When it is time to start planning but the top team is maxed-out just keeping up with operations, outside help may be just the thing. But what kind of help is best to get?
Keep in mind that there are four types of help. Here is a guide you can use to decide which is right for you and your team.
About consultants…what is the difference between them?
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 Kinds of Help
Here is a sequence leading to a fully developed financial plan that the CEO, top team, broader leadership team, board, and employees all buy-in to achieving:
Senior Team (SMT) takes the broader leadership offsite to review where we were, where we are, and where we’re headed
, what we’re proud of and what we need to work on next following the script laid out here.
In this forum take both a high-level top-down and beginning to form a bottom up view of the financial plan but it’s not mostly about the numbers…it’s more about strategy…what’s working, what’s not, what is possible, what do we want to do, and what are we going to do. This sets the context for the top down aspirational view of the future to iterate and come together with the bottom up view during the detail planning.
Continue reading Plan Evolution
If the leader thinks s/he knows what needs to change and that everyone is aligned, ask: “How do you know your team knows what you want to do; why don’t we ask them just to verify? If they all say what you expect them to say, a positive step towards getting what you want done will have been taken just by bringing it to the center of their attention. If it turns out that some or all of the team are not as aligned as expected, then remedial steps can be taken.”
Survey the leader’s top team and ask them each:
- To describe the current state, that is: how things are today.
- What really good things happen if we change and what really bad things happen if we do not?
- To describe how things would be in the future if their ideal changes were successfully implemented.
- What needs to be done in order to get from where things are today to where things would ideally be next?
- What will make it hard to do what needs to be done in order to get from today to the targeted next state?
Review results with the leader to bring him/her up to speed on the group’s data. Look for and discuss fully any points the leader finds confusing or surprising. Continue reading How to use the Change Framework to turn initiatives into action.
Many organizations embrace the need for their leaders to convene offsite, for a day or two, in order to advance their ability to achieve a desired future state and to improve group performance by crystallizing and preparing to launch one or more Strategic Initiative. The best organizations know that to achieve optimum results such a session is best hosted by a trained outside facilitator and that pre-meeting data collection and preparation are key to success.
What follows is a POAD that has been used hundreds of times Continue reading How to Run a Great Strategic Initiatives Offsite Work Session
Early-stage professionals should look forward to and take advantage of opportunities to interact with people in client, partner, or supplier organizations at more senior levels of scope and scale of responsibility than they are used to working with. While it might initially be difficult to muster the courage and conviction to play at a higher level, it is often an opportunity to learn and likely to be career-enhancing if things go well.
The call to connect with a more senior player, whether it is to make a sale, handle a delivery issue, launch a new initiative, or negotiate contract terms, might first evoke a sense of fear and the urge to demur. The question: “How can I possibly go toe-to-toe with someone at such a senior level?” may come to mind. The following tips encourage and prepare up-and-coming star performers to get good at leveling-up:
- While at first it may seem counter-intuitive, it is usually easier to communicate with more senior level executives. Higher-ups tend to be smarter, nicer, more competent, and genuinely more impressive people. After all, they got to higher levels for a reason! Along these same lines, if you are tired of dealing with people who just don’t get what you are saying and who are otherwise difficult to deal with, it may be time to give yourself a break and start working with those who have higher levels of responsibility.
Continue reading How to get ahead by working well with people who are at more senior levels in organizations you work with.