New Perspectives
Welcome to the Strateco blog, where we share fresh perspectives, practices and tools on how to better navigate the complexity of strategy, leadership development, culture and change. If our ideas resonate, please join our growing community and share.

How to Infuse Your Culture With Inspiration

This is content php
I recently had a powerful experience with one of our clients.  We
were involved in a “check-point” meeting – a monthly half-day with
the senior leadership team where we track progress against a core
strategy and related set of SMART metrics devised to drive value.

The company had a 20-year history in the trucking and logistics
industry – one known for demanding physical work and an inherent
culture of ‘machismo’.

The meeting was quite typical – identification of obstacles to executing
with excellence, and solutioning around those obstacles – toward a
renewed energy to execute.  Until the end of the meeting.  The last
two minutes.  After the formal agenda was complete.

At that point, the leader of the company – a 6’4” man with a thick
solid frame, who mirrored the nature of the industry – tough, no-
nonsense – said to the team “I just want to say how much I deeply
care about you all, and how grateful I am for your efforts….and I
want to give you all a hug – to show my appreciation”.

I was awestruck!  And what struck me most was his authenticity.
This wasn’t some contrived formulaic attempt to “play the part”.
It was genuine caring.  And each person felt his sincerity as they
experienced his “bear hug” of thanks.

This leader’s intention of compassion and gratitude, and the courage
to express it, filled the room.  It was palpable.  And the material
payoff: a high functioning team, deep in levels of trust and connection,
that experiences consistent double digit growth year over year.

So if this resonates with you, the question I invite you to consider
is, what steps might you take to inject compassion into your culture?

Wishing you a prosperous and fulfilling month –
Nick and the Strateco Team

Interested in learning about the evolution of a new paradigm in business?

Check out our white paper, Strategy + Leadership 2.0, to learn how Stakeholder Strategy and Purposeful Leadership are shaping the era of Capitalism 2.0


Three perspectives of significance on the changing landscape of business:
1.  Managing Our Way to Prosperity: No Holy Grail – Forbes
2.  Getting Past the Great Ideological Divide in Business Today – Time
3.  The Capitalist’s Dilemma – Clayton Christensen’s latest HBR article
Three quick yet powerful reads:
4.  Brilliant 2min read! – Don’t F*ck Up the Company Culture
5.  Help Leaders to be Less Useless at Strategy – Roger Martin’s latest in HBR
6.  Mixing Business and Social Good is Not a New Idea – HBR
A TED Talk from Simon Sinek:
7.  Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe
A story to remind us of our moral compass:

8.  Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt


     Forbes – May 2014
In another brilliant epilogue to this year’s Global Drucker Forum, Denning chats with Rita Gunther McGrath regarding her recent book, The End of Competitive Advantage.
McGrath explores questions, or often excuses, critical to organizational strategy: Are organizations just ‘too busy’ to do strategy?  Is it the transformation of strategy, or of management?  Do we have the tools to do strategy in the ‘new way’?
     TIME – May 2014
A prescient flashback from the 1940’s, the following quote from Peter Drucker captures the essence of a growing rift in business today: “What we need is not an ideology, but a science – a new science of industrial peace.”
On one side of this growing divide, champions of the classic Capitalism 1.0 mantra of ‘maximizing shareholder value’.  On the other, those with a view of business at large as having an obligation to provide benefit to its stakeholders.
‘Two-sides, fundamentally grounded in separate camps and pitted against the other’s philosophy.  A clash being waged by individuals blindly clinging to their own dogma.’
What might Drucker think of all this?  Read on to get a glimpse!
     Clayten Christensen’s latest in HBR – May 2014
Is your organization at risk of failing to invest in innovation and thus missing out on opportunities for growth?  If so this ground breaking article, and the research behind it, are for you.
“In our view the crux of the problem is that investments in different types of innovation affect economies (and companies) in very different ways – but are evaluated using the same (flawed) metrics.”
Going further, and hence the ‘Dilemma’, he notes capital is no longer in short supply, and if companies want to maximize returns on it, they must stop behaving as if it were.
When it comes to building and sustaining an enduring culture of greatness, it doesn’t get much more straightforward than the title to this piece.

     Roger Martin in HBR – May 2014
Once again Roger Martin brings his practical no nonsense thoughts on Strategy to the fore.  This two minute read provides three key takeaways to help you be better at Strategy tomorrow:
In essence leaders need to “Construct a more productive series of interactions on strategy”:
1.  Go early with the framing of the challenge you want to tackle
2.  Go back with the possibilities you generate
3.  Return a third-time when you’ve reverse engineered the possibilities
     HBR – May 2014

As more and more business schools develop programs focused on leveraging business to do good, and companies strategically recruit talent that’s more interested in social impact than big bonuses, the shifting tides of modern day business and society are evident.
As these landscapes continue their dramatic transformation, perhaps leaders of today should look to those of the past who trail-blazed a history of business kindness.
This short yet powerful read reminds us there have been successful businesspeople throughout history who focused on creating a better life for their employees, and societies.
     Simon Sinek – TED
Recorded in March at TED2014, this moving Talk from Sinek explores how great leaders build emotional bonds of trust with, and safe environments for, their followers.
As he explains, it’s all about the ‘environment’ a leader creates and the resulting ‘tribe’ which develops.
If you get it right, as in, if the people within the tribe ‘feel’ safe with a mutual trust and cooperation for one another, any tribe member has the capacity to do remarkable things.
     By Michael Lewis
Flash Boys is about a Canadian hero of sorts who figures out the U.S. stock market’s been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks.
The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for anyone’s blood pressure as, in fact, this story is NON-fiction (check out this New York Time’s book review to get a flavour of the ongoing real world story).
Suffice to say however this is an uplifting read at heart as here are individuals who maintained their moral compass in the face of greed, and who after experiencing an institutionalized injustice, are willing to go to war to fix it.

To automatically receive future editions of New Perspectives via email sign up at our website!

We’re constantly curating helpful content, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to receive our daily posts!

Strateco is a new breed of consulting firm that seamlessly integrates Strategy with Leadership.   We help organizations create, integrate, and execute winning strategies, while developing higher functioning leaders.   To get a sense of our philosophy download your PDF copy of our newly released white paper:  Strategy + Leadership 2.0

Your Strategy is Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

This is content php
Ask any leader what the key to a high performing organization is, and
they’ll typically say “execution” which boils down to high performing
people.  But what do you do when you have someone on your senior
team who is not performing – and continues to underperform despite
your investment in performance reviews, coaching and mentoring?
The answer is simple, but often not easy.

Recently, we were working with a leadership team who faced just this
sort of dilemma.  Although the VP of Marketing in question had many
years of experience with the firm (regarded as one of the original
pioneers of the business), was generally well-liked, and had been
instrumental in the company’s early years of growth in developing
some of their critical legacy products – there was sustained
underperformance by the Executive and the choice was clear, the
negative impact of not acting was weighing on them individually and
collectively,  yet the decision was getting consistently deferred.  Why?

Complacency?  Reliance on the devil you know versus the one you
don’t?  A psychological predisposition that creates resistance to conflict,
resistance to change?  The stories we tell ourselves about all the
disastrous impacts to the organization – hurt morale, inability to
appropriately transfer knowledge, etc.?

After a period of personal growth and working through resistance to
conflict and change, our CEO set the VP free – to find an organization
more fitting to her core values and ways of being.  And afterward, the
entire leadership team was set free – feeling a tremendous decompression
– a lightness, an ease, that wasn’t previously there.  They also got
the gift of being able to perform at a higher level.

I invite you to consider:  when was the last time you did a talent
assessment of your primary team?  Have you fallen into any complacency?
How many of your direct reports are at least an 8 out of 10?  And if
you have those below an 8, what are you doing to help them improve?

While our experience has shown us difficult conversations often
get procrastinated – when they’re embraced – they enable a new day
– a resurrection if you will – of the best the team has to offer.


Interested in learning about the evolution of a new paradigm in business?

Check out our white paper, Strategy + Leadership 2.0, to learn how Stakeholder Strategy and Purposeful Leadership are shaping the era of Capitalism 2.0

Three fantastic articles with valuable insights for every leader:
1.  What Could Have Saved Nokia? – INSEAD Knowledge
2.  Bad to Great: The Path to Scaling Up Excellence – McKinsey
3.  Developing Mindful Leaders for the C-Suite – HBR
A brilliant TED Talk:
4.  Seth Godin – How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

Two intriguing articles:
5.  Can Management Get Us Out of this Economic Mess it has Created? – Forbes
6.  The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool – HBR
April’s recommended reading:
7.  Firms of Endearment

     INSEAD Knowledge – Mar 2014
This article and the accompanying video interview with Nokia’s former CEO offer a profound example of what can happen to an organization with a crystal clear strategy that is executed on poorly.
Nokia lost the smartphone battle despite having half of the global market share in 2007.  The authors argue collective emotions within the company were a big part of the story.
The authors state, “It is often said that strategy is 5 percent thinking, 95 percent execution. We extend this by suggesting that strategy execution is 5 percent technical, and 95 percent people-related.”
     McKinsey – Feb 2014
Scaling an organization’s performance can be one of the most challenging tasks leaders face.
“What drives leaders, keeps them up at night, and devours their workdays is the difficulty of spreading excellence to more people and more places.”
Leaders aiming to boost performance should start by eliminating negative behaviours – selfishness, nastiness, fear, laziness, dishonesty – before attempting to develop best practices.
“Leaders and employees do the right thing when they focus, not on their own needs and wants, but on the people affected by their actions.”
     Bill George in HBR – Mar 2014
The use of mindful practices like meditation, introspection, and journaling in the C-Suite are taking hold at such successful enterprises as Google, Apple, and General Mills while contributing to the success of their success.
Executives in these organizations have recognized the power of taking time out to reflect on what’s most important in order to create ways to overcome difficult challenges.
As Bill George puts it, “It’s especially important that leaders with great responsibilities gain focus and clarity in making their most important decisions, creativity in transforming their enterprises, compassion for their customers and employees, and the courage to go their own way.”
     Seth Godin’s TED Talk – Feb 2003
In a world of too many options and too little time, the obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff.
“For the first 15 years after sliced bread was available no one bought it, no one knew about it – it was a complete and total failure.  And the reason – until Wonder came along and figured out how to SPREAD THE IDEA of sliced bread, no one wanted it.”
In this remarkable TED Talk marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting people’s attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.
     Steve Denning in Forbes – Mar 2014
“Can the leaders of the world’s most important organizations transform their management practices so that their organizations get on a path to growth and prosperity, instead of steady economic decline?”
In this powerful leadup article to the 2014 Drucker Forum Denning explores this pressing leadership challenge along with the shifting tides in business consciousness as explored in his conference prelogue – The Great Transformation: Managing Our Way to Prosperity
“Either the world will embark on a route towards long-term growth and prosperity, or we will manage our way to economic decline…the very coherence of our societies is at stake. Incremental changes won’t suffice.  What does it take to reshape management as an effective social technology…for transforming our institutions and organizations?”
     Harrison Monarth in HBR – Mar 2014     Back to top
In this short yet intriguing blog post the author provides insights on the use of strategic storytelling as a means of connecting, directing, and building powerful relationships with followers.
An oldy and a goody, Freytag’s Pyramid of storytelling structure is noted as having worked for thousands of years and having incredible relevance still today.
“A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts.  Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.”
     By Rajendra Sisodia, Jag Sheth, David Wolfe     Back to top
Firms of Endearment is a book about the new rules of business which are transforming organizations from the inside out.  Today’s greatest companies are fueled by passion and purpose, not cash.
They earn large profits by helping all thier stakeholders thrive: customers, investors, employees, partners, communities, and society.
These rare, authentic firms of endearment act in powerfully positive ways that stakeholders recognize, value, admire, and even love.
They make the world better by the way they do business-and the world responds.

We’re constantly curating helpful content, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to receive our daily posts!

Strateco is a new breed of consulting firm that seamlessly integrates Strategy with Leadership.   We help organizations create, integrate, and execute winning strategies, while developing higher functioning leaders.   To get a sense of our philosophy download your PDF copy of our newly released white paper:  Strategy + Leadership 2.0

Is ‘Broken Telephone’ Disrupting Your Strategy & Messaging?

This is content php

Welcome to the second edition of Strateco’s New Perspectives e-newsletter!

This past month we had the opportunity to help a client with a re-calibration of their strategy.  The exercise seemed straight forward.  The strategy had been in place for several years, it had been approved by the Board, and several Leadership Team members had been involved with creating it. 
However, when we got together as a team we discovered that crucial pieces of the strategy were not consistently understood.  In fact, some of the team members were at opposite ends of the spectrum.
It struck me how often we see this scenario play out – presumed alignment with a strategy that is not consistently understood.  A bit like “broken telephone” where the true nature of the message has been slowly diluted over time.
With strategy representing the main filter through which key decisions are made and critical resources allocated, the consequences of vagueness and misaligment can be dire:  sub-optimal execution and performance along with a less engaged culture. 
As we offer up this month’s articles and links in New Perspectives, please take a few minutes to reflect on how clear your strategy is and how well you can articulate it.  Consider how well it’s understood with the major players in your firm.
Do you have one overarching strategic objective?  Are major priorities aligning across all roles and is the organization moving in cadence to that?
Focus, alignment and execution are the hallmarks of great organizations.  On a scale of 1 – 10, where do you feel your firm is on this spectrum?  And if you’re not a 10, what will it take to get you there?  As always, we’re happy to help!
Wishing you a productive and fulfilling month!


Interested in learning about the evolution of a new paradigm in business?

Check out our white paper, Strategy + Leadership 2.0, to learn how Stakeholder Strategy and Purposeful Leadership are shaping the era of Capitalism 2.0

CEO perspectives on the changing landscape of business:
   1.  17th Annual CEO Survey: Fit for the Future – PWC

Two intriguing TED Talks:
   2.  Michael Porter:  Business & Solving Social Problems
   3.  Daniel Goleman: Why Aren’t We More Compassionate

Three powerful articles:
   4.  The Big Lie of Strategic Planning – HBR Article
   5.  Why Most of What We Know About Management is…Dead Wrong – Forbes
   6.  Southwest Motivates Its Employees with a Purpose – Forbes

February’s recommended reading:
   7.  Conscious Capitalism

     Jan 2014     
As capitalism and the global economy continue to evolve, how are CEOs responding to this changing global footprint?
While opportunities for strategic growth grow tougher, twice as many CEOs as polled in the 2013 survey believe the global economy will improve in the next 12 months.
CEOs feel three fundamental external forces will most greatly impact their businesses in the next five years:
1)  Technological Advances – harnessing technology to create value in new ways
2)  Demographic Changes – capitalizing on shifts to develop tomorrow’s
3)  Global Economic Shifts – serving consumers in a new economic landscape
     Michael Porter’s TED Talk – Jun 2013     
Why do we turn to nonprofits, NGOs and governments to solve society’s biggest problems?
Though Porter admits he’s biased he wants you to hear his case for letting business try to solve massive problems like climate change and access to water.
Why you may ask? Because when business solves a problem, it makes a profit – which lets that solution grow.
To go deeper into Porter’s thinking check out his HBR article, Shared Value, which spawned this awesome Ted Talk along with his follow up report for FSG, Measuring Shared Value!

     Daniel Goleman’s TED Talk – Jun 2013     
What do you think of compassion when it comes to leading others and high performing teams?  Do you feel you’re a compassionate leader? 
In this fascinating Talk, Daniel Goleman asks why people aren’t more compassionate more of the time and opens the door to understanding a person’s “success” from an EI perspective.
Goleman asserts that people are hard-wired to feel compassion and establish a standard of self-regard as the appropriate way to treat others.
     Roger Martin in HBR – Jan 2014     
Strategy-making forces executives to confront a future they can only guess at. It’s not surprising they try to make the task less daunting by comprehensively planning how to achieve its short and long-term goals.
But good strategy is not the product of endless research and modeling; it’s the result of a simple process of thinking through how to hit a target and whether it’s realistic to try.
Discomfort is part of the process. As Martin says, if you’re entirely comfortable, your strategy probably isn’t very good!
     Steve Denning in Forbes – Jan 2014     
Wondering how your organization and management will evolve in the new age of Capitalism and a changing global economy? 
Denning states two distinct economies have emerged on the heels of recent incredible social and economic changes: 

  • Traditional – the one of factories, command and control, economies of scale, big hierarchical bureaucracies
  • Creative – the technology-driven one of continuous innovation, transformation, and profitable ecosystems


Organizational shifts toward a more ‘Creative’ management structure will directly impact companies’:

  • Organizational Goals – shifting focus from inward (shareholders) to outward (ecosystems)
  • Organizational Structures – from controlling people to enabling collaboration
  • Coordination of Work – from hierarchical bureaucracies to regular direct interaction
  • Firm’s Values – from single-minded profits to growing accompanying ecosystems
  • Communications – from top-down directives to multi-directional conversations 

     Carmine Gallo in Forbes – Jan 2014     
Do your employees feel as though they’re part of something, something with a purpose, a purpose far beyond receiving a cheque twice a month?
In January 2013 Southwest unveiled a new corporate vision and purpose, intended to motivate an internal audience of employees to raise their game.
Incredibly their plan will leverage the power of storytelling to ensure its 46,000 employees deeply understand and engage with the company’s strategy and vision every day.

       By John Mackey, Rajendra Sisodia, Bill George 
       Check out this book at Amazon
What do Whole Foods, Starbucks, SouthWest, and Costco all have in common?  They all practice ‘conscious capitalism’.
According to the authors, John Mackey (Co-CEO of Whole Foods) and Raj Sisodia (Professor,  Bentley University), conscious capitalism is an evolving paradigm for business that simultaneously creates multiple kinds of value and well-being for all stakeholders: financial, intellectual, physical, ecological, social, cultural, emotional, ethical, and even spiritual.
The book “Conscious Capitalism” promotes a business culture that embodies trust, accountability, caring, transparency, integrity, loyalty, and egalitarianism.
The management ideal of conscious Capitalism contains four key elements:

  • Decentralization
  • Empowerment
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration


However for these ideals to be successful careful attention must be paid to four underlying tenets: 

  • Higher purpose and core values
  • Stakeholder integration
  • Conscious leadership
  • Conscious culture and management

To learn about how the practice of conscious capitalism is creating competitive advantage also check out – Companies that Practice Conscious Capitalism Perform 10x Better (HBR)

To automatically receive future editions of New Perspectives via email sign up at our website!

We’re constantly curating helpful content, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to receive our daily posts!

Strateco is a new breed of consulting firm that seamlessly integrates Strategy with Leadership.   We help organizations create, integrate, and execute winning strategies, while developing higher functioning leaders.   To get a sense of our philosophy download a copy of our white paper:  Strategy + Leadership 2.0
Copyright © Strateco Partners – 2014 – All Rights Reserved

New Perspectives: A Strategy + Leadership 2.0 Newsletter

This is content php

On behalf of Strateco Partners, welcome to the inaugural edition of our “New Perspectives” e-newsletter.

Each month in New Perspectives, we’ll be offering you resources, tools, and insights to help you grow your organization, develop your people and create a happy, productive, high functioning corporate culture.

As we move through the first month of Q1, we’re helping clients finish up their 2014 annual strategy planning.  A few of the more common problems we’re seeing are:

  • Gross margins declining – creating a risk of commoditization;
  • Competitive threats diluting the impact of their value propositions – creating a need to refine differentiation; and
  • Some misalignment around priorities and accountabilities – creating a sub-optimal performance landscape for leaders who desire dynamic growth.

These are our favourite problems to solve.  If you need any help or just want to chat through the issues, feel free to call or email us any time.

We hope you find New Perspectives helpful for your business, and as always we value your feedback and would enjoy hearing any comments you have on our first edition.

All the best from our team to yours,

PS – We’re constantly curating valuable content in service to our clients, so feel free to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to see our daily strategy and leadership posts!
This month’s edition of New Perspectives includes –

Four powerful articles:

1.  Turning Great Strategy Into Great Performance

2.  Sustainable Business: Where Our Moral Compass Meets the Bottom Line

3.  Why So Many Leadership Programs Ultimately Fail

4.  Storytelling that Moves People

A helpful TED Talk:

   5.  Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

An essential reading for every leader:

   6.  The Five Dysfunctions of a Team



   By Michael C. Mankins and Richard Steele
   Harvard Business Review, July-August 2005

The majority of business strategies deliver only a fraction of their intended value.  Why is this?

The answers cut across a spectrum from initial strategy development to ongoing strategy execution – with leadership providing a critical foundation that builds the culture necessary for great organizational performance.

This article provides seven simple yet highly effective rules for helping leaders stay focused and deliver superior business results:

     •  Keep it Simple, make it concrete.
     •  Debate assumptions, not forecasts.
     •  Use a rigorous framework, speak a common language.
     •  Discuss resource deployments early.
     •  Clearly identify priorities.
     •  Continuously monitor performance.
     •  Reward and develop execution capabilities.


   By Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever)
   Huffington Post, October 8, 2013

Unilever CEO Paul Polman is renowned for his progressive approach to business leadership and being outspoken when it comes to the challenges of the current model of capitalism. 

Paul’s October 2013 article in the Huffington Post points out the serious problems he sees with our traditional business model that myopically focusses on short-term shareholder value or “quarterly capitalism” – and provides insight into the tenets for Capitalism 2.0 that promises long-term business success across a broad range of key stakeholders.


   By Peter Bregman
   Harvard Business Review, July 10, 2013

Why do so many leadership development and executive coaching programs fail to get traction when it comes to having leaders fundamentally change their underlying behaviours?

Peter Bregman argues that it has little to do with what we know about leadership and more about how we internalize our leadership journey in practical and tangible ways. 

In this article Bregman provides helpful insights into two factors that help organizations close the gap between theory and application by:
     •  Integrating leadership development into the work itself, and
     •  Teaching leadership in such a way that requires emotional courage.


   By Robert McKee and Bronwyn Fryer
   Harvard Business Review, June 2003

Why should leaders be effective storytellers and what qualifies them as such?  Put simply – a leader’s persuasive influence and ability to inspire their vision in others are pivotal aspects to business success.

In this article Robert McKee, an award-winning writer and director who consults with CEOs, provides his thoughts on how leaders can more powerfully connect with others on deeply emotional levels by telling compelling stories to persuade – instead of relying on dry, traditional, PowerPoint decks that present a rationale case based on logic and intellectual reason.

   By Daniel Pink
   YouTube, Apr 2010
   Watch this incredible video now!
In this fast-paced and highly entertaining video, career analyst Daniel Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t seem to: the fact that traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think.
Pink shares the counterintuitive results of two studies that reveal the inner workings of what influences our behaviour — and the half-truth of why money can’t buy satisfaction.

His insights help to illuminate the 3 most important factors that motivate employees today – Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose – and how they’re currently being used creatively in business to trigger, reward, and recognize outstanding performance.

   By Patrick M. Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, 2002)
   Check out this book on Amazon
In this best-selling business fable Patrick Lencioni explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics, leadership team failure, and how CEOs can navigate such complexities.
This gripping tale provides a simple yet profound reminder that effective leadership requires great courage in the face of adversity.  Lencioni highlights the following 5 major dysfunctions that lead to sub-par team performance – and how skillful leadership can be used to address each characteristic:
     1.  Absence of Trust
     2.  Fear of Conflict
     3.  Lack of Commitment
     4.  Avoidance of Accountability
     5.  Inattention to Results
Strateco is a new breed of consulting firm that seamlessly integrates Strategy with Leadership.   We help organizations create, integrate, and execute winning strategies, while developing higher functioning leaders.   To get a sense of our philosophy download your PDF copy of our newly released white paper:  Strategy + Leadership 2.0
Copyright © Strateco Partners – 2014 – All Rights Reserved