On Collaboration

Three Hints for Creating a Unified Organizational Strategy

Posted July 12, 2013 10:10 AM by Mark Cutler

There is a great article by Adam Bryant in the July 12, 2013, New York Times that builds off Microsoft’s recent reorganization announcement to share some successful CEOs' words of wisdom on creating a unified organizational strategy.

Acknowledging that this is very difficult to do, especially within large organizations, Bryant cites three CEOs he has interviewed who shared their keys to success.  I think any organization, regardless of size, can learn a thing or two from these leaders.

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Finding Balance

Posted July 19, 2012 10:15 AM by Dylan Miyake

A key concept in the "Balanced" Scorecard is the idea of "balance." As originally envisioned by Drs. Kaplan and Norton, balance meant that financial indicators should be balanced by customer, internal process, and learning and growth measures. But over the years, the idea of balance has grown to mean a lot more in the world of the Balanced Scorecard.

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Why Keep Your Strategy A Secret?

Posted June 29, 2012 3:59 PM by Ted Jackson

Is it possible for your organization to achieve its strategy independently? Well, if you think you can go it alone I would like to challenge your thinking – particularly if you operate in the social sector. If you run a homeless shelter, you need other shelters to manage overflow situations. If you run an environmental organization your mission may benefit from cooperation from large corporations. If you run an arts organization you are likely linked with schools to engage young children in the arts. Interdependencies are equally obvious for federal, state and local government organizations. So, if this interdependence is so prevalent then why do most organizations consider their strategy a secret? Who knows, but it is time to change this. I would suggest that if your mission addresses a social challenge then you should establish a strategic partnership with others who can contribute to solutions and will benefit from impact.

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Building Collaborative Teams

Posted June 29, 2012 1:04 AM by Brandon Kline

Recently, I read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review entitled, "Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams." The article was based on a study that examined 55 teams across 15 multinational companies, and provides valuable insight into the primary drivers of strong teamwork and high levels of collaboration. Both collaboration and teamwork are vital if your organization plans to run effectively and efficiently. So, with that in mind, I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight the eight key factors in building collaborative teams. As laid out in the article, the eight factors are:

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Happy Memorial Day!

Posted May 29, 2012 12:00 AM by Brandon Kline

As we celebrate Memorial Day and honor our veterans and military families for their service and sacrifice, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of the great work our government is doing to support our veterans.

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Can Measures Strengthen a Strategic Alliance?

Posted March 30, 2012 9:41 PM by Ted Jackson

Have you ever be dependent upon the success of a strategic partnership to achieve your own organizations mission? How did it work? Did leadership trust one another or did they blame each other for not carrying their weight? Were there shared objectives or competition for scarce resources? Was there respect for the mixture of talent or lack of appreciation for what the partner is doing? Recently, I was asked how a Balanced Scorecard or any performance management system might be used to align a somewhat challenging strategic partner with a strategy. Most think that measures immediately become divisive and foster competition which would only exacerbate a tense relationship. But, I would contend that establishing shared measures to which two or more partners agree is a powerful way to align efforts toward shared objectives.

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Score One for the Introverts When Seeking Innovation

Posted January 17, 2012 10:11 AM by Mark Cutler

When, as a consultant, you help clients execute their strategy, you cannot help but run into talk about innovation--what an organization must do to foster it and how to measure it. In this blogpost I want to focus on the "fostering innovation" part because I read a great article in The New York Times this Sunday, "The Rise of the New Groupthink."

The author, Susan Cain, argues that the "New Groupthink"--which holds that creativity and achievement come from open, collaborative, and gregarious workplaces--goes against the research in the field. "Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all," says Cain. "Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in."

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Mission-Driven Summit Early Bird Registration - Last Day!!

Posted November 15, 2011 9:20 AM by Ted Jackson

Today is the last day to get the early bird registration discount for the upcoming summit in March of 2012. This summit is going to be great. We have keynote presentations from David Norton, co-creator of the Balanced Scorecard, and Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE. If you want to register today to receive the early bird rate, but you cannot get your act together to do it online, please email us, and we can invoice your organization.

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America’s Pragmatic Caucus Steps Up

Posted November 1, 2011 8:56 AM by Ted Jackson

This weekend someone emailed me a copy of an article from Time magazine about how local communities are not letting the dysfunction of Washington, DC politics stop them from making progress. I live in Washington, DC, so sometimes it is hard to see beyond CSPAN and the news in the Washington Post. It seems like politics have brought the USA to a standstill, where a supermajority is now required for any basic vote in congress. I've been lucky enough over the past year to have two clients in the same region represent this "Pragmatic Caucus" that was described by Bruce Katz and Judith Rodin.

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Social Capital increases school performance

Posted August 19, 2011 9:22 AM by Ted Jackson

So the cover story of the Fall 2011 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review is called "The Missing Link in School Reform." At Ascendant, we help a lot of schools to improve performance, so the article caught my eye. In the article, author Carrie Leana introduces the concept of Social Capital. She says that it may be more important than Human Capital in improving schools.

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