Survival of the Fittest

September 15, 2009

When your jeep first rolls through the plains in Africa, you are immediately dazzled by the muscle tone and vitality of the animals. As you watch a pride of female lions stalk zebras in the distance, you are mesmerized by their sleek, powerful bodies. With each step they take, their cut muscles ripple through their fur, while the scars on…

Is HR a Strategic Partner?

September 10, 2009

During my recent trip to England to lead a strategy program for executives from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an interesting topic came up. Several of the European business leaders wanted to know what role HR plays in strategy in the United States. They were surprised to hear that over the past five years, HR executive’s own assessment that…

The Challenges of Thinking Strategically

September 8, 2009

What stops us from thinking strategically? During the past ten years, I’ve asked thousands of managers from around the world this question and their strategy challenges can be grouped into three areas: #1.  Resources—most people simply don’t have enough time to get things done and in many cases, the organization doesn’t support people taking time out to think. We’ve replaced…

New Growth Comes from New Thinking

September 4, 2009

Last week I had the opportunity to do the keynote speech at the Illinois Society of Human Resource Managers annual conference. I asked the 400 HR executives, “How many of you are looking for new growth for your business next year?” 100% of hands went up. My follow-up question: “How many of you have given your managers new concepts, tools and…

The Organizational Lobotomy

August 18, 2009

How many of us have a neatly typed strategic plan in a three-ring binder sitting on a shelf gathering dust? No? Liars! I’ve asked this question at a number of the conferences I’ve spoken at recently and more than half the people sheepishly raise their hands. In talking with folks afterwards, it seems that most managers go from the discovery…

Cash-for-Clunkers or Paris Hilton?

August 6, 2009

The cash-for-clunkers scheme by the government to stimulate the economy reminds me of Paris Hilton. Looks good at first but after a while you’re asking yourself, “Is that it?” Cash-for-clunkers is like putting a kid’s Scooby-Doo Band-Aid on the gaping hole in the hull of the Titanic. It’s a typical political ploy that’s all frosting and no cake. The program…

The Million-Dollar Oops

August 3, 2009

Take a close look at your organization’s strategy. Is it truly a strategy? Or is it a goal masquerading as a strategy? When Yahoo and Microsoft announced their web-search deal, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said, “Our strategy as a company is growing audience and enhancing our display-advertising business. That is what really makes sense.” What really doesn’t make sense is…

Knowing Which End Is Up

August 1, 2009

Imagine this: you’re sitting in your physician’s office and she walks in, takes one look at you, scribbles out a prescription and says, “Take one of these a day and call me in a week.” You reply, “But you didn’t even ask me any questions or give me any tests.” She responds, “I gave these to my last three patients…

Position…or Be Positioned

July 31, 2009

What is your offering’s position in the market? Actually, what you think is not important, so strike that question. What place in your customers’ mind does your offering own? The answer to that question is important.  While it is ultimately the customer’s perception that determines your position in the market, successful companies are continually shaping the most optimal positions. The…

Our Love/Hate Relationship with Strategy

July 30, 2009

At dinner recently, my six-year old son Luke said, “Dad, Kristy in my class said she wants to marry me. Then she said she loves me. I don’t want her to love me.” “Well, how do you feel about Kristy?” “Dad, I want to destroy her.” Now, if we think back through our past, my guess is most of us…