Communicating Strategy From the Bottom

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/strategy-isnt-what-you-say-its-what-you-do/

Came across the log post about strategy implementation and I think it’s a good one for consultants working with senior management teams. It goes along the lines of walking the talk.

“Strategic choice-making cascades down the entire organization, from top to bottom. This means that every person in the company has a key role to play in making strategy. Performing that role well means thinking hard about four things:

1) What is the strategic intent of the leaders of the level above mine?
2) What are the key choices that I make in my jurisdiction?
3) With what strategic logic can I align those choices with those above me?
4) How can I communicate the logic of my strategy choices to those who report to me?

If you as a manager can do the first three of these four, then you will own your choices and own your strategy. If you do the fourth, you will set up your subordinates to repeat these four things and thereby own their choices and their strategy, and pass on the task to the next layer of the company. If each successive layer assumes this level of ownership, the organization can make its bosses’ statement a real strategy rather than an empty slogan.”

I can personally say that these points are all very important to infuse into the culture of your company. Both from my Wells Fargo experience where these are deeply ingrained in the corporate culture to the smaller scale of my own company, clearly communicated strategy is the key.
When not only your direct reports, but your two downs are spreading the gospel, you will be successful.

If you need help getting your team to walk the talk, I’m happy to help.

Business Strategy with Analytics – Aligning a business strategy to drive an organization forward requires a robust analytics solution. Businesses who have good analytics tend to be much more profitable and efficient then ones that do not. DMAIPH has helped dozens of companies in both the U.S. and the Philippines with adding more data analysis in their business strategy. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out what we can do to help you align your business strategy with analytics.

 

I Was Just Talking About This, Now I Know What To Call It > Sisu

http://www.businessinsider.com/quality-that-successful-leaders-have-2014-6

I was just talking with a friend about one of the qualities I have that I think separates me and other successful businessmen from those who aren’t successful. I came across this article just a few hours later. Active coping or what’s called Sisu.

“Active coping is being ready and able to adapt creatively and effectively to challenges and change,” she says in a statement. “Active copers continually strive to achieve personal aims and overcome difficulties, rather than passively retreat from or be overwhelmed by frustration.”

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But this isn’t so much a skill as an outlook. Rather than viewing change as a threat, Patch says that active copers view it as opportunity. This requires two traits: stability and openness, all in one.

Put another way, active copers have what positive psychologists call “sisu”: an orientation to the world where difficulty is seen as opportunity, where you lean into a problem, try to understand it, and push yourself and the situation to shape the best possible outcome.

Pretty cool stuff. I’ve got more than game, I’ve got sisu! 🙂

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/quality-that-successful-leaders-have-2014-6#ixzz35J8C8ztn

What People Want

Like any entrepreneur, I have my strengths and my weaknesses. Generally my strengths are were I focus more of my time.

But occasionally I need to try and mitigate my weaknesses as well. One of them is that I tend to be verbose.

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What I love most about marketing guru and blogging king Set Godin, is most of his blog posts are simple, yet extremely powerful.

Today’s being a perfect example.

“Fast, easy guaranteed. …pick none.

That’s the work that’s worth doing.”

What people want is not what is usually worthwhile, nor want the truly need.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/06/fast-easy-guaranteed.html

Using Social Media To Cascade Content Upwards and Sideways, Not Just Downward

I came across this on LinkedIn and thought it worth sharing:
http://good2bsocial.com/2013/05/13/middle-management-social-business/

In 2012, IBM conducted a study, “The Business of Social Business: What Works and How It’s Done,” that showed that while companies are increasing their social technology investments, middle management leaders are struggling to embrace these capabilities as part of their day-to-day work. The problem, as the IBM study revealed is that “the key to accelerating widespread adoption lies in an organization’s ability to build social business expertise among employees, while encouraging behavioral changes that may influence a wider cultural shift. However, only one-quarter of companies believe they are fully prepared to address the cultural changes that are associated with this transformation.”

Therefore, companies needs to spend a significant amount of time and effort in encouraging their middle managers to change their existing behavior and provide their teams with a platform for engagement such as social networks and collaborative spaces. Middle managers need to embrace their new roles and upper management must set up a system to reward them for this. Without this basic fundamental change in culture, middle managers will resist change and a company’s social business initiative will be doomed before it starts. Middle managers in turn need to teach their teams the value of collaborating with one another and sharing knowledge and expertise. This may seem simple but from my experience it is not. Middle managers can encourage this collaboration by transforming existing business processes into new more effective processes that are enhanced by social technologies.

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My take on this is that middle managers often feel more comfortable in being doers then thinkers. They thrive on routines and predictable processes and without guidance they struggle with ambiguity and vague direction. When it comes to social media they still see it as top down way of information dissemination and only use collaborative spaces with their direct reports to facilitate process changes and trainings. Rarely do you see middle managers use collaborative spaces as peers.

For my part, I will continue to encourage my senior managers to walk the talk so to speak and really optimize their social media presence in ways that inspire and empower their direct reports to do the same. We use the term cascade information a lot, but we don’t always cascade is upwards or sideways. We can do more of that.

4 Lessons From The Phoenix: Finding Success As You Rise Up From Failure

Here are four keys behind my recent run of success:

1. Find Disciples
2. Create Lots and Lots of Content
3. Go Both Horizontal and Vertical
4. Stick with the Plan

One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever got from a mentor was to go out and find three people who could become my disciples. People who understand and believe in the power of using data to driven decision-making.

Throughout the first two-year of my business I was never able to keep more than one at a time on my team as the business evolved rapidly. However, over the past six months I have firmly established two of them in the business as key partners in decision-making. And I still have one of my original influencers close at hand. I know have three disciples who believe in what we do and are able to talk my talk and walk my walk. Mission accomplished.

Another key piece of advice I picked up about a year and a half ago that I have stuck with is create lots of content. I’ve heard this before and see the power of some of my heroes like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin when it comes to creating a constant stream of interesting content. However, it took a while for me to find my grove, but since then I have been churning out a fairly steady stream of social media content. I blog, am an active Liker on FB and share a lot via LinkedIn. That’s the second key to my success.

Another part of my success has been adding more and more services to my existing clients. This is a strategy I learned very well with Wells Fargo. Its far more profitable to go vertical with existing clients then try to go horizontal with lots of new clients.

And the final key that has help me rise from the ashes of one failed business to build a successful one if stick to the plan. Yes, its important to adapt and evolve, but those should be in unison with the core reason you went into business in the first place… to empower people to make better decisions. I started with a knowledge process outsourcing business model to being more analytics jobs to the Philippines and have done exactly that.

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