Four Ways to Get Help with Annual Strategy and Operations Planning

The year is more than half over and it is time to start planning for next year but the top team is maxed-out just keeping up with operations! Outside help may be just the thing.

There are four types of help…here is a guide you can use to decide which is right for your team.

About consultants…what is the difference between them?

Kinds of Outside Help

1. Strategy Consultants

  • WHAT THE LEADER WANTS: Strategy consultants compare organization performance with others in similar and different industries to recommend what is possible in light of advances in technology and trends.
  • THE REALITY: The challenge is for leaders to internalize and adopt new ideas as their own, especially in light of what it will take to implement them. Strategy consultants are known for good ideas and not for helping clients follow their advice.

Continue reading Four Ways to Get Help with Annual Strategy and Operations Planning

Do we ask a potential hire what their parents told them when they spilled milk?

It wasn’t Sigmund Freud, but the 19th century poet William Wordsworth who said, The child is the father of man. But Freud, of course, would have agreed in that he argued that most, if not all, of the foundation for who we are as adults is cast in the first five years.

So, what are we to make of this? Are we stuck with our pre-verbal responses to authority, to failure, to success, formed long before we have conscious memory or control? After all, most of us neither remember nor had any say-so over what happened to us when we spilled our milk, refused to be potty trained, tried to please our parents, or told an untruth.

Still, one tenet of psychology is that to understand who we are today, we must understand who we have been. What shaped us to respond so viscerally to criticism and praise, to be driven to achieve or content to do little, to be fiercely independent or reliant on others?

This is where cognitive behavioral psychology makes it debut.

The idea is simple. We tune-in to what we are saying to ourselves in the moment, when we feel unfairly criticized, unappreciated, inadequate, excluded, reviled. When we do, chances are we will actually hear those old messages programmed into our operating systems, long before we had choice. Continue reading Do we ask a potential hire what their parents told them when they spilled milk?

A Blueprint for Entering CEOs

CEO transitions into organizations are not easy. How long CEOs last and the frequency with which their own, and their Board’s, expectations are met have been studied in academia and well reported in the media. The results are stunning.

Two out of five incoming CEOs fail to meet their objectives in the first 18 months. Even those who make it past 18 months now have an average tenure of 7.6 years, down from 9.5 in 1995. The outlook is even bleaker for outside CEO hires, who take twice as long to ramp up as those promoted from within. Only one in five CEOs hired from outside are considered high performers at the end of their first year by their boards and nearly half leave within 18 months (reference: Harvard Business Review, 2014).

CEO failure may have less to do with competence, knowledge, or experience than with how CEO transitions are orchestrated and whether key support steps are missed. While not a guarantee, a programmatic approach to new executive transition can increase the odds and shorten the time-frame in which success is likely to be achieved.

Four goals, detailed in a previous IntelliVen post, guide the approach. Though they are simple to understand, the goals are not easy to achieve. Expert third-party facilitation, an authorizing environment committed to success, and previous experience, diligence, and focus go a long way towards improving the odds. Continue reading A Blueprint for Entering CEOs

What to do when the hiring manager says: “Name your terms!”

“What will it take to hire you?” These words may be music to your ears, but how you respond makes a big difference. Take your time, collect your thoughts, and follow these seven tips to make the most of the opportunity:

  • Decide you want the job. Make sure you like what the organization does and that the people you would work with give you energy and get energy from you. If you do not like and want the work, or if you do not look forward to spending time with the people every day, a job at any pay will turn into a grind. If not, politely let them know and move on…it is a waste of their time and yours to do otherwise. If you want the job ask for a day or two to discuss it with advisers before getting back to them.
  • Know your worth. Research the web and ask around to learn the current market value for your basket of skills. If you think you might undersell yourself, do some digging to arm yourself with up-to-date information and boost your confidence. On the other hand, be honest with yourself to avoid an inflated sense of worth. Make sure your expectations are reasonable given your compensation history and relative to those with comparable scope and scale of responsibility, experience, and results in your location. Do not go just by job title. For example, a first-time manager of a six-person team is not worth the same compensation as a 15-year veteran who has successfully led a 30-person team over multiple years, even though both are called Project Managers.

Continue reading What to do when the hiring manager says: “Name your terms!”

Ten Steps to Drive Change from the Inside

If you are frustrated by an organization resistant to embracing a change you believe is right, consider using the following steps as a road map to seeing your ideas through to reality:

  • Get Clear. Write-up and share your point of view. While what you have in mind may seem clear to you, it likely is not yet to others. Writing about what you want to happen forces you to work out the logical progression of thought and to fill in the details to tell the whole story in a way others can understand. Share what you write with others to test for clarity and to ask for help to make it even clearer.
  • Focus on value. Emphasize the business value your change would generate in terms others, especially those in positions of authority, can understand and appreciate.
  • Set the context for change. Use the change framework to explain how what you have in mind to change exists today, why it needs to change, how it will be in the future, what must be done to get from here to there, and what will be difficult about effecting the change.

Continue reading Ten Steps to Drive Change from the Inside