Choosing a Strategy – The Big Leap Forward or Tiny Steps?

Choose Your Way Forward

Every organisation is looking to improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of its operations. We are all looking for ways to make progress.

The Big Leap

Most of the time organisations go for a ‘big leap’ strategy. They choose a framework or mental model to hang their change efforts on (swot, lean thinking, systems thinking, balanced scorecard, 6 sigma, quality models etc) and then go through a process of ‘strategic planning’ followed by an implementation phase when employees are ‘engaged’ to make change happen.

They plan the jump, build the ramp and then open the throttle. This is by far the preferred choice of most organisations and some of them manage to make the leap.

The Tiny Steps

This is a much more unusual strategy for making progress. The first step in making this work is getting every one in the organisation crystal clear on what the organisation exists to do and how they can contribute. This is where third sector/social change organisations have a real advantage over the profit chasers because of the potential that lies in giving people the chance to make a real difference in society.

The second step is about talking to employees one-on-one every week – about what they have done, what they are going to do and how they can build their contribution in the future. Working with simple management tools including feedback, coaching and delegation these one to ones provide the vehicle for continually keeping everyone ‘aligned’ and contributing to the organisation. Every week it provides an opportunity to coach, improve and delegate. And these processes generate progress and change through a series of tiny steps. Every employee growing their contribution – every week. Week by week, person by person progress is made.

This ‘Tiny Steps’ strategy is a pretty rare choice for organisations to take. It does not rely on gurus or consultants to make it work. It does not need to be underpinned by advanced training – it requires time, commitment and discipline. It requires great management – not great theory.

So choose your way forward with care.

So What Do You Want to Learn to Do?

Progressive Manager Network Workshops are focussed on helping you to learn and put into practice management tools and processes that will make you a more effective manager. Each workshop will run typically for 2-3 hours.

Workshops currently available include:

  1. Using 121s Effectively
  2. Giving and Getting Great Feedback
  3. Practical Coaching for Progressive Managers
  4. Hold More Effective Meetings
  5. Effective Delegation – helping your team to grow and get more done
  6. Performance Improvement through Effective Recruitment and Retention
  7. Managing Virtual Teams
  8. Your Role in Effective Employee Development
  9. Putting Strategic Thinking to Work
  10. Making Performance Reviews Work
  11. Managing Your Boss – building a relationship that works – for both of you
  12. Effective Communication – Listening and Responding – especially when you have to say NO!
  13. How to work with Alpha Males, Alpha Females and Other Dominant Types
  14. How to work with Influencers, Persuaders and Sales types
  15. How to work with Steady Eddys’ and Edwinas
  16. How to work with the Rule Followers
  17. Coaching Under-performing Employees
  18. Using ‘Skip Level’ Meetings
  19. Receiving Feedback on Your Direct Reports
  20. How to Build a Network
  21. The Fallacy of Time Management – getting more done in a regular working week
  22. Using a Mentor to Develop Your Managerial Career
  23. Make Brainstorming Work!
  24. Preparing for Your Review
  25. Resolving Conflict Between Members of Your Team
  26. Managing During Mergers and Acquisitions
  27. When YOU have to train – how to do it well
  28. The Art of the Apology
  29. Accelerating Effective Internal Customer Relationships
  30. Developing Urgency in Your Team
  31. How to Make an Open Door Policy work
  32. Handling Peer Conflict
  33. Strategy and SWOT
  34. Clarifying Roles
  35. Using Goals and Objectives to Improve Performance
  36. Just What Meetings Do You Need? – Make Your Meetings Work for You
  37. Effective Influencing
  38. Using Emotional Intelligence as a Practical Management Tool

See something that you want to learn how to do?

Want to learn how to do something that is not on the list?

Then get in touch using the contact form

The Mindset of the Progressive Manager?

This morning I was inspired by a piece that I read from the AGM of Senscot – the social entrepreneurs network in Scotland, written by Lawrence Demarco. In it Lawrence is talks about the role of the social entrepreneur and how they are found beyond the ‘not for profit’ sector. His writing helped me to think through more about what I believe a ‘Progressive Manager’ is all about.

Progressive Managers have a mind-set which says:

‘I am a business person, an entrepreneur, a risk taker and a learner. I will not engage in work which damages people or our planet. I will treat my customers and staff honestly and fairly. Profits and revenues will not be used just to enhance personal wealth – but to do more for the common good. The desire to create a better society, combined with the skills to provide a wonderful product or service will drive my work.’

This ‘Progressive Managers’ mind-set has the potential to change society. To build a culture which holds the concept of social justice as paramount, and which believes that social justice can be measured in the gap between the rich and the poor.

Progressive Management represents an evolution of capitalism. Profit is seen not as an end in itself, but as a means to drive social change. Perhaps the very best of the ‘for profits’ already recognise that driving positive social change is what will drive future profits?

Managers who understand and use the power of this idea will play an increasing part in the future of our world whether they work in the public, private or third sector.

They will be Progressive Managers.

Tre Really is on Another Level!

Tre from The Apprentice

Perhaps you, like me have been irritated by Tre’s regular assertions that he operates on another level to the rest of the candidates in The Apprentice.  However it appears that the psychologists have just released some research data that suggests he could be right.

Keep telling people something for long enough and they will begin to believe it.  Which of course works fine if you have a more or less captive audience – but if people can choose not to listen to it  -as they do in most organisations you just end up looking like a fool.

People Often Think An Opinion Heard Repeatedly From The Same Person Is Actually A Popular Opinion

So what if Tre used his psychological insight to continuously tell people how well they were doing?  Perhaps he would have more friends in the house, better working relationships and more influence.  Sounds like a winning recipe to me!

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How To Be An Effective Entrepreneur has a must-read post entitled, How to be an effective entrepreneur. I urge you to read it whether you are a manager or an entrepreneur – for profit or otherwise.

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