Strategic Thinking Can Smash Silos

May 19, 2015

Whether you work in a company with 10 employees or 10,000, there’s a good chance you have structures used for the bulk storage of grain, coal, or wood chips, commonly referred to as silos. For more than one thousand years, silos have been an effective method of containing and protecting valued materials. Silos are good at keeping things in and not letting…

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…

Top 10 Barriers to Great Strategy

February 21, 2014

For many managers, the word strategy conjures up thoughts of gigantic PowerPoint decks, binders collecting dust and general confusion. A survey by Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management found that 67 percent of managers believe their organization is bad at developing strategy. Harvard Business School professor David Collis is even more direct: “It’s a dirty little secret: Most…

The Three Roadblocks to Strategy

October 10, 2013

The business you lead is built on an idea. In the turbulent current of daily work filled with product specifications, customer projects, internal meetings and hundreds of other items, it’s easy to lose sight of the idea. The idea started in someone’s mind, maybe even yours. Over the years, the idea transformed into offerings in the form of products, services,…

Strategy + Innovation = Competitive Advantage

May 23, 2013

As summer approaches and you head back to your local amusement park to ride gravity-defying roller coasters, eat deep-fried food and marvel at people’s tattoos, don’t forget to stop by the bumper cars. Whether you’re six- or sixty-years-old, there’s nothing quite like bouncing into other vehicles and not requiring a tow truck for the ride home. Hopefully, you’re not working…

Chief Learning Officer Magazine and Strategic Thinking

January 3, 2011

For the December issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine, I had the privilege of writing an article entitled “Triple-A Thinking,” which provided an overview of the three disciplines of strategic thinking: Acumen, Allocation and Action. I use the word “discipline” as it relates to strategic thinking because as Michael Porter of Harvard Business School once wrote, “Strategic thinking rarely occurs…

It’s Lonely At the Top

June 28, 2010

If strategy were a physical summit in your company, business unit or functional area, would you be the only one standing at the top? For many leaders, the depressing answer is ‘yes.’ While you may have built a mountain of expertise shaped by strategic insights, the great leaders are the ones who help the rest of their team scale those…

Time: Are You Spending or Investing?

January 29, 2010

Friday is almost in the rear-view mirror. How much time did you spend talking about strategic issues this week? Research published in the Harvard Business Review showed that 85% of executive leadership teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, with 50% spending no time at all. Contrast that with Amazon.com. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos (recently rated the 7th…