How services firms should think about what they do to help leaders turn ideas into benefits.

Framework for Service Providers along the Idea-to-Benefit Cycle

There are many ways to provide value to leaders who seek to turn ideas into benefits!  Service providers need to get and stay clear about how they help leaders in order to perform and grow to their full potential.

Click the figure to view a presentation on how to think about helping leaders turn ideas into benefits.

How anyone can use a leadership system to increase the odds of organization success sooner.

The Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World workbook presents leaders with content, work problems, cases, and templates. The collective work product forms the essential elements of a multi-year strategic plan that communicates how the organization sees itself, where it is headed, how it will get there, and what it will do to ensure the plan is achieved.

Those who read, study, and practice Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World know and appreciate that seven leadership truths and actions that make sense in light of them, when applied correctly, lead an organization to perform and grow according to its plan.

The truths and their actions guide leaders to describe: where their organization is now, where they want it to be next, how it will get there, and increase the odds of getting it there sooner.

The seven truths and the actions they drive are each summarized below. Click on the icon at left to get a close look at each truth and a summary of the actions it drives. Page back and click on the action headers at right for a look at the introduction to that segment of the workbook.

Get Clear

Get Clear – Describe the organization in terms of whose problem it solves, how (as in how does it: do, sell, and grow what it does), how well (compared to: others, its past, and relative to its plan and projections). Lay out how its finances work with an income statement, cash flow, and balance sheet for the past two years, current four quarters, and two years hence. Continue reading

How leaders can upgrade status report submissions with one-on-one meetings to increase the odds of better results sooner.

Stick Figures of Leaders in ActionLeaders whose direct reports submit regular (e.g., monthly) status reports on progress, problems, and plans should consider re-working their approach to include more frequent (e.g., bi-weekly), one-on-one, real-time (in person or via the Web) meetings to discuss submitted progress reports and to collaborate and align on how things are going, priorities, and next steps. Specifically, top leaders ask each direct report to prepare and submit a day or so ahead of meeting one-on-one:

  • An update on progress since last time including a read-out of measures previously agreed upon to track progress.
  • A list of the top three or so things s/he is working on, and for each:
    • What s/he seeks to accomplish
    • What has been done so far to accomplish it
    • What has happened as a result of what has been done so far
    • What has been learned from above
    • What s/he plans to do  next.
  • What s/he needs from their leaders and/or from others in the organization to be successful.

    Continue reading

Business Guru Terry Schmidt reviewed Manage to Lead for the Association for Strategic Planning; here’s what he had to say:

Review by Terry Schmidt, Management Pro

PUBLISHED IN THE ASSOCIATION FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING

SEPTEMBER 2013 NEWSLETTER

Manage to Lead, by Peter DiGiammarino, presents a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.

I’m a business author and consultant who has read just about everything on management and leadership, but this soft cover book blew me away. It’s full of fresh content, practical exercises and an innovative linkage to on-line strategic planning templates and support resources. Gadzooks – this book verges on disruptive technology for strategic planning consultants!

Continue reading

Leadership development curriculum content for top executives, and those who aspire to become top executives, is now also available on Amazon.

IntelliVen blog content is now available as interactive content.

High-end leadership development curriculum content now available on Amazon.

Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.

Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World is a workbook that top educators, consultants, and executives use to help their students, clients, and staffs become effective leaders of strategic change. Manage to Lead serves as the core content for a class in Organization Leadership, Analysis, Strategy, and Development at one of the top Organization Development masters programs in the United States.

The workbook was introduced in the spring as interactive, digital content via Inkling (the leading distributor of interactive digital higher-education content) and is now also available in soft-cover from Amazon. It introduces a straightforward framework to describe and assess any organization and provides a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.

Those searching for high-end leadership development curriculum content should consider placing Manage to Lead at the center of their program. Contact the author to request related teaching artifacts including: Continue reading

How to think about and to organize Project, Client, and Offering Managers.

Clients and Offerings

Figure 1: A business with project that deliver offerings to clients.

Projects

Figure 2: Project managers deliver offering value on time, on target, and on budget.

Organizations that offer solutions to clients manage: projects, clients, and offerings as suggested in Figure 1. Managing each requires different skills and seeks to achieve different goals as outlined below.

Project Managers, see Figure 2, deliver offering value to specific clients on time, on budget, and on target. Project Managers are also counted on to extend and expand engagements in order to deliver even greater value over a longer time frame. Continue reading

Manage to Lead now available as interactive, digital content powered by the leading provider for higher education textbooks.

MtL_Cover_optManage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World is now available as an interactive digital workbook at inkling.com.

Click on the book cover icon to access its catalog entry on inkling.com.  Download the free chapter to try it out on any iPad, any iPhone, or on any Mac or PC using the Chrome browser.

Manage to Lead will soon also be available in print and as an e-book at Amazon.  Access from Android devices is slated for later in 2013

The interactive, digital workbook has:

  • Work problems,
  • Templates,
  • Animations,
  • Assessments,
  • Videos,
  • Graphics, and
  • Executive team exercises and meeting agendas.

Continue reading

How to test for and secure top team alignment on key matters to improve the odds of long term growth and performance.

Get AlignedLeadership teams need to get clear about:

Countless other day-to-day matters that will eventually impact long term organization performance and growth demand similar attention.  Many leaders struggle to reach a good, a better, or even a best solution to each.  Continue reading

Announcing: Manage to Lead — Seven Truths to Help You Change the World

Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.

Peter DiGiammarino will present a one-hour summary of his Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World framework, that can be used to describe and assess any organization, at the Northern Virginia Society for Human Resource Managers dinner meeting on April 30.

He will also provide a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance. Continue reading

How to use the Change Framework to turn initiatives into action.

The following blog post has been upgraded and incorporated into an enhanced interactive, digital workbook called Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World. IntelliVen visitors are invited to click here to view the updated and improved content on Inkling.

If the leader thinks s/he knows what needs to change and that everyone is aligned, ask: “How do you know your team knows what you want to do; why don’t we ask them just to verify? If they all say what you expect them to say, a positive step towards getting what you want done will have been taken just by bringing it to the center of their attention. If it turns out that some or all of the team are not as aligned as expected, then remedial steps can be taken.”

Survey the leader’s top team and ask them each:

  • To describe the current state, that is: how things are today.
  • What really good things happen if we change and what really bad things happen if we do not?
  • To describe how things would be in the future if their ideal changes were successfully implemented.
  • What needs to be done in order to get from where things are today to where things would ideally be next?
  • What will make it hard to do what needs to be done in order to get from today to the targeted next state?

Review results with the leader to bring him/her up to speed on the group’s data. Look for and discuss fully any points the leader finds confusing or surprising.

Convene an offsite with the leader and the leadership team to review collected data, reach consensus on each of the five topics, and decide what needs to be done. At the offsite, review survey responses one question at a time in the order above. Highlight responses that are the same or similar thereby indicating progress towards consensus. Guide the group to discuss the data until agreement is reached on how things are today, why things need to change, and how things would be if the desired change had been implemented.

Use the Change Framework to make the case for each Strategic Initiative.

The diagram in Figure-1 presents a convenient way to visualize and store the group’s consensus in a Change Framework diagram similar to that originally introduced by Richard Beckhard and Wendy Pritchard in Changing the Essence: The Art of Creating and Leading Fundamental Change in Organizations, Jossey-Bas Inc., San Francisco, 1992.

 

Fill out the Change Framework to make a clear and compelling case for each initiative.  Iterate with the team until all members are crystal clear about each initiative.

If participants share their thinking openly, fully, and honestly they can go a long way towards achieving clarity and alignment. An effective leader then holds the results of these efforts and furthers their development, communicates progress to stakeholders, and assigns, aligns and drives resources in their pursuit.

Figure-2: Follow the above tips to build a clear and compelling case for the change driven by each initiative.

A well formulated initiative, using the Change Framework, tells a story about where things are, why they need to change, how things would be if the intended change occurred and what must be done to get from here to there. A well crafted change framework is rational, compelling, and flows smoothly from the present through to the future.

Follow the tips in Figure-2 to piece together the context and the story for each of the initiatives the organization must do next to stay on track to long-term growth and performance.

Figure-3: A classic looking list of initiatives from an executive off-site.

Many management offsites produce a list of initiatives, such as shown in Figure-3, after intense effort and exhilarating breakthroughs. A list without context, though, fails to reveal the motivation and importance behind each initiative and so makes it difficult to communicate or to muster the energy, resources, and commitment beyond the session needed to implement them.

Using the Change Framework instead of a simple list helps but even still, far too often, the same initiatives are again listed at the next offsite with little if any progress since last time simply because no one was put in charge and resources never allocated to implement them.

Upon reaching agreement, the group may feel drained but good about what it has accomplished. It is important to make sure the group knows it has done great work and come a long way but there is still more important work to be done. Their effort may be for naught unless one more step is taken.

After the list of initiatives is developed and before ending the session the leader assigns each team member to:

Figure-4: Click on the figure to fill out and submit the Initiative-to-Action form for a Strategic Initiative.

  • Take 20-minutes to fill out an Initiative-to-Action template using the link in Figure-4, for a specific initiative, preferably one the leader would like the team member to sponsor; and then to
  • Lead the group in a brief discussion about the assigned initiative.

Each team member, in turn, briefs the group on their initiative using the filled out Initiative-to-Action form. As each speaks, the rest of the leadership team adopts the mindset of close adviser and on the same team as the one speaking. Their objective is to ensure that the key points from the group’s work are captured so that the best thinking of the group is at-hand and in mind as efforts to progress with the initiative proceed on the heels of the session.

Filling out and briefing the Initiative-to-Action form launches the governance process and gets a leadership team member into the role of the initiative’s executive sponsor and on-the-hook to make progress on behalf of the group.  As such the team member becomes accountable to the group for progress on their initiative. Motivation and commitment soar and the odds of making progress go up as well. Over the ensuing performance period, the leader calls on each team member at some point to brief the group on how their initiative is progressing.

Example Change Framework:

Example Change Framework for an organization whose leaders decided to move from a functional to a cross-functional approach to client services.