379. Teaching Lean Strategic Decision-Making
He was tasked with completing a half-billion-dollar project, but members of his multi-disciplinary team might just as well have been speaking different languages. Poor group dynamics made matters worse. He knew he had to find a way to make all the parts work together. Could he create a process that would work?
Steve Garchow spent 35 years helping his employers improve company strategy. He learned that, without a strategic decision process as a guide, companies are not very good at formulating strategy. His recently published book, Stratification: How Strategic Decision Processes Will Create Sustainable Competitive Advantage, makes companies more effective. Steve’s passion is working with companies to improve their strategic decision-making.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“When I went to college, my dad told me, “Go into a major where you’re going to get a job.” So that’s what I did. Then, it took me awhile to find something that I’m passionate about. It was through the outplacement department of a large corporation where he worked that Steve found the tools to help him discover his talents and the things he cared about. He followed the guidance in a book. “The author advised that before you even think about jobs or take any other steps, figure out what are you passionate about.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Six months into his marriage, Steve lost his job. “My wife was a Ph.D. student, so we knew if we were going to live together I needed to find a job in the local area.” Two job opportunities came along, one nearby, the other in Chicago. He decided to wait for the local job, so he turned down the Chicago offer. Then, he waited and waited for the local offer to materialize, but it never did. Steve summoned his courage, called the Chicago company and explained what had happened. They offered the job again, on the same terms as the first offer. “I learned so much about business, so much about strategies, things I never would have learned at the local company. That was a real passage for me.”
The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?
Returning from a six-year assignment in Australia, Steve was tasked with leading a multi-disciplinary group to select a next-generation portfolio for a half-billion-dollar franchise. Beset by communication problems and poor group dynamics, the project was faltering. Steve set out to bring the task force members together, get them speaking the same language, and create a process that succeeded. “Creating this process led to what I am doing today, teaching companies to use this lean strategic decision model.”
Steps to Success from Steve Garchow
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Before you even think about jobs, figure out what are you passionate about.
3. Be willing to take risks. Risks can add flavor to your life.
4. Hope is not a strategy. Make course corrections, adjust your sails, and move on.
On His Bookshelf
Connecting With Steve Garchow
Poem mentioned in interview, Good Enough, by Edgar Guest. Email: Steve@foresight-consultinginc.com to request free PDF.
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