Author Archives: Matthew E May

20 Reasons Why Your Company Won’t Change

On a recent visit to a former client’s workplace I noticed a poster entitled “I’m Not Changing!” I’d seen it elsewhere, and I’m sure you’ve seen it as well, or something like it. This time it gave me pause, perhaps because we’re now starting the second half of the year, and calendar milestones tend to trigger the “fresh start” effect. ...

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Boost Your Creativity This Weekend With This

For many people, weekends present a chance to take a break from the rigors of work, relax and rejuvenate. A recent study suggests that spending that break in a specific way may result in a few positive side effects that will boost your performance when you resume your daily routine; namely, better creativity, insight, and problem solving. Researchers at the ...

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Pruning Your Root Cause

Process improvers the world over rally around root cause analysis as if it were the Holy Grail of all things organizational. But is it? Understanding the root cause of a problem certainly makes sense in the context of a present day situation carrying the potential for a correct answer or solution. In the process improvement world, problems center on reducing ...

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What Appears to be Strategy Often is Not

I regularly engage in hansei (reflection) after each of my facilitation engagements. It’s a simple learning mechanism, essentially an after-action process of asking: what I expected to happen (my hypothesis if you will), what actually happened, and what explains the gap, if there is one. And there invariably is. The gap is where learning and insight live. It creates new knowledge. It’s ...

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The Art of Strategic Observation

I am nothing if not a consumerist. Meaning, I am constantly impressing upon companies I work with to make sure they have a deep and empathic understanding of their customers…past, present, and future, especially if they are contemplating a strategic shift that entails repositioning or refocusing their efforts to target new and different segments. Generally speaking, most companies are pretty ...

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Snuff out SWOT – Forever

The more strategy development work I do with organizations, the more I’m becoming aware of a prevalent pattern, a pattern which I find counterproductive, even detrimental. It concerns the starting point for their strategy work: in nearly every case, they begin with convergent thinking, the polar opposite of divergent thinking, which I believe is the kind of thinking true strategy ...

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Strategy versus Execution – a Meaningless Distinction

Strategy versus Execution - a Meaningless Distinction

Over at HBR blogs, there is a wonderful debate on the subject of strategy between Roger Martin, who authored the post Stop Distinguishing Between Strategy and Execution, and Don Sull, an MIT scholar who believes there’s a meaningful distinction between strategy and execution. Normally, I don’t bother looking at comments to blogs because in today’s social media-driven world they generally ...

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What is Your Career Strategy?

What is Your Career Strategy?

I’ve taken up a new habit of asking successful people I know: What is your career strategy? I ask it casually, and in person, because I want to see their body language and get a sense of just how front-of-mind their answer might be. My discovery: when it comes to careers, most folks don’t have a true strategy. I’ve gotten ...

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Strategic Transformation at Tennis Canada

My friend Roger Martin (#3 on Thinkers50 list) penned a terrific article in The European Business Review on how the Canadian professional tennis association rose from oblivion to now boasting two young players ranked well inside the top 10 on the professional tennis circuit…in less than ten years. As of this writing, Eugenie Bouchard is ranked #7, and Milos Raonic ...

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