Showing posts from July, 2023

Critical thinking - scanning the environment

The first place to look for opportunities and problems is within the organisation. For this, you can use a STACK analysis to get a good understanding of the current situation in the business. Strategy Tolerance for risk & change Available resources Configuration Knowledge & skills A STACK analysis helps us to do a few things: Get a good understanding of the current state of the organisation and its readiness to implement change Understand how well-aligned the organisation is from the top, where strategy is developed, down to individual contributors Consider whether there are sufficient resources to take actions you need Identify whether the way the organisation is set up would be helpful to grasping opportunities or addressing problems Understand whether additional expertise might need to be brought in from outside. Once you’ve understood the internal situation in the organisation, it’s time to look at whats going on externally which could affect your strategy. For this

Why you need to think critically as a leader

Remember, the internal and external environments are constantly changing. The organisations which react best to these changing circumstances are the organisations who will thrive whatever the conditions. It’s important to remember certain characteristics which connect opportunities and problems with time: the longer you leave them unaddressed, the benefit of advantages decreases, and the impact of problems increases. What this means, is that to take advantage of any situation in the work environment, speed is of the essence – you need to spot opportunities and problems more quickly, and take action once you’ve identified them.

Critical thinking styles

One of the key elements of your role as a leader, is to think critically about the situation around you and ahead of you in the organisation, and make any adjustments you can to maximise your team’s performance whatever the environment. Critical thinking is the ability to analyse a situation to get the best outcome, making reasoned decisions which are logical and well thought-out. It’s about how to follow your instinct confidently. To be a great critical thinker, it’s not just about analysing situations. There are 5 distinct thinking styles which you need to employ as you look to take advantage of any situation. Those styles, in chronological order, are: •    Reflective: Understanding what’s happened in the past to bring you to where you are today. •    Strategic: Setting a long-term goal of where you’d like to be, with a high-level idea of how to get there. •    Creative: Developing creative, innovative ideas to achieve the strategy through your team. •    Tactical: Fo

Working strategically with your team

I’ve talked in the past about having a vision for your team – this describes where you want the team to be at a set point in the future, and should guide all decisions you make with and about your team. This team vision fits into a wider strategic approach to running your team – you need a strategy for what the team will achieve, and you also need to ensure that the team strategy is aligned with strategies above you in the organisation. Organisational strategy works something like this…   There’s an organisational strategy set from the top. There are then X number of divisional strategies which feed down from this. The sum of all the divisional strategies should achieve the organisational strategy. The next level down is team strategies, and even within your team, you could have functional strategies: the individual tasks and KPIs for each team member. A solid organisational approach to strategy means that all the lowest level parts, when combined, achieve the organisational strategy.

Using the right persona in the right situation

Here's a follow-on from last week's post about the 3 leadership personas ... Now that you understand the 3 critical personas, it’s up to you to decide when you should be using each to get the best performance from your team. There are different requirements of your employees as they go through their working week. Taking a sales team as an example, they might sometimes need help to plan strategically, or advice on how to spot opportunities and problems for their clients in order to open up sales opportunities. Sometimes they might need to be coached on how to approach a sales call or meeting, and will need feedback afterwards. And other times they’ll need you to step in directly to share your own sales experience to help them close a deal. Over time, you should look to reduce the amount of time you spend being the expert and increase the time you spend being a manager and a leader. Try to aim for a 40/40/20 split between leader, manager and expert. If you can ach