They’re supposed to be your ally. Your co-conspirator. Your partner. But instead it feels like every conversation is a struggle. This isn’t how it is supposed to be.
In the best partnerships, people create something that neither could have accomplished on their own. They merge their unique perspectives, resources, and interests together in the interest of a greater goal. Easier said than done.
In our new white paper, “What Makes a Productive Partnership,” Amber Mayes and I break it down:
- What are the four critical issues every partnership needs to address?
- What’s the challenge most likely to make a partnership crash and burn?
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.
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.
Too many leaders choose the wrong tool for the problem at hand. Our infographic, “What’s Your Problem,” explains the four different types of problems leaders face. Once you’ve read it, you may be left thinking: OK, I know what kind of problem I have. What tool do I use?
In this post, we share over 100 tried-and-true problem-solving tools. These are effective and elegant methods that you can use to address the four types of problems.
Simple Problem-Solving ToolsSOP from UCLA.
Simple problems have easily seen cause and effect relationships. Your job is to assess the facts, categorize the facts, and then apply the appropriate best practice.
Problems come in many shapes and sizes. Some are small (“I can’t find space for my 2pm meeting”). Others are large (“I can’t get forty coalition members to agree on goals”). All have the capacity to drive you nuts, especially if you’re not solving problems using the right tools.
If You Have a Hammer, Everything is a Nail
Once you find techniques that work, it’s tempting to use them over and over again. Maybe you’ve had great success using Gantt charts. You might like performance charting, root cause analysis, or group dialogue sessions. Perhaps business ecosystem maps rock your world.