Strategies fail more often than they succeed. Occasionally it’s because they are stupid strategies. Most of the times the cause is a lack of clarity – a lack of specificity about where you are headed, how you will get there, and what must change. Consider these examples of typical failures: (more…)
Strategic planning isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean most organizations do it well! Here are the most common mistakes I see:
1. You do strategic planning because the calendar tells you it is time.
Why? What does the calendar know about your business and changes in your market?
2. You haven’t done strategic planning in several years and think it would probably be a good idea because you know you are supposed to do it more often than you have been.
If you are relying on external triggers like peer pressure and calendars, you are out of touch and don’t understand the purpose of strategic planning.
I’ve watched many non-profits struggle because they have the wrong people on their boards. Even conscientious organizations with lists of criteria used to carefully recruit qualifying board members usually get it wrong.
Yes, you need diversity. At the very least, that likely means you need to consider race, gender, and age. Depending on your focus, you may need diversity of experience and socio-economic representation as well. If you are a member organization, the diversity of your board must reflect your member base or desired member base. (more…)
When my parents died, their wills suggested an onerous process for dividing belongings among 5 siblings. But at least they provided a process!
They also indicated we were welcome to come up with a better process, if we so desired. My parents, who probably had something to do with my clarity(!), clearly knew the importance of having a process!
As executrix, I gladly proposed a better process. Being me, I’m pretty sure I would have done so regardless of whether or not it was my responsibility.
So I wrote up a simple process, explained it to all siblings, asked for opinions, and then got their signatures to confirm agreement before anyone began claiming anything.
The process worked smoothly. Success depended only on the thought invested by each sibling into their desires and needs. Everyone left with a combination of cherished and practical items.
There was one opportunity for dissension, however. (more…)
Did you know that almost no one made the word ‘priority’ plural before the 1950s? Having multiple priorities probably made about as much sense as describing something as ‘very unique.’ Something is either unique or it isn’t. And something is either the priority or it isn’t. Makes sense to me!
Once you have two priorities, what is the priority? And once you have two, why can’t you have three? How about four? Where is the line? (more…)
A liquor store in Atlanta is refusing to sell Boston Lager until after the Super Bowl. No harm done. Sam Adams Brewery and the liquor store both get great publicity from that one and people have their fun. The New England beers will be back on the shelf in a few more days.
Meanwhile, the Internet is awash in football analogies and Super Bowl mentions in order to ride the excitement and generate search engine hits.
But sport analogies aren’t just limited to play-off season. They permeate business talk. You’re supposed to walk onto the court with your head held high, leave it all on the field, and dominate. The goal is to inspire competitiveness, perseverance, and confidence. To tap the inner warrior and the calm, but fierce, leader. And, of course, the goal is to win. (more…)
American companies spend billions on employee training and development each year and most of it is wasted. The hoped for changes just don’t materialize. Why? Here are eight reasons:
1. Training isn’t what employees need.
Training develops skills. At the end of a training course, employees should be able to do something they couldn’t do or couldn’t do well before the class. If you don’t know what skill your employees need that they don’t have, you are wasting your money.
2. You are training the wrong people.
Too often one employee screws up and the solution is to train everyone rather than deal with the miscreant. If-he-needs-it, they-probably-all-need-it thinking leads to training lots of employees who already know what to do and have been performing acceptably. (more…)
The purpose of annual reviews is ostensibly to improve performance, right?
Then why don’t they? Why do managers and employees alike dread them? And why on earth do they happen only once a year?
I can think of only one performance review I ever had in decades working in Corporate America that actually helped me improve. That taught me something about myself that I didn’t know. That accomplished something other than:
When I walk in the New England woods, I am never alone. It’s not because there are a lot of people. Often, I see no one. It’s because of the stone walls.
The walls conjure images from the past. I picture farmers pulling crooked carrots from rocky soil, brave pioneers fighting for their lives, tough women caring for babies in circumstances impossible to comprehend. I see rugged individuals and ingenious problem solvers.
I also see conquerors, heartless racists intent on destroying the native population, and people with no respect for the land. (more…)
As we enter the final quarter of the year, it’s always good to reflect on where things stand. Think about personal progress to-date, as well as business progress. Have you achieved most of your goals for the year? Grown personally? Tackled something new and exciting? Enjoyed wonderful vacations? Deepened important relationships? Celebrated life?
If not, what one thing can you still do to make this year a success? Then, what must you do differently to set yourself up for a great new year?
I can think of lots of possible answers: (more…)