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Change Designs


August 2013
Practical expertise @ work.
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Strategy & leadership

Provide direction to your organization.


It is strategic planning time again. For some organizations this is the start of one of the most important leadership activities of the year. Developing a strategic plan to provide focus and direction to the entire organization.

But for many, strategic planning is a waste of time and money. The strategic planning retreat is characterised by discussions that ramble on and on in different directions. At the end of it all, not much is actually achieved. After the retreat, the person who organized it all ticks off an item on his/her to do list. The workshop was held. People attended. Someone made decisions while most people were distracted. The decisions were documented. The end.

In this newsletter, we introduce our 'Step by step in Strategic Planning' series. This comprises a series of articles and practical member guides to help you to hold a strategic planning workshop that gives you the results you want. We begin the series with an article on "What type of strategic planning workshop do you need?

Then, we continue with our series of articles on authentic leadership by Ken Ideus. In this month's article, Ken covers the topic of communication in a fresh and inspiring way.

The Change Designs team

New articles:


Steps in strategic planning.

What type of strategic planning workshop do you need?

You need to plan a strategic planning workshop. You've studied all the strategy models, approaches and processes. But now you are faced with a specific situation. How do you choose the right approach?

Which strategy tools or analyses should you choose? How do you know what will work in your organization, bearing in mind the politics in your executive team, and the specific challenges your leaders are grappling with.

This article highlights the most common strategic planning workshop objectives. Then it describes the appropriate strategic planning activities to use for each set of objectives.

Types of strategic planning workshops.

What is communication?

Article 3 in the authentic leadership series by Ken Ideus.

In the third of the authentic leadership series by Ken Ideus, Ken provides a working definition of communication for leaders. He describes the key components of communication and the steps involved in communicating effectively.

From the intention of the person communicating, to the way the listener interprets a message, Ken provides a fresh way of looking at communication.

What is communication?

Barriers to communication.

Article 4 in the authentic leadership series by Ken Ideus.

What prevents the messages that we communicate to others from being understood in the way we intended? In this article, Ken explains the most common barriers to communication such as a missing intention, use of jargon, lack of a shared context and noise. He then discusses behaviours on the part of receivers that prevent them from understanding the message and intention of the sender. For each barrier to communication, Ken provides a practical hint.

Read the article slowly, because although the article is short and punchy, each sentence contains a wealth of wisdom.

We hope you enjoy the fourth in this series on authentic leadership - leadership in practice rather than in theory.

Barriers to communication.

New member tools.


Step-by-step strategic planning.

A series of guides to help you prepare for a strategic planning workshop.

Developing a strategic plan that takes into account the issues, challenges, politics and culture of your organization, is a complex process. We break down what is required to develop a common vision and detailed strategy, into a step by step processs.

The first three steps in preparing to run an effective stategic planning workshop are now available in our member zone. They are:

  1. Identify strategic issues: A strategic issue is complex problem or decision that needs to be made. It crops up over and over again, yet never gets resolved. This is because it requires complex systems thinking to resolve these issue. Your strategic planning process provides an ideal environment to solve strategic issues.
  2. Clarify strategic planning workshop objectives: Lewis Carol said, that if you don't know where you are going, any road will get your there. So it is with many strategic planning workshops. Unless the facilitator and the leader agree on clear objectives for the strategy workshop upfront, and design the workshop to achieve those objectives, the chances are they won't achieve much from their strategic planning workshop. This guide shows you how to define clear strategy workshop objectives.
  3. Identify challenges that could derail your workshop. People don't just arrive at a strategic planning workshop ready to think strategically, and give of their best. Many of them have other things on their minds. This guide shows you how to identify the challenges that may prevent your team from focusing their full attention on the workshop objectives - before you create your workshop agenda.

As we develop the next steps in the strategic planning process, you can view them in the member tools, guides and articles section.

Member tools, guides & articles.

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