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There is a huge amount that business leaders can learn from the military experience; the trouble is that in many cases, the lessons require translation. Bob Garlick’s interview in Business Book Talk with Nicholas Beale (Strategy Consultant) and David Ellery (Foreign Office) really opens up the oppportunity for business leaders to learn from the military and vice-versa. Some readers and listeners may view this confluence of business and battle as evidence of the increasing commercialisation of war but I don’t think this points to that at all; rather it’s the first, rather successful attempt, to distill pragmatic and universal leadership lessons in a langauge that makes them relevant to all. Vice-Admiral Charles Style, Nicholas Beale and David Ellery are the co-editors of In Business and Battle: Strategic Leadership in the Civilian and Military Spheres.
Making sense of data, exploiting and using it to seize opportunities and inform decisions, is surely one of the aspirations on the wishlist of many, if not most, businesses. Ira Haimowitz offers some helpful advice in his blog on where and who to turn to for technical solutions to realise this need. Ira is author of Healthcare Relationship Marketing, published last year by Gower.
Glenn Remoreras’ blog piece ‘Paralysis of Analysis’ makes some great points about the culture needed for successful innovation. He offers what others might call a ‘three bears’ approach to analysis … ‘not too much, or too little, but just the right amount’ for fast, informed decision-making. Glenn Remoreras is the author of the forthcoming Gower book: Building a Brand for IT.
The Strategic Option Grid which Tony Grundy describes very pragmatically in this article is a proven, simple and highly effective way for sorting and prioritising different strategy options. One of its great strengths is its value as a platform for shared discussion; it offers a very user-friendly and unthreatening way to engage anyone who needs to be involved in the strategy discussion. Tony Grundy is co-author of the Revised Edition of Project Management for the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Financial audit is an established requirement to assess the health of every company. Wouldn’t it make sense to apply a similar level of scrutiny to the quality of your strategy, after all, many troubled companies also have flawed strategies? Tony Grundy’s article in Accountancy Magazine argues the case for a strategy audit and sets out the approach you might follow. Tony Grundy is co-author of Project Management for the Pharmaceutical Industry, Revised Edition.
David Hulett (Practical Schedule Risk Analysis and Integrated Cost and Schedule Risk Analysis) is a very effective advocate for quantitative risk analysis. He makes a powerful argument in this article for using it for strategic decisions of all kinds and he provides a detailed worked example using a sales strategy … convincing stuff and well worth a read if you are a decision maker and are looking for something more tangible for assessing the resilience of your strategies.
The one thing most authors agree on when it comes to wicked problems is that you need a non-standard approach to solving them. Neil Farmer, in his white paper,offers a useful definition and outlines a set of behaviours that can be helpful. David Hancock takes a similar approach in his article in the RMA Journal but, critically adds an additional category of problem: the tame problem, the wicked problem and the messy problem. Neil Farmer is author of The Invisible Organization. David Hancock is author of Tame, Messy and Wicked Risk Leadership.