Confusing Strategic Leadership with Operations Management

If you want strategy-making to help you to be more adaptive and evolve in today’s highly dynamic and uncertain business world…to better connect your people to a shared sense of purpose…then you need to understand what ‘strategy’ actually is. More importantly, what it should be if you are to shape the sort of business you hope to become.

In the first episode of my Projectify Points vlog series, I share my perspective on how the aspirational nature of strategy should make it a perpetual journey into the future – one that has direction but no destination…no end point.

The belief that a business is ‘either growing or dying’[1] has been entrenched in our strategic mindset since the mid-twentieth century. However, in today’s ever-more-dynamic business environment, organisations that are focused on adapting to change are the ones that thrive. These businesses believe that you’re ‘either evolving or risking extinction’.

 

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After nine months of blood, sweat and tears, my book project PROJECTIFY – How to use projects to engage your people in strategy that evolves your business is finally released into the world.

This is no big Bestseller Launch…no Grand Opening (thanks Seth)…there are no Adword campaigns …no free giveaways for the first 100 people that click the link below.

This is the beginning of a journey. A consistent and persistent journey to share my ideas with those people who believe the relationship that a business and its people have with their workplace is changing. People that believe that creating businesses that are more focused on evolution than growth will be required to thrive in the highly dynamic business environment of the future. That the adaptation necessary to drive this evolution can only come by tapping into the depth and breadth of an organisation’s capability – by fully leveraging the skills, experience and thinking of its people.


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I had the pleasure of spending Friday at my colleague Mykel Dixon’s Business Romantic 2017 event in Melbourne. This event was conceived as a contrast to the archetypical business conference with its jam-packed agenda of speakers, carefully curated to serve a central theme. The event title was drawn from the work of its featured speaker, Tim Leberecht. Its design was far from the careful curation of a singular message. The other facilitators (a better term than speaker in this context) were as diverse in message, style and delivery as they could possibility be – from poet to performance artist to entrepreneur. The progression of the day was more an exploration than an agenda. However, the shared purpose of the event was clear – the radical humanisation of the workplace. Read more

I believe that exceptional business performance – be it customer service, product development or growth and profitability – comes from operational excellence. It comes from a team that is constantly striving to be great at the job of delivering value to your customers. It comes from not accepting ‘good enough’ but from constantly searching for ‘better’ – constantly searching for greatness. Looking to create a culture of operational excellence is that search for greatness. Read more

Make your past a bridge to your future

Most people base their view of what’s possible in the future on what has happened previously – their history, including all things leading up to the moment they contemplate beyond ‘now’.

While it’s normal to base our worldview on past experiences – and this is as true for individuals as it is for organisations – this belief that history pre-determines our future can create a chasm between current reality and new possibility. Read more

Engage autopilot

We’ve all heard the expression that a team or an individual was “operating on autopilot”. Usually this means operating in an automatic, unthinking manner – it’s a bad thing. However, I believe that creating and engaging an autopilot for your business is a good thing. It ensures that the business stays on course no matter what the external influences are. It also gives the business’s leadership – its pilot, if you will – the time and attention necessary to take a longer term view and plot the optimum course for the business. Read more

shifts in thinking for 2017

As the year starts to wind down, I like to immerse myself in the thinking that I believe should shape the coming year. My take on #BigIdea2017 is that more organisations will look to actively make their people the engine that drives not only the operational elements of the business, but also its growth, development and adaptation. In 2017, I believe we will see a fundamental move away from getting our people to engage in what the business values to valuing what our people have to offer the business. Read more

I’m a bit over discussions on Leadership. As we often use it, I don’t like the term Leader. It conjures up images of someone who needs to be followed. We tend to think of strong leaders as the central point of control, someone directing the troops, with their hands firmly on the wheel, providing decisive decision-making. This makes leadership a position not a quality.

I prefer the term greatness facilitator. Someone that inspires and helps to create greatness in everyone around them. I think defining greatness as a quality and talking about increasing its frequency in your enterprise is the difference between mediocrity and excellence. It’s the difference between performance that serves your customers and the perception of performance that serves no one.

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I have a confession to make – as a “project guy” I don’t actually love projects. I’m passionate about projects, but not for the reasons you might think. My passion for projects comes from what they enable…the greatness that they can create.
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