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No Strategy is Perfect!

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Rebecca and I deal a lot with strategy in our business and this article, Where are the Sinkholes in Your Strategy, from one of my favorites, Strategy + Business, really resonated with me. Here are some quotes, but do check out the entire article.

“My firm was once asked by a CEO to assess the strategy of his company, one of the world’s largest. He wanted to know if there were any holes that he and his board should address. I’ve always thought this showed great leadership and confidence. (Strategy is a lot like IQ for many people: to challenge their strategy is to question their intelligence.) It also revealed his keen awareness that no strategy is perfect.

We started by asking two questions:

1. What distinctive capabilities make the company better than any other at how it adds value to its individual businesses, and how those businesses meet their promises to customers?

2. Are changes happening in the company’s world that could render its distinctive capabilities obsolete or insufficient?”

Rebecca and I have written a lot about value and you can see most of our posts here. But the one thing we encourage our clients to think about is their impact on their clients’ clients — not those you see day to day, but the the clients of those people. It’s a great exercise as is scenario planning like question 2 above suggests. It means you have to be aware of your environment and spend some time looking at

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Transformation: Re-Envision & Change

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Just got an email from OpenText on enterprise information management (EIM) trends, and what we’ve all got in common. I particularly like what they have to say about digital transformation: re-envision the way you do things, get more value out of investments, use existing strategic assets in new ways, focus on how to drive change and drive that change from the top — takes leadership! Here it is in their words:

From OpenText

Build Your Knowledge, Build Your Strategy “Digital transformation is basically the use of technology to dramatically improve enterprise performance, and it’s a pretty hot topic right now in just about every corner of the world. Leaders in every industry are using digital advances (such as analytics, social media, mobility, and smart embedded devices) and improving the way they use traditional technologies (such as ERP) to change internal processes, customer experiences, and value propositions. Most industry executives remember how quickly digital technology upset the media and entertainment industry early in the first decade of the millennium, and they know they need to be ready for whatever is coming their way.

Many are now successfully transforming their organizations with digital technology. Here are some of their tips:

It’s not about having all the latest technology; it’s about what you can do with it. Re-envision the way you do things. The biggest digital transformation initiatives focus on a fresh look at customer relationships, operational processes, and business models. You might be able to get much more value out of

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Leading Change Management

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Another wonderful piece from Strategy + Business. ” The success rate of major change initiatives is only 54 percent.” The piece includes a great short video about why this rate is so slow. Check it out. Here are the top 10 principals for leading change management:

 

1. Lead with the culture.

2. Start at the top.

3. Involve every layer.

4. Make the rational and emotional case together.

5. Act your way into new thinking.

6. Engage, engage, engage.

7. Lead outside the lines. Includes: pride builders, trusted nodes, change or culture ambassadors

8. Leverage formal solutions.

9. Leverage informal solutions.

10. Assess and adapt.

“These 10 guiding principles offer a powerful template for leaders committed to effecting sustained transformational change. The work required can be arduous and exacting. But the need for major change initiatives is only going to become more urgent. It behooves us all to get it right. ” You’ll get lots more out of the full article!

 

Driving Change for Community Impact

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The one day summit during the 2014 Canadian Library Association Conference, Driving Change for Community Impact, looked at exciting new ways libraries are developing solid strategies for engaging their communities, creating innovative programs and spaces, improving services and efficiencies, getting closer to and supporting their communities, and illustrating their value to stakeholders. It started with several case studies:

Makerspace at Edmonton Public Library by Pam Ryan, Director, Collections & Technology Eliminating services in order to renew at the University of New South Wales (Sydney Australia) by University Librarian Andrew Wells Implementing a customer service program at Markham Public Library by Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture, City of Markham.

Rebecca Jones, of Dysart & Jones, and Rebecca Raven, CEO of Brampton Public Libraries then looked at flexible organizations and working structures using Galbraith’s star model. Attendees found the exercise useful!

Kim Silk, Data Librarian, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and Elisabeth Glass, Manager, Planning & Development, Toronto Public Library shared highlights of producing an economic study and the results of the recent one done by the Institute for the Toronto Public Library and the city council.

Dave Pollard, Director, Group Pattern Language Project and associate Alexa Pitoulis directed skits using volunteers from the audience who read scripts illustrating meeting and conversation scenarios. Attendees then discussed the situations and possible ways of improving the outcomes using facilitation cards developed by Dave’s group. Two lucky audience members received a deck

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Bridging the Future with the Present

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Great piece by Bruce Rosenstein on bridging the future with the present called, Leaders must Meet their Future Selves. It includes interesting research:

“In experiments with undergraduates, Hershfield discovered that students who were shown a digitally aged image of themselves allocated twice as much to their retirement accounts as those who didn’t see themselves as they aged. Hershfield says that “looking ahead in time and feeling a sense of connection to one’s future self can impact long-term financial decision-making, converting a consumer into a saver.” People with this “future self-continuity” also accumulate more assets than others, including owning their own homes and having bigger bank accounts.”

A tip for bridging the future with the present: Write “post-dated letter from your future self to your present self about specific achievements and successes in the future.”

“For leaders, it’s especially important to bridge the present and future. Leaders have to define the future not only for themselves but also for their organizations. Still, with the extraordinary demands and difficulties of each present day, it’s easy to let the urgency of today cause you to squander the opportunities of tomorrow.

Odds are, the success of your organization will depend on how well you figure out the future. Here are five strategies to help crystallize the future into the present moment and draw you closer to your future self.

See yourself as the leader you could become. Create your future in the here and now. Design a better tomorrow for others. Resist going only

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Building the Future: Thinking, Planning, Doing

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Rebecca and I do a fair amount of writing about critical thinking, thinking strategically, as well as all types of planning. Here’s what Rebecca wrote last year when we did a workshop at the SLA conference in San Diego, Strategic Thinking Takes Time. We have broadened that workshop to one we are calling, Building the Future: Thinking, Planning, Doing and will be offering it at a terrific venue (The Vancouver Club) with several other colleagues on June 6th in Vancouver prior to the SLA annual conference.

In addition to interactively talking and discussing thinking and planning, in this new one day workshop we will include some tips and examples of going beyond thinking and planning to implementing and doing. The full program is here. Hope you can join us. Register here.

Make Big Things Happen!

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Now this book looks good. Written by a long-time practitioner from Yum. Great suggestions. Here’s the gist:

• Get inside the heads of your people. You can’t convince them of anything until you see the world from their perspective. • Think big. If your sales growth last year was 3.5 percent, don’t aim for 4 percent this year, aim for 15 percent. Even if you fail, you’ll probably do better than you would have with a smaller goal. • Practice “extraordinary authenticity.” Show occasional vulnerability and admit when you don’t have the answers. • Look for good ideas in unexpected places. Novak’s team came up with Cool Ranch Doritos for Frito-Lay during a field trip to a grocery store’s salad dressing aisle. • Choose a can-do mind-set. There’s a huge difference between a boss who says “We can try this” and one who says “We can do this!” • Cheer for first downs, not just touchdowns. Publicly recognizing and rewarding small wins keeps everyone motivated for the long haul. • Get rid of cynics. In many teams one person will reject your values and spread negative energy. Moving that person out will show everyone else you’re serious.

Reframing Situations to Generate Solutions

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Thanks to Catherine Steeves (University of Guelph), Catherine Davidson (York University) and Barb McDonald (Brock University) for an excellent session on Sense Making & Solving Problems: Leveraging the View “From the Balcony”. They talked about Olman’s work on Reframing Organizations – seminal work by Olman that they studied at Harvard Institute for Academic Librarians. Here’s my notes:

Leaders fail for 2 reasons:

they don’t take ppl with them and 2. look at the full situation – with the facts

Major schools of organization thought:

Structures HR Symbolic Political

Leaders need fluency in all 4, but the truth is that everyone has their own “natural tendency” frames – what comes most naturally to you; we all find it difficult to look at situations through different frames. Go to Link to complete the assess/identify your own frame: leebolman.com/frames_selfrating_scale.htm to determine your natural frame

Structure Frame: How do you know if structure is at the heart of the problem? Bolman’s advice – if the characters change & the plot remains the same, the structure is the problem.

HR frame: looks at the impact & implications for ppl & relationships

The Political frame: a metaphor for this frame is the jungle; the key resource everyone is vying for is power; the organization is formed thru coalitions that are marked by stark different in values, and this leads to conflict; conflict is seen as driving innovation and sparking new ideas; political leaders bargain & build relationships

Symbolic frame – it is the least written

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Creating Your Future

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My colleagues at D&J and I have spent almost 30 years talking about the future, being future focused and planning for the future. Bruce Rosenstein‘s new book,Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way: Developing& Applying a Forward Focused Mindset, encompasses so much of what we have be been talking about, teaching, and focusing on for almost 30 years! Well done Bruce, and thanks Peter Drucker! The book is full of wonderful Drucker quotes from his many publications, includes lots of references for further information, and has a summary and checklist of activities at the end of each chapter. Excellent.

I love the 10 elements of the future: Mindset, Uncertainty, Creation, Inevitability, Present Moment, Change, Reflection, Remove/Improve, Innovation/Entrepreneurship, Risk. You’ll have to read the book for more! The book is well written and I’m sure you will be engaged.

Speaking at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto tonight, Bruce shared his thoughts of what put Drucker ahead of the pack: diversity — writing for many different publications, teaching, videos; powerful personal brand; global outlook and world view; remaining relevant. Drucker certainly had a consistent body of work and work that benefits others.

In our blog, we’ve posted numerous quotes from Drucker around leadership, but my best memory of Peter Drucker is his keynote speech in 2002 in Los Angeles at an SLA conference. He knew his audience of librarians and told them to look at what people were asking them and watch for the odd ball requests

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Public Library Boards: Key Roles

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Being from a small farming community I have a particular soft spot for public libraries in small towns or rural areas – and for their boards. I was honoured to work with a small public library which, like so many small public libraries, is doing amazing amazing things. And I was doubly honoured to also work with their board members. I make some very basic assumptions about members of non-profit boards (which includes public library boards). My base assumptions are that the individuals on a non-profit board:

want to make a difference are prepared to make a difference, meaning they are competent and willing to invest their time & talents believe that the organization (in this case the Library) can & does make a difference to the community each have different perspectives and different perceptions and, finally, that they want their board experience to be fulfilling

Very briefly, they have three key responsibilities:

CEO: select and have a meaningful, respectful relationship with the CEO; the CEO is their one and only employee

Strategy: set the direction for the organization and oversee its implementation by delegating this to the CEO

Public Standing & Ethical Integrity: ensure the organization’s value and reputation for the community by providing financial oversight and building effective relationships with key stakeholders and decision-makers.

I understand very well how difficult it is for board members in small towns to keep their attention at the organization level and not the operation level. They have often known staff members for

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