Archive for the 'Level IV Work' Category

Manoeuvres – your key to having an ACTUAL strategy

If you don’t feel like reading, you can watch my video below or by clicking here,

Three things all clients want from strategy days, which I know because they tell me when we meet.

  1. Practical actions
  2. Avoid waffling
  3. Keeping ‘interesting’ participants in check

There is a simple word I use which gives us all three of these, and that’s


I first heard this word in the context of strategy from Lucy Loh and Patrick Hoverstadt, authors of the brilliant book Patterns of Strategy, and for me it was a game-changer.

Let me elaborate.

Read more…

The Only Thing Missing From Your Strategy….is a Strategy!

If you prefer watching to reading, you can watch the video about this by clicking here.

You’ve got a strategic plan.  What you might not have in it, however…is a strategy!  I’ll explain.

The Standard Strategy

Imagine I’m interviewing to be coach of the sporting team, and I’m asked to go through my strategy.

I’d start with an intent: a successful club that wins premierships. And a key aspect of that intent is to: win games.

Then I might be asked “Great…but what’s your strategy?”

So I confidently step up to the whiteboard, draw this up…

…and sit back down knowing the job is mine.

Read more…

The Disgruntled Masses – How to Change the Unchangeable

Prefer to watch than read?  You can click here to watch me go through this on video

The disgruntled masses – the groups in your organisation that are locked into staying the same, staying disappointed, and no lever is long enough to jemmy them free.  This article is about what’s going on and the strategy to get things moving.

Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework

The Organic Systems Framework of Barry Oshry helps us see what’s going on.  He shows how we can see organisations as social systems, and through running week-long live-in simulations with groups for over 40 years, has seen the same consistent patterns emerge again and again. 

Read more…

Work Models You Need To Know Ep.2 – ZONE TO WIN by Geoffrey Moore

Video embedded below if you prefer to watch rather than read. 5 mins, has captions.

(If you don’t see the video embedded above, go to it here)

Today’s article is Work Models You Need to Know, Episode 2.  The model is Zone to Win and it’s by Geoffrey Moore.

Why do you need to know this?  It’s a way to organise your entire enterprise, your division or your team to both deliver for your customers today, while ensuring that the strategic innovations needed for success and viability in the future are discovered and brought into the mainstream.

It’s how to do strategy right.

The Basics

The full title of Moore’s book is Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption.  This title is spot on. 

The starting point is the classic consultant’s four-box model, where we divide the world into:

Read more…

How To Know Which Services To Keep Doing After COVID

(Click here to watch me go through this on video).

(You can catch up on previous videos here)

The COVID experience let us try some new things. We had to adjust the way we serve the people that we serve, and now we’re doing some sort of returning back to a new normal.  In this article we’re going to talk about how you figure out what to keep doing, start doing and stop doing after the COVID situation.

First, there are foundations that we need to have in place.

Read more…

How to make your organisation more adaptable WITH your hierarchy.

(Would you prefer to watch me explain this on video?  Just click here!)

This time we’re going into “fluid, flexible, task-based structures”.  Very fancy sounding words.

First, a quote.  This is from a KPMG report on the things that will change from COVID that was titled with great importance: “Our New Reality: Predictions after COVID-19”.

Remote work will break traditional management structures

As we shift from managing inputs to managing by outcomes, current organisational hierarchies won’t make sense. A shift to flatter and more fluid task-based structures will follow and require new management skills and changes to performance measurement and reward programs. Company culture will also need to be re-examined.

Hierarchies “won’t make sense”.  Come on!

Read more…

3 Common Sense Org Design Principles to Bring Back from COVID Working

(If you’d like to check this out on video rather than read it – click here)

COVID working has seen some easily forgotten org design fundamentals come right to the surface. Here they are – don’t let heading back into the physical workplace see you lose the benefits of common sense ways of organising work.

Focus Until Done

The first one is focus until done.  We’ve seen this with remote working.  Before Covid, if your organisation is normal, you’ve had some sort of ‘flexible working’ thing happening for the last two years.  And it’s consisted mainly of reports and a small group with laptops somewhere, not much else.  This is not a competence issue.

What’s happened now?  Look at all the IT teams that were able to get most of their indoor workforce remote within a day or two!  They didn’t suddenly get 10 times more productive.  Instead, the organisation actually let them focus on this one thing until it was done before they went onto the next thing.

Read more…

An extra month of capacity for free: Three Cs – Capacity

(Click here to watch on video rather than read!)

In the first two articles in this series, I went through the first two of the Three Cs that need to be in place so you can get out of the detail and start doing your real job. The three Cs are:

(Click the links above to go the articles or click here to watch them all on video).

This article is about Capacity, which answers “How can I create more time for myself and my people which means I can do the important work that I’m actually paid for”.

Read more…

How to get out of the detail…and start doing your real job.

(If you’d prefer to watch and listen than read, click here)


The problem

If you’re in any sort of managerial role, it’s almost a given that you’re spending your time in the detail and not spending enough time doing the job you’re really paid for.  And that you’d rather be doing.  That job you’re paid for is about longer timespans –  looking into the future, maybe strategic stuff, maybe it’s improving things.  For you to be able to do your work and not be involved in doing the work of your people, three things need to be in place….

Clarity, Capacity, and Capability.

The 3Cs

The Three Cs. Or, be fancy,  3C.

If your people don’t have enough Clarity of what they need to do, if they haven’t got the Capacity to get it done, and if they don’t have the Capability to do it, who’s going to end up doing it?  You are!  And don’t feel bad – this happens because you’re a decent person.

This first article is going into Clarity.

Read more…

Circle Work: achieving cross-functional customer focus


Ask any group of people to draw their ‘org chart’, and they’re going to draw something like this:

Org chart traditional

There is nothing wrong with this – it’s a useful diagram that shows managerial relationships – who is accountable for which teams.  This has value simply because if a given team is doing great, or not so great, it’s convenient to know who to talk to.  And we can have meetings of five teams by coordinating five calendars instead of forty.

Here’s the thing though – this visual representation becomes the dominant mental model for how we think about work.  Notice how it implies four separate people, only connected through one other who sits ‘over’ them.  It’s not a big leap from here to see how relationships of dominance and dependence can emerge, with the friendly version being the ‘caretaking’ manager, the not-so-nice version being the autocratic manager.  Either way felt ownership of the work is gathered in just the one person.  Not nice if you’re that person.

(Click here  for a pdf version of this post)

So here’s a change.  Draw your team like this….

Org chart circle

…as a Circle, that gathers around the work of the team – it’s mission.  But notice a key feature – we still have a managerial leadership  role.  And we define that role very deliberately – as the role that takes accountability for the team delivering it’s mission.  So it has the authority to convene meetings, to name the conversation that needs to be had, and, when required, to make decisions if the team can’t naturally find a consensus that makes sense.  Read more…