Author Archives: Matthew E May

Testing Your Strategy – Does it nest?

A few days ago, as I was waiting for an item I purchased in my local Apple store to be brought out to me from the back of the store, I had the opportunity to observe Apple’s frontline strategy be played out in front of me. It revolved around another floor associate assisting a gentleman considering the purchase of an ...

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Overcoming the Not-Invented-Here (NIH) Mindset

When Chris Messina, a former Google designer, conceived of a simple way to filter content and create channels on Twitter in 2007, he blogged about his idea: “Every time someone uses a channel tag to mark a status, not only do we know something specific about that status, but others can eavesdrop on the context of it and then join ...

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The Real Starting Point for Strategy

“If I had the key members of your executive suite all in the same room, would they all be able to articulate the essence of your current strategy clearly and consistently?” I asked the executive vice president of strategy. “Probably not,” she replied. “But I do know we need a new one, because the current one isn’t working.” I hear ...

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Don’t Start Strategy with SWOT

It’s Time to Retire This Old-School Tool -- Over the past few years of helping organizations develop new strategies, I’ve become aware and rather alarmed at a prevalent pattern, one which I find counterproductive, even detrimental, especially in these times of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity). It concerns the starting point for strategy work: nearly every time I begin working ...

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How to Avoid Abandoning New Year’s Resolutions

According to some studies, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. That raises some important questions: Why do we set them in the first place? Why do we abandon them, and, of course, how can we avoid doing just that? THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FRESH STARTS The “Fresh Start Effect” is the term University of Pennsylvania professor Katherine Milkman uses ...

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Hansei: The Art of Reflection

What Did You Learn From 2017? Around the end of the year, most of us, and our businesses, tend to slow down just a bit from the normal dawn-to-dusk mad dash. We smile a bit more. We wave people in before us in traffic, and let others with less in their shopping carts go first in the grocery store. And ...

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The Secret to Organizational Innovation

In my previous article (Why Innovation Remains Elusive), I identified a half dozen obstacles to companywide innovation. I also hinted at a grand unified solution in the form of a strategic innovation system. Allow me ease into it by way of story and analogy. Most people are familiar with the name Toyota. Most business people are familiar with (or at ...

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Why Innovation Remains Elusive

Recently a reporter contacted me by email, asking several questions about innovation. I didn’t have the time to answer all of them, so I asked him what he really wanted to know. He replied that what he really wanted was a bottom line answer to the question of what makes the most difference in a company’s ability to innovate. As ...

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How to Capture Your Strategy in a Single Sentence

If I were to ask you what your company/unit/team strategy is, could you answer in a single sentence? Is that even possible? And even if it is, why would you want to (other than to respond to some smart-aleck strategy facilitator)? I know it’s possible, and there are several worth reasons for stating strategy in a sentence. First, because every ...

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