Are you totally satisfied with your strategic planning process?

Is your leadership/management development investment delivering the visible results you expect?

Are all your organisational development efforts aligned or do you have different providers delivering different solutions along the performance value chain, from strategy, to management/people development, to recruitment, to implementation, to performance management?

All of these efforts should be totally integrated and interdependent; delivering value that ensures an ongoing and sustainable edge.

More often than not, however, these interventions are implemented independently, without real consideration for the rest of the value chain. Sure we pay lip service to the idea of interdependence, and yet the reality is that we are measured for our independent agendas, and so self interest always has the edge over concern for the bigger picture. This results in EITHER - OR thinking; itís EITHER right for my agenda OR itís not.

Today the only way to achieve a sustainable competitive edge is by building partnerships that co create value. Partnerships with suppliers, with customers, with employees, (even if needed, with competitors); and partnerships between all major interventions along the performance value chain.

Value is the key word, and real competitive value can only be co created by partnerships. A totally new approach for a totally new reality is needed. Itís called THE POWER OF AND.

You are losing value on a daily basis if you donít align with this reality.

Nick Christelis has a career spanning 40 years. He has successfully started and operated a number of businesses, and has been a consultant to business in South Africa and globally for the last 25 years. He has been elected to the boards of numerous client companies and has extensive practical experience in every aspect of the whole performance value chain.

This places Nick in the unique position to advise and consult across the whole spectrum of the chain while also providing specific value adding and integrated solutions in certain parts of the chain.

Todayís world is uncertain, unpredictable and constantly unfolding. Strategic planning, management development and general problem solving have all been approached in a very structured and planned way. This was fine while the environment was more like a freewayÖ.structured and working according to a strict set of rules.

Todayís environment is more like a jungle than a freeway. It is both uncertain and ambiguous. Too much of a structured or pre planned approach, or too many inflexible rules, can kill you in the jungle. A jungle requires clear direction, clear outcomes, and a broad plan based on the scenario you are most likely to face as you move forward. It is critical to be more outcomes focused than plan driven.

Because you canít have detailed plans or structure in unpredictable environments, it is vital to have clear boundaries that will monitor and discipline all behaviours, decisions, and actions. These replace the control that structure and planning provide. Without these it could become a free for all with personal agendas and polarities pulling in opposite directions.

You then move forward and must be prepared to adjust your plan or tactics as the journey unfolds. Do not become fixed on the plan; rather have a laser like focus on your direction and on the outcome you want to achieve.
Key to this approach is the ability to encourage value creating dialogue amongst all stakeholders. This dialogue is vital as we move into the jungle that is the new economy, and it is not a one off event, but rather an ever involving process. This is a skill that needs to be developed.
Most strategies or learnings or development happen after the event; after the strategic planning session; after the management training; after the problem solving meeting; after the coaching. They happen during corridor talk, over lunch, while working or even in discussions that happen outside the workplace. If you created detailed plans during the event, you might feel more in control, but you could be following the wrong path.

Our approach to strategy, leadership development and problem solving aligns with this new reality. It is less structured, not adhering to a specific template. It is more outcome focused and less plan driven, although plans are drawn up. It is action orientated, with clear accountabilities being allocated. It is achieved through a process of dialogue and discussion, and it unfolds and develops as we move forward. It is more natural and aligns with how the world is today. The planning session is not an event with a final outcome. It is one step in the process of ever emerging strategy and planning.

Unfortunately, when the situation becomes uncertain and ambiguous, the natural tendency is to try to structure it as a way of dealing with it. Structure and plans give us a sense of control. In the process we stifle creativity because structure and plans are more often than not based on old thinking and approaches that probably wonít work as we move into new and largely uncharted territory. Instead we need to learn how to live and work with ambiguity and uncertainty. It is the way going forward. The old order has gone.

But remember, itís not EITHER planned and structured OR loose and emerging.

Itís about a partnership between the two that recognises and uses the best of both to co create new competitive value.




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