthwho picture themselves on that next magazine cover.  I congratulate the fractional percentage of them who make it!

The more common path to success involves developing expertise and gaining experience that increases their value to the organizations they serve. Continue reading Building Bench Depth

Debt Beyond Dollars

Technical Debt Will Cost You More Than Money

Even if your organization’s balance sheet shows no debts, it’s a safe bet you have some.  If you’re not aware of that debt, you can’t be managing it well.Triple constraints

The debts I’m referring to aren’t generally tracked in dollars.  But the financial toll of their impact on your organization’s resilience, flexibility, responsiveness, ability to grow, and overall health is huge. Continue reading Debt Beyond Dollars

The 3 C’s of Execution

Removing Roadblocks to Follow-Through

Having just written about the 3 C’s of Strategy, I guess I have C’s on the brain. Even scarier is that two of the C’s of Strategy are the same as two of the C’s of Execution!Execution: Results, not Excuses

Whether you’re a boss, coach, or head of a household, you’ve undoubtedly struggled with someone with a task that just stays on the to-do list forever. Maybe it’s even you who can’t get it in gear!

Let’s look at three potential causes of that execution logjam. Continue reading The 3 C’s of Execution

The 3 C’s of Good Strategy

Clarity, Commitment, Collaboration

good strategyDo you ever secretly wonder why you really need a strategy? The business gurus all say you should have one.  But come on, you know what you want to accomplish, just jump in and get it done! Why go through the effort to gather the team, hash through it all, get something written down, then keep revisiting it in meeting after meeting all year?

You may get a measure of success by just throwing the team in the lake and saying, “swim that way!”.  They’re likely to move in the general direction you pointed. But it takes more if you want the level of success that comes from everyone rowing together at the same time toward the same objectives.

Here are three C’s that you’ll get from a well-crafted and well-executed strategic process… Continue reading The 3 C’s of Good Strategy

Developing T-Shaped Skills

Bringing Value through Depth and Breadth

It’s great to be recognized as an expert. And experts do bring value to organizations that need their specific expertise. But sometimes experts are so focused in their field that they are practically unintelligible to the rest of us.T-shaped skills

Generalists, on the other hand, can bring value by connecting the dots across disciplines to get diverse functions to work together. But the jack-of-all-trades hits a wall when a master-of-one is needed.

I recognize the value of both experts and generalists. But if I’m building an organization I’ll place the highest value on the team members who have “T-Shaped Skills”. Continue reading Developing T-Shaped Skills

Mission vs. Method

Where We’re Going vs. How We’ll Get There

I was probably a teenager the first time someone told me that the railroad companies’ biggest failure was that they thought they were in the railroad business. If they had realized they were in the transportation business they would have been the first to build airplanes and would own the world of transportation today. (Government protection against monopolies aside…)

The Power of Disruption

Mission disruption

I’ve had numerous conversations lately with leaders trying to figure out their strategy for moving their organization through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.  They roughly fall into two camps:  Those trying to protect and rebuild what was, and those who are excited about the new freedom they have to innovate outside the old box. Continue reading Mission vs. Method

Strategic Plans That Get Executed

From the Executive Suite to the Front Line

Strategic PlanYou’ve done it.  You’re holding it in your hands. The perfect strategic plan. Months of effort by leaders from across the organization. You can almost taste the success it promises.  Well, almost…

Until you remember that’s how you felt holding last year’s plan.  The one you only accomplished 30% of.

Still, there’s a sense of satisfaction that you met the goal of creating a plan. The planning season is over, time to move on to other battles.  You distribute the plan and everyone puts it on the shelf next to last year’s plan.

It would be nice to break the cycle of strategic planning that doesn’t generate results, but how? Continue reading Strategic Plans That Get Executed

A Plan is Nothing…

…Planning Is Everything

In a 1957 speech, President Dwight D. Eisenhower quoted a statement he had heard in the Army, ”Plans are worthless, but planning is everything”[1].  Eisenhower understood that the thought processes and collaboration involved in planning are more valuable than the document.
Some organizations are good at creating and executing strategic plans.  Others don’t see the value in planning, or at least not enough to give it the time it takes.  In between you have those who faithfully create their plans and set them on a shelf to collect dust until next year’s planning cycle. Continue reading A Plan is Nothing…

Affirmative Accountability

Giving Success the Attention It Deserves

It’s a well-established fact that accountability greatly increases the likelihood of success.  Yet most of us cringe at the idea of being held accountable.  Why is it so hard to set aside our egos and welcome something that we know would help us succeed?

Rather than dive deep into the psychology of our resistance, I want to propose just one idea that might lower the barrier to accountability we find in our followers. Continue reading Affirmative Accountability

Minimalist Project Management

Doing Small Projects Well

Landing a man on the moon or building a skyscraper are incredibly complex projects requiring advanced project management (PM) skills.  Highly skilled project managers pull off seemingly miraculous feats of coordination and puzzle-1019766_640collaboration. You may not need that caliber of PM skills, but even small organizations still need to rally multiple resources to launch products, plan events, create marketing materials, build business plans, and solve other problems. Continue reading Minimalist Project Management