Top 2020 Posts and Executive Briefs

Here are the top posts and briefs from 2020. My thanks to all of you for your feedback and insights:

Strategic Planning Tool: The McKinsey 7s Model

With firms planning out 2021, here’s a reminder that for strategies to be meaningful, you must align everything in your organization to match the strategy. McKinsey & Company consultants Tom Peters and Robert Waterman created a useful alignment tool known as the 7-S Model.

It recommends that structure, systems, skills, shared values, staff, and leadership style all be in alignment in support of the strategy.

Here’s a summary of the 7-S Model, an example, and a template for your own 7s model

Minnesota 500

My thanks to Minnesota Magazine for including me on the list of the Minnesota 500. Below is the profile from the magazine:

Hiring Top Performers, an Interview Guide

We are hiring.  Getting the right people is vital, obviously, to building a great team.

Building a great team starts with finding great people. Top firms spend an excessive amount of time recruiting.

One worldwide executive recruiting firm, Egon Zehnder International, conducts between 25 and 40 interviews per hire!  Most of us don’t have the time or resources to put job candidates through such a rigorous recruiting process. However, we can take the time to check out a potential new employee thoroughly before asking him or her to join our team. If you’re wowed by someone’s technical prowess but concerned about his or her honesty or attitude, don’t risk it. When we have justified hiring someone—usually in response to a hefty workload—the person may have provided short-term relief but did not work out in the long term.

We have an eight-step process. An essential step in our approach uses an interview from the book Top Grading.  Here’s a link to that interview.

Productivity Tip: My Best Way to Take Notes

Growing up, my dad was a big note taker. From the calendar in the barn with upcoming farm appointments to 3M pads in the house with reminders for the day to a journal of rain and crop results, he believed in the power of the pen.

I too capture thoughts and memorialize meetings with a pen and paper. But, there’s a twist. I use something not available in dad’s day called Livescribe. Livescribe uses a smartpen and a tablet, that looks like a “normal” pen and tablet. But, there’s an upside.

Everything is OCR’d, so handwritten notes are searchable. More importantly, the OCR’d notes are instantly synced through the cloud to Evernote. Evernote is where I keep all my thoughts, important emails, pictures, or really anything I may want to reference in the future.

I have no financial interest or upside in Livescribe.