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Strategic plan versus strategic planning
A strategic plan represents a certain outdated point in time. I you do not think, plan, change and live by it, it may die and surely will only gather dust, forgotten somewhere in a file. Strategic planning, on the other hand, means active, alive, ongoing and never-ending – Pierre Du Plessis
15 Steps to Transforming Yourself to a Strategic Leader
1. An Inspired Workforce
a. If you are looking for ‘cause and effect’ look no further than these three vital factors to get you 80%+ of the way there:
i. A vision which is truly ‘visionary’ – one that excites people and makes them passionate in its pursuit
ii. An organizational Purpose which not only attracts and retains talent, but energizes people to be their very best in remaining true to that reason why your organization exists
iii. Role model behavior and practices by a leadership team that is a team – being exemplars and living the values of the organization, encouraging people to achieve their full potential and reinforcing the vision, purpose and values of the organization at every opportunity enabling and motivating people to follow their example
2. A Leadership Team that is, in fact, a ‘team’
a. The unfortunate fact is that while we o[en refer to the ‘leadership team’, no such ‘team’ truly exists as the C-Suite executives too o[en do not understand or practice the tenets of effective teamwork nor do they very o[en, unless compelled, collaborate as they could or should for the benefit of the organization.
i. Being anti-role models for the workforce does little to encourage their teamwork or collaboration.
3. A Leadership Team which routinely exhibits their relentless pursuit of ‘doing the right things right’ for the organization.
a. To me this is all about remaining true to your purpose at all times and testing every project, initiative and investment against the vision to ensure it will move the organization closer to achieving it. It goes without saying only the highest standards of integrity and transparency are acceptable.
b. The continuous pursuit of excellence is also another one of the vital legs to achieving this ultimate Strategic Leadership organizational outcome.
4. Exceptional Stakeholder Relationships
a. Ensuring the workforce from the factory floor or front line to the C-Suite have the requisite skills and use them to build exceptional internal working relationships and/or where appropriate exceptional external stakeholder relationships with customers, suppliers, partners and others which are critically important to the long-term success – competitiveness and profitable growth of your organization
5. A Release of the Full Creativity and Innovation of the Organization
a. Establishing appropriate forums such as ‘Creativity Labs’ designed to turn even your worst performers into superstars in terms of generating commercially viable innovations which deliver value to all key stakeholders.
b. Clearly a culture of creativity and innovation must be nurtured as well as ensuring an innovation management system, Human Resources systems which reinforce the behaviors and practices desired as they relate to creativity and innovation, value creation measured in terms of ‘benefits’ – recognized and appreciated by stakeholders and that is just the ‘shortlist’.
6. An Organization aligned around its Vision
a. This is an organization that behaves as ‘all one team’ focused on the common goal or achieving the vision, everyone – department, function, division and business unit clearly understanding and being capable of making their specific contribution to successful achievement of that vision – no distraction, hidden agendas or pulling in opposing directions or being at cross-purposes with one another.
7. Value is Being Continuously Created and Delivered to all Key Stakeholders
a. It is my firm belief that underneath the stated or explicit purpose of any organization worth its salt, there is an implicit purpose and that purpose is the continuous creation and delivery of value to all key stakeholders
b. Value is one of the most important strategic concepts of the past 20 years and is a vital source of differentiation and competitive advantage as well as the foundation for secure and exceptional stakeholder relationships.
c. Value should be defined as any intangible or tangible benefit which the competition or alternate provider is either unwilling or unable to provide. There are some 11 sources of value I have identified in my 44 years of work around the globe, but most organizations focus on only 2-3 and don’t do a particularly good job with those!
8. An Exceptionally Agile Organization
a. As we know, the only constant is change. Change is coming faster, having greater impact and is occurring more frequently than ever.
b. Being agile means being able to identify, assess and act (e.g., make a decision and execute) on an opportunity or counter a threat better and faster than a competitor or other provider.
c. Two of the most important critical success factors for becoming agile are (1) having a world class ‘sensing system’ and (2) Hyper-Decision Making.
d. Agility together with the ‘sensing system’ described below and Hyper-Decision Making, are also requirements for an organization to be exceptional at ‘adaptation’ to change where adaptation is the anticipation or rapid and appropriate response to changes in the external operating environment.
9. Establish a World-Class (among the best) ‘Sensing System’
a. Like the ‘whiskers of a cat’ without which its judgement would be impaired, so it is with organizations without a world-class ‘sensing system’ which is comprehensive and integrated and captures all vital data and information – including the ‘vital few’ Key Performance Indicators at the right level to be sensitive to changes internally within the organization as well as externally in its operating environment – not just the standard market share, EBIT, profitably types of KPI’s! In fact, a new generation of balanced scorecard is now required as we move further into the future to account for the increase in critical parameters that can impact an organization’s long-term or enduring success and competitiveness.
10. Evolution of Your Organization to a State of Hyper-Decision Making
a. Taking the discussion above regarding ‘change’ to heart has one huge implication and that simply is the absolute need to make more optimal decisions faster than ever – a state of Hyper-Decision Making where not only are the key strategic positions within the organization identified and filled with the most talented people as the decisions made in those positions can make the difference between winning and losing in the marketplace, but they have been trained and are coached in decision-making. No longer is decision-making taken for granted or considered a zero-sum game as the consequence is too costly to your organization.
11. Strategy Execution and Appropriate Patience and Support
a. Research has shown that while many CEO’s, in fact nearly 85%, are pleased with their strategy being correct, only 14% believe their organization has done well executing that strategy.
b. Often times I have seen a lack of patience – a need for instant gratification on the part of senior management otherwise the strategy is scrapped and replaced with a new ‘supposed’ silver bullet. Eventually people lose energy and interest as their organization becomes a member of the ‘program of the month club’.
c. In addition, many times there are so many key business objectives, all #1 priority of course, that there are not enough resources to gain traction. Proper support is not given because no effort was made by senior management to properly prioritize the key business objectives let alone align them with the vision!
12. Design of the Right Organizational Business Model and Keeping it Refreshed Through Time
a. Controversy reigns supreme over what a business model is or isn’t. The fact of the matter is that there are 8 components to a business model including the leadership team whose role it is to synergize the other 7 components.
b. One of the most critical of the components, although they are all critical to enduring success, is ‘renewal’ which is the seamless integration of adaptation, creativity & innovation and continuous learning. It is this component, more than any other that keeps an organization’s business model fresh and in step with the changing business environment as organizations has been the case with such organizations as Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Google and a select number of others.
13. Achieve Human Performance Excellence Breaking the Barriers of Tradition and Thinking Outside the Box
a. One-day senior executives will awaken to the realization that it is their people more than any single factor which either enables their organization to succeed or causes it to fail – the latter being a case where senior management is often an unwillng co-conspirator in the debacle.
b. Recognizing that your organization may well be over-managed and under-led and now evolving it to one identified as having inspirational leadership and talent attraction and retention can be a long road, but if you hope to ever reach your full potential as an organization, it is an essential road to follow.
c. The key words here are: engage (i.e., strengthen the emotional bond between your people and your organization; as well as to listen, learn and act on what was learned), enable, empower, inspire, ensure participation, have regular 2-way communication – total transparency, build and maintain trust, make them passionate and energized about what they are doing to succeed and help their organization be successful. Start with that and you will be amazed at the transformation your organization undergoes!
d. Always remember that if you ever have to choose between world-class processes and mediocre people or world-class people and mediocre processes, always choose the latter!
e. Release the creativity of everyone in the organization – stop holding it captive! This includes senior management each one of which should possess and complete weekly and ‘Idea Book’ in which there are 7 key questions designed to stimulate creativity and innovation which adds value. These ideas should be shared monthly at Management Committee meetings.
14. Make Strategic Customer Relationship Management an Organizational Competency
a. Literally ensure that relationship mastery as referred to above and human performance excellence together with processes which make it easy for customers to do business with you and enable you to be more responsive than the others in your sector or industry are in place, are literally woven into the fabric of your organization’s culture – making it a competitive advantage and ensuring your organization is intensely customer focused
15. Stop Engaging in Practices which are Damaging Your Organization
a. As part of my Doctoral Dissertation, I conducted research to identify the behaviors and practices of senior executives which could cause their organization to under-perform or fail. These I referred to as ‘The Deadly Sins of Management’. For example, one of these was ‘too much focus on the numbers’ which among other damage created to an organization, this practice destroys teamwork and collaboration.
The above represent what I would consider the top 15 outcomes you should be considering if you have any hope of reaching the ultimate Strategic Leadership outcome stated near the beginning of this document. There are others, but possibly with less impact on your organization’s performance.
Source: 15 Steps to Transforming Yourself to a Strategic Leader, in A Brief Summary, BY DR. TED MARRA
Also refer to these articles:
Business owners of all sized businesses
Business owners! Expand your business empire through people.
Business owners can accelerate business growth through people.
Among all living beings on earth, humans have the highest brain power. But you already know that.
When you buy a piece of equipment or machinery for your business purposes, you expect to get the highest possible profit out of it, in the shortest possible time. In other words you want the highest return on your investment (ROI)! Do we now have your attention? Are you starting to get interested?
OK, the only problem with a piece of equipment or machinery (also known as a “fixed asset”) is that your business operations with it, will be limited by the built-in mechanical output or production capacity.
Your investment in your employees (also known as “human capital”) in the form of wages, salaries and fringe benefits (also known as “total cost to company”), are normally quite substantial, if not in the highest ranges of regular costs.
However, human capital capacity is of a totally different nature! It is not limited by a mechanical built-in capacity!
How healthy is your ROI on your human capital total cost to company? To put it a bit simpler: How good is your return on your investment in people? How profitable is it really, do you think? Starting to think a bit? Are they giving you more back than what they cost every single month? Are there months when you think you are maybe wasting your money on them or some of them? It is easy to tally the total monthly monetary cost of employees. How easy is it to calculate the monetary value they are giving back? Would you not have liked to know it? It is quite easy to work out the profitability of machinery or a process, but how easy is it to work out the profitability of human capital, when you cannot identify and isolate it within total monetary income?
How many accountants, auditors and business owners can work out the ROI of labour. It is only possible where total income is solely due to labour. In most cases the efforts of labour are intermingled with contributions of raw material, processes and machinery inside total income in accounting systems
We are now beginning to tamper into dark and unknown territory, not so! It makes it frustrating not to be able to know.
There is however, a bright light glowing on the horizon, winking at you to come closer, which can enable you, as business owner, to see the influence your human capital can have on total profitability; whether it is rising or falling.
Business owners have the authority and power to increase or decrease human capital capacity.
1. Your human capital asset, is your only asset with built-in flexible capacity, whether you are delivering services or products.
2. Equipment, machines and processes, as assets, do not have built-in flexible capacities; they are lifeless without human capital.
3. Only human capital can change the inflexible built-in capacities of equipment, machines and processes to become more productive.
4. Only human capital can change the availability and utilization of equipment, machines and processes.
5. Only human beings are manning and using the facilities, equipment, machinery and processes you provide, with flexible feelings and flexible attitudes.
Normal human beings have built-in needs for self-satisfaction and self-actualization.
1. These built-in needs of humans create a desire to succeed, achieve and perform as employees in a work environment.
2. Not only do they arrive with these desires, but they also arrive with flexible capacities for new ideas, improvements, ingenuity and creativity.
3. This flexibility in “human capital” is referred to as “human capital talent”, which can be the greatest asset any business can ever hope to have.
4. When human capital talent can operate in a work environment, where they can satisfy their needs and desires, their feelings and attitudes can change to reflect appreciation, thankfulness, happiness and loyalty.
5. Positive feelings and attitudes in human capital can unlock slumbering talents for new ideas, improvements, ingenuity and creativity for higher total business profitability. This is the bright light glowing on the horizon.
Recent research studies indicate that bosses and business owners fail miserably to satisfy employee expectations, needs and desires:
“Even in a down economy 2 million Americans quit their job every month. The majority of people, quitting or not, are currently unhappy in their corporate jobs. Recent studies indicate a full 74 percent of people would today consider finding a new job and 32 percent are actively looking. The reasons for their unhappiness:
1) They don’t like their boss (31%),
2) A lack of empowerment (31%),
3) Internal politics (35%) and
4) Lack of recognition (43%).”
In other words, these employees have become disillusioned and disengaged. What is the lesson here? Do all you can to avoid your employees go down the same route.
Source: Article by Forbes
Our deductions from the above findings: 1. The majority of bosses and business owners in the world today, do not have a clue how to engage, inspire and utilize employee talents. 2. Notwithstanding abundance of information in modern times, they have fallen behind times, as if they have left their minds behind on another planet. 3. It can also be due to lack of interest and exposure.
Those who want to explore these findings further, can start with this link:
Those who want more free information on leadership qualities online, can find some here.
Find an extraordinary collection of leadership resources inside this free Online Leadership Library in a free PDF file.
Human capital talents come in a ready-made package, eager for talents to be utilized.
How lucky can business owners get, with different human capital talents falling into their laps? It all depends on what business owners make of it!
Do you know how to unlock human capital talents? Become a member to get the four sets of competencies to improve your business profitability and grow your business empire like never before! Becoming a member will enable you to get the solutions for making employees feel like co-owners!
If you know how to mine for the gemstones, latent in the brain cells of employees, you will be able to uncover and expose those gemstones for your business to thrive on! Business owners and bosses can break a business by remaining ignorant and arrogant, but can also make a business by mining for the gemstones.
Those with high interest in modern human capital talent trends, can also visit these pages:
“The science of getting rich” e-book for buyers of membership:
“Whatever may be said in praise of poverty, the fact remains that it is not possible to live a really complete or successful life unless one is rich. No one can rise to his greatest possible height in talent or soul development unless he has plenty of money.” – Wallace D. Wattles (1864 – 1911)
Preface in the e-book:
THIS book is pragmatic, not philosophical; a practical manual, not a treatise upon theories. It is intended for the men and women whose most pressing need is for money; who wish to get rich first, and philosophize afterward. It is for those who have, so far, found neither the time, the means, nor the opportunity to go deeply into the study of metaphysics, but who want results and who are willing to take the conclusions of science as a basis for action, without going into all the processes by which those conclusions were reached.
It is expected that the reader will take the fundamental statements upon faith, just as he would take statements concerning a law of electrical action if they were promulgated by a Marconi or an Edison; and, taking the statements upon faith, that he will prove their truth by acting upon them without fear or hesitation. Every man or woman who does this will certainly get rich; for the science herein applied is an exact science, and failure is impossible. For the benefit, however, of those who wish to investigate philosophical theories and so secure a logical basis for faith, I will here cite certain authorities.
The monistic theory of the universe the theory that One is All, and that All is One; That one Substance manifests itself as the seeming many elements of the material world – is of Hindu origin, and has been gradually winning its way into the thought of the western world for two hundred years. It is the foundation of all the Oriental philosophies, and of those of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Schopenhauer, Hegel, and Emerson.
The reader who would dig to the philosophical foundations of this is advised to read Hegel and Emerson for himself.
In writing this book I have sacrificed all other considerations to plainness and simplicity of style, so that all might understand. The plan of action laid down herein was deduced from the conclusions of philosophy; it has been thoroughly tested, and bears the supreme test of practical experiment; it works. If you wish to know how the conclusions were arrived at, read the writings of the authors mentioned above; and if you wish to reap the fruits of their philosophies in actual practice, read this book and do exactly as it tells you to do. The Author.
Here is the table of contents for “The science of getting rich” of only 50 pages:
Preface: By the author
Chapter 1: The Right To Be Rich
Chapter 2: There is A Science of Getting Rich
Chapter 3: Is Opportunity Monopolized?
Chapter 4: First Principle in The Science of Getting Rich
Chapter 5: Increasing Life
Chapter 6: How Riches Come to You
Chapter 7: Gratitude
Chapter 8: Thinking in the Certain Way
Chapter 9: How to Use the Will
Chapter 10: Further Use of the Will
Chapter 11: Acting in the Certain Way
Chapter 12: Efficient Action
Chapter 13: Getting into the Right Business
Chapter 14: The Impression of Increase
Chapter 15: The Advancing Man
Chapter 16: Some Cautions, and Concluding Observations
Chapter 17: Summary of the Science of Getting Rich
The following two e-books are also included for buyers of membership:
The titles of the above two e-books are:
“The business plan blueprint – shortening your business learning curve”
“Guide to writing a business plan – a universal template designed by auditors for all types of businesses”.
Just fill in the details and your bank loan application is ready!
This alone is worth more than the asking price for lifelong membership!
What other training manuals are included in membership for business owners, entrepreneurs and their employees?
The five most essential financial skills for non-accountant business owners, namely, understanding accounting principles, assessing financial performance, cash flow analysis, interpretation of financial statements and reading a balance sheet.
These five training manuals displayed above, are regarded as the five essential minimum financial skills for non-accountants, but who may be in positions of authority in private and public sectors, desperately in need of the skills. It is common knowledge that many government employees worldwide, who need these skills, do not have it. No wonder that many of those government organisations are miserable financial failures!
Many job positions in public sector organisations, are also in dire need of acquiring the five essential minimum financial skills for non-accountants displayed above, to be successful in running and managing those organisations.
Performance management quality
Quality assessment of a performance management system.
With more than 2000 different performance management systems in use worldwide, with various degrees of being an ideal system, here are a few questions forming an assessment questionnaire, covering some minimum requirements for an integrated performance management system. It can hopefully help to get an idea of how an existing system compares to an ideal system, which can be described as the “right way”.
Definition of an integrated system:
A definition of “integrated” can be clarified as follows: “To make into a whole by bringing all parts together; unify and combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole; organized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively”.
Try to answer the following questions:
1. Is strategic planning part of the regular business processes?
2. Is the PMS in support of the overall strategic plan or in isolation?
3. Is performance measurement a continuous process or at certain longer intervals only?
4. If there is a strategic plan, how is the successful execution of plans monitored on a regular basis?
5. Is employee performance measurement, review or evaluation ending up in the same universal factors being evaluated for all positions?
6. Is employee performance measurement based on different factors for different job tasks?
7. Is employee job objectives coupled to cascading job objectives from the top tiers and broken up into sub-objectives down through the ranks?
8. Is short interval control part of the PMS so that self-control can take place for immediate corrective actions on the level where deviations from standards are first detected?
9. Is the PMS following the rule of shortening control intervals for consecutive lower operational levels?
10. What would you say is the main purpose with your performance management system? Is it perhaps only window dressing, to pacify shareholders or to boast its existence in the annual report?
11. What is the secondary purpose with your performance management system?
12. Apart from the main purpose and secondary purpose, is the PMS also serving more purposes?
13. Can you list proven benefits derived from the existence of your PMS? What are they?
14. Is the PMS inspiring enthusiasm, initiative, problem-solving, creativity and the urge for continuous improvements in employees?
15. What effects do your PMS or lack of it have on employee morale, attitudes and feelings?
16. What are your employees’ opinions on the fairness of merit ratings and salary increases?
17. Does the system make provision for short term employee performance feedback and combined with identification of meaningful future employee development areas?
18. In case your organisation also has longer term projects, which may not be ideal for fitting into the normal shorter term business environment for the PMS – Is the performance management system making provision for longer term projects to be planned and measured along the lines and methods in use for engineering projects? We are referring for instance to the critical path method (CPM) for analysis and planning and project evaluation and review technique (PERT) for evaluations. Histograms can also be used to display actual progress against planned progress in the shorter term. We believe the methods used in engineering can make just as good a fit for other types of projects.
19. If you do not have a PMS, how does your organisation ensure cohesive co-operation by and between all role players to perform harmoniously together and in tune like a top symphony orchestra?
20. If you do have a PMS in place, list the beneficial and positive outcomes for your organisation.
21. List the deficiencies and negative outcomes for your organisation.
22. Are the positive outcomes outweighing the negative outcomes?
23. What will be your recommendations for improvement of your performance management system?
24. Are worker trade unions hampering or boycotting the implementation of a proper PMS? What possible tactics can be employed to make them part of the solution?
25. If you do not have or do not want a PMS, what are the possible benefits that the non-existence of it, can have for your organisation in the long run?
1. Performance Management as a system, if done correctly, is not intended for an annual review event only. With more than 2000 PM systems in use worldwide, each with its own interpretation of what is the right one, it is no wonder that some say cascading objectives end up in the same factor being evaluated for all jobs. We fully agree that it cannot be. Each job title has its own objectives, differing from the next one. A PM system can have more benefits than negatives if done correctly. It should daily encourage people to do what they are supposed to do. It can also function as automatic self-control and immediate corrective actions on the lower level where it is first identified, making life easier for higher levels. It should focus on continuous future organisation improvements and human capital talent development, instead of solely for the purpose of a once per year merit increase.
2. The intention with the right performance management system is to get organisation-wide support for the organisation strategic plan and specifically to get rid of subjective opinions and evaluations.
3. Not all organisations are in need of a performance management system. When an organisation is still small enough, the top man can control task outcomes of employees by means of direct contact and communication. When an organisation expands and the quantity of employees outgrows the attention span of the top leader, it can become more and more difficult to stay updated on how well the performance of all employees is. Then it can become time for a performance management system to come in handy as rescue mechanism for the top leader.
4. The first and main purpose with a performance management system should be to serve as a mechanism for more successful achievement of strategic plans and objectives. The possible other purposes and benefits will then follow automatically or more easily, with some adjustments.
5. To see a video of how to use the Critical Path Method (CPM) as analysis and planning tool for planning change in organization culture, go to this post.
See our design of a performance management system here in this post. Free download a bundle of six e-books, compiled as a combined effort by several Universities, for use by the USA Government Departments, on that page.
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The necessity of a formal performance management system can become less important, when the majority of the workforce of an organisation becomes mature enough to replace the formal system with a personal self-driven informal monitoring system. In other words, it can be abandoned, when individuals have received ample internal/external training to apply all the elements of a performance management system automatically themselves on an individual basis, without being officially forced to do so. However, how many can lay claim to this type of knowledge and maturity?
Persons who buy membership also get the following six videos with PDF transcripts:
Video 1 – Key objectives and standards:
The other five:
Video 2 – Critical objectives and standards:
Video 3 – Specific objectives and standards:
Video 4 – Action plans:
Video 5 – Control reports:
Video 6 – The sergeant stripes principle:
Persons who buy membership also get this e-book titled:
“The science of conducting effective meetings”: