Are your flowers right for the occasion?

01 Feb 2013

Professor Peter Robertson is founder of Human Insight, designer of the AEM Cube and author of “Always Change a Winning Team.” His work is said to be the new Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) of leadership and strategic success, and is used by Phillips to evaluate its innovation teams.

H was recently in Singapore, and we chatted about strategies over steaming bowls of noodles. Peter began with an analogy that I thought was very apt.

“Successful strategies are like a bouquet," he said, “A successful strategy has a particular mix – much like a good bouquet has more than one type of flower. Depending on the purpose of a strategy - conception, early start-up, growth, stabilisation or transition to a new strategy - a different bouquet or team mix is more successful than others.”

“A team that is great at one type of strategy will not be great at another. The leadership team needs to change”, continued Peter.

In other words, specific elements of a team profile are a leading indicator of strategic (and project) success or failure.

Continuing with bouquets, think of companies and projects as a fertile field experiencing the four seasons. Many companies focus only on the summer of growth and the harvest of autumn, completely forgetting that the land has to lay fallow in winter, and be tilled then seeds sown in the spring.

For businesses, teams and strategy, this dynamic is complicated by having different services or businesses at different stages of their business cycle. Some are in harvest, others are in those early stages of growth.

Peter’s key points on balance, teams and strategy:

• Everything goes through cycles of creation, development, growth, maturity/harvest and end;
• Successful teams have specific profiles based on the part of the cycle (or season) they address;
• Strategic weakness exists when there is no handover between teams as the cycle progresses.

Bouquets need changing to keep them fresh. In the same way, if you want successful strategies, then do what Peter’s book says: Always change a winning team.

Do more for strategy, projects and the right team, see Joanne at Joanne Flinn is the author of “The Success Healthcheck for IT Projects” (Wiley 2010).

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