What words do you use to describe important projects? Do initiatives do something different than imperatives? Is a program bigger than a project?
Have you ever tried to give candid and helpful feedback only to have things backfire on you? You were trying to help and instead of getting a receptive ear you got pushback. Perhaps someone failed to deliver, made a mistake or failed on accountability. Has someone used your efforts to coach as a means of seeking advantage, excusing their failures, put you in a bad spot, thrown you under the bus? We all have experienced this at some point. How do you react? Did you feel frustrated or angry? How do we turn ugly into progress?
What is your strategic structure? What is strategic structure?
We could go on with more questions but unless we define structure the question may not stir any thoughtful consideration. Structure is the relationship of elements composing something to the other elements in the whole of the composition. Strategic structure would be the relationships between the different elements of strategy.
How do we know we have a strategy? What does strategy look like? What does “strategic” mean? If something is not strategic what is it?
Strategy describes the planned journey from where you are to a place you want to go. In the end the value of the description is measured by the outcomes resulting from strategy’s execution. In other words, did we get the results we were seeking? What properties does a strategy need to be executed?
How well did you do on last year’s resolutions? What are your resolutions for the coming year?
A new year is an opportunity to reflect on what we learned in the past and make resolutions for the coming year. Whether you start with the winter solstice and the beginning of the sun’s slow return to the northern latitudes or the change of the calendar from December to January now is the time to adjust.
What is your company’s headline? When someone asks you what you are trying to accomplish do you have a concise response? Can you answer it in five to seven words? Or do you find yourself launching into a paragraph long description that turns into a several minute monologue before you become self-conscious and quit?
Why is this important? It is important because as a leader people will be turning to you to provide direction. That does not mean they are looking for orders. It means they need some grounding that allows them to allocate their time and company resources in a way that makes progress toward target outcomes.
How do you balance working on your business with working in your business? Do you find that day-to-day issues take priority over longer-term preparation and planning?
Senior executives understand the need to define long-term goals and establish the capability to realize those goals. They understand that without a description of benefit for a long-term goal it is hard to decide on what investment is possible while still delivering value. We know what needs be done. The funny thing is, despite what we know, we often plan to work on long-term goals, just not right now, maybe later.