strategic planning

A 11-post collection

Technology4Directors: Boards need the capacity and capability to oversight technology and digital strategy

Last Friday I moderated a most insightful and highly experienced panel of Elizabeth Proust, Graeme Samuel, Doron Ben-Meir and Andrew Walduck to guide an important gathering of board members and senior executives through the complex issues facing enterprises in applying technology to achieve goals in today’s globally connected world. It was a joy to work with a panel that had decades of experience on major company boards, directing the technology and digital strategies for major corporations, regulating Australian companies, experience in startups, entrepreneurship and government innovation systems. The lunchtime session was put together by Michael Alf and myself to examine why major technology projects too often fail to achieve the goals that were used to justify the investment, run...

Innovating on Innovation

Last month I spoke at the AICD Company Directors National Conference in Hamilton Island on the Digital Disruption Panel where I developed the theme of Innovating on Innovation. The panel was well received and I would like to summarise those ideas in this Blog. Smart enterprises innovate on innovation to drive disruption to their markets rather than waiting to be disrupted. Each new wave of innovation builds on the previous one; people and enterprises build capacity and capability wave by wave. In this scenario, learning is more important than strategy. What we need to learn is to position people and enterprises to take advantage of emerging trends and strategies. Consider the establishment of the canals between Chicago and New York...

The Death of the Salesman

In the late 1970s IBM was in full flight as the world’s most profitable company with a sales force envied by all its competitors. As a product of IBM sales training I was in New York in 1984 guiding my customer BHP on an investigation into best practice in steel information systems which gave me the chance to witness an unbelievably great performance by Dustin Hoffman in Arthur Miller’s iconic play Death of a Salesman. Miller saw his play as setting forth what happens when a man does not have a grip on the forces of life. Today buyers are globally connected and are engaging with other similar buyers as well as with experienced users on case studies...

Is Technology a Top 10 Board Issue?

Technology has changed how people communicate, collaborate and behave, creating better ways of working, learning and living which in turn is changing how organisations can be designed. Consequent changes to the economy and society are profound. Boards of many organisations are ill equipped to meet this challenge. Just as decisions on war are too important to leave to the generals, in today’s world decisions on technology are too important to be left to the CIO and external consultants. A good board must have a real understanding of the opportunities and threats, and increasingly directors must have either a technology background, or had a senior executive role that developed a working knowledge of technology issues. A corollary of this is...

Many IT projects fail to deliver the benefits identified in the business plan, exceed their budget and are delivered late.

Is poor governance the issue and if so what must be done to fix the problem? * What is the problem? Complex IT projects usually have a well-documented business case before any organisation will allocate the significant resources required for such projects. This investment is made in anticipation of IT projects delivering significant returns. The problem begins right here because the business objectives, the business environment and the technology are fixed in time when the business case is approved but in reality they all change during the life of any complex IT project. Properly governing and effectively managing a complex ICT project demands that changing business objectives, the changing business environment and the changing technology must be constantly realigned to produce...

Small Business Boards: Practice Vs Theory

The public and private feedback to my last post lamented that the real world does not usually align with my description of how boards should operate. But others like Dan Stojanovichopined that “boards do need considered, intelligent, informed, compassionate, practical, adventurous, creative, ethical and shrewd thinking, in order for the board to help clarify vision, articulate a binding narrative and motivate people to commit to the plan within an environment and culture which not only facilitates but energises planned achievement.” The Most Important to Get Right Human relationships– a Chairman, CEO and board members who collaborate, cooperate and who are effective communicators will usually add more value than a board lacking these qualities. Therefore as noted in my earlier Blog...

Company Boards that Create Value

The value that a board can bring a small to medium sized company is to: assess the context and environment within which the company operates provide independent evaluation of management access to important relationships not otherwise available to management drive strategic planning, and verify the execution of plans Directors need to give valuable insights, assessments, contacts/networks and leverage to bring about results not otherwise available to the company or they need to be able to get those things or they should get off the board. Get the Basics Right Getting the board and management structure right is tricky. Boards must set the goals (desired results) and strategy (approach to achieve results) for the company whilst ensuring that the necessary...

Increasing Business Value in Business Planning

How to make the best decisions on what your business should do in the short and medium term At this time of the year many small businesses are in the middle of their planning for the next financial year. Some engage external facilitators, others involve their trusted business advisor or accountant. No matter how it is done the goal is to make the most of your resources and add as much value to your business as is possible. Easier said than done! To increase the value of the business, business planning must influence everyday activities so that all activities are aligned with the company goals. Critically these activities have to produce the outcomes necessary to achieve the desired company goals....

Set Direction Align Actions to Goals

Engage your staff to align their every day tasks to company goals Since I sold my business in 2007 I have worked with a number of talented entrepreneurs to rapidly grow their businesses. I’ve enjoyed sharing my 25 years experience but because I no longer have the pressures of running my own business I’ve been able to reflect on our decisions and actions and feel I’ve been much more objective about what is working and which strategies have added the most value. In this Blog I discuss how the ideas in my earlier Blogs and this presentation have been applied and what I’ve learnt. In competitive fast growing markets the leaders of successful companies rarely have...

Mass Collaboration is Driving Specialisation

The things we are best at we enjoy doing The converse is also true the things we don’t do so well we rarely enjoy doing. Most small businesses are built around the passion and specific expertise of the founder. But there are many things that must be done if a small business is to grow and prosper.  Cold calls must be made to find prospects. Proposal written before contracts are signed. The work must be done well to meet the needs of the customers. Invoices must be prepared and sent before the cash can be collected for all the good work done. The accounts must be kept to financially manage the business. Be honest with yourself. Think about your...