Step off the dance floor once in a while

I was struck by this article by Paul Shoemaker on the “6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers”.  It all makes sense and I am sure most good leaders will know this stuff – at least they will when they are away from the thick of the action.

So, what are the 6 habits effective leaders should form to get strategic?

  • Anticipate
  • Think Critically
  • Interpret
  • Decide
  • Align
  • Learn
A good list (for more detail on what’s behind each item go to the article) to add to any leader’s toolkit.  However, we all have “espoused” theories, and usually they are pretty sound. The problem comes when we start trying to put them into action.  What we then see are “behaviours in practice”, which more often than not are quite different from what we say we should or would do.
The one additional habit I would add, is STAND BACK and OBSERVE.
This has been expressed in a number of ways by different people.  One analogy I like is that of observing the dance-floor from the gallery.  Every now and then it makes sense to stop dancing, and observe the dancers from the gallery.  Watch their movement, the patterns they make, spot the crowded parts of the floor and watch for the different ways people are dancing. What can you learn? Then, when you rejoin the dance, you will do so with new knowledge, with a fresh perspective, and with strategies to put in to practice.
Another useful way to think about it is Continue reading

Stuck in the Middle with you

The words of the late great Gerry Rafferty are ringing in my ears today.  The ‘squeezed middle’ is constantly being talked and tweeted about. Whether in relation to the controversial NHS bill, or the impact of rising University fees, or proposed changes to Child Benefit,  people argue that the most poor and needy have safety nets to protect them, while the richest in our society can afford to pay whatever changes are imposed. It is the poor people in the middle that suffer most.  I’m just not sure who is in this ‘middle’ (or should that be muddle) and who is not.  Is the middle a narrow slice of our society, squashed between haves and have-nots, or is the middle actually a massively thick wedge accounting for the vast majority of us?

What I do know is that Continue reading