The strategy power connection

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Focuses on the nature and impact of power in creating and sustaining an organization's strategy

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The strategy power connection

  1. 1. POWER The Ability to Sustain Strategic Position, Intention and Direction
  2. 2. The Strategy-Power Connection: A Proposed Model - How do we point our resources to move from where we are to where we want to be? - How do we sustain direction in the midst of the unexpected? Direction - Where do we want to go? - Where do we think they want to go? Intention> - Where are we (financially, operationally, marketing, strategy )? - Where are they (customers, competitors)? Position> Friends and Enemies of Establishing and Sustaining Strategic Positioning, Intention and Direction (or, why we need POWER) Clarity vs Confusion Fact vs Fiction The Future vs The Familiar Challenge vs Comfort Action vs Awareness Excellence vs Effectiveness And Momentum, Inertia, Gravity and Entropy
  3. 3. POWERING strategic positioning, intentionalizing and directing P4 O4 W4 E4 R4 - PURPOSES - Planned pursuit Passionate pursuit Prioritized pursuit, Persistent pursuit- OPENNESS - … to new observations … to differing opinions … to internal changes … to external opportunities - WHOLENESS - Cause and effect relationships Differentiating symptoms from agents Unity of parts/divisions of organization Past, present and predicted connections- EXCELLENCE - … in execution … in empowering … in efficiency … in ethicality - RESILIENCY - Turning error into education Turning dreams into doing Turning nodes into networks Turning org purpose into personal passion
  4. 4. THE CASE FOR POWER • Strategic management seeks many goals – one of those is for the organization to be efficacious. • “Efficacious” means “having the power to produce a desired effect.” It refers to some idea or some object or some person being potent or able to cause some result. • Strategic management seeks to enable an organization to be powerful – to have the ability to cope with the present forces with which it is contending and to shape the future the organization will face.
  5. 5. 20 Principles for Strategic Power - Introduction • What follows in this discussion is a collection of 20 principles (at this point – more may be added), that provide a framework for understanding the perspectives and practices that tend to increase an organization’s power. • This list was derived in part from The Forty Eight Laws of Power, authored by Robert Greene (Penguin Books, New York, 1998). However, the greater part of the material reflects a great deal of my creative freedom – thus much of the material has been altered in ways that the author might not recognize or agree with!
  6. 6. 20 Principles for Strategic Power - Introduction • It is important to note that this list is “in process” and new strategic power principles and perspectives will be added. • Finally, while these insights were originally created by myself for application in organizational strategy contexts, I believe they offer value in other arenas such as learning/teaching, Biblical leadership and healthcare.
  7. 7. The Power of Flexibility • Strategic power is found in flexibility rather than in formidability. While resource adequacy does matter, and while absolute size does matter in some industries, in most cases resource adaptability or agility matters more. • Organizations live in a fast changing and rapidly evolving environment. New challenges arise continually and past solutions have a shorter and shorter “active life.” • Thoughtful strategic planning matters – nimble strategic responsiveness matters as much or more.
  8. 8. The Power of Reputation • In today’s multi-channel and responsive communication’s environment, strategic influence depends on organizational reputation. Being known as a quality organization is an invaluable resource that should be protected at all costs. • Managers are stewards of an organization’s reputation for being a dependable partner with customers, clients and even competitors. Dependability means that others can rely on the organization to be fair in its dealings externally AND internally. • Reputation is a fragile thing – it takes years to build, yet can be destroyed in days through ethical compromise, greed, and arrogance. Once lost, reputation can be impossible to rebuild.
  9. 9. The Power of Initiative • A key purpose of strategy is to allow the organization’s future to be caused by the organization rather than such a future being the consequence of things outside the organization’s control. Strategy seeks to make and shape the future rather than just taking whatever the future may hold. • Competitive advantage almost always goes to those who fight inertia (“We’ve never done it that way before!”), insecurity (“What if something goes wrong?”), inaction (“let’s wait until we get more information.”) or incapacity (“We could never do that.”) • Ten initiatives are worth a thousand intentions.
  10. 10. The Power of Vision • We will never likely achieve what we cannot imagine. Our reach rarely exceeds the range of our vision. Bold vision underwrites bold action – timid vision will doom us to trivial action. • When customers, employees, and other stakeholders see how the strategic performance we envision is linked to a mighty goal, it calls forth the heroic energy and engagement that might bring about enormous impact. • Strategic leaders empower others by calling them to “big hairy audacious goals.” (BHAGS)
  11. 11. The Power of Action • Both walk AND talk matter – but walk matters much more. We win through actions, not through arguments. Articulating what we hope to gain is useful – acting to secure what we want to gain is essential. • Organizations can spend their time in speculating and predicting what might happen IF.” or, they can investigate and build on what actually has happened in response to their actions. • In short – research about a plan can help; but looking at the results of an actual initiative helps much more.
  12. 12. The Power of Uncertainty • For some, uncertainty is an excuse for not acting. For powerful strategic leaders, uncertainty is a condition within which they act anyway. There is a positive relationship between risk and reward. • One of the key purposes of strategy is not to eliminate the risk of the unknown – it is, rather, to allow the organization to take the right risks through the right actions at the right time. • A carefully considered strategy allow encourages risk taking in the unknown. Waiting for complete certainty, or moving only under conditions of low risk, dooms an organization to failure.
  13. 13. The Power of Infection • Organizations rarely die from catastrophes and climatic disasters. Instead, they die deaths of a thousand small wounds, almost all of them self-inflicted. • The wounds of momentum (“We’ve always done that way here!”), inertia (“We’ve never done it that way here!”), gravity (“Don’t worry – its just a little bit slower or lower!”) and entropy (“It doesn’t really matter anyhow!”), sap our energy and vitality – like a hidden infection that lowers our ability to fight off disease. • What are colds to the strong, become pneumonia to the weak.
  14. 14. The Power of Dependency • When customers and supply chain members depend on us, we gain great strategic advantage. • There is a difference between a customer or value chain member WANTING what we have to offer verses HUNGERING for what we offer. • We build dependency by knowing what customers really aspire to and what value chain members expect. • Sustainable and profitable business partnerships are based on shared dependence and shared trust.
  15. 15. The Power of Self-Interest • While mercy and gratitude are appeals with some possible potency, the most potent force in building an alliance or partnership is to provide and promote that which will benefit the other so they see what can be gained for him/herself. • Never confuse your needs with the needs and desires of the other. Others deal with us based on what THEY can get or gain. • Self-interest is a powerful lever to use – it means we have to successfully show how our capabilities help others to meet their responsibilities, how our solutions help other solve their problems, and how our expertise is relevant to enriching their experience with us.
  16. 16. The Power of Surprise • Organizations that build a basis for sustainable greatness seek to build the capacity to surprise customers and competitors. • For customers, successful companies seek to increase their capacity to deliver WOW! That means experiences which exceed their expectations and provide extraordinary value. • For competitors, surprise means stepping out of the routine and regular, the established industry practices, to seek entrepreneurial innovation that opens up the opportunity to be game changers in product and process in ways that are difficult to imitate.
  17. 17. The Power of Alliances • Some organizations develop a protective, fortress mentality. Customer concerns are seen as ungrateful complaining. Supply chain member concerns are seen as problematic partnerships. Employee dissatisfaction is viewed as temper tantrums from ignorant and ungrateful children. • Strategically effective organizations build bridges rather than barriers, and connections rather than constraints.
  18. 18. The Power of Alliances • Fortresses are symbols of weakness and isolation – of a desire to protect our own power and prestige (real of imagined) in the present, rather than to connect and thrive in a community of shared interest. • Real and sustainable strategic power is found in interaction and circulation among partners. In times of uncertainty and danger we must fight the desire to turn inward, and engage in actions that allow us to be more accessible and connected.
  19. 19. The Power of Concentration • No organization can effectively be everything to everyone – in fact, few organizations can be many things to many people. • Strategic power requires focusing selected resources and capabilities on selected points of leverage to overpower selected competitors in reaching and serving selected customers. • It is more effective and efficient to target and deeply dominate a niche (or a limited number of niches) than to broadly and superficially touch a broad array of markets. • Diffusion and division distract and dissipate – real power always exists in concentrated form. Prize intensity more than extensity.
  20. 20. The Power of Purpose • We are most likely to achieve or accomplish what we resolve to achieve or accomplish. While we may stumble into success through luck (like pulling a handle on a slot machine), we are more likely to stumble into failure. • Purpose arouses passion, clarifies ends and means, establishes priorities, and motivates excellence at the individual, interpersonal and institutional levels. • Purpose is the difference between intentions and intensity. • Strategic purposes that are clear, compelling and communicated consistently help drive strategic performance.
  21. 21. The Power of Re-Creation • Organizations that endure must engage in the process of continually forging a new identity. An organization’s identity is found in its answers to the following questions: – Who are our customers/clients and what are their aspirations and expectations? – How do we create value for our customers? – What are the essential points of our advantage over our competitors? – What are the aspirations and expectations of our primary and secondary stakeholders? • These questions should engage an organization in a continuing dialogue because customers, competitors and the community of shareholders and stakeholders are constantly changing their aspirations (what they want for themselves) and expectations (what they want from us). • Strategic power requires continuous adaptation through constant re- creation.
  22. 22. The Power of Boldness • Customers, employees shareholders and stakeholders want something significant and powerful to believe in and invest in. • EVERYONE respects and admires boldness. Timidity only generates uncertainty and discomfort.
  23. 23. The Power of Boldness • At the individual level people seek leaders who are confident and courageous. At the interpersonal level, people seek to be relationships that encourage certainty and excellence. At the institutional level successful strategy is rooted in a compelling sense of efficacy and energy. • Boldness is contagious – timidity is infectious. Timidity is inner- directed – boldness is outer-directed. Timidity seeks to avoid problems – boldness seeks to engage opportunities. While timidity hides behind barriers, boldness walks confidently across bridges. • More battles are won by audacity than by caution.
  24. 24. The Power of Ends • The ending of a thing is everything. • Always begin with the end in mind. KNOW what success looks like and be prepared to paint a picture of that success to others that is vivid and compelling. • Plan all the way through the end – take into account all the possible consequences you can imagine along with all the obstacles and twists of fortune you might face. • Then gently nudge and guide fortune and help determine the future by seeing success beyond the barriers. • Your desired conclusion must be crystal clear, and you must keep in at the forefront of your thinking.
  25. 25. The Power of Timing • HOW to act is the science of strategic management – WHEN to act is the art of strategic management. • A sense of timing is required to know that There is a time for ideas to be born, and a time for them to die There is a time to plant and a time to uproot what has been planted There is a time to tear down and a time to build up There is a time to search and a time to abandon that search There is a time to keep and a time to throw away There is a time to tear apart and a time to sew together There is a time for conflict and a time for peace • Leaders are orchestra maestros – a sense of timing is not useful – it is essential.
  26. 26. The Power of Caution • The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory arrogance and overconfidence can drive us past our original goal. • Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop, look listen and learn before carefully planning your next step. • The essence of strategy is controlling what comes next. • Success can breed an aura of invincibility and the belief that we are not vulnerable. • The truly powerful vary their rhythms and patterns, change courses, adapt to new circumstances and learn to improvise. They do not allow their future to be held hostage to their past. • Bad luck is actually better than good luck. Bad luck can teach valuable lessons about patience, timing and the need to be prepared for adversity. Good luck deludes us in the opposite direction, making us think that our brilliance and inevitability can carry us through.
  27. 27. The Power of Urgency • Strategy seeks to bring the future into the present – it seeks to make the desired future compelling enough to generate the necessary present action to bring that future about. • Strategic managers stand astride two worlds – the world of present action and the world of future hoped for results. The aim of a strategic plan is to create awareness and enthusiasm for the future sufficient to motivate action in the present. • While the future cannot be dictated, it can be shaped. Shaping the future always requires starting action in the present. And, action in the present requires a sense of urgency. • Strategy helps envision a future that is both near and dear enough to cause action in the present.
  28. 28. The Power of Understanding • Organizations are awash in data and waist deep in information (reports summaries). What is often in shortest supply is understanding. • Understanding occurs when truth is united with insight. • In a perverse way, organization leaders often exhibit an aversion to the truth, especially if that truth challenges what they WANT the truth to be. • Similarly, organization leaders often have far less insight into how things “really are around here” than they ever could imagine.

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