A Project That Matters

Having projects that are fun, enjoyable, challenging, and meaningful to the customer are rewarding opportunities. But projects like these rarely happen. And I really haven’t been able to find these opportunities through business development.  I think the secret is that these kinds of projects are often times hidden and unknown, especially to the outsider.

We have a project like this now. Our experiences are a very good fit with the client needs. Generally speaking, the client resources are welcoming and open and sharing–they want things to get better. The engagement involves quite a bit of strategy; what we are doing now is not why the client brought us in. Most importantly, we believe the results of our efforts will make a significant difference in the company’s bottom line and also the culture.

This is the type of project that keeps me going. This is why I love what I do.

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Paralyze: Over Analyze or Under Utilize

James Ryan recently posted a blog “Paralysis by Analysis? What about Paralysis by Action?”

We’ve seen both situations. Analyze something to death. And believing actions equal progress. Check out the post at Lotus Development and leave a comment.

The Little Things Do Count

On my trip to the PO box today, I had a card from Mike Auger of Barger Packaging. Inside the card was a small present. Mike made a “bag tag” by laminating my business card.

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Yeah, the bag tag is a small token. But it really means something to me. Barger hasn’t been a client of Creo Quality, nor have we been a client of theirs. I met Mike at a recent INpact meeting (both Barger and Creo Quality are members). Because of this kind gesture, I’m anxious to learn more about Barger Packaging’s products and services. Because of this, Barger Packaging will be “top of mind”. It’s clear to me that Mike Auger understands the power of networking. It’s clear to me that Mike is a good networker. Sending the bag tag to me has convinced me of this before I’ve even worked directly with Mike or Barger Packaging.

The little things do count. What little things are you doing to connect with your audience?

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January Whiteboard Session: 2020 Strategic Vision

On January 8th from 10am to 11:30am I lead a discussion called “2020 Strategic Vision” at our monthly Whiteboard Session, hosted by Tomato Fish Marketing. Below is a list of helpful links from articles, books, etc. that we find useful in developing a 2020 Strategic Vision.

Curious what our Whiteboard Sessions are like? Take a look a the short 4 minute clip of the January Whiteboard Session below.

You can also view excerpts from previous Whiteboard Strategy Sessions on the Creo Quality YouTube channel.

Tactics & Strategy – Tricky To Keep Balanced

I saw a “tweet” today asking Robby Slaughter of Slaughter Development to define tactics and strategy. This is a topic that’s near and dear to Creo Quality.

Robby responded with an article on the topic “Choosing Tactics or Strategy”.  Here are a couple excerpts:

A successful organization needs both a grand plan and everyday victories. Yet, if an employee is struggling to complete all of their work or is mired by inefficient procedures or policies, listening to the CEO talk vaguely about his dreams for the company will probably demoralize rather than inspire. Thinking big is important, but a sweeping vision will never materialize if everyday tasks are not done quickly and correctly.

Sometimes companies do need a strategic plan with broad objectives and targets measured in years and major initiatives; however before an organization can think big, it must be able to successfully achieve small tasks completely and efficiently. Large sweeping changes will flounder and likely fail if the everyday details are not in order. An emphasis on tactics—and especially on empowering individuals to take charge of their workflow—not only increases productivity, but helps build stakeholder satisfaction.

Robby is correct, except it should be “tactics and strategy” not “tactics or strategy”. In my experience, there are too many tactics and not enough strategy. Why is this the case? My suspicion is one of two things:

  • Executive leadership defines a vision so grandiose and vague that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to execute. Basically, big strategy with little regard to tactics.
  • Executive leadership believes they are being strategic but really are purely tactical.

Dream big. Have those BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals). But be sure to come down closer to Earth to develop a sound strategic plan and then execute with tactics that are within your team’s capabilities.

Remember:

Strategy – Core directional choices that will best move you toward your hoped-for future

Tactics – Specific actions that will best implement your strategies.

If you are still stuck, contact Slaughter Development to help you with tactical plans and contact Creo Quality to help with strategic plans.

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Communication Break Down (Updated)

During the past week, I was approached by two people asking me if I would like to join and be part of an advisory board for a networking group–let’s call it “CloudKickers” (name changed to protect the innocent). In each case, I told the person I used to be a member of CloudKickers but resigned my membership a couple months ago. Neither realized I used to be a member. Both mentioned, though, that my name came up often by the leadership of CloudKickers as a person to target for membership.

Do these people communicate?

My primary reason for leaving CloudKickers was personal. I just didn’t have the time to devote to meetings and networking within this group because of other commitments. But the communication, or rather lack there of, was a minor concern.

Here is a tip for any networking group, project team, company, relationship, etc. Your communication is always inadequate. Perfect communication is not attainable. However, striving for perfect communication will result in excellent communication.

Update: I received an email yesterday from the CloudKickers organization. Here it is (again, names have been changed to protect the innocent):

We have compiled a list of CloudKickers that seem to fit the ideal member for “Walkways to Excellence” and YOU made the list.
“Walkways to Excellence” is one of our program hubs (program meaning it is speaker-driven rather than an activity-driven event).  The speaker is an intergral part of big business here in the city.  All of the speakers we have had so far have been really great!
Consider “Walkways to Excellence” a filter that gets all of the people who provide products and services to large companies ALL IN ONE ROOM!
The person who sent this email definitely knows I have NOT been a member for a few months. Despite my requests to be removed from all CloudKicker email lists, I still remain on a few. Of course it’s easy to delete an unwanted message. No big deal. However, I’ve talked to many, many people who are on CloudKicker email lists, have asked to be removed, and yet continue to receive messages.
Communication break down.

When Tactics Drown Out Strategy (from Seth Godin)

If you don’t read Seth Godin’s blog, you should.

Here is a link to his recent post “When Tactics Drown Out Strategy“. This sums it up pretty well, don’t you think?

What Is Your Hoped-For Future?

Are you just going through the motions? Or are you on the path of your hoped-for future? If not, maybe it’s time to start.

I recently blogged about a new book, Being Strategic. I ordered and received my copy a few weeks back. A couple days later, Erika Andersen–the author, sent a signed copy (thanks, Erika!).

At the time of this post, I’m over 50% done with my first read. I’m going through this pretty quickly the first time. The second read will be more deliberate. I’ve read enough, though, that I’m ready to share some thoughts.

Let me share Erika’s definitions for STRATEGY and TACTICS:

Strategy – core directional choices that will best move you toward your hoped-for future.

Tactics – specific actions that will best implement your strategies.

Maybe you prefer other definitions for these terms. For me, Erika says it best. What is your hoped-for future? What actions are you taking to achieve this?

Not sure you are cut out for this? Here is a little more guidance about being strategic: