PROJECTIFY Interview - A Two-Way Bridge
,

Exploring PROJECTIFY with Mykel Dixon – A Two-Way Bridge

In this third episode of my interview with cultural architect, Mykel Dixon, we start to explore the crux of projectifying your strategy-making. We discuss how the exceptional businesses of the future will be the product of exceptional workplaces. I talk about how strategic projects are the two-way bridge that can connect a business’s strategic intent and the workplace that will allow that intent to be realised.

Myke and I play with this idea that strategic projects create the opportunity to meaningfully engage a business’s people in shaping its future. Once people see how their endeavours are contributing to that future – progressing the organisation’s strategic aspirations – they become motivated to contribute more and make greater progress. This creates an environment where not only are the business’s strategic goals being progressed in an intentional way, but you’re shaping the sort of workplace where that progress has broad-based engagement and is intrinsically motivated.

In upcoming episodes of this interview series, we’ll dig deeper into some of the fundamental steps you need to take if you want to make your strategic activities part of your operational fabric. Most importantly, we’ll explore some of the opportunities to engage your people in strategy-making that allows your business to constantly evolve and thrive in the shifting business landscape.

I hope you’re enjoying these discussions and you’ll continue to follow along as we explore how projectifying your strategy builds a bridge between the business and your people. A bridge that allows you to adapt at the pace of change and seize the opportunities that change creates.

I also hope you’ll share the thoughts and experiences that come from your strategy-making activities – your challenges, your successes and what you’ve learned in shaping your business for the future.

 

,

Exploring PROJECTIFY with Mykel Dixon – An Illusion of Certainty

In this second episode of my interview with cultural architect, Mykel Dixon, we discuss how strategy-making must exist in ‘layers’ if a business is to effectively adapt and evolve in today’s highly uncertain business environment. We talk about how your strategic perspective can’t be a singular focus on high-level strategic objectives. It needs to include the detailed strategic activity that is required to turn those objectives into reality. Importantly, the high-level, medium-term and detailed strategic perspectives should be connected in an intentional way.

Myke and I explore some of the reasons why we get business strategy wrong and how the need to create the illusion of certainty has turned strategy into a static, analytical affair. As a result, most strategic plans become a manifesto for doing what you’ve always done. Their execution then lacks the dynamic qualities that are required to make strategy the force that drives your business forward.

We begin to touch on how meaningful collaboration – rather than purely effective communication – is the power we’re looking to unlock when we projectify our strategic endeavours. This allows you to leverage the strategic foresight of the business’s management team as well as your people’s detailed understanding of the frontlines of business operations.

In upcoming episodes of this interview series, we’ll start to explore some of the key concepts and cutting-edge research that the book is founded on. We’ll discuss some of the fundamental steps you need to take if you want to make your strategic activities part of your operational fabric. Most importantly, we dig into some of the opportunities to engage your people in strategy-making that allows your business to constantly evolve and adapt to the shifting business landscape.

I hope you’ll follow along as we roll out this discussion and see how projectifying your strategy builds a bridge between the business and your people. A bridge that allows you to adapt at the pace of change and seize the opportunities that change creates.

I also hope you’ll share the thoughts and experiences that come from your strategy-making activities – your challenges, your successes and what you’ve learned in shaping your business for the future.

 

,

Exploring PROJECTIFY with Mykel Dixon – The Case for Change

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend and colleague Mykel Dixon and explore some of the ideas that sit behind my book PROJECTIFY. In this first episode, we riff about why the pace of change isn’t what makes today’s highly dynamic business environment unique – it’s the pervasiveness of that change. We discuss the perils that exist for business leaders that aren’t intentional about responding to this dynamic and how businesses that are in traditionally-entrenched industries might be at the greatest risk.

Over the course of this interview series, we’ll explore some of the key concepts and cutting-edge research that the book is founded on. We discuss some of the fundamental steps you need to take if you want to make your strategic activities part of your operational fabric. Most importantly, we dig into some of the opportunities to engage your people is strategy-making that allows your business to constantly evolve and adapt to the shifting business landscape.

I hope you’ll follow along as we roll out this discussion and see how projectifying your strategy builds a bridge between the business and your people. A bridge that allows you to adapt at the pace of change and seize the opportunities that change creates.

I also hope you’ll share your thoughts and experiences about undertaking strategy in today’s ever-busier, distracted business world.

 

, , ,

Seeing the effect of the progress principle

In my last blog post, I discussed the power of meaningful progress as the driving force behind an engaged and intrinsically motivated team. Specifically, I talked about how Harvard Business School’s Teresa Amabile had uncovered the key to making strategic activity sustainable and self-perpetuating. How, what she calls the ‘progress principle’, creates a upward spiral of creativity, engagement and collaboration that can become the engine of a nimble, adaptive business.

This article generated a few questions that all boiled down to: What does it look like?

How do you know when the progress principle is starting to take effect?

Meaningful progress requires intentionality

It’s probably worth a reminder that it’s not just any progress that generates these motivating effects. It’s meaningful progress that engages people and creates the desire to make more progress.

That means you need to be intentional about creating meaning in the strategic work that you ask your people to do. There should be a clear connection between that work and a strategic purpose that’s larger than their specific activity. You should give your teams the autonomy to pursue that purpose in their own way. And you should provide them with the support and enabling framework that maximises their chance for success – that maximises their opportunity to make progress!

How do you create meaning in the strategic work your people do? How do you connect your strategic endeavors to the organisation’s daily operational world? What are you doing to make progress visible? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

, ,

Use meaningful progress to turn strategic intent into business value

I have written and spoken a lot about how effective strategy-making doesn’t just turn strategic intent into plans, it turns it into ACTION – consistent, persistent action that drives adaptation and, ultimately, evolution. But I know it doesn’t take long for the potential enormity of the task to set in. The questions start to come:

  • Whose action?
  • Will people see strategic action as a priority in their already busy days?
  • Once initiated, how do we sustain strategic action?

The answer to these questions, and the myriad of questions that will inevitably follow, is to engage your people in the strategic journey. Do it in a way that motivates them to make meaningful progress – in a way that taps into their ‘intrinsic’ desire to make a meaningful difference. Read more

,

Valuing diversity is the key to creating opportunity – for the business and its people

The discussion on ‘diversity’ among senior managers is increasingly expanding beyond social justice to include business performance. The number of executives who cite diversity as a top priority has risen by 32% since 2014 according to a 2017 Deloitte study.  This study also found that increasing the diversity in the business, more fairly compensating that diversity and addressing the under-representation of women and minorities at senior levels in the organisation was viewed as a competitive advantage by 78% of the respondents. Yet, much of the diversity discussion centres around what the statistics tell us about the historical and current ‘state of play’ in the workforce – the demographics.

To move beyond the present and shape a future where the workplace is engaging for all employees and create businesses that are nimble and dynamic, we need to be intentional about ‘valuing’ diversity. Not just pursue demographic diversity but tap into the full range of diverse skills, experiences and perspectives that already exist within your company – the psychographics of your organisation. Read more

,

How a project mindset creates strategy that allows your business to evolve at the pace of change

The pace of change in today’s business environment is greater than it has ever been. But this has been true for decades – for a long time, the ‘current’ environment has been more dynamic than ever before. What is different in today’s business world is the pervasiveness of that dynamism. That means the rules are changing because waiting to react in that environment puts you perilously behind, in a race that punishes those who can’t maintain the pace. The question now is not ‘How do I keep up?’ but ‘How do I focus on the future so that I am leading from the front, driving change instead of responding to it?’

The answer is strategy – but strategy redefined. Strategy that is imbued with action. Strategy that is adaptive. Strategy that connects your organisation to its realisation.

Read more

,

How do you bring the all-important ‘Next’ into the ‘Now”?

With all my talk of change as your most formidable competitor, it’s easy to see disruptive forces and the ever-increasing pace of change as the enemy that your business must defeat. But the real enemy of business evolution is not change, but how ‘now’ cripples your ability to focus on what’s ‘next’.

It’s the multitude of forces, both life forces and our genetic predisposition, that keep us anchored in the present – the immediate and urgent – and prevents us from effectively focusing our thinking and activity on the future.

To become the sort of nimble and adaptive organisation that translates strategic aspirations into operational reality, you must be able to take action today. Action that progressively shapes and moulds the business into the future version of itself. You need to be intentional about defeating the forces that stop you from making ‘next’ a part of your ‘now’. Read more

,

Strategic planning is easy, it’s strategic execution that’s hard!

Let’s face it, strategic planning takes effort. It requires an investment of time, energy and reasonable capital, depending of the depth of market and competitor analysis included in your strategic planning efforts. However, once the retreats are over and the plans are developed and documented that’s when the really hard strategic work begins – the work of executing the strategy.

It’s hard because one of the rarest elements of a strategic plan is a plan for implementing the plan – a strategy for executing the strategy. A structured means of giving your strategy-making forward momentum.

In this Projectify Point, I talk about the need to incorporate a framework into your strategic planning that turns strategic intent into consistent, persistent strategic activity – activity that generates meaningful strategic progress.

When your strategy-making doesn’t engage your people, the business’s most valuable source of knowledge, capability and capacity is not being brought to bear on the important work of shaping your business for a desired future state. And it’s not being tapped to provide the signals that allow the business to understand where the brightest future might lie.

In today’s fast-moving business world, that can be very expensive – or perhaps fatal – for your business.

How are you giving your strategy life? What are you doing to create strategic forward momentum? How are you ensuring that your people are engaged in its realisation? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

,

Does the nature of change in today’s environment have your business on the edge of a ‘tipping point’?

As just about every current business book will tell you, the pace of change in today’s business environment is greater than it has ever been. However, this ever-increasing rate of change isn’t unique to the early 21st century. It’s been occurring for several decades. What is unique today is the nature of change – not just the speed of change but also how broadly and deeply change can impact your business.

So, the danger for today’s businesses is that it’s ever-more likely that the pace of change will create a tipping point. A point where, once you’ve fallen behind, it is no longer possible to catch up. That crucial point where if you miss the wave, you can’t paddle fast enough to hop back on.

In the last episode of my Projectify Points vlog, I talked about how change is your most formidable competitor. In this post, I want talk about how the nature of change has shifted to give it a ‘competitive edge’.

How quickly does change enter your market or business?

Read more