Newsletter 11: Why Change Projects in Organizations Fail

Urgency about the need to get things done…some faces of microlending in Honduras…The Grove Consultant International’s strategic visioning workshop in Dallas on Sept. 9-11, 2009 at Southern Methodist University. All are items in this letter.

Stop a minute to ponder why change projects in organizations fail. And the long-term consequences of those failed efforts.

Lots of stats and studies point to failed change efforts…here are a few looking through different change lenses: 70% of needed change fails to be launched, fails to be completed or finishes over budget, … Read more

Newsletter 10: Toss More Tomatoes in the Tomato Soup?

Toss more tomatoes into the tomato soup? In this economy? Are you crazy? Most say they can’t afford to. Cutting expenses, downsizing workforces, putting the “soft stuff” on hold…that’s what they must do to hang on…despite the hurt those cuts will cause their organizations, cultures, processes, remaining people. They ask, what else can we do? Some say they can’t afford NOT to. The world will change again, and they have to be ready for a better future. To do so, they’ve got to manage like they’ve never managed … Read more

Newsletter 9: Microfinance in Honduras

My perspective on micro-finance…the result of my work starting, managing a program in Honduras. It includes dos and don’ts…and descriptions of some who are being helped with small loans. Together with colleagues, we looked for the right partner for 17 months. We checked out a dozen different programs, traveling to Honduras twice to interview the heads of various agencies. It’s easy to give money to a large microfinance organization in the states and let them direct it as they see fit to different parts of the world. We … Read more

Newsletter 8: New Orleans

To rebuild New Orleans. The debate continues. Why do it if New Orleans will be flooded again? Why do it if there’s so little left? Why do it if it will take billions to do so? I spent four days in the Crescent City recently with some 60 people brought together by the Minnesota-based Public Strategies Group…people who specialize in working with government at the city, state and federal level…people who wrote the book on reinventing government and help governments at all levels implement change. The charge was … Read more

Newsletter 7: Literate in the 20th Century. Illiterate in the 21st Century.

Stop a minute to consider what it’ll be like to be literate in the 21st Century…

A profound shift is taking place in the way people communicate, express themselves. What’s happening?  The 21st Century literate combine images, sounds, words with alacrity to communicate ideas, tell stories, design products, advertise services, hold meetings, explain issues, teach concepts, discuss direction.  Computers themselves are a dimension of the new language, transforming the other elements, enabling the crafting of messages like never before.  It goes well beyond the concept of convergence which … Read more

Newsletter 6: Who Really Matters in Your Company, Organization

Who REALLY matters, what REALLY matters in your company or organization? Do customers come first? Or employees? Are values the centerpiece? Or open communication, or support for entrepreneurialism, or collaborative leadership. Now, be honest. The answer may be none of the above. Unless your company or organization is an exception, it’s the CEO who comes first, followed by his lieutenants. Customers are well down the list. What really matters is making money and little else.  Few people know what the company’s values are, much less follow them. It … Read more

Newsletter 5: World of Strategy: A Complex Place

Write the word “strategic.” Now put any of the following after it… planning, visioning, thinking, conversation. Throw these words in the mix : scenario, catalyst, implementation. What do you get ? Something you believe in? Or something that falls short?  

The world of strategy is a complex place …with believers on all sides of the concept. Everyone seems to agree on one thing:   You’ve got to have it . Without it, you, your company or your organization is out there, wandering around without any direction. That’s … Read more

Newsletter 4: Four Concepts for Running Your Organization

Where do you stand on the four concepts below for running your organization? More important, where do you want your organization to stand in the future? The concepts go to the heart of how organizations get things done…how they articulate purpose, mission, what they must do to reach goals, what goes in their annual plan, what competencies they need to accomplish the plan and measure success.

First concept: Nurture the means and the results will take care of themselves. The concept assumes a desirable end result will emerge … Read more

Newsletter 3: Save These Definitions: Vision, Mission, Strategy

Definitions of vision, mission, strategy…I find these useful in my work.

Each organization uses these terms in slightly different ways, tailoring them to their needs. Some are often used interchangeably. There is no single right way, only a way that works. Yet the definitions below are ones that have worked well for me and for my colleagues. Stop a moment to praise colleague Konrad Knell, a San Francisco-based consultant who wrote the definitions below based on several sources, including his work with clients as well as authors such … Read more

Newsletter 2: Strategising In Honduras

I’m back from Honduras where I led a strategic visioning project with the leaders of Santa Cruz Arriba, a small, rural community on the outskirts of the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Sometimes, clarity is found way outside daily norms. Take yourself out of your company or organization, out of your daily routine, your normal living situation. Thrust yourself into a foreign culture working with people whose economic situation and view of the world are radically different, who have found little in the way of success as we define … Read more