Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer
“What will make this time different?”
Answering this question requires you and your team to understand what came before. What stopped your prior strategies from being truly successful or what conditions and people are different today? For me, it was trying to do too much and not effectively aligning our people’s skills to the right projects.
So, each time we look at our own strategy – both the content and the execution plan – we challenge each other to find the flaw, the barrier, and design ways around it so that each time is better than the last, and the company and our people continue to grow.
If the team you have engaged to help you doesn’t first try to understand where and how it broke down, and simply comes in with the approach that has “worked for all these other clients”, then you risk falling into the same traps. Be self-aware, step back and check your progress, hold yourself and your team accountable, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Make this time different.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. Focused on innovation, Arc Aspicio provides services in strategy, design, human capital, operations, analytics and visualization, technology, and information sharing. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude, provides leadership opportunities, and explores the future. Our teams use a human-centered approach to working with clients and are flexible and responsive within dynamic Government client environments that often have new priorities and evolving missions. We thrive on these situations and promote continuous improvement and new ideas. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.
I’ll admit it, I was a little smug. After more than 20 years in the consulting business helping clients develop, implement, and integrate their strategies, I thought… “how hard could it be to do the same things for my own company – a company of consultants?” I had the commitment of my leadership, a group of talented people, and a plan and resources to grow the company. We had energy and we had a great process and tools to successful. What could go wrong?
As strategy consultants, we help clients solve their most persistent challenges. The resulting root causes and associated solutions and plans are often like ones the client (even if the client is your own organization) has tried before. And then the hard work of following through on the powerful ideas begins….and begins to fall apart. The sticky point of any strategy was also a sticky point for us – focusing our leadership team on the strategic investments in a sustained way so that we can fully integrate the changes into our operations.
I won’t go into all the best practices and things that you should do to make your strategy successful. There are hundreds of books and articles that already lay out all the steps and behaviors. What I will do is arm you with the one question I learned to ask, and you should ask your team, your consultants, or yourself (as leaders) before you embark on this strategy or change journey.