I just finished reading survey responses about strategic priorities from a senior management team. The lack of consistency in their responses reminded of an experience I had on the island of Kerkennah off the coast of Tunisia. (more…)
Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new information as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs and theories. And it is the only way to explain how Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts can simultaneously be seen as breaking every Boy Scout rule and upholding the values of the Boy Scouts. We hear what we want to hear. Regardless of your own beliefs, you can’t listen to the daily and starkly opposing interpretations of every political news story and not be impressed with the incredible power of confirmation bias.
Of course, you might conclude that only the idiots on the opposite side of each issue are guilty of confirmation bias. You might be quite sure that your interpretation is the only rational and fact-based reaction. You’d be wrong. (more…)
If you make decisions by consensus, you waste a lot of time. But if you make decisions without sufficient involvement, you won’t gain the cooperation and commitment you need for subsequent steps and successful implementation. How do naturally clear leaders thread this needle? They consciously, or intuitively, follow these seven rules: (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…)
Massachusetts is suffering from a serious drought. Town water supplies are low. Reservoirs sport wide gravelly necklaces on every shoreline. Private wells are drying up. The grass is brown and crunchy. And the gypsy moths are destined for a banner year in 2017 because their only natural predator, a fungus, requires moist conditions to thrive. Millions of trees devastated by drought and gypsy moths this year are unlikely to survive another horrendous year.
Nonetheless, the weatherman on my radio says, “Not a great forecast today. You can expect lots of clouds and rain.”
Not a great forecast? Where have you been? We need every drop of moisture those clouds can deliver, as well as the reduced evaporation the same cloud cover can provide! Think before you speak! (more…)
The year is half over. If that is bad news for you, I am sorry to be the one to break it!
In our not too distant past, weather, daylight hours, changing seasons, and the calendar year ruled all.
These days – not so much! Nonetheless, old habits die hard and that calendar controls far too much in the business world. While you reflect on progress to date at this half-year mark, reflect also on all the things that should NOT be controlled by the calendar year. Here are a few just for starters:
- Strategic planning
- Performance reviews
- Goal setting
Something to ponder while at the beach this summer. Have a great July!
You can’t solve a problem without eliminating its cause. Unfortunately, most organizations either struggle to find the real cause or they skip that step and just try “solutions” at random.
Those solutions range from seemingly small changes such as:
• New forms
• New rules
• New meetings
• New forms and rules for meetings
To enormous initiatives such as:
• New employee engagement programs
• New performance management systems
• New organizational charts, titles, and office assignments
You get the idea. (Contribute your favorite “futile fixes” in the comment section of this article!)
What do these ”solutions” have in common? (more…)