There are five population areas around the world where people live longer than the average US citizen by almost 25 years. They don’t just live long, they live well, remaining vibrant and healthy as they age. They are called Blue Zones and researchers study them to find commonalities. (more…)
It was a sleigh ride I won’t soon forget. From the North Pole to the heart of New York City, it was beautiful and exciting. We swooped into the city, darting between buildings, swinging left and then right, sweeping past landmarks, before alighting in front of the Radio City Music Hall and rushing into the Christmas Spectacular right behind Santa! We watched with joy as Santa proved he could be at the North Pole, on the street corner, and in every shopping mall all at once. Dancing Santas appeared on the balconies, filled the stage, waltzed down the aisles, and marched across the walls and ceilings. The magic and beauty were dazzling. Six thousand visitors left with visions of sugar plums dancing across their smiling faces. (more…)
For the average person, the act of planning involves creating a list of action items. If you’ve been around the block a few times, you are wise enough to want names and dates connected to each of those action items. With a good solid list in hand, you probably feel ready to plunge ahead.
What if I told you that creating that list of action items isn’t the first step of planning, but the third? If you started that way, you skipped two important steps.
And what if I told you that plunging ahead once you’ve completed that plan means you’ve skipped the fourth step as well? (more…)
Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. You need to give customers clear reasons to part with their money and to do so with you. The clearer you are about what constitutes your competitive advantage, the easier it is to focus your efforts and investments, market your products, and convince your customers. Don’t fall into the trap of believing all anyone cares about is money. Here are 10 perfectly good reasons why your products and services could be chosen over those of other companies. (more…)
A good strategic framework provides focus by limiting the number of directions the organization runs. You’d be foolish to try to extend all your products while simultaneously expanding all your markets while also ramping up capacity or shifting your business model to include new types of production, sourcing, sales, delivery, and partnerships. This isn’t just an issue of capacity. It is also an issue of risk, learning, complexity, and credibility. (more…)
The biggest problem with the way organizations think about strategy is they confuse strategy with plans. They aren’t the same thing. Strategic planning is an oxymoron. It is also the reason why strategic planning often misses the mark and why I always work extra closely with prospective clients to clarify expectations before I even agree to work with them.
Let’s start with a definition (more…)
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…)
In “Why Is Productivity So Weak? Three Theories” from The New York Times on April 28th, the author’s “depressing scenario” suggests that innovations in technology (such as a computer on every desk) and management techniques (such as outsourcing noncore functions) have been fully implemented across corporate America and will produce no additional productivity improvements. While I don’t think this is entirely true, I suspect we are seeing diminishing returns. But what that means is that we are ready for the next big innovation in workplace productivity!
Corporate America is buried in time-wasting confusion. Clarity is the answer. Here are just a few examples: (more…)