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New Strategies. (#84)

The Confident Leader

There is an old Saturday Night Live skit with Bob Newhart.  He plays a psychologist whose sole remedy for his patient’s ailments is, “Stop it!” He repeats this mantra no matter the disorder offered by his patient. It’s hilarious on one level and good wisdom for leaders on another.

The person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.
— Benjamin Franklin

This Week’s Edition

If it’s working KEEP doing it. If it’s not, STOP. What new strategies do you need to explore and perhaps START doing?

Clarify Your Thinking

For leaders, if your strategy is not working, channel your inner Bob Newhart, “Stop it.” If your strategy is working then, “Keep it.”  In theory it’s really that simple.  Let’s explore.

Your organization’s current level of success has been a product of your current strategies, but what got you here may not be sufficient to get you to the next level of growth you desire. You may need to START doing some new things. 

Our traditional way of doing business has been slowly disrupted over the past decade.  Technology has disrupted many conventional industries: print media, music, financial services, etc… 

The global pandemic has disrupted our workforce – quarantines, illness, work from home and the great resignation. Add to that, volatile markets, supply chain issues and a war. 

Doing business the old way is gone. Doing business today and into the future requires something “new” – new thinking, new ideas, new people and new strategies. 

Anything new requires change.  Change requires flexibility, adaptability, and innovation. Sometimes there are too many options other times no new ideas. All this leaves leaders questioning their next strategic move and on the edge of doubt.


Thoughts Lead to Actions

The leadership textbook says leaders should evaluate their current strategies on a quarterly basis. To do that evaluation, leaders often use a framework like a current state assessment:

  1. What’s working?

  2. What’s not working?

  3. What’s missing?

Keep doing what’s working. These are your enduring strategies – things you have mastered that are best practices. They are tried and true initiatives that generate the results you desire on a consistent basis.  

Stop doing what’s not working. Reclaim stolen leadership mental cycles on initiatives that have run their course or have never fully produced the results intended.  Regain capacity.  Stop it!

Begin ideating on new things. Fill the gap of what’s missing. Discover those ideas you might want to knight as exploring strategies.  Here are two steps to move you in that direction:

Step 1: Schedule a half day strategy session. The end of the quarter is in two weeks, perfect timing for your new quarterly strategy session as suggested by Pat Lencioni in his book, Death by Meeting.

Step 2: Facilitate that meeting to surface new ideas and/or new ways to do existing processes/initiatives.  Set the ground rules so everyone is clear that there are:

  • No bad ideas like, “that’s silly.”

  • No negative comments like, “we can’t do that.”

  • No analysis like, “we’ve never done that before.”

  • No financial critique like, “we don’t have budget for that.”

  • No historical statements, “we tried that already and it didn’t work.”

These steps may lead you to your Exploring Strategies that complement your Enduring Strategies.

Boost Your Performance

Before you haul off and launch a new idea, throwing time, money, and talent at a good idea, determine how you might test the idea to learn what works and what doesn’t. Consider engaging a focus group or initiating a pilot program. While everything sounds good on the whiteboard, not every theoretical brilliant idea should become a full-blown strategy. Test and learn. 

What’s Your Opinion?

What ideas are you currently exploring? Share with me at:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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