Looking back, looking forward ... a strategist's view

2016 was my second year of serious blogging.  In the last year I wrote 23 blogs and LinkedIn posts.  My focus reflects my roots: the strategy process, strategy execution, and leadership. This year corporate behaviour got a couple of (dis)honourable mentions.  Business at large didn’t have a great year in terms of  building trust and social capital with the community.

Based on reader responses, the three most popular posts this last 12 months have been:

Brexit surprised.  Trump shocked.  A strategist's view This was a recent post where the key message was articulated in the opening line: If you are not now launching a major strategic review incorporating scenario planning you will be grossly ill prepared for what may unfold over the next 5-10 years.

What's your plan to overcome the strategy-execution deficit? Simply put, too many organisations are serial under-performers in strategy execution.  We have known this for 20-30 years.  Why is it so?  My blog touches on some of the issues, but if you don’t have time for a 3 minute read, here’s one reason: lack of clarity.  Clarity around context; strategy; priorities and their role.  Executives presume too much. 

Can someone help me please?  I'm stuck The headline captures the story of an executive at a strategy execution workshop I ran.  In this blog I offer five ideas to increase the prospect of success.  If you still talk about the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ side of management, surprise, the biggest lever is in the ‘soft’ dimension.

One of my regular readers, an adviser to major global hedge funds, found the following one particularly interesting (thanks Aria):

The cost of presumptions - international case studies  Presumptions are assumptions that are accepted as a ‘social fact’.  This makes them more dangerous than assumptions.  Assumptions should be explicitly identified and can be tested.  But we remain blind to our own presumptions.

I love the process of writing, so I love most of my offspring.  But perhaps my favourite this year was Strategy fundamentals - better practice, not neater theories.  It reflects my bias.  I often describe the strategy process as one of immersion, synthesis and simplification.  This blog talks to that process.

Well, that was my year.  What might next year hold?

The catalysts for my writing are usually conversations with friends and clients, particular insights that resonate when I’m teaching strategy, or recent news events.  But here are three ideas that I expect to blog on in the new year.

Origin and corporate strategy.  For the last 3-4 years as I’ve taught corporate strategy on an MBA program I argued that the Origin business model had become confused.  With the unpacking of the business model now underway, one of my former MBA students is encouraging me to share my thoughts.  What can we learn from this case study?

Technology and organisations.  Isaac Asimov once wrote: “the saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”.  I think this is a profound truth.  What are the implications of this for organisations?

Strategic Intelligence. A former colleague used to talk about SQ: the strategic intelligence.  It is an obvious analogue of EQ and IQ.  But what is it really?  How can we develop stronger SQ?  And where does courage fit into the equation?  A former tech sector CEO once observed “the most important decisions tested my courage more than my intelligence”.

Well, that's it from me for 2016.  I've enjoyed blogging.  I hope you enjoy reading my posts.  I encourage you  subscribe to my blog, and share with your friends.  I also welcome your feedback and comments.  Or feel free to engage with me via email.  

DDB ... a strategist's view