The Strategic Planning Cycle

Some think of strategic planning as a one time or every 3 years exercise. In my experience, it is most beneficial to think about it as a yearly cycle. This time of year is when many organizations refresh strategic objectives and tune longer term plans. Finishing strategic planning efforts by October allows for those deliverables to feed into the annual planning cycle and prevents conflict between the two efforts. I like to think of strategic planning as an on-going process that is evaluated and refined every quarter, but also has … Continue Reading >


It’s Time to Make Smart & Connected Part of Your Strategy

Smart Connected Products are Transforming Competition. So state Porter and Hemplemann in a recent HBR article by that title. And, you don’t have to look far to see the changes around you. Last week, I had a chance to test drive a Tesla and I challenge you to come away with any other conclusion. Upgrade to the latest release of the car’s operating system (yes, you can update it much like an app on your phone) and it will auto pilot itself through traffic following road bends, keeping pace with … Continue Reading >


Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016

Always interesting and fun to share. Here’s Gartner’s annual prediction of strategic trends shaping technology over next 4 years. They group these into three broad trends: The first three trends address merging the physical and virtual worlds and the emergence of the digital mesh. While organizations focus on digital business today, algorithmic business is emerging. Algorithms — relationships and interconnections — define the future of business. In algorithmic business, much happens in the background in which people are not directly involved. This is enabled by smart machines, which our next … Continue Reading >


Strategic Context

I’ve used Balanced Score Card (BSC)  and similar approaches for a number of years to organize the elements of and facilitate teams in creating a Strategic Plan. Recently, a CEO suggested he preferred Objectives, goals, strategies and measures (OGSM). No worries, the terms are a little different, but the pieces are similar. I went about mapping the results we had gotten from our BSC facilitation to the OGSM model: This exercise got me a little concerned since the result was missing much of the context in the strategic plan. We … Continue Reading >


Different Metric Types Meet Different Needs

Enterprises should differentiate between different types of metrics and how they are used. Lagging, Leading and Diagnostic measures should be combined to ensure they are supporting long-term objectives while focusing on intermediate and daily activities that make a difference. As a quick reference consider the following table for getting the right mix: Type Definition Review Freq Examples Baseball analogy Lagging Show results and attainment of goals. Typically take time to get outcome. Quarterly, Yearly to Multi- Year • Revenue • Profit • Final Game Score • Win/Loss Record Leading Give … Continue Reading >


What is Strategy?

I recently re-read Michael Porter’s excellent article from HBR by this title. His insights remain as relevant today as when they were penned 18 years ago. He explains strategy in a way that supports how I like to challenge customers to think about it. In this article, Porter eloquently address how a company can stake out competitive differentiation and align all it’s processes to deliver that differentiation. Porter makes a clear distinction between Operational effectiveness: performing similar activities better than rivals, and Strategic positioning: performing different activities from a rivals’ or … Continue Reading >


Driving Value with Time & Repeatability

Flash back: I wrote this white paper about 9 years ago when I was working in a start-up that was building a business activity management software. The company was later purchased by webMethods which became SoftwareAG. I recently met with an old colleague who tells me the software is still in use. Outdated acronyms aside, it is still a good explanation of Lean Six Sigma and an interesting look back in my business life. Today’s best competitive weapon is time. A loan company demonstrated that rapid turnaround of auto dealer … Continue Reading >


It’s Time to Include Mobile in Process Improvement

The ability to take work on the go is becoming increasingly popular for big and small businesses. And for good reason. Employees are demanding it while at the same time businesses are seeing benefit. With mobile enterprise solutions, workers can speed up daily operations and boost workplace productivity, regardless of their locations. Mobile applications help business promote efficiency to employees around the world. Some recent reports indicate the trend is hear to stay and growing: VentureBeat reported that mobile app usage increased 35 percent between 2011 and 2012 and that they … Continue Reading >


Thinking about White Space

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about all the stuff that happens outside of traditional enterprise applications. Enterprise software (ERP, CRM, etc) has become good at solving most of the structured work needs in organizations. But, many business problems today require work outside of enterprise applications. These ‘white space’ activities involve research, analysis , collaboration, applied knowledge, planning, resource allocation, approvals and many other human activities. Often they get managed today using email. This results in a large portion of the work done in organizations being: Undocumented Unmanaged Unmeasured Time … Continue Reading >


Invest in Growth, Savings or Risk Reduction?

ABPMP Denver put on a great panel discussion on Tuesday evening on the topic of the state of project work in the current economy. First thanks to the great panelists for sharing a collective generation of great insight: Bill Gilbert, EVP and COO, Statera; Donald Davidoff, Group VP Strategic Systems, Archstone; and David Neitz, VP Solutions and Innovation, Fiserv Investment Support Services. I’ve been ruminating on a lot of the topics covered, but the one I keep coming back to is the answers to the question ‘what are companies investing … Continue Reading >