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Executive Coaching Toolkit: Strategic Thinking

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Executive coaching is a powerful form of leadership development that focuses on helping leaders learn and develop to advance their leadership careers. As a coach, I have found that strategic thinking is one of the most critical competencies. Strategic thinking is vital for emerging leaders because it enables them to navigate the complexities of their roles, make informed decisions, and lead their organizations toward success in a dynamic and competitive environment. It helps leaders chart a clear course for the future and effectively allocate resources, all while fostering innovation and adaptability within their teams.

A number of my executive coaching clients often ask me for resources on different leadership development competencies. Therefore, I have identified teen YouTube videos by notable negotiation experts addressing various aspects of improving your strategic planning skills:

  • Mastering the Art of Strategy with Richard Rumelt
  • Blue Open Strategy with Harvard Business Review
  • Effective Business Strategy with A.G. Lafley
  • The Biggest Mistake I See: Strategy First, Urgency Second with John Kotter
  • Mintzberg's 5 P's Of Strategy in 2 Minutes with European Graduate School of Management
  • Ansoff Matrix Approach to Business Strategy with Igor Ansoff
  • Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen
  • Dynamic Strategy and the End of Competitive Advantage with Rita McGrath
  • Strategic Planning & Strategic Innovation with Gary Hamel
  • Aligning Strategy & Project Management with Michael Porter

Mastering the Art of Strategy with Richard Rumelt

Richard Rumelt, discusses the importance and rarity of true strategy in organizations. Rumelt advocates for a challenge-based approach to strategy, where organizations identify and overcome the most critical and addressable challenges. He emphasizes the need for companies to break free from habitual thinking and engage in honest conversations about their challenges. Rumelt also touches on the difficulties of resource allocation in organizations and the importance of empowering individuals to drive innovation within the company.

Blue Ocean Strategy with Harvard Business Review

In this video, Cirque du Soleil is the focus of the exploration of the Blue Ocean Strategy. The theory suggests that the business world consists of two types of markets: red and blue oceans. Red oceans represent existing industries with fierce competition, while blue oceans are unknown markets where leaders must create demand. Cirque du Soleil created a blue ocean by blurring the lines between circus and theater, attracting a new customer base willing to pay premium prices.

Effective Business Strategy with A.G. Lafley

In this video, A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, discusses the fundamental principles of effective business strategy. He emphasizes that successful strategies focus on winning in a specific market with a particular group of customers or consumers. He suggests that many organizations need a clear plan or have flawed strategies by trying to cater to everyone instead of making focused choices on where to play and how to win. Lafley believes that regardless of the industry or company size, creating and retaining loyal customers is the ultimate measure of success. I have heard numerous stories from my executive coaching clients about their frustrations with the lack of focus in their strategic plan and attempts to be all things to all of their clients.

The Biggest Mistake I See: Strategy First, Urgency Second

In this video, Kotter addresses a common misconception in organizations regarding implementing change. They point out that many believe the first step is data gathering, analysis, and creating a new strategy before getting approval and executing it. While this approach works well for small to medium changes, it must catch up when making significant changes. To achieve substantial progress, a large number of motivated individuals must be involved, and the process should engage both the head and the heart.

Mintzberg's 5 P's of Strategy with the European Graduate School

In this short and sweet video, the speaker explores Henry Mintzberg's 5 P's of strategy, providing different viewpoints for decision-making in strategy: 

  • Plan refers to the purpose and intended destination of the strategy.
  • Ploy relates to specific tactics used to outsmart competitors. 
  • Pattern encompasses the behaviors and actions taken regularly based on past successes. 
  • Position identifies where a company stands concerning its direct competitors on the playing field. 
  • Perspective focuses on internal culture and collective thinking.

Ansoff Matrix for Business Strategy & Growth with Igor Ansoff

This video introduces the concept of the Ansoff Matrix in a simple and easy-to-understand way. The Ansoff Matrix is a popular business model used for devising growth strategies for a business. It consists of four quadrants plotted across an X and Y axis, with the X-axis representing existing products and new products and the Y-axis representing existing markets and new markets. The four strategies identified in the matrix are market penetration, product development, market development, and diversification, each with varying levels of risk.

Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen

Christensen discusses the disruptive strategy employed in reimagining online education. The aim is to create an immersive and engaging platform that offers an interactive experience. By utilizing the theory of innovation, companies can understand customer needs and develop products that effectively meet those needs. Through real-life case studies and interactive features, learners can apply these concepts and gain a deeper understanding of how they work in a business context.

Dynamic Strategy and the End of Competitive Advantage with Rita McGrath

McGrath discusses the concept of the end of competitive advantage in this video and how it is shifting the way we think about strategy. She explains that in today's transient advantage economy, sustainable competitive advantage is rare and that organizations are now dealing with temporary benefits. McGrath tells a story about Fujifilm and Kodak to illustrate this point, highlighting how Fujifilm could adapt to the changing market and thrive while Kodak struggled and eventually went bankrupt. She introduces the idea of competing in arenas, where organizations contest a pot of addressable resources, and emphasizes the importance of continuous reconfiguration, healthy disengagement, deft resource allocation, and innovation in this dynamic environment.

Strategic Planning & Innovation with Gary Hamel

Gary Hamel, an expert on strategy and innovation, argues in this video that traditional strategic planning is becoming obsolete. He suggests that most organizations focus too heavily on planning rather than creating new strategic options, resulting in a need for more exciting ideas. Hamel suggests that leaders should act as strategy editors, selecting the most promising ideas from a bottom-up approach. He highlights the importance of thinking about the business holistically, considering advantages, leverage, increasing returns, network effects, and capabilities. Hamel discusses a case study with Adidas and how thousands of employees were trained to think like innovators and created numerous strategic opportunities. Hamel's bottom line: discovering strategy needs to be open and bottom-up while making selective choices based on advantages and potential returns. His conclusion is shared by many of my executive coaching clients who discover the power of empowering their teams with skills in strategic thinking and innovation.

Aligning Strategy & Project Management with Michael E. Porter

Harvard Professor and former aerospace engineer, Michael Porter, discusses in this video the importance of aligning strategy and project management within an organization. Porter argues that projects are embedded in a strategy and if strategies aren't clearly considered, how can the necessary project specifications be determined? 

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Dr. Kevin Nourse is an executive coach helping newly hired or promoted executives thrive. He founded Nourse Leadership Strategies, an executive and team coaching firm based in Palm Springs, CA. Kevin works with leaders and teams throughout California including Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Irvine, Orange County, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Sacramento.  Contact him at 442.420.5578 (call or text) or kevin@nourseleadership.com

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