Drink Like a Lady Podcast

Season 4, Episode 3: WHY DON'T WE STRATEGIZE?

September 23, 2021 Joya Dass, Kathie DeChirico-Stuart Season 4 Episode 3
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
Season 4, Episode 3: WHY DON'T WE STRATEGIZE?
Show Notes Transcript

 Currently, only 63% of individuals take the time to “strategize/plan” for the future of their organization or their team.

In this episode, we will explore WHY we don’t strategically plan? What is strategic planning? 

WHY DON'T WE STRATEGIZE?

  • We have to look forward and not focus on the current situation.
  • It takes imagination
  • It is using a different set of skills that is based on the “belief” that you can reach your vision and a new future.
  • We do not understand the POWER of strategy and therefore, do not see it as the powerful tool that it can be when used systematically.

WHAT IS STRATEGIC PLANNING?

1. It provides a sense of direction and outlines measurable goals.

It helps to prioritize efforts,  allocate resources,  ensure goals are backed by data and sound reasoning It guides day-to-day decisions, tracks progress and informs when its time to make change.

2. Strategic planning is an evolving process—not a one-time meeting. In a study of HBS graduates who started businesses, 93 percent of those with successful strategies evolved and pivoted away from their original strategic plans.

3. Strategic planning can come out of crisis or unexpected events. When we run into unanticipated opportunities and threats, we have to respond. Sometimes we respond successfully; sometimes we don’t. But most strategies develop through this process. 

4. Strategic planning requires time, effort, and continual reassessment. 


BENEFITS OF STRATEGIC PLANNING
1. Have one vision. Have several 'sub visions'

Create a single vision, make everyone aware of your company’s goals, how and why those goals were chosen, and what they can do to help reach them. Make sub visions so a manager doesnt make decisions on a team level that counteracts the bigger goals' efforts.  

2. Discover where the bias lives?

Here are examples of what bias looks like. Examine where they may lie in your organization.

  • The tendency to select the option presented most recently because it’s fresh in your mind
  • The tendency to assume the most obvious decision to be the best decision
  • The tendency to select options that allow you to think, feel, and act in familiar ways 
  • Confirmation bias. When seeking to validate a particular viewpoint, it's the tendency to only pay attention to information that supports that viewpoint.

 Enlist others with differing views and opinions to help look for information that either proves or disproves the idea.

3. Track Progress using KPIs

Create metrics that measure to find out if every level of your organization is aligned. Pivot your KPIs as goals shift and communicate the reasons for change

QUESTIONS TO ASK UNDER PRESSURE & MAKE GOOD DECISIONS

David Robinson, author of "The Substance of Leadership," wrote 7 questions to lead Marines and teaching them to make good decisions under pressure.

1. Is this a decision that I need to make now?
2. Did I consider the context and constraints?
3. Did I get the right people with the right expertise in the room?
4. Did I accurately frame the issue and encourage debate?
5. Did I collect all of the relevant facts and consider all aspects of the issue?
6. Did I identify and appropriately weigh the risks and opportunities?
7. Do I feel enough conviction to be decisive and explain why I made the decision?

Joya:

All right, folks. It is Season Four, Episode Three of Drink Like a Lady, a podcast that is designed to get you as a female leader, a seat at the bar and a seat in the boardroom. And I'm so happy to welcome back my cohost , Kathie DeChirico-Stuart, who is a business strategist. Kathie, how you doing ?

Kathie:

I am doing good. I'm doing it . As I say, sometimes in the morning, so far so good. Yes.

Joya:

Every day is a good day. When you have all your faculties about me, about yourself. Well, this season, we're focusing on how to think strategically as a woman leader. And I often say that you can be a manager or you can be a leader, but those can be two very different skillsets. And I think that thinking strategically falls under the purview of being a leader.

Kathie:

And I agree, you know, I've really thought about this as we put the program together. And what I find is that that women needs to really take on this skillset. There's few of us can, that can do it very naturally, but then men tend to do it. And that's why they actually create opportunities for themselves. So it's a really an important skillset for us.

Joya:

So for those who are watching, we've, we're going to cover off on why we don't strategically plan. You bring up something interesting there that men actually do this as part of their second nature. So I'm curious about that. What exactly is strategic planning, the benefits of strategic planning? And then I love this, which is why I titled this the "Seven Questions From a Former Marine Colonel That Help You to Make a Better Decision." But Kathie was surprised to learn that only 60% of individuals actually take the time to strategize and plan well .

Kathie:

And part of that is because we're doers, you know, we , we get rewarded for doing , um, and that is where most of the companies and the individuals who actually create competitive advantage for themselves and their teams, when they learn how to utilize this as a power force, they were really understanding, you know, what they could accomplish without all of the doing. And the concern of doing is really what you want to be doing to begin with.

Joya:

So tactical versus strategic, that's easy to get mired in. All right. So the very first point is why don't we strategize? Let's get into it. What is it about strategizing that we have a general allergy to?

Kathie:

Well, you know, it's a very different type of mindset. A lot of people, you know, w you know, there's two different ways there's living in the moment. And then there's people , um, living in the , um, in the future. Totally. So what you have to do is you have to know that there's a currency to it. Like this is where we are at here, but be able to create a future vision off of that. And being comfortable doing that, a lot of people are not comfortable doing that. It takes a , it takes a skill set of stepping back, really looking through it. Um, and also it takes imagination and vision. And we talked about this quickly about Albert Einstein said that he, he quoted that imagination is actually more important than knowledge. And that is if you find creators, strategists , they imagine things. How can things be? Um, it's a different skills. It takes belief, belief in that moving forward and , and going forward can actually happen if you put the right components in place. And once again, we go back to people . A lot of people don't understand the power of strategy.

Joya:

[inaudible] I bet you must have a story from your career when strategizing was the litmus test. It made all the difference in the world.

Kathie:

You know, when I was president of a, a company out of California and I traveled back and forth from New York to California to run the operational piece versus the sales piece or on the East Coast, what happened was I had to figure out what would keep the team in place, but we keep the operational team in place with the sales team. And what we would do is we'd have a, we had a, what are we going to concentrate on? And usually I try to break it down to three points. And once we broke it down to three points and then broke it down to each one of the functions, what happened was sales took off. And it was great, not just for me, because it was the power of the people who made the decision , um , as well. So it's a great power. And since that time , uh , probably 20 years ago, 25 years ago , um, I , I use that pretty much going into any situation.

Joya:

Well, I think now that's a perfect time to talk about what is strategic planning. If you are on the precipice of deciding that this is going to be kind of your next day, you're going to devote some time to strategic planning. What does that mean? Let's get into point number one. So that's a sense of direction and it's measurable goals. I think we forget about the measuring part two cafe .

Kathie:

When you set out a strategic plan, what's really critical here is to make sure that you measure your progress. It's not just good to communicate. We're going to talk about big communication being really important in this as well, but you've got to measure, is it working, you know , look at last year, the pivoting pivoting and strategy became just the way a lot of people had to do in that a restrategize. So it's important to measure is your strategy working. If it's not working, you'll be able to figure that out pretty early in the, in , in the plan,

Joya:

I'm deep in the middle of this, because for the first time I've launched Facebook ads for my masterclass and I've hired a funnels expert, and he is very much about the measurement. And he's got all these different KPIs, which I know we're going to talk about in a second, but really looking at what's working, what's not working cause we've launched to five different audiences and then quickly toggling to turning off the ads that are not reaching the audiences that we thought they were going to reach. And yet the one audience that my ad is reaching is the TEDx audience. And so we've now put all of our ad dollars into that, but if we weren't measuring, and if we hadn't put all these like , sort of metrics in place, I don't know that we would have arrived at that decision.

Kathie:

And you know what, really, this is so perfect in terms of what you're expressing as lots of times, marketing dollars goes out and they say, oh yeah, we did, you know, you know, a hundred thousand dollars in this type of marketing, a million dollars here for larger companies, et cetera. But it doesn't matter. It's not bringing it back to marketing and true strategic marketing means you're measuring at every step of the way. So good for you.

Joya:

Yeah. Thank you. Strategic planning is an ongoing process. It's not a one-time meeting. So to layer on that, we meet every week to sit and review the stats and see, you know, do I need yesterday actually had to create a fifth ad because there's only one. Now that we've gone through a process of elimination, that's running of the four I originally created. So we had to create a fifth one. That's going to go into the queue depending on how this one ad that's going is running. So it's an ongoing process.

Kathie:

And what's really critical here is to understand that, you know, if you bring in the functions of your teammates and they understand there , there may be separate strategies, for instance, HR, operations, marketing , um, and then they can re work back in with the team. And they might say, you know, let's say marketing says, I need more , uh, you know, inventory, you know, as well, then the operations team has to understand where are they going to function within that? So that's the ongoing feeding process that goes on to a really successful long-term strategy plan. I love that

Joya:

The stats that you , uh, you provided from Harvard that 93% of those with successful strategies pivoted way from their original strategic plan,

Kathie:

You know, we're human beings, you know, and the point is by working collaboratively, we don't know everything. We don't know the market conditions. A lot of times we know what's inside , um , our own world in business and team . We've got to understand that we've got to be looking for that, that other intelligence out there. And , uh , that's why this, this statistic is so important to understand.

Joya:

Number three, strategic planning can come out of crisis. Boy, if we look back at the last 15 months, some strategic planning was definitely an order.

Kathie:

You know, also the other thing is once again, we go back to the idea of doing, versus being, being really a strategic , um , component , um, of it. You need to be able to sit down and take the time and effort, and you also need to have a team that can, what I call is critical criticism, and that's not criticism against the person that , against the idea, weigh it up, bring it up, take a look at that and say, you know, where are we right in our first assumptions? You know, just like financial based strategy, where the assumptions, right. Sometimes the assumptions aren't right. You have to go back in, but take the time and , and make, make it as though it's a real investment in terms of your success.

Joya:

Right? And it can't be a bunch of, yes. People in the room it's to be people that are willing to kind of give you the honest feedback. All right . So strategic planning requires time. It requires effort and it requires constant revisiting the benefits of strategic planning. And I know that having like one vision and then some subdivisions , depending on the teams that it impacts are important. Yeah .

Kathie:

Yeah . You've got to keep people on track. What will happen is if you think about this, and I think we went back to the whole marching band concept. If the marching band is all going in one direction and everyone's playing their instrument, it's, it's really, it's a beautiful thing. We've got a band member who's off to the side, running around. That's what happens, same things with employees and with functions. If all of a sudden someone is saying, you know, making a decision, but it doesn't focus back on the original strategic plan. Then that becomes really disarray and chaos. And we want to make sure that people stay focused. Awesome.

Joya:

Awesome. All right . Number two. It forces you to look at your biases. And when I think about biases, I think about what diversity of thought the current site guys, which is just thinking about diversity of skin.

Kathie:

And that is so important now we've, there's so many different complexities to a business than there were years, years, years ago, it was certainly operational. You know, what's the factory mentality. We're not in that factory mentality, we're in an intelligence and a mode and we've got to stay there. What's so key. And I always said this, bring in young blood, bring in young blood motivated and great attitude. They may not have all of the absolute skills that the older individuals have marry them together. And then you can actually, you know, you know, that those blind spots of biases might actually be diminished .

Joya:

I love your examples of what cognitive biases are. And I don't know that I knew this before. We did research for this episode. There's the recency effect, which is to select the option most recently presented in your mind, I was hat shopping in Napa this past weekend, and I must have gone to 15 hat shops. And I was like, oh, I think I need to go back to that first shop because I think that's the hat I want. And then I tried it on and I was like, Hmm , actually it's the second shop. But you know, a small sort of example of, you know, the most recent one wasn't necessarily the one that I decided to buy razor bias, the tendency to assume that the most obvious decision is the best decision and then inertia bias, which is the tendency to select options that allow you to think act and feel, and in ways that are already familiar to you.

Kathie:

Right? And this is really important. Once again, going back to our lives are very complex. So decision-making has really , um, quadrupled in the past 15 months, you know, especially for people running companies, organizations, things that we never had to deal with. Um, but what's really important is, you know, I came out of a meeting recently, we were going to make a capital expense on , um , something here. Um , one of the organizations and was like, one of the guys walked out and said, oh, that's obvious. And I thought, well, it appears obvious, right? But I know the power of getting financial analysis analytics put together for it. And it did prove out, but it didn't prove out for the first year. So if someone were to say, what , how does that make sense for the first year? No, it doesn't make sense for the first year, but when you look at a five-year stint, so the point is have work with great teams, have them check your biases for different levels. It's , it's a wonderful thing to do. And , and to feel comfortable doing it,

Joya:

It looks like that person was seeking a confirmation bias when you're validating a viewpoint. This is obvious because you're only paying attention to information that supports that viewpoint. And that's not necessarily a sound strategic plan if you haven't road tested it.

Kathie:

That's for sure. That is for sure.

Joya:

Number three, here we are. KPIs. How do you track progress using KPIs? I remember reading an interview with the VP of digital assets at Nike, and she said one of the most overlooked KPIs is happiness. When you're looking at your team's revenue is the obvious KPI. Are we making money? Are we making our margins? But then what about happiness and satisfaction? That's an overlooked case

Kathie:

KPI well, you know, I talk about this a lot with individuals and putting teams together. There's this thing called flow and flow actually equates to happiness. If you find someone's gift, which is what they do best and what really motivates them from the inside out, not from the outside in , um, what will happen is you put a bunch of those people together and you're going to find the right strategic team to put in place and , and strategy. Isn't just about the plan. It's about the people and am truly important. And what I also found, and this was just as an amazing thing early on in my career, by putting the right people in the right places, what happens is you can accomplish your goals faster than you would otherwise.

Joya:

And then let's just spend a minute talking about KPIs . Um, my hairdresser actually asked me this question the other day. She's like, what's a KPI. Um, so let's ask the obvious question. What is a KPI and how, how do you establish those metrics?

Kathie:

KPIs key performance indicator, which means that it's a measurement tool. So those are important to even in your strategy plan, create those right from the get-go . Now the other thing I often say is that what will happen is as strategies unfold and as business, you know, takes on its own journey, you might find new KPIs and I call that the trickling effect. So all of a sudden you might, if you've got a stupid people, they'll say, Hmm, did you notice this? And someone might absolutely say, didn't even think of that, that didn't come across the way that we thought. So the point is, take a look at what you put into plan and then take a look at what may be coming up for you as you go on. Um , and it's important to measure though . I know you say you , you meet weekly in the beginning. Weekly is good, depending on how many KPIs and how many functions, but not absolutely without a doubt, you then move on to a two, two week and monthly.

Joya:

All right. So here is the grand Poobah, w most of the part I'm most excited about for this interview today, which is the questions the seven questions to ask when under pressure, in order to make good decisions and the person who originated this as an author and a former Marine Colonel , do you want to talk a little bit about him?

Kathie:

Yeah. David Robinson, he's retired us Marine Corps . And as we know, the , the actual armed forces used a lot of strategy , um, when they would go in it and decide about wars, et cetera, I just finished a great book by Malcolm Gladwell on , um, the strategists World War Two. I can't remember the name of the book. Of course I , you know, in this, but what I've learned more about , uh, they, they are taught, they are there they're lessons in the war room , uh , to , um , the Naval academy, anything up in , um, army for any of these, they talk about strategy. So he goes out now and he talks to individuals and he asks the question. These are the, what he calls the seven pressure point questions as well. So if you want, I'll take over or if you want to do those,

Joya:

Okay, I'm going to actually create a little banner so that we can put them up and everyone can see the measure talks .

Kathie:

First question, is this a decision that I need to make? Now, when you're looking at strategy, lots of times people will, you know, sometimes people float off and that's why you need a strategic plan and functional strategy. You bring them back in and say, does it fit within the strategic plan ? Or is it something new? We should be taking a look at it. So that's once again, a decision-making opportunity. Did I consider the strategic context, including realistic constraints? There's always constraints in the immediate. Is there a way to get rid of those constraints? Is there something that we need to do? What will it take against, you know, all of the parameters of the strategy put in place, third question, did I get the right people with the right expertise in the room? And that is something I always look for. I'm always looking for that person who can help build up a much better 360 perspective. And I do that a lot. I, and I, I love working with people who are just, they're brilliant in their own sense, as I say,

Joya:

You know , I'm really thinking about like 10 X in my business right now, and I'm starting to get those people in the room and forming relationships to take me from point now, C to point D in my business. I'm so glad that you said that.

Kathie:

Yeah, very important. Um, did I accurately frame the issue and encouraged debate? Lots of times people go in, especially leaders. We tend to be very , um, and , and I do this all the time. I am very thought process prior to a meeting. I do a lot of work, but I can be overbearing. And I know that, but here's the first thing I say, you are here to question me, is there something I'm not saying ? And that's important for the leader to be able to be humble enough and have the due diligence to say, checkmate me if I need to, and then work through that. Next, did I collect all of the relevant facts and consider all aspects of the issue right up front ? That is also important. Lots of times people show up at meetings and they haven't done their homework, but they have an opinion. My feeling is that you've got to set the tone for these meeting . What are the expectations show up with facts, consider the aspects of the issue and then talk through them. Don't waste other people's time. But if you have to go back and find something else out and do that as well.

Joya:

You and I both read the Bezos letters and around this, because they know a lot of leaders will walk into a meeting and not had done the due diligence on a decision that's about to be made. They spend the 31st 30 minutes of any meeting reviewing the six page narrative when a new initiative is being brought in front of the company. And that way they work, they get around the fact that people didn't actually will be relevant facts to make an educated decision. Okay.

Kathie:

Exactly. So next is, did I identify all of the appropriate way , the risks and the opportunities, and that is really key here because you know, like I said, we walked out of this meeting a big capital expense we had to go in . Oh yeah, that's obvious. But did we weigh it ? No , we weighed it over time. So immediately, no, it doesn't make sense. Anyone who would say that they'd look at it, you know, a financial statement and said, why would you spend that money? But when we weighed it, it made sense. And then we take a look at how that adds to the value. Here's our last one. Do we feel enough conviction to be decisive and explain why I made the decision? Can you make the decision at the end of the game? That's important, even if it's an error. I mean, really say, you know what? I made that decision and here's why I made a decision, but I didn't have enough. Or, you know, I was in retail and wholesale for a lot of time in the fashion industry, market changes were always incredible. And , uh , I learned how that it's okay sometimes to make that mistake, but you work from it.

Joya:

And being able to say, as a leader, I made a mistake, a lot of people's egos , sometimes trump that statement, which can be important, but it sounds like it's all of these things. Context. Number two is probably the most important thing to consider when you are making good decisions.

Kathie:

Well, right. That's what we say. We've been , did you consider the strategic context, go back to your strategy? Does it, does it make sense based on the strategy? Sometimes when you start asking the question, you can get to number two and say, you know what? I don't need to discuss it anymore.

Joya:

Okay , Kathie, next week, we're going to talk a little bit more of the how's of strategy. Give us a little , uh, a little bit of a teaser on what that means.

Kathie:

How do you go about creating a strategy? What do you do? Who are the people you bring into the, into the room with you and what time, what kind of timing does it take to do that? Um , and why you might need to do that as well. So we're going to talk about how you can literally come out of this and figure out the steps in terms of creating that strategy.

Joya:

Kathie, if anyone wants to work with you, what is your best way? I've just put up your phone number there for anyone that wants to call you.

Kathie:

That's the best way. Um, as well as an email, which will give reference to any of the , um , questions you have or increase. And it's [email protected]

Joya:

And I am very happy to report that I have filled by next public speaking masterclass cohort, which is starting September 29th. And now I'm feeling for the next cohort, which starts on November 4th. So if you are a corporate woman looking to build a personal brand, I am happy to work with you and help you tell stories about your leadership. All you got to do is email me at [email protected] or joya @ joyadass .com . All right, Kathie you have a good one. I'll see you next week.

Kathie:

You too, Joya. It's always a pleasure. Bye bye . Now .