As a management consultant, I often get to work on the implementation of new strategies, processes and technologies. These are generally “big ideas” that represent significant, compelling changes for the organization. As much as organizational leaders would like to say “Presto Change-o!” and make all the changes required to ensure the success of big projects, change takes time. And I can tell you from experience that for big changes to be successful, executives must employ good change management practices. Here are 5 tips to help you increase the success of large-scale change initiatives.
Have you ever created a strategic plan that is reviewed only at the end of the year? It’s easy to let it get pushed aside as your focus shifts to putting out fires and other urgent matters. But as Stanford lecturer Joel Peterson expresses via this chart, we often end up attending to the urgent instead of honing our skills managing what is most important to our business. Here are a few tips to help you take your strategic plan from bookend to important management tool. Following these will make it more likely that you are using the strategic plan as it should be used —as a guide to help you monitor progress toward important goals and make decisions and adjustments to keep you on track.
It’s that time of year! As a business owner, we know we should “do” strategic planning, but many of us will admit it is not our strength. The shortcomings of a bad strategy are usually painfully obvious—at least in retrospect. In a recent survey of senior executives at 197 companies conducted by the Marakon Associates and the Economist Intelligence Unit, respondents admitted their firms achieved only 63% of the expected results from their strategic plans.
We’re often drawn to new technologies as if they were shiny new objects. We see it, we want it, and we buy it. The result, however, can be a hodge-podge of technologies that may not be appropriate for (or well supported by) our organizations. While this may have been standard during the good old days, the recession has reduced technology budgets and forced organizations to get the most from the technologies and tools they have. This has led both the private sector and government agencies to focus more on technology optimization.
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As leaders of small to mid-size businesses, we are wise to focus our energies on our daily operations and what we ‘do best.’ But from time-to-time we may be faced with a situation or need that is outside the scope of our own expertise. Common wisdom suggests that when this happens we should not waste our valuable time researching a highly specialized area that we may need to address only once. Instead, consider bringing in someone who specializes in the particular area of need--a consultant.
Do you have a strategy for technology optimization? Go beyond a tool inventory to get the best results!
Business owners solve problems every day—changing a strategy, deciding how to enter a new market, and fixing problems with the launch of a new product. Some of these problems are created by our industry, or competition, or our processes. Some just “happen.” And others – well, if we’re honest, we’ll admit we’ve caused a few of them ourselves.
This weekend, as pure escape, I went to see Iron Man 2 at my local cinema. I really just wanted to immerse myself in some “techie” gadgets and sci-fi action. Consequently, I was surprised to realize that as the movie played out, I was focusing on leadership and the critical skills leaders need to survive turbulent times. As a woman CEO, I could empathize with Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow’s character) and her unexpected rise to the CEO position. While she knew a lot about Stark Industries’ history and operations, she had little preparation for leading it. Here are three leadership lessons revealed in the movie that are important to remember during the tough times leaders face in real life.