Read this and reply. I want your ideas on how the world is changing.
At the highest level, a global organization’s (like ours) macro level strategy should address the biggest trends that are occurring across the globe.
I’ve reviewed a number of lists of global mega-trends. You can find a summary of them here. Of course, each list has its focus, based upon the audience that it serves, from political leaders to financial investors to industry specialists. If you have the time, I recommend you read the US National Intelligence Council’s report on Global Trends 2030.
Despite the various audiences, there are a number of trends that most of the lists highlight. The themes that occur the most frequently across these 14 inputs are as follows, in order of frequency, most frequent first:
- Information and communications technology.
- Aging, and impact of an aging population
- Increased energy needs and supply
- Climate change
- Water & food scarcity
- Urbanization / mega-cities
- Power shift from West to East
- Growth of the middle class
Do you agree with this list? What do you think are the biggest changes occurring around the world? Leave a reply please.
This year we saw actual positive results from focusing on our strategy.
For the first time in 3 years we have seen an increase in the number of countries with new spiritual movements launched. This is the outcome from our Mission, and directly leads us towards our Vision. I do not believe that this has happened by accident, but that it is the result of 3 years of focus on one thing by senior leadership across about 170 countries.
Key lessons I learned from this success:
- Focus on one thing.
- For years and years.
- Don’t change the focus, and don’t change the rules. People can’t keep up with our ability to create change.
- Keep it simple – both the strategy, and the process for turning the strategy into something that people can execute day to day.
- Be consistent in messaging world-wide.
- Review progress frequently (we aimed at bi-weekly, but we probably ended up with monthly).
- Don’t allow your ability to think of new things to do distract you from the most important one thing.
- Don’t let up. I had an old boss who used to say “Don’t let them grind you down!”, although he used an expletive before the object of the sentiment to reinforce the point.
- Public accountability keeps even independent minded people focused on group goals.
I have been writing this blog now for nearly 2 years as I have been trying to figure out how to help 16,000 people spread across nearly 170 countries lead strategically. I hope that the fact that we have seen some success encourages you to stick to the strategy and use the strategic planning process to keep focused on the long term goal.
Over the last 2 months I’ve received the national plans or national objectives from 70 different countries for our organization, along with plans from 11 regional leadership teams. This is a record for us. So, what next?
These plans vary from a summary of the philosophy of their work, to short list of objectives, through lists of key action items, to comprehensive lists of key actions with dates, resources and finances allocated. However, the important thing is not the plan, but the execution of the plan.
So, if you are a leader, how are you going to ensure that the plan gets executed?
Different teams are taking different approaches, for example:
- Some teams have taken a “4 Disciplines of Execution” approach, with weekly reviews of lead measurements, lag measurements, and actions.
- Other teams are holding bi-weekly reviews of progress towards targets.
- Other teams plan to hold monthly reviews of completion of actions, and progress towards goals.
- Other teams will review widely accessible dashboards.
The important thing is that progress is being monitored, and if insufficient progress is being made, that corrective action is taken. A long time ago I shared that I thought the hardest question that a leader can ask someone who is working with them is: Show me that you are making the most effective progress towards your goal. The implications of this being asked by a leader are that the leader will listen to an answer from time to time to see this “most effective progress”.
So, have you:
- allocated regular time in your calendar to review progress against the plan in the coming year;
- made this the priority in your calendar so that it does not get usurped by the urgent;
- figured out how you are going to do this when you are travelling or otherwise away from your normal routine;
- made sure that the team executing the plan has allocated time to review its progress with you over the coming year?