Turn Down the Noise and Turn Up Your Strategy

July 23, 2018

“There is more noise in the world than change.” Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Picture the scene: a group of executives is at an off-site meeting to discuss the company’s strategic direction. They begin with a review of the market, including patterns, trends and influential factors. Before long, the conversation is pulling them like a riptide, further and further out into…

Simplify With Strategic Thinking

November 30, 2016

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple To simplify a business, one must first think and plan. However, for many people, the idea of simplifying through planning…

Innovative Thinking for Real-World Results

May 2, 2016

“To not innovate is to die,” remarked Apple CEO Tim Cook. At first blush, that sounds a little melodramatic. After all, many companies don’t do a whole lot of innovating and they’re doing just fine. Fine is one of those words that’s supposed to have a positive connotation, but more often than not, carries with it an underlying sense of…

Are You Getting Better?

March 3, 2015

As you swivel around in your next conference room meeting or multitask during this week’s conference call, see if you can spot the “Fine Wine” phenomenon. You’ll know it when a manager talks for more than sixty seconds and says exactly nothing of substance. Sure, it may have sounded important, with a few “strategics” thrown in for good measure, but…

Zombies in the Conference Room

November 5, 2014

When you get around to your annual strategic planning process, do you feel like one of the extras in a zombie-apocalypse movie? Looking around the room, you notice the enthusiasm being sucked out of the group. A half-hearted SWOT analysis reveals a too-long laundry list of exactly what the group already knew and nobody actually does anything with it. Then…

Strategy’s Dirty Secret

September 4, 2014

When is the last time you said no to an internal request? If you can’t recall, there’s a good chance you’re a tactical order-taker. Being a tactical order-taker is fine if you’re working the drive-through window at a fast food restaurant, but not so good if you’re leading an organization. The dirty secret about being “strategic” within an organization is…

Frankenstrategy Terrorizes Managers on Halloween

October 31, 2013

As the cool, white fog covers the ground on Halloween, beware the creatures lurking in the shadows of your company’s hallways. Nestled amongst the darkened offices is a single light, perhaps a candlelight, continuing to burn deep into the night. And there in that laboratory of an office, rising from the PowerPoint slides of Hell comes a creature pieced together…

Tactical Roulette

February 9, 2012

In the constant battle to keep up with the competition, managers often react immediately to other’s tactics by rolling out similar tactics of their own. Instead of thinking strategically about their next moves, they abandon the plan and step up to the wheel to play another round of tactical roulette. Their aim is to reduce the perceived gap between what…

Strategic Thinking and Business Strategy

August 25, 2011

In an attempt to piece together a fuller picture of strategic thinking, I’ve created the following infographic. It’s designed to highlight key research findings and examples related to strategic thinking, or in some cases, a lack thereof. The data sources outside of my research have been listed after the graphic for those interested in greater detail. (Click to enlarge) Embed…

Rethink

March 4, 2011

An article entitled “As Big Boxes Shrink, They Also Rethink,” was published this week in the Wall Street Journal describing the move by retailers to downsize stores. Perhaps the need to rethink wouldn’t be so significant now if they had taken the time to actually think in the first place. One of the surest signs of a strategy-less organization is…