Power of Purpose: How Solid Purpose Generates Strategic Strength

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Purpose is one of the most powerful tools organizations have to support strategy. A good purpose places a stake in the ground, declaring what the organization values. It provides flexibility and allows the organization to respond to shifts in the market and customer preferences.

Powerful Purpose Statements

Here’s an example of one powerful purpose:

To transform lives through inspired learning.

This statement is great because it provides both boundaries and flexibility. On the boundaries side, it clearly states that “learning” is the field in which the organization (University of Texas) plays. At the same time, it provides flexibility in how the University provides inspired learning.

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Is Your Strategy Stuck in the 20th Century?

Strategy Battle between Coke & Pepsi

Image: scalar.usc.edu

Ah, the good old days. The world was a more stable, predictable place. Companies knew their competitors: Coke had to crush Pepsi. Adidas sought to outdo Puma. Avis vied against Hertz. McDonald’s obsessed about its feud with Burger King.

Amidst this environment, strategy tools proliferated. Your company probably still uses the SWOT Analysis, which was developed in the 1960s.

Image: chargedmind.com

Perhaps you also use Boston Consulting Group’s popular Growth Share Matrix from the 1970s.

Image: smartdraw.com

And many rely on Porter’s Five Forces, which debuted in the Harvard Business Review in 1979.

Image: hbr.org.

All three of these tools—and many more—were conceived before the internet, before the rise of globalization, and before the rise of mega businesses like Amazon and Tencent.

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Strategy & Resilience Take Center Stage at Partnering Resources

Unexpected turbulence

Image: Nicole on flickr.

Organization survival today depends on recognizing and adapting to business environments that bear little resemblance to what we saw five or even three years ago. A quick look at headlines over the past year makes it clear that market-roiling upsets are the new normal:

  • “The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Means Every Other Retailer’s Three-Year Plan Is Obsolete” (Harvard Business Review, June 2017)
  • “Uber, Lyft Take Down Not Just Cab Drivers, But Also Lenders” (CNBC, July 2017)
  • “While We Weren’t Looking, Snapchat Revolutionized Social Networks” (New York Times, November 2016)
  • “Electric Cars Could Totally Disrupt The Oil Market Within A Decade, Researchers Say” (Fortune, February 2017)

Political upsets have caused similar disruptions; the surprise “yea” vote for Brexit forced many companies to rethink their UK and EU strategies.

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The Inside Scoop on the International Association of Business Communicators Conference

IABC Communications Conference 2

In June, I traveled to Washington, DC for my first International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference. I discovered the organization several years ago when they invited me to write an article for their flagship e-magazine, Communication World. An invitation to present gave me the opportunity to learn more about this energized, exciting organization. Here’s the inside scoop on what happened at the IABC DC World Conference.

Ethics are Hot

When alternative facts and fake news grab headlines, ethics are more important than ever. IABC took a stand earlier this year by opposing alternative facts. The organization reiterated communication professionals’ obligation to speak honestly, share accurate information, and correct mistakes promptly.

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Dispatch from the 2017 Association of Change Management Professionals Conference

ACMP Change Management Dispatch 1

My first time in New Orleans didn’t disappoint! The annual conference of the Association of Change Management Professionals was lively, friendly, and fun. Didn’t attend? Scroll down for my take on what was new and hot at the 2017 conference. Prefer visuals to text? See the Visual Dispatch at the bottom of the page.

What’s Hot: Using Neuroscience for Change Management

Using findings from neuroscience to help guide change is still hot. Speaker Josh Davis of the NeuroLeadership Institute spoke to a jam-packed room about how our brains respond to threats. Change management professionals can minimize those threats with a little education and foresight.

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New Leadership Tools: Finding Direction through Network Maps: Mini Case #1

Network Maps as Leadership Tools - Star Performer Expertise

Companies create organization charts that show hierarchies and reporting relationships. But work rarely gets done as it appears on an org chart. Instead, people operate through networks: informal webs of relationships that people instinctively form in the workplace.

Traditionally, leaders have used organization charts to understand their boundaries and spheres of influence. Network maps provide new and helpful information about how people actually perform work, make decisions, and solve problems. Network thinking and network maps can help leaders gain a holistic perspective and uncover unseized opportunities, identify lurking risks, and address unarticulated needs.

In this series, we look at how several different leaders used network knowledge to advance their company’s strategy.

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NEW ARTICLE: Realizing the Benefits of True Globalization

Image of world in hands

By Aussiegall on flickr.

Many organizations say they’re global. Few achieve the benefits of globalization.

Bayer CropScience (BCS) experienced this conundrum several years ago. Their Global Public & Government Affairs (GPGA) division had offices all over the world, but they usually worked independently. Regions reinvented materials and programs created elsewhere. Lessons learned in one area weren’t shared with others. The benefits of globalization weren’t apparent.

In 2012, BCS hired a new leader, Lisa Coen, who was charged with creating a truly global GPGA organization. She was asked to align headquarters and regions around priorities, goals, strategies, and roles. A new article, “From Regional to Global: Using a Network Strategy to Align a Multinational Organization,” describes how Coen proceeded to transform GPGA into a global organization.

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Sorry? (Not Sorry): Guest Post on the Art of Apology by Amy Yeager

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay.

After several days at a conference, I found myself woefully behind on email. “I’m sorry about the delayed response,” I wrote again and again. But what was I really saying with that apology?

There are actually six different types of apologies, according to Corentus Director of Client Engagement and Partnering Resources Affiliate Amy Yeager. Amy writes about the art of apology in this fantastic new article, Sorry (Not Sorry). As she says:

When does saying we’re sorry help or hurt, or just keep us stuck? As we think about the impact of saying we’re sorry, it can be helpful to distinguish between (at least) six different types of sorry.

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NEW ARTICLE: The Art of Quiet Networking

Image: <a href="http://www.quietrev.com/author/liz-fosslien-and-mollie-west/"Liz Fosselien & Mollie West</a>

Image: Liz Fosslien and Mollie West

For many introverts, Susan Cain’s TED talk about introversion was a much needed affirmation of the value of the quiet style. She articulated what many of us needed to hear: there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, introverts have much to offer.

Susan Cain started two organizations–Quiet Revolution and the Quiet Leadership Institute–to support introverts, their families, and their work environments. I am delighted to announce that our new article, “The Art of Quiet Networking” has been published on both sites.

The Art of Quiet Networking tells my story. It shares how I progressed from an anxious, unhappy networker to someone who actually likes the process.

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Chocolate at Work: A Lighter Post for August

Maya Hosts a Chocolate Tasting

Maya hosts a chocolate tasting

If you know me, you know that I love chocolate. You also know that I’ve taken that love beyond simply hoarding bars in my chocolate chiller (yes, I bought a chiller to keep my chocolates safe from heat). I’ve created a curated guide to artisan chocolatiers in Paris and New York, led professional tastings, and facilitated industry conversations about cacao standards.

I recently had the chance to talk with John Garrett about what this hobby has to do with work. John calls himself a “recovering CPA.” Freed from cubicles and spreadsheets, he now tours the country as a corporate comedian and hosts the Green Apple Podcast.

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