Bill Welter is a consulting educator with over 45 years of experience spanning four separate careers: military, engineering, consulting and education. As president of Adaptive Strategies based in Chicago and Tucson, Arizona, he specializes in the application of critical and strategic thinking for business leaders and professionals through writing, speeches, workshops, team facilitation, and one-on-one coaching. Author of four books (the most recent being 30,000 words written in 30 days), Bill believes in the prepared mind for leaders, living by a reflective, mental process to address change flexibly and take action dynamically.
Playing in the Laboratory of the Mind: Managers and executives who say that they were surprised by changes in customers or competitors or market conditions are simply kidding themselves.They were not doing what they are paid to do – to think about the things it takes to keep a business healthy and then to decide accordingly.Chance favors the prepared mind, and planning for the future requires reflection and leveraging a suite of thinking perspectives, from testing our assumptions again and again, to recognizing emotions as another part of evidence, to leveraging imagination and opening up the level at which we view our challenge – raise above the context to see a wider angle, then zero back down.
Preparing Your Company for Tomorrow Today: Business leaders often worry about the future, yet seem to devote insufficient time to THINK about the future and prepare accordingly. They are consumed with the day-to-day, falling then into surviving the unpredictability of a future that will come their way. The primary skills that are often underutilized include: 1) Imagining – step beyond a love affair with spreadsheets, and instead hold regular “what if” sessions, 2) Reflecting – get away from the doing, to ask What did we want? What did we get? Why the difference? And what did we learn?, and 3) Challenge – do not be cursed by your knowledge, but offer and demand tough questions. What don’t I know that I should?
We Have Been Down This Road Before, But We Took a Detour: The inevitable retirement of the Baby Boomers from the workforce is prompting organizations to revisit the knowledge retention processes and talent management efforts that were sidetracked with the 2008 financial crisis. How do real people pass on wisdom so as to enable a smooth transition within organizations? Wisdom powers the future and is enabled by a blend of explicit knowledge and unspoken or unrecorded implicit knowledge. Storytelling, apprenticeships, after-action-reviews and coaching assist the transfer of wisdom.
Managing to Manage Programs: Seldom do we hear about or find in the management literature companies bragging about their ability to bring in major projects on time, on budget and within original scope. While planning systems and reporting methods and tools can help, at it is often people issues that trump all others for opportunities to significantly improve execution. With little to no slack today’s organizational systems, and given the impending retirement of experienced project experts looming, leaders must work hard to get it right from the very beginning, setting aligned requirements and having configuration control processes to manage change – which is sure to happen.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008