Strategic Archery

Just as “All models are wrong, but some are useful” (George Box), I’d like to suggest that “All metaphors are oversimplified, but some are quite helpful“. Archery, darts, and other target metaphors are frequently used in strategy discussions e.g. “Hitting our target”“Missed our target”“Ready, Fire, Aim” (criticism) Strategic targets are set as part of the… Continue reading Strategic Archery

The case of the troublesome homograph

Confusion sometimes arises in our non-profit governance and management work where a word we use is assumed to have a particular meaning, but actually another meaning is intended. I think a case can be made for that to be the case with regard to the terms “business use case” and “business case“. Here the word… Continue reading The case of the troublesome homograph

Adaptive Strategy

Continuous adjustment of strategy in the light of changing organisational context has been a recurring theme in my last three posts. This post offers something of a footnote to the earlier articles. The header image above provides a slightly different perspective on the ever-shifting point of decision. The time dimension is emphasised here in a… Continue reading Adaptive Strategy

Looking outward and inward

Non-profit directors are not usually spies. They do need to gather and analyse ‘intelligence’ however, to inform their governance activities. This includes monitoring the external environment and internal systems, processes and performance. Business intelligence software and dashboards are available commercially. While some non-profits will be able to afford these, most smaller entities will seek free… Continue reading Looking outward and inward

Blockers or Enablers? The 3 lines of defence

Just as strategic mindsets can be framed in polarised pairs like Growth Vs Fixed, or Solution Vs Problem Oriented, risk management mindsets can also be described as Blocking or Enabling (see header illustration). While reducing any complex matter to a simple binary choice can lead to distorted thinking, when considering your risk mindset it is… Continue reading Blockers or Enablers? The 3 lines of defence

Diagnosis and Treatment in Leadership

I’ve long valued Bryan Whitefield’s insights and guidance on risk and adaptive leadership matters, and his recent article (highly recommended) on diagnosis and action at the Self and System levels, reminded me of another broad parallel I had noticed between health service and leadership concepts and processes. The ‘standard’ treatment process used by health practitioners… Continue reading Diagnosis and Treatment in Leadership

Filters and Factors in Deliberation

Deliberation – where strategic and personal perspectives meet. We directors and executives all like to think that we are rational beings, engaged in objective decision making processes to achieve governance and management goals. All of our best practice models describe linear and logical steps we take (or aspire to) to optimise performance and meet our… Continue reading Filters and Factors in Deliberation

Complexity – the view from the Chair

Those of us who have had the privilege of chairing meetings know that the view from that seat is entirely different from that of participants. “Like playing multi-dimensional chess” is the analogy sometimes used, as it evokes the multi-focal nature of effective chairing practice. The chair’s role inviting participants to speak and vote on motions… Continue reading Complexity – the view from the Chair

Efficient ‘time governance’

“It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.”  (Seneca) Good governance is often described as being a balance between efficiency and effectiveness in setting strategy, overseeing operations, and monitoring performance and conformance. As meetings are the chief means by which the board formally addresses its duties,… Continue reading Efficient ‘time governance’

It’s not ‘catastrophising’ when the catastrophe is real !

So often, risk is narrowly defined as the “effect of uncertainty on objectives” (ISO 3100 2009), and ‘risk management’ as a collection of steps by which to reduce the likelihood and/or impact of a hypothetical future adverse event.  Risk avoidance and risk transfer measures, such as insurance, are instituted before the event as preventive or… Continue reading It’s not ‘catastrophising’ when the catastrophe is real !