Great day of learning today.  Three really good sessions that I will focus on.  But first I’ll focus on the best session of the day.  Five coaches talking around a table during happy hour.  Often the best part of any meeting.

We were discussing X-Factors.  The thing a company can implement that gives them a ten times advantage over their competitors.  It’s kind of a Strategic Thinking Exercise to spur creativity and you can often find something, build or implement it and have it fuel tremendous growth.  We couldn’t agree that all companies could find one for their industry segments, but it is worth trying because what you will find can create a strategic advantage, albeit not as dramatic.  We agreed on other things:

  • The place to start looking or thinking about is the chokepoints in your industry or internally.  Funny we agreed on that because the In-Synk huddles this week are on that very subject.  http://in-synkchokeam.eventbrite.com and http://in-synkchokepm.eventbrite.com
  • You should ask your best and biggest customers this question.  What are the nightmares/horror stories companies like yours encounter when the do business with a firm like ours?  
  • Map out the sales and delivery processes you follow and ask where do these get jammed up? Or the places that are difficult to do? 
  • Go to trade shows for your industry and write down all the titles of all the breakout sessions.  Think about the ones that are the most common?  

Chip Heath, author of Switch the book club selection in August, was fabulous and very enlightening.  You must pick up the book or have me do a session with your team on this. And I won’t make you read the book.

  •  People hate change. Or we think we do.  But we change for important things. Think Weddings and Baby’s.  We make significant changes for these things without even thinking about it.  Clue: The emotional connection
  • We don’t hate change.  We are just schizophrenic about it.  Logical yes, emotional no.  Got to get the emotions in the game to make changes
  • We often consider true but useless (TBU) when trying to convince people to change.  Think of the food pyramid.  True but useless in helping you eat right.
  • Easier to effect change by focusing on Bright Spots.  Start with what is working and going right. Find people having good results and figure this out and hold as the model for others.
  • Too many choices to choose from to effect change=decision paralysis
  • Script the Critical Moves, not all of them.  Small bytes.  Clear Picture.  
  • Shrink the Change. Not a huge one, small ones and small victories
  • Destination Postcards  “You are going to be third graders by the end of the year”
  • Don’t think/analyze/change  rather  see/feel/change.  
  • Shape the path.  “What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. Change the situation:”  Architects and designers know this intuitively. 
  • The rider/elephant analogy he uses really works well.  Can’t describe it here.  Ask me about it.

Verne Harnish was excellent as always:

  • Figure out the BHAG after you figure out the brand promise / x-factor. Not before
  • Strategy comes from considering the data.  Lots of it.  Have teams prepare data about all things relevant prior to the “thinking session”
  • The data serves as stimuli.  the better the stimuli the better the creativity and strategy.  Don’t brain storm (really should be called brain drain).  Inject data, think about understanding it, in structured way,  strategy pops out.  Good data in, great strategy out. 
  • Recommended reading  Lords of Strategy by Walter Kiechel.  I’m going to pick it up.

Liz Wiseman, Author of Multipliers  our December selection for In-Synk Business Un-Book Club.  http://in-synkmultipliers.eventbrite.com

  • There are leaders who are Multipliers and Diminishers.  We have worked for both.
  • It’s all about access to knowledge.  Multipliers access the knowledge of others and put it to work in empowering ways
  • Diminishers access the knowledge of others and drain it. 
  • “Accessing what other people know and using it effectively is the key skill of 21st Century.”
  • Diminshers are geniuses (focused on self and must let people know they are geniuses.
  • Multipliers are genius makers.  Not about them.  
  • Diminishers get less the 40% of the brain power of the people working for them
  • Multipliers get 80% or more of the brain power of the people, effectively doubling the workforce for free.
  • Multipliers want to figure out your genius and deploy it 
  • Diminishers want to fill slots.
  • “Multipliers work with intensely fierce intellectual curiosity.  They want to figure out what other people know.”
  • They listen as number one skill.  Asking questions.  
  • Diminishers decide things then have debate to prove themselves right
  • Multipliers spark debate and then decide the right things
  • Try having a conversation with someone but only ask questions. It’s hard. 

David Sokol, CEO or Net Jets and Warren Buffets best man. His six principles for leading

  •  Integrity
  • Safety
  • Commitment to Customer
  • Commitment to Employees
  • Commitment to Investors
  • Operational Excellence

All in all a great day.  I’m tired and going to bed.  Will be tweeting and doing a summary blog tomorrow.