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Listen In -> Posture of Strategic Readiness with Van Wray #4: The Built-In Slack

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

For those of you who believe in cracking the whip in order to make sure everyone is working as hard as they can every minute that they can, stop reading here. You won’t appreciate this week’s podcast episode.

In fact, those who keep all their other resources tied up and busy should probably read elsewhere also.

The reason is simple. In this week’s podcast discussion Van Wray of Amperant Advisors and I take a look at the importance of building some slack into our plans.

You read it correctly. Slack. Intentionally.

Not all opportunities or problems can be anticipated.

What if an unexpected opportunity came along, and we couldn’t respond because all our resources were already committed?

What about the work stoppage at one of your key suppliers? Now you’re off plan before you’ve even begun.

Unless, that is, you’ve built slack into your strategic plans.

How does one plan for the unexpected? How can we plan around what we cannot control?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Posture of Strategic Readiness with Van Wray #3: The Sumo Wrestling Goals

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

The sumo wrestler is not one of sport’s more attractive images.

But today it is the perfect image.

When considering meaningful sports analogies for strategic planning, we usually lean toward the agile and light of foot. Relay races, basketball teams, and even sedentary chess come to mind.

We lean toward these images because they illustrate the aggressive, fast-paced, and/or savvy thinking that we want to characterize our planning efforts.

For some issues, though, our goal may be to NOT go backwards.

Have you considered that?

In this week’s podcast discussion with special guest Van Wray of Amperant Advisors, we discuss the importance of being intentional about those areas where we don’t want to lose ground.

Intentional to the point of articulating it an explicit goal.

For what area of expertise, market penetration, financial position, etc. would it be an aggressive and vital goal NOT to go backwards?

Wondering how to identify what sumo wrestling goals should be a part of your strategic planning?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Posture of Strategic Readiness with Van Wray #2: The Stop and No Lists

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Stationery stores are packed with a myriad of clever and cute to-do lists for purchase. Some have check boxes to mark off as each task gets completed. Some have prioritizing systems to help you rank today’s duties in order of importance.

But have you ever seen a not to-do list?

Strategic plans are jam-packed with the meat and potatoes of what you will be doing over the next several years.

But have you ever seen a plan that delineated what you would stop doing this year?

In this week’s podcast discussion with special guest Van Wray of Amperant Advisors we confront the reality that all ideas are not good ideas.

In other words, the good ideas from yesterday may not be the good ideas we need for tomorrow. Which means there will come a time when we need to stop.

Stop certain programs. Stop certain lines of action. Stop offering certain products. Stop certain practices.

Hence the intentionality of thoughtfully developing a “Stop-list” and/or a “No-list.”

Have you thought about what you need to stop doing or what you need to say “No” to?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Posture of Strategic Readiness with Van Wray #1: The Adjusting Process

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

From the way many leaders approach strategic planning, you’d think they owned crystal balls.

They seem to have confidence that the future is going to be exactly as they expect and make huge decisions and long-term commitments accordingly.

Not so! argues our special guest, Van Wray of Amperant Advisors who joins us for a new podcast discussion series entitled “Posture of Strategic Readiness.”

Wray asserts that strategic planning needs a serious rethink, and, over the next five weeks, will be resourcing us with the tools to do just that.

The metaphor of physical posture is striking and powerful.

I think of the tennis player poised on the balls of their feet ready both to execute their own strategy as well as react to whatever comes at them.

If what comes at them is not what they expected, then they are ready to adjust… immediately (because they are prepared), instinctively (because they are trained), and, yes, strategically (because they never relinquish leadership of the game).

In this week’s discussion Van and I confront the reality that the future is not nearly as clear cut as we’d like to think. The many unknowns that lie ahead, though, need not worry or stop us from making aggressive plans.

We simply need to make a different sort of plans. Plans that have enough room in them to welcome the future. Plans that have enough flexibility in them to adjust along the way.

You are going to want to meet Van Wray. He is an insightful, practical, and encouraging leader, coach, and ally.

Join us over the next five weeks for what will be a transforming discussion.

Posture of Strategic Readiness
Week #1: The Adjusting Process
Week #2: The Stop and No Lists
Week #3: The Sumo Wrestling Goals
Week #4: The Built-In Slack
Week #5: The Anticipated Decisions 

Listen in.


Listen In -> Bold Resolutions for the New Year #5: Rethink Failure

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Failure needs a serious rethink.

Of all that is truly upside-down and turned inside-out in this world, that we discourage and punish failure is a travesty of egregious proportions.

As long as failure is a bad thing involving shame, punishment, and other negative responses, we will become increasingly cautious, politically correct, and refuse to make bold decisions.

Failure needs to be reframed as learning. If we learned something from every mistake, we would be making needed adjustments sooner and more often. 

If failure were not where a particular line of action ended, but merely where it changed course, we would be achieving far more of what we planned and doing so far sooner.

Not only that, but the learning and adjustments involved would be taking us down roads toward discoveries and accomplishments that we previously had never dreamed of.

The journey that welcomes failure and transforms it into learning may be an uncomfortable one, but it is one we avoid only to our own detriment.

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Bold Resolutions for the New Year #4: Create Your Own Opportunities

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Have we become overly risk-averse?

One has to wonder.

That was a devastating and frightening near-miss with total disaster that our economy experienced a few years ago. And we don’t seem to have recovered yet.

We are sitting on our wallets, postponing investments, and not hiring.

We need to find ways, though, to take the initiative and create opportunities where none may yet exist.

Easier said than done.

Hence Claudia and my discussion this week suggesting that we need to make the creating of our own opportunities a New Year’s resolution.

We cannot afford to wait around for someone else to jump start the economy.

Can you?

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Bold Resolutions for the New Year #3: Build a Team, Not Fill a Job

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

One of the great self-defeating strategies of team building is the practice of culling resumes with numeric and search engine based criteria.

Thousands of talented, appropriate and possibly “best fit” candidates are never met, because their resumes were thrown in the trash based on missing “key words”, arbitrary experience requirements, and other impersonal and unhuman criteria.

In this week’s show, Claudia discuss the need to build teams rather than fill job openings.

The annual “All-Star” games in many team sports made up of the best players from all the teams, do not result in the two best teams.

The order is important. We need thriving teams in order to function at the level necessary to create a way out of our economic doldrums.

A job opening is merely the existing set of tasks that the former employee did. It does not consider what might be possible given what the new hire brings to the table.

The question is, will you ever know? You may have just thrown the most promising resume in the trash because it showed six years of experience instead of seven.

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Bold Resolutions for the New Year #2: Think Outside the Box

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Far too many of us are waiting for the economy improve before we make important decisions and commitments of our own.

I suggest this is the case because most of us are waiting until we know it is safe to go back to doing things the way we did before our economy’s near collapse and this extended recession.

I am almost certain that the only viable way forward will not be found in going backwards. In fact, business may never be successfully done again the way it was before 2008.

To move forward aggressively and responsibly, though, we need to get our thinking out of the rigid box that limits us to the values, methods and means of the past.

We need new perspectives, new frames of reference, and new approaches.

In this week’s show, Claudia and I discuss making one of our “Bold Resolutions” for the new year to think outside the box.

Not crazy, impulsive, rash thinking. But creative, non-linear, and proactive thinking.

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.

Listen In -> Bold Resolutions for the New Year #1: Too Much Fear, Caution and Passivity

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Doesn’t it seem like everyone is waiting? Waiting for the economy to improve before making important decisions.

The problem with everyone waiting is that leaves no one taking actions that might stimulate the economy.

No one wants to take the first step, which, while understandable, leaves open the possibility (which is currently being realized) that no first steps are being taken.

This week Claudia and I begin a new series entitled Bold Resolutions for the New Year.

Let’s use the tool of setting New Year’s resolutions as a means for taking the initiative, making some decisions, and taking concrete action… even if it seems like we’re the only ones.

How can we be bold without being rash or impulsive?

We certainly don’t want to repeat the mistakes that landed us in the economic mess of the past several years!

Are there ways to be both bold and responsible?

Bold Resolutions for the New Year
Week #1: Too Much Fear, Caution, and Passivity
Week #2: Think Outside the Box
Week #3: Build a Team, Not Fill a Job
Week #4: Create Your Own Opportunities
Week #5: Rethink Failure

Listen in.


Listen In -> Natural Networking #5: Being Yourself, Your Greatest Asset

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

You are the world’s foremost expert in being you.

You have more years experience being you than you do being anyone else. Your best bet for successful networking is being you.

It sounds obvious. Right?

Unfortunately too many of us fall into the trap of thinking that the process of learning skills and practices (like networking) involves learning to be different than we are.

We confuse learning the principles and skills involved with trying to become a different sort of personality doing those skills.

The result is almost always disastrous.

If you hate networking as much as I do, maybe it’s because you’re trying to be someone you’re not.

That’s a lot of work! A lot of work that seldom works!

Listen in.

Just now joining the conversation? Catch up on the entire series here.