Competing Through People  | March 2014 Edition
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MAC 2011Crafting the Best Strategy Ever

Following the economic downturn, I've seen a wave of organizations rethinking, revising or completely trashing their strategic plans. The strategy from the last planning cycle didn't pan out because the context and assumptions changed overnight. Or the plan never really was deployed in the first place due to design and deployment flaws. This is the case for non-profit and for-profit organizations alike. The world for non-profits is changing just as dramatically. 
 As I review strategic plans and the processes that spawned them, I've uncovered a number of factors that differentiate between effective and ineffective strategic planning. The key lies in designing and delivering a robust process that maximizes innovation, speed, decision-making, communications, and accountability. The following are a few of the critical components to crafting and executing a strategy that achieves results.


Design, Design, Design

The focus in strategic or annual business planning is often over-weighted on the content of the plan (the "what") with less emphasis placed on planning process itself (the "how).  This typical approach doesn't fit the bill anymore. Each planning event occurs in a unique context so much more thought must go into the design of the process. The time spent in strategic discussions should be fast-paced, inclusive, and consensus building. The design of the process and the techniques used to lead critical interactions must be spot-on.    


A Few Breakthrough Goals

Many strategic plans collapse under their own weight. Those that end up with a long list of goals and initiatives are the most likely not to get executed. Counter to popular myth, human beings are not good at multi-tasking.  Rather, people and organizations thrive when they can focus on a few meaningful things and get stuff done. Our brains like it that way.


Build a Strategy-Capable Organization

The single biggest hurdle to strategy development and deployment often is talent. Do you have an organization that has the capability at all levels to handle strategic tasks? If you are unsure, this needs to be determined before strategy deployment can begin. Talent is an asset only to the extent that it makes a difference in executing strategy. 


Make it a Living Plan

Strategic planning should be an on-going process, not a one-time event. The Plan should be regularly reviewed at the executive level and adjusted based on performance measures. Progress on the goals should be tracked and reported on a regular basis. Corrective actions should be identified, if needed. If progress is being made on strategic initiatives and the organization has capacity, then additional projects can be pulled "above the line." As a result, executive team meetings should focus 70% on strategy, 20% on problem-solving/decision-making and 10% on informing and reporting.  Most meetings are completely the other way around.


These are just a few of the factors required to build the best Strategy ever.  Check out the additional suggestions in the articles in the Strategic Planning and Strategy Deployment section of my website.

LEADERSHIP ARCHITECT® 101 Certification:

Understanding, Building and Assessing Competencies


Using the LEADERSHIP ARCHITECT® to build and implement competency-based talent systems


March 24 and 25

Pittsburgh PA


Here is a unique opportunity to attend Leadership Architect 101 Certification in the Pittsburgh area with Lominger/Korn Ferry Master Associate, Jane Schenck.


This two-day workshop will provide a detailed review of the Leadership Architect® system, a comprehensive, integrated set of competency-based tools that give you the ability to put leadership and organizational development best practices into action.  Leadership Architect 101 is the prerequisite for all other Lominger KornFerry workshops and tools.


Armed with the LEADERSHIP ARCHITECT®, you will be able to implement an array of competency-based HR tools efficiently, effectively, and with confidence.  The Leadership Architect® Suite is recognized internationally and can be customized to fit any organization's culture or operating style.


The Certification Workshop is seldom offered in the Pittsburgh region and saves you the travel cost to attend other public Certification Workshops.


 Click Here For More Information and to Register  


Hiring Is Not About GPA, IQ or the Degree


Change Your Thinking to Significantly Improve the Impact of Selection


Just read an article about Google and why they don't care about hiring the top college graduates.  I really enjoyed the comments by Google's Head of People Operations, Lazlo Bock,  because he espouses a position that I have preached for years.


Google has moved away from screening based on GPA, brand name schools and other typical screening credentials. Instead they focus on learning ability and how candidates have handled particularly challenging problems in the past - learning on the fly and the ability to process on the fly. They don't limit their search for people who only have college degrees but also look for people who have successfully navigated through life without a degree. They look for people who have failed gracefully and learned from that failure. For Google, the ability to learn is more important than IQ.


Many hiring managers set too stringent knockout factors at the start of the process - factors that often have little relationship to future performance and potential. One of the biggest culprits is over-emphasizing technical knowledge that can be learned in a short period of time in the new job.


There is a big payoff for companies that promote from within.   This opportunity is lost if you ignore a new hire's future potential and only select with a focus on immediate job performance. The result is a pipeline of internal talent that is limited in its ability to adjust to change and to take on broader and higher-level responsibilities. Most companies make the situation worse by then promoting their best technical talent into management roles further reducing the overall capability of the organization (and frustrating good technical talent!).


Hiring for potential is not as tough as it sounds. Research has shown that the best predictor of potential is learning agility - the capability of a person to effectively handle new and challenging situations. Learning agile people not only handle first-time challenges well, they actually relish the opportunity, inspire others to step up, and apply what they learned from the challenge in other situations. As with Google's experience mentioned previously, they are not afraid to fail and learn from failure.


Want to learn more about changing your hiring paradigm?

Click here for more suggestions.  

In This Edition
Crafting the Best Strategy Ever
Leadership Architect Workshop
Hiring is Not About GPA, IQ or the Degree
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