Posts Tagged ‘initiative’

by Richard Martin

Copyright : Nikom Twytit | 123 Stock Photo

I always advocate looking at what we’ve accomplished in order to gain a better grip on where we need to go in the future. This is crucial to learning and readiness as well as for continuing improvement and development. December is a good time to do this as it provides a natural break point for after-action review and self-development.

What were my objectives at the beginning of the year?

Have I achieve my goals in the following areas: financial, strategic, professional, leadership, personal, family, developmental, educational, motivational, volunteering?

Could I have been more focused on key goals and activities?

On the other hand, was I too focused on some areas, to the exclusion of other important goals and activities?

Did I have a strategy and overall plan? Did I adhere to them or was I flexible in adjusting to circumstances and needs as they evolved?

Did I have a good support network and employ it to its fullest?

Did I procrastinate and waste time on irrelevant activities and time fillers?

Did I exercise regularly and care for myself in body, mind, and spirit?

Have I put off important personal and professional matters because I feared the effort or consequences?

What am I most proud of having accomplished or changed during the year that is ending?

What am I least proud of? How can I avoid that in the future?

Was I opportunistic during the year so I could progress faster toward my goals and implement my strategy with greater effectiveness and efficiency?

Did I seize and maintain the initiative, or did I coast on previous gains and try to defend my position?

There are still 4 weeks in December. What are the three key things I can do, right now, to make the end of 2017 a success?

What opportunities are close at hand and that I can seize to gain/regain and/or maintain the initiative as I head into 2018?

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc. This article may be used for non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Monday STAND TO!

By Richard Martin, Expert in Business Readiness and Exploiting Change

Do you try to mould your future and create the conditions for your success, or do you instead remain passive while others seize the initiative?

The whole point of Business Readiness is to “take the bull by the horns” and shape your competitive battle space for you and your customers. This isn’t simple P&P (preparation and planning). It’s about vigilance, preparedness, and robustness so you see, assess, respond, act, and pounce on opportunities before others see them.
Situational Awareness
Step 1 of the Business Readiness Process (BRP) is…

Vigilance through constant Situational Awareness. Situational awareness requires systems, procedures, and mindset to be on the lookout for changes and trends at all levels–strategic, operational, tactical–of your business and organizational environment. This includes keeping eyes on:

  • Changing customer needs and wants
  • Changing political, social, demographic, cultural milieu
  • Technology, finance, economic factors, etc.
  • Competitors and other stakeholders, including changing alliances, support, and opposition to your goals and strategies
Think of how effective non-business opposition to Keystone XL,
Northern Gateway, and other pipelines has been.
Could this have been anticipated?
Could the companies involved have managed the situation better?
Could they have assessed their courses of action better?
You need…
  1. A consistent and constant watch and evaluation system.
  2. A method and the right mindset and motivation in you and your people.
  3. To decide if this changes your mission and objectives or whether you need to update them.
It starts at the top. If you’re not open to change and ignore signs of imminent disruption, how can you expect your team members to be engaged and motivated for it?
Business Readiness Process (BRP)
1.     Ensure vigilance through situational awareness.
2.     Do preliminary assessment of tasks and time.
3.     Activate organization or team.
4.     Conduct reconnaissance.
5.     Do detailed situational estimate.
6.     Conduct wargame and decide on optimal course(s) of action.
7.     Perform risk management and contingency planning.
8.     Communicate plan and issue direction.
9.     Build organizational robustness.
10.   Ensure operational continuity.
11.   Lead and control execution.
12.   Assess performance.

Did you know that an infantry battalion only needs about 3 to 4 hours of prep and planning time to be battle ready? What are you waiting for to get the same benefits for your outfit?
Feel free to contact me at any time to discuss your objectives and needs.
And remember… STAND TO!!!

© 2016 Alcera Consulting Inc.

This article may be forwarded, reproduced, or otherwise referenced for non-commercial use with proper attribution. All other rights are reserved and explicit permission is required for commercial use.

The most common problem I encounter in consulting is the failure of my clients to fully apply the changes we’ve agreed to. Whether it’s a major strategy reset or just a minor initiative, there always seems to be an issue with translating the good intentions into action that gets positive results. This is why I’ve taken to building in specific action elements into all of the plans and projects I develop with my clients as well as follow on help with implementation, which is where the real work gets done.

Here are some of the key ways to ensure you can turn your plans into action that gets positive results on a consistent basis:

  • For any initiative to ‘good idea,’ identify the next action steps. I tell my clients that we need at least three successive next steps. Five to seven are even better, if possible.
  • Assign a project or initiative leader, someone with the ability to get things done. If the project concerns only one department, then it can be assigned there, if not, then you have to designate someone to manage it in a matrix manner.
  • Identify dates and times for progress review and for achieving performance milestones. I know it sounds silly, but the simple act of giving someone the responsibility to achieve an outcome by a certain date tends to focus their attention and produce better results.
  • Agree to outcomes and objectives, but not necessarily the details of their implementation. Leave that to the responsible manager.
  • Have periodic progress reviews in plenary, where everyone has to provide an update to the boss and peers. This creates public pressure to perform and complements the ‘self-accountability’ I described in yesterday’s post nicely.
  • Try as much as feasible to identify the principle resources that will be required to achieve the objectives of the project or initiative. This includes personnel, funds, time, and other key material inputs.
  • Perform a periodic audit of progress in achieving the original aims. The bigger and more strategic the initiative, such as a complete revamping of strategy, the more the senior leadership must be involved and lead it. For a strategic project, quarterly reviews may be optimal, but judgment is required in the cases of major departures from usual practices and organizational habits.
  • I know this is going to go against a lot of common sense wisdom but, as I’ve written in my newsletter, micro-managing may be required, especially if the project is truly strategic to the organization. Even a culture change initiative can require the CEO’s constant vigilance and involvement to ensure that the project stays on track and that people in the organization are performing and behaving in the required manner.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.