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It’s A Kegs’n Eggs Strategy – Part I

KegsEggsORDPainting The Strategic River Green

We are days away from the traditional St. Patrick’s Day boozer,  and many of our peers and colleagues will participate in the annual PTO Rite of Spring throughout every US time zone and beyond.  While the weather can still be suspect in the windy city, it’s always a thrill to see the Chicago River turned green regardless if Ferris takes a day off or not. The North Fountain will add a bit’o’green at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and every self-respecting Irish-American and others alike will partake in Kegs’n Eggs or some similar derivative.

Why? Because March is Irish-American Heritage month, because it’s a ritual handed down since The Charitable Irish Society of Boston gave birth to this celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in 1737 and because it’s what we’ve always done.  Ahh, there’s the answer – “it’s how we’ve always done it before” – really!  Every year, Irish-Americans and non-Irish alike appear to be energized with the opportunity to down green beer, fight for the best view near Grant Park or get a glimpse of the sole participant headed to the Boll Weevil Monument down in Enterprise, AL.  Subtle nuances change yearly at every venue, however the focus is the same. It’s a celebration of culture, of a heritage that has contributed to society for over two plus centuries. So what stokes the fires of such a passionate culture? It’s their vision to pass along the rituals and customs of their heritage.

Before I imbibe mas verde cervezas, let me challenge “How we’ve always done it before.” One sure way to set yourself up for impending failure is to continue life’s journey with a how we’ve always done it before mindset. In our global world of business defining your strategic vision is simply relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests; the means of achieving them and the faculty or state of being able to see the fruition of these aims or interests. In whole or in part, this over arching vision of “what do we want to be when we grow up and how do we get there” tends to be formulated in the daunting task of, insert bold theatrical music here, The Strategic Plan.

For those of you that Strategy is NOT a pressing issue, go grab a beer.  Where Strategy is important to you, let’s peel back the onion a bit.

Some of you have a strategy, but struggle with getting it implemented. Some of you struggle with getting consensus or you can’t agree on what the strategy should be. Some of you find the entire process tedious and invasive having some outsider come in with generic hooey you already know. Some of you have the forethought to include the team or the organization as a development tool.

Sadly for some it’s just a document in a binder collecting dust alongside a myriad of crap on your bookshelf, instead of the living, breathing purpose of everyday life in your Tower of Ivory. Countless hours, meeting notes, workgroups, teams, water cooler conversations and break-out sessions went into the now dormant de facto reference that governs how and what we supposedly work by.

  • How do we break out of the doldrums and resuscitate life back into it?
  • How did it not become important?
  • Why bother?

This sense of disappointment was captured in a McKinsey Quarterly survey from a panel of nearly 800 executives from around the world: just 45 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the strategic-planning process. All panelists have mostly financial or strategic responsibilities and work in a wide range of industries for organizations with revenues of at least $500 million. Moreover, only 23 percent indicated major strategic decisions were made within its confines. So why bother with the exercise?

Without question, the Big Picture questions revolve around customers, competitors, products and services and your market discipline – what your company does best – and finally the internal and external factors facing the enterprise today and tomorrow.

  • What does your company do better than anyone else?
  • What can your company do to dominate your market from your product or service? 
  • What can your company do to dominate your competitors? 
  • What underlying currents exist with your customers and how is your relationship evolving?

KegsEggsAnswers to all of your questions and the underlying themes inside our discussion will continue tomorrow. There’s only so many hours in the day, and we’ll share critical components in a practical, effective manner everyone in your organization can embrace.

Strategy requires leadership – Elegant Leadership. Leaders need the right attitudes and behaviors to execute the strategy efficiently and effectively. Executing your strategy will be more effective and efficient when Leadership can communicate the strategic direction with clarity and purpose. An engaged group of employees is more likely to work together to implement challenging strategies. An engaged group of high performing teams work well together when implementing the strategic plan. Creating a high-performing culture can be a strategic initiative and a company with a high-performing culture understand and appreciates the need for a solid strategy.

Whether you’re looking to set or improve your strategic direction, improve the effectiveness of communicating strategic direction, explore in-depth how to communicate the plan with influence and impact, marshal resources to engage the employees, and implementing challenging strategies, then working together may make sense to you and for your company’s success.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to check out more articles and information on our programs on our website, and connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or call +1-205-482-2177 to talk more about Strategy and Culture. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s continuation of Kegs ‘n Eggs.

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