Tag Archive: leadership

Ethics Leadership in Business Development

Ethics Leadership in Business Development
In the 25 + years of working with some of the best people in Business Development within the power generation industry, we have found some unique characteristics that separate these individuals from the rest.  It doesn’t seem to matter what organization they work for, or the services, the client base or the economic climate.  We find that these individuals are in fact the top 3% of the professionals in their field.  In addition to learning to think as CEO’s, Presidents, entrepreneurial leaders of Business Development units, we’ve discovered they have acquired the behavioral characteristics of a leader. They have learned how to set strategic and operational objectives in putting together plans, how to be visionaries and see opportunities for their organizations that other individuals may miss, and in the role of Business Development, they have mastered the 12 Core Competencies, a benchmark to measure leaders.

One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught.  While few of us have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in leadership, all of us are called to be a leader at different times and circumstances in our lives.  Leadership is first about who you are as an individual, not what you do, and the term character best describes the core characteristic of a leader.  It is this part of an individual that inspires other to follow, so we see character as the summation of an individual’s principles and values, core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life.  Principles and values of a positive leader include loyalty, respect, integrity, courage, fairness, honesty, duty, honor and commitment.

If character is the summation of our principles and values, then ethics is the application of them. To understand more about character development, we can reach back nearly 2500 years to the writings of Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics.  Aristotle taught that moral virtue is acquired by practice.  Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root ethike, formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit. Leadership training emphasizes that understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development.  A leader must also embrace values and practice attributes, living them until they become a habit.

In the Business Development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics and their application.  It’s a unique combination of what we know, how we apply it and what we do.

Bill Scheessele is CEO/Founder of MBDi, a Business Development consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past 27 years, MBDi has assisted client firms in leveraging their high level expertise into bottom line business. Information on the company and the MBDi Business Development Process™ access: www.mbdi.com.

How To Lead to One Great Meeting

How To Lead to One Great Meeting
Here are ten things that you can do to make your meetings more effective.

1) Avoid meetings. Test the importance of a meeting by asking, “What happens without it?” If your answer is, “Nothing,” then don’t call the meeting.

2) Prepare goals. These are the results you want to obtain by the end of the meeting. Write out your goals before the meetings. They should be so clear, complete, and specific that someone else could use them to lead your meeting. Also, make sure they can be achieved with available people, resources, and time. Specific goals help everyone make efficient progress toward relevant results.

3) Challenge each goal. Ask, “Is there another way to achieve this?” For example, if you want to distribute information, you may find it more efficient to phone, FAX, mail, E-mail, or visit. Realize that a meeting is a team activity. Save tasks that require a team effort for your meetings.

4) Prepare an agenda. Everyone knows an agenda leads to an effective meeting. Yet, many people “save time” by neglecting to prepare an agenda. A meeting without an agenda is like a journey without a map. It is guaranteed to take longer and produce fewer results. Note, without an agenda, you risk becoming someone else’s helper (see tip #6 below).

5) Inform others. Send the agenda at least a day before the meeting. That helps others prepare to work with you in the meeting. Unprepared participants waste your time by preparing for the meeting during the meeting.

6) Assume control. If you find yourself in a meeting without an agenda walk out. If you must stay, prepare an agenda in the meeting. Collect a list of issues, identify the most important, and work on that. When you finish, if time remains, select the next most important issue. Note: you can use a meeting without an agenda to recruit help for your projects.

7) Focus on the issue. Avoid stories, jokes, and unrelated issues. Although entertaining, these waste time, distract focus, and mislead others. Save the fun for social occasions where it will be appreciated.

8) Be selective. Invite only those who can contribute to achieving your goals for the meeting. Crowds of observers and supporters bog down progress in a meeting.

9) Budget time. No one would spend $1,000 on a ten-cent pencil, but they often spend 40 employee hours on trivia. Budget time in proportion to the value of the issue. For example, you could say, “I want a decision on this in 10 minutes. That means we’ll evaluate it for the next 9 minutes, followed by a vote.”

10) Use structured activities in your meetings. These process tools keep you in control while you ensure equitable participation and systematic progress toward results.

Leadership & Ethics in Business Development

Leadership & Ethics in Business Development
In the 25 + years of working with some of the best people in Business Development within the power generation industry, we have found some unique characteristics that separate these individuals from the rest. It doesn’t seem to matter what organization they work for, or the services, the client base or the economic climate. We find that these individuals are in fact the top 3% of the professionals in their field. In addition to learning to think as CEO’s, Presidents, entrepreneurial leaders of Business Development units, we’ve discovered they have acquired the behavioral characteristics of a leader. They have learned how to set strategic and operational objectives in putting together plans, how to be visionaries and see opportunities for their organizations that other individuals may miss, and in the role of Business Development, they have mastered the 12 Core Competencies, a benchmark to measure leaders.

One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. While few of us have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in leadership, all of us are called to be a leader at different times and circumstances in our lives. Leadership is first about who you are as an individual, not what you do, and the term character best describes the core characteristic of a leader. It is this part of an individual that inspires other to follow, so we see character as the summation of an individual’s principles and values, core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life. Principles and values of a positive leader include loyalty, respect, integrity, courage, fairness, honesty, duty, honor and commitment.

If character is the summation of our principles and values, then ethics is the application of them. To understand more about character development, we can reach back nearly 2500 years to the writings of Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle taught that moral virtue is acquired by practice. Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root ethike, formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit. Leadership training emphasizes that understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. A leader must also embrace values and practice attributes, living them until they become a habit.

In the Business Development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics and their application. It’s a unique combination of what we know, how we apply it and what we do.

Bill Scheessele is CEO/Founder of MBDi, a Business Development consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past 27 years, MBDi has assisted client firms in leveraging their high level expertise into bottom line business. Information on the company and the MBDi Business Development Process™ access: www.mbdi.com.

Avoiding Hidden Traps in Meetings

Avoiding Hidden Traps in Meetings

If you have sat through a few bad meetings, you must have experienced the following traps. Here they are and how to fix them.

1) People think they are experts.

Many people tell me that they know how to hold a meeting. Actually, all they do is host a party. They invite guests, provide treats, and preside over a conversation. People talk. People eat. And nothing happens. Or, if they somehow manage to reach an agreement, no one implements it.

> What to do: Learn how to lead a real meeting. Schedule a workshop or buy a book. When results really matter, hire a facilitator. Recognize that there are modern tools that help people make methodical progress toward results. These tools are practical and easy to use. Of course, you have to know what they are in order to use them. Call me (714-528-1300) for details.

2) People think they are inspiring.

Many people believe that long-winded announcements impress others. Actually, it’s the opposite. A long lecture quickly becomes a boring (and sometimes offensive) harangue. Why? Most employees want an active role in contributing to the business, and thus listening to a speech feels like a waste of time.

> What to do: Design meetings that give the attendees opportunities to contribute. Plan questions that direct thinking toward the results that you want. Use activities that help people make decisions. Distribute announcements in letters, memos, or E-mails. Or, if you must use a meeting, keep announcements brief (less than a few minutes).

3) People think others agree with them.

Many people rely on nods, smiles, and eye contact to measure acceptance. Actually, most employees will do anything to appease a boss. And if the boss seems to be upset, the employees will become even more agreeable. Then, once the meeting ends, the employees will do one of three things: 1) forget the lecture, 2) ignore the message, or 3) sabotage the idea.

> What to do: Conduct meetings by a process that everyone considers to be fair. Use consensus to reach agreements and make decisions. People will accept decisions that they helped make.

4) People think others are clairvoyant.

Many people call meetings without an agenda expecting that everyone will arrive sharing their vision for what needs to be done. Actually, everyone brings their private hopes, fears, and vision to the meeting. Without a clear agenda, the result is something between chitchat and chaos, depending upon the complexity of the issue.

Note: A vague agenda, such as a list of topics, is almost as useless as no agenda.

> What to do: Write out your goal for the meeting. Then prepare an agenda that is so complete someone else could use it to run the meeting without you. Specify each step and provide a time budget. Send the agenda at least a day before the meeting so that the attendees can use it to prepare. Call key participants before the meeting to check if they have questions or want to talk about the agenda.

5) People think meetings are necessary.

Many people respond to every emergency, surprise, or twitch by calling a meeting. Actually, a meeting is a special (and expensive) process. It should be used only to obtain results that require the efforts of a group of people working as a team. A meeting is NOT a universal cure for everything. Meetings held for the wrong reasons, waste everyone’s time.

> What to do: Challenge every meeting for its ability to earn a profit for your business. That is, make sure the value of the results is greater than the cost of holding a meeting. If any other activity can accomplish the same result, use that other activity.

Hugh Precautions

Hugh  Precautions

Many movies have been made about the tragic story of the Titanic. Arrogance and ignorance was definitely present during its maiden voyage, which was Titanic’s last voyage.

Many warnings were given, but unfortunately, the warnings were not taken seriously. On April 14th, 1912 Titanic received six warnings that icebergs were present in their perimeter. On the night of April 14th, Titanic struck an iceberg and ultimately sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

For other entities, what happened to the Titanic does NOT have to happen to them. Many have learned from the mistakes that Titanic had made.

There are several examples that follow and form a parallel to what happened to Titanic and how an entity can learn from Titanic’s mistakes.

1. The Titanic only had 16 lifeboats, which was not nearly enough to save everyone on the ship.

Only about 60% of the entire lifeboats’ capacity was utilized! Does your company have a disaster plan in place? Are your computers, especially your servers, being backed up on a regular basis? Many servers are now being backed up on a daily basis and sometimes on an hourly basis.

When I was working at a Helpdesk, one of our afternoon gals was named the “Backup Queen” because she took EVERY major server backup VERY seriously. The company was very lucky to have the “Backup Queen” because there were several instances where our most critical server had crashed and lost information. Fortunately, information restoration was quick and painless due to the machine being backed up on a regular basis.

We were very lucky to have someone who took the initiative to handle the server backups. Is your company that lucky? Yes, doing backups can be VERY unexciting. However, losing valuable data can be very exciting, but in a negative way.

2. The crewmen in the lookout tower, or the “crow’s nest,” were not issued binoculars to better search for icebergs.

Employees were not given the proper tools to use to do their job. Is your company using the right software for the job? Are you saving money on upgrading your operating system and software, but are losing customers? If you are losing customers, you’re NOT really saving any money at all.

The right equipment can range from the very basic, such as issuing headphones that are compatible with the phone system to customer service representatives, to ensuring that a backup generator can adequately run due to a power outage.

3. Titanic had a total of 16 watertight compartments. Initially, it sounded fine, but unfortunately, each compartment did not hold water on its own. Every compartment was similar to an ice cube tray. When one compartment overflowed, water flowed into the next compartment. Each compartment did not completely seal off water on its own.

Does your company have a good disaster recovery plan in place? If a flood or a fire struck the premises, would you be able to resume business operations in a matter of days or would it take a matter of months?

Is your information that you have on site being sent off site so you CAN have another place to access your valuable information?

4. The Titanic was going at full speed at night in iceberg-infested waters.

Are your machines at your business running at 100% capacity on a continuous basis? How much is downtime costing you when those machines need to be fixed? Are you REALLY saving money by not buying more machinery? Does the cost of more machinery outweigh the cost of your present machines’ downtime?

5. The Titanic did not heed to the many iceberg warnings.

Titanic received six iceberg warnings on the day it sank! Is your sales force, customer service department and/or helpdesk REALLY listening to your customers? Sam Walton, the founder of Wal Mart, said that the most important person to an organization can be the one who greets that customers. Too many companies don’t even realize just how MUCH each person represents their company!

There is WAY too much competition in the marketplace NOT to heed warnings. Industries like telecom, automobile, office supplies, soft drinks, and restaurant industries, just to name a few, had better take warnings seriously. Some companies might not get the luxury of six warnings that the Titanic got. Sometimes, only one warning can break a company. That’s why companies that DO encourage, and take seriously, customer feedback are invaluable and can be a gold mine.

6. The Titanic only had white flare guns to signal for help.

Red is the standard color for a flare gun used to signal for help. When the Titanic was sinking, white flare guns were shot off from the ship. One or two ships many miles away say the white flares, but did not interpret the white flares as warning messages.

Does your entity use the proper means of communication? Is it ensured that all of the parties involved completely understand what the other parties are saying? Many groups within an organization speak entirely different languages. Sales, technology and management translations may as similar to translating three different foreign languages.

7. Bruce Ismay, the president of White Star, pressured Captain Smith into unrealistic and dangerous goals.

Ismay wanted the Titanic to arrive in New York on Tuesday, April 16th. In order to meet this goal, the ship would have to travel at full speed a majority of the time. The coercion from Ismay turned out to be dangerous due to the ship’s demise.

Ismay’s level was similar to a CEO’s level. Is your company’s CEO and the rest of the management staff setting realistic goals? Are your managers providing bilateral communication? Feedback is vital to any company’s survival because many managers are not involved in day-to-day activities.

8. The two wireless operators’ priorities were not focused on the ship’s priorities.

Many of the aristocrats in first class passage had paid both operators bonuses to wire messages to New York. One of the Titanic’s operators told another ship to “shut up” after being given another iceberg warning. It was a powerful rebuke that may have cost thousands of lives.

Is your customer service department doing all it can to retain and acquire it customers? A polite and knowledgeable customer service representative can save the company thousands of dollars and maybe more! I have had the fortunate experience of dealing with many great customer service representatives. I have told many of the rep’s supervisors that I really appreciated their help as well and that they are lucky to have such great rep’s on their team.

9. The Titanic’s steel construction was never tested in cold temperature.

The steel that made up ocean liners in the early 20th Century was brittle to begin with. Unfortunately, the steel was never stress-tested to determine what stress levels the structure could endure.

Is adequate testing being done on your company’s products? Are your prototypes up to the challenges of customers’ demands? Are an automobile company’s crash tests being utilized to the fullest extent?

Managing People: 7 Common-Sense Tips You Should Know

Managing People: 7 Common-Sense Tips You Should KnowManaging People: 7 Common-Sense Tips You Should Know

Managing People: 7 Common-Sense Tips You Should Know. Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer

1.You set the standard: Work as hard, or harder, than your employees. Be a role model when managing people. Strive to know more than your best employee (or best sales rep) about your product line, industry, and their jobs. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything. Still, educate yourself. I frequently hear in my seminars, “My boss has no idea what I really do in my job. The challenges, the pressures I face, and the time constraints.”

2. Be an effective communicator: Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly at least weekly. In study after study, employees and business leaders overwhelmingly want a leader who is “straightforward.” I hear this over and over in my leadership seminars and workshops worldwide. Good interpersonal skills are crucial in managing people.

3. Be authentic, be real: The #1 trait people want to see, to willingly follow their leader is honesty. How can you expect them to look up to you if they don’t trust you? Leadership is all about honesty and integrity.

4. The top 5 things: Ask your people point blank, “What are the top 5 things I can do to help you succeed?” For example, if they are salespeople, what can you do to motivate them to be out in the field instead of in the office?

5. MBWA: Management by walking around. Be accessible to them. Get in the trenches with your team. Nothing will gain respect for you more than that. This is another trait I consistently hear from my participants that they want to see in their leaders, and from their management team.

6. Be willing to fight for them: But before that, set the standard so they know how far they can push something before they ask for it. And when is enough…enough.

7. Get the facts first, listen: Never question their integrity without first gathering all the data. Have an open mind. Let them tell their side of the story. Just because you acknowledge what they say doesn’t mean you have to agree.

This leadership article on managing people represents the opinions of a large cross section of employees, most of whom are managers themselves. In presenting approximately 100 leadership programs a year worldwide for the past ten years, these are the top 7 “common-sense” traits I hear employees most want from their managers. I refer to them as common-sense as it seems most leaders would know how important these people skills are to possess. Yet, many in management have risen in the ranks due only to their “hard skills” or technical skills. Many managers are promoted to management positions without any formal training in the area of communication and managing people. As a result, they can be too overbearing, or just the opposite, non-confrontational. Managing People: 7 Common-Sense Tips You Should Know

If nothing else, develop your communication and conflict-resolution skills. It’ll save you money in the long run. As a manager, it’s imperative to know how to manage people. The courts are filled with hotheads, people who said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or worse, said nothing at all, and enabled the behavior of a difficult employee until it reached a crisis point.

“Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” G.D. Boardman Managing People: 7 Common-Sense Tips You Should Know

Tips for Effective Meetings

Tips for Effective Meetings

Tips for Effective Meetings. Here are twelve new tips that will help you look like a leader by holding more effective meetings.

1) Ask everyone to arrive five to ten minutes early. This gives everyone time to socialize, obtain coffee, or organize materials before the meeting. It also ensures that everyone is present at the scheduled starting time. Make this part of the agenda.

2) Discuss sensitive issues with the key participants before the meeting. Use this as an opportunity to listen and gather information on the issues. From this you will understand the different views, needs, and histories. This information can help you prepare the agenda and conduct the meeting. In addition, you may be able to facilitate solutions or strategies for solutions before the meeting. In either case, the result will be a more efficient meeting.

3) Plan small meetings that focus on a single issue. People work more effectively over short periods of time (such as 45 minutes). This also allows you to match experts with issues for more productive meetings.

4) Only invite those who can contribute to at least 50% of the items on the agenda. For meetings lasting more than 30 minutes, invite special participants only to the part of the meeting that deals with their contribution.

5) Send copies of the minutes to everyone who could have been invited for informational purposes. They can read the minutes in a small fraction of the time that they would have been spent in the meeting. Tips for Effective Meetings

6) When invited to a meeting with a vague (or missing) agenda, ask: what role will I have? Why do you need me? If your impact is minor, refuse to attend and use the time for other work. Meeting planners often attempt to add importance to a meeting by inviting prominent members of the organization.

7) If the chairperson seems to have allowed the meeting’s intent to drift, ask: “What do you want to achieve?” or “How can we help you?” or “How will we know when we are done working on this?” These questions can help focus the meeting on a goal.

8) If a meeting seems out of control, suggest adjourning and reconvening at a later time. This will allow you to clarify goals, prepare strategies, and better understand the issues.

9) Reflect the content of key points. This ensures that everyone has the same understanding of the key point. Although this is one of the chairperson’s responsibilities, it can be filled by anyone else in the meeting. Tips for Effective Meetings

10) Prepare a list of questions, ideas, suggestions before the meeting. Then you can focus your attention on the discussion in the meeting. Tips for Effective Meetings

11) Watch the listeners instead of the speaker. Their faces and body language will tell you whether they agree or disagree, which can help guide you participation in the discussion.

12) Work with a sense of appropriate urgency. Life is finite, and the discussions in meetings should be the same. Plan a time budget and then use it to guide your meeting. Spend extra time only when an issue warrants it. Tips for Effective Meetings

How to hire a CEO for your small business

How to hire a CEO for your small business
by Susan Caminiti.

How to hire a CEO for your small business. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the skills needed to start a small business—perseverance, patience, and passion, to name a few—aren’t always the same ones necessary to take a company to the next level. Sure, as the founder you’re the person who came up with the brilliant idea for your product or service, and can zealously promote it to potential customers better than anyone. But if you can’t (or don’t want to) deal with the day-to-day functions of running a growing enterprise, it might be time to consider bringing in a chief executive officer.

Charley Polachi, a partner at Polachi & Co., an executive search firm in Framingham, Mass., works with many small companies as they’re entering their early growth stage. He says the first step he recommends for any founder looking to hire a senior manager is to define the pain they’re trying to address. “Usually it’s a matter of too much or too little,” he says. “The small business owner is either too busy and can’t keep up with all aspects of the business adequately, or the business has stalled and he or she needs someone who can come in and move it ahead.” How to hire a CEO for your small business

Know what you want

Regardless of which scenario is driving the decision, the experts we spoke with all agree on one thing: define the CEO job thoroughly before you start your search. It’s not enough to say you want someone with financial or organizational skills. As you draw up a detailed list of the attributes and qualities you’re looking for, go a step further, suggest Polachi. What functions will this person be responsible for every day? What are you able to pay? And of course, as the founder, what roles and duties are you willing to realistically delegate? “Very few small businesses need a clone of the owner,” explains Dan Bowser, president of Value Insights Inc., a business valuation and exit strategy consulting firm based in Summerville, Pennsylvania. “When you’re drawing up the specs for this new person, you want to hire someone with skills and abilities that you don’t have.” How to hire a CEO for your small business

Evaluate the person, not just the resume

Once the job has been defined, don’t rush through the interviews. “There should be no fewer than three interviews when you find a promising candidate,” says Polachi. Each time you bring them back, the conversation should delve deeper into determining if you’ve found a good fit. “Ask them if they’ve ever scaled-up a business and how they did it,” he adds. “When you’re bringing someone into a small business in a senior position, his or her management style is absolutely critical.”

That’s because the skills and style that worked wonderfully in a billion-dollar corporation with thousands of employees doesn’t always translate well into a million-dollar organization with dozens (or fewer) workers. “There is a huge difference in support and responsibilities between a big and small company,” observes Bowser. “Everything from having to make your own travel arrangements to the ego boost that comes from working for a big company—all those issues have to be considered before bringing someone into your small business. I’d have real concerns about an otherwise great candidate if all they have is big business experience.” How to hire a CEO for your small business

HireaCEO_PQ.jpgDon’t expect perfection

What if you do everything right to find a CEO for your company and the person still doesn’t work out? For starters, don’t panic. Experts say most small business owners aren’t terribly good at (or even like) the hiring process, so the chances of getting it wrong—even when looking for a senior person—are pretty high.

John Brown, president of the Business Enterprise Institute (BEI), agrees. He recently worked with a couple that was routinely clocking 50 hours to 60 hours a week at their small business and hadn’t taken a vacation in 15 years. They hired a senior manager to relieve some of the burden, but when he didn’t work out they moved him into sales and contacted Brown about selling the company. “They were so burned out and so sure they’d never find the right person that they just felt they had no choice other than to sell the business,” he says. How to hire a CEO for your small business

To avoid that sort of draconian response, set 60- and 90-day performance reviews once you’ve hired someone into a senior position. “You’ll probably know within the first 30 days if this person is going to work out, but after 90 days you should certainly have a feel for whether this was a smart hire,” says Brown. And if it’s not, Brown says he likes to remind his clients of management consulting guru Peter Drucker’s advice: Hire slow and fire fast. How to hire a CEO for your small business

Understand your new role

“Someone can be an ex-CEO of a company or an ex-president, but no one ever introduces themselves as the ‘ex-founder’ of a company,” says Polachi. “Once you’re the founder, you’re always the founder.” That doesn’t mean, however, you’re going to play the same role if you’ve decided to bring in a CEO. How to hire a CEO for your small business

Bowser advises clients to take the time to introduce the new manager to existing staff, outline his or her responsibilities within the organization, and then clearly state that this new person has your full support. Do not tolerate end-runs around your new hire by employees who say they’re more comfortable working with you. “That will only confuse people even more and undermine the person you’ve brought in,” Bowser says. “Calmly explain that the new person is now handling some of the duties you had been and ask them to work directly with him or her. Eventually employees will get the message.” How to hire a CEO for your small business

The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2

The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2

The Secrets Of StrategyThe Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2. Of course you’ve heard that when you do what you’ve always done, you’ll likely get what you’ve always got. In this case that means playing the tactical game: coming up with acceptable–or worse–comfortable options and executing them as time permits. Likely, what you’ll get is business as usual, and things will be… well, they’ll be fine.

But “fine” may not be what you’re after, and you are probably reading a series called “How to Create Strategies That Work” so you can do better — perhaps much better…

And if you are willing to take some time and do your homework: the research, inquiry, analysis, synthesis, and the activation of strategy — you can add dramatically more power to each one of your individual tactics, and potentially revolutionize your entire business.The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

In the beginning of this series I showed you how to start the process of selecting a market-dominating business and marketing strategy.

The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2: The first four steps are:

– Set your vision

– Gather environmental and competitive intelligence

– Take stock of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses

– Answer the Global Strategy Question

I covered those in The Secrets of Strategy, Part 1. In this article I’m going to cover the next four steps:

– Establish decisive objectives

– Rate and rank your “SWOTs”

– Match your internal and external factors to identify strategic alternatives

– Select the highest-impact strategies for implementation

Establish Decisive Objectives

Strategy is contextual. This means you should not make any kind of strategic decision–choosing strategy A over Strategy B, for instance — without first setting a context with Decisive Objectives.

The word decisive is from the Latin decidere, which means to cut off. Decisive objectives are the goals that cut off irrelevant business opportunities and distracting details. They define the boundaries of your company’s efforts and direction, and establish the measures by which you will gauge your success. The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

This step is to select company-defining goals, the attainment of which will mean your vision has started to become a reality. These objectives or goals should relate to the following:

In what markets will you do business?

What market share will you have? Will you be a marginal player with a small percentage, a big player with a significant portion of the market, or will you dominate your market and crush all competition?

Where will you operate geographically? This question ties back to the issue of market share; you might dominate the market locally but be a small player nationally.

How much revenue and profit will you earn? Larger revenue goals will have different strategic needs. 

What impact will your business have on your industry, your community, your world?

How will you exit your business? Will you run the business and eventually pass it on to family members? Will you sell it privately? Will you go public?

These are examples of the kinds of goals which shape your company. The decisive objectives create the context for the strategy alternatives you generate.

Rate and rank your “SWOTs”

Previously, you analyzed your external environment and internal strengths and weaknesses. Now rate and rank the most important factors.

Evaluate each external factor: is it an opportunity to be taken advantage of, a threat to be defended against, or is simply something neutral you can safely ignore? Do the same for your internal factors: are they strengths to capitalize upon, weaknesses which much be bolstered or outsourced, or neutral conditions?

Using your Decisive Objectives as a guide, select amongst the potential opportunities, threats, strengths and weaknesses, those factors you consider critical to the success of your business. (Ignore the neutral factors.)

Group the critical factors into internal and external. Rate each internal factor from .01 to .99 based on its perceived importance to your business. The total should add up to 1.0. Do the same for the external factors. The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

Select the top five to ten internal factors and external factors for matching.

Match your internal and external factors to identify strategic alternatives

Matching combines each internal factor with an external factor, generating a potentially relevant strategy. A software manufacturer might match an internal strength such as flexibility with an external opportunity of a new law in a related industry, yielding a strategic alternative to reconfigure the software and provide solutions to the new legal requirements. The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

Or, a duck farmer might match his internal strength of breeding expertise with an external opportunity demanding low-fat, high-protein foods to yield a strategy selling low- fat duck.

Strengths are matched with opportunities to create SO strategies. These are generally your strongest, highest leverage options. Strengths match with threats to create ST strategies. These use your natural assets to minimize external threats to existing revenue streams and your current competitive position. But since the best defense is often a strong offense, you may find yourself reverting to an SO strategy — typically a better alternative.

WO strategies use external opportunities to reduce the impact of internal weaknesses. Of course, you may simply choose to put your resources into areas of strength and outsource weak factors. The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

WT strategies are the weakest of all: defensive approaches designed to minimize internal weaknesses or external threats. Sometimes necessary to protect weakening revenue streams, there are often other, more powerful approaches that take better advantage of company strengths. The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

This process is often called SWOT, named for the four types of internal and external factors. I prefer to call it SOT, since the most powerful options will not pay much attention to weaknesses. In our business philosophy you will gain more ground more quickly by amplifying and exploiting your strengths and outsourcing — or ignoring — the areas in which you are weak.

Select specific strategies for implementation

At this point many people choose to intuitively select which strategies to pursue. Others may prefer to bring rigor to the ranking process. This final step combines your various subjective analyses into a defined framework, giving each strategy a strategic impact score.

Compare your new strategic alternatives to your list of critical factors to find those factors affected by each strategy. For each match, rank the attractiveness of the strategy relative to the factor from 1-4 (1-not attractive, 2-somewhat attractive, 3-reasonably attractive, 4-highly attractive) and multiply it by the factor’s rating (.01 – .99). Sum all the scores for that strategy into a total “strategic impact score.” The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

Lastly, select your go-forward strategies based on the highest strategic impact scores.

This is a demanding process with many steps, but it is well worth the effort. The strategies you create will take greatest of advantage of your strengths and opportunities, while protecting your company most effectively against threats and weaknesses. They will provide your company with leverage to make the most of your assets, your competitive position and your markets, all while insuring your strategies are consistent with your company’s vision and goals.

Important notice for strategy-minded entrepreneurs:

Strategy creation is a long road to hoe, and goes much more smoothly when you know what questions to ask and in what sequence. To make it easier for you and your senior team, I’ve created the Growth Strategy Roadmap.

This program of flowcharts, questions, checklists, and detailed processes takes you through the entire progression of evaluating your external and internal environments, and provides all the steps and forms necessary to generate matched options, and rate, rank and select a high-leverage, high-growth strategy. The Secrets Of Strategy – Part 2 Of 2.

(c) Copyright Paul Lemberg. All rights reserved

Top Chef Q & A: Lessons on Managing When Things Heat Up

By Susan Caminiti.

At Gramercy Tavern in New York City—consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in the country—Executive Chef Michael Anthony (right), 44, oversees a kitchen staff of nearly 70 people and knows a thing or two about leading a team in a pressure-filled environment. He recently spoke with business writer Susan Caminiti about learning to delegate, the best ways to motivate employees, and why it’s important for the boss to occasionally disconnect from the action.
SC: Running a kitchen is often portrayed as such a command-and-control way of leading. Is that accurate?

MA: It can be, but my style is actually a bit counter-intuitive to the restaurant industry, where the golden rule is that the guest always comes first. The number one goal at Gramercy is to take care of each other. When I first came here in 2006 and met [owner] Danny Meyer, I felt like we had a number of things in common when it came to managing people, and I felt drawn to his sense of respect and devotion to his employees. That business philosophy felt attractive and comfortable to me.
SC: How does it play out in your management style?

MA: When it comes to managing people, there’s no such thing as one size fits all. It’s one size fits one. Each person brings individual talents and needs to be motivated in a different way. By recognizing that, I’ve become a better leader and we’ve become a better team. I feel confident in my ability to cook great food and to teach people how to be great cooks, but we are a much better restaurant when we tap into the individual talents of the people I’ve chosen to be part of the staff.
SC: That sounds incredibly time consuming. How do you manage it?

MA: You’re right—it takes an enormous amount of time, attention, and energy but that’s part of the mission of being a good leader. Certainly half of my job is creating and cooking great dishes and serving them in a wonderful way. But the other half is effectively managing the folks that I work with. In my line of business we are bound by the hours of the restaurant and in our case it’s from noon until the end of the evening, sometimes midnight or later. Some of that meaningful conversation with my staff happens after the dinner service ends at midnight or 1 am. That’s challenging, so as a good manager I’m always trying to balance what’s best for the restaurant with what’s best for that individual.
PQ_QAtopchef.jpgSC: What mistakes did you make early on?

MA: As a young chef I made the mistake of believing that I could do it all. The problem with that is that you can’t sustain it. I realized through lots of guidance and time that if I don’t have energy to give to my team, I really don’t have much to offer.
SC: How did you overcome that desire to do it all?

MA: First, I’ll say it wasn’t a matter of not trusting people. It was simply a selfish decision on my part—I love cooking so much and I didn’t want to miss one moment of it. I wanted to be in the center of it at every moment. I think a lot of leaders are like that. In order to change I had to learn: How do I formulate my ideas, share them in a clear, poised way, and make sure that I create realistic and ambitious expectations for the people who work for me? I have to be able to take a step back to make sure we’re putting our top managers in a position to respond creatively to issues and problems that come up every day. It can’t always be me. And that’s one of the benefits of making employees feel understood and valued: they look forward to coming to work and appreciate those ambitious expectations. Champions want to be challenged.
SC: What if someone isn’t meeting those expectations?

MA: We have something at Gramercy called “continuous gracious pressure.” In practical terms that means if there is an issue with an employee, it sometimes takes active coaching on my part or on the part of one of my sous chefs. So if there is someone on our staff who is falling short and just not understanding something that’s important, it requires more individual contact and dialogue.
SC: How do you balance the time needed for big picture thinking and the daily obligations of running a very busy kitchen?

MA: I used to call that big picture time “walk-in time” because it would happen late at night when I would stroll through the prep and walk-in areas of our kitchen and hold ingredients, just waiting for those moments of inspiration to come up with dishes for the next day or week. It just wasn’t sustainable. I would find myself in the restaurant until 3 a.m. and then not in a good position to be back in the next day for morning prep time.
SC: How did you fix that?

MA: I figured out how many hours a day I needed to be productive in those creative areas and made it part of my schedule. So there are now 2½ hours in my week that are as important as any meeting or any lunch or dinner service. They are ‘do not book’ hours and they are sacred. Sometimes I’ll spend it in my office; other times I’ll actually be in the middle of the busy kitchen working on menu development and nothing else.
SC: What’s the benefit of doing it that way?

MA: What could be more important than taking the time to develop the cooking that we do? However, I had to learn to be disciplined about it. I had to communicate ahead of time with my staff to remind them what I was working on without getting frustrated. When I communicate well people are actually happy I’m doing this because there’s a payoff for them: new dishes, better organization, a better-run restaurant. So while it could feel a little off-putting in the beginning because it looked like I wasn’t responding to questions, people quickly understood and actually rallied around it.
SC: What is still the biggest challenge for you?

MA: All of it! But seriously, if I say no to something, then I better be able to be honest and open about why I’m saying no. And if I say yes, then everybody needs to understand why I said yes. If the reasoning is murky then it’s very difficult for people to turn around and offer creative ideas. They don’t understand what makes an idea successful or valid. In a highly creative environment, leaders have to make sure they’re not allowing their emotions—whether that be pride or insecurity—get in the way.