Perspective – Find your Voice

Many of us have learnt to hide our real self away. We have lost our voice.  Instead we present a fictional persona.  A mask.  Maintaining false identities is exhausting and robs us of a wealth of fulfilment.  Surfacing, honouring and projecting our unique self is always an act of courage.

Finding your voice delivers massive reward.  In business the search is on for special people who know themselves and are filled with a sense of fulfilment in their chosen line of work.

So what are you engaged in?  It is an act of freedom to grapple with questions of identity and what matters.  The dialogue is the act.  Exercising your voice to steer the dialogue towards the topics you feel are important is an act of freedom.  You may not resolve the questions.  The big questions don’t have pat answers.  The resolution does not lie in the answers.  The resolution lies in your understanding of the question.  Resolution lies in the point at which you and your group out-grow the question.

Read the full article here.

Pieter Hugo is a South African who travels Africa to photograph the unusual. I thought this photo of a Hyena man in Nigeria an apt illustration.


Technique – Strategy Map

If you don’t make a difference you don’t matter. To create significant difference, leaders consider what is happening in the strategic neighbourhood.  They talk about who they are, what they bring to the market, how they are performing, who they want to be, and how they want to engage in their industry.  Many topics!  Each with useful models and content.

To engage everyone to deliver the difference you need a plan. Actually you need many plans. Many strategy models and many plans can create confusing complexity, as illustrated in the figure below. Teams can get lost between talking about what is happening in their industry, how well they have done and what they intend to do next.

Strategy Map is a powerful tool to converge all the strategic decisions onto a foundation to resolve the complexity, and prepare for planning.

Strategy Map provides a systemic view of Strategy. Intangible assets,  including  Human Capital, Information Capital and Organisational Capital  are required to drive the Internal Processes.  The Internal Processes describe the work carried out to present the Value Proposition to the market.  The Value Proposition is how leadership would like the market to perceive the offer.  A positive response to the Value Proposition leads to financial rewards, measured against the targets set in the Financial Perspective.

Leadership teams doing this work create a solid foundation within which to reflect on strategy.

Read the full article here

Read a description of strategy map here.


A small adventure – Kogelbaai

The painting this month comes from one of my favourite spots on the coast between Kogelbaai and Rooiels, in False Bay.  This particular view is also fun for me as I have been using it as a view for demonstrations to Watercolour groups.  I ask the group to pretend we are out on the shoreline somewhere, just us and the view.  What we put on paper is not nearly as important as the fact that we are there.  And this is how I go about it.  So, even though I may have South Africa’s top watercolourists watching me, the demo remains just another adventure.

There is a little more to this watercolour:  As I paint I am continually faced with the similarity between approaches for making good watercolours and what it takes to formulate, plan and execute an effective strategy.  I painted this watercolour with this mind.  Each step in the painting process provides a metaphor to reflect on how a team is doing in their execution.

You can read about the painting here.


At StrategyWorks we assist leaders who choose to collaborate, with those crucial conversations for clarity, decisions, action and outcomes.  These conversations can be frustrating when people are not heard, the team cannot make decisions or the way forward remains vague.  Leaders contact us at StrategyWorks when they are ready to do something different.  In the process those involved in the conversations feel understood and challenged.  At the end of the intervention, the leaders and their teams feel focused and released around a clear plan of action.

Find out more from our website at:www.strategyworks.co.za or better still contact us at the email address: stephen@strategyworks.co.za to arrange a meeting with Stephen.


© 2011 Stephen Quirke, All rights reserved.  You are free to use material from this Conversaction newsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.  The attribution should read:  ”By Stephen Quirke of StrategyWorks.  Please visit Stephen’s web site at https://www.strategyworks.co.za/ for more resources on how to hold effective conversations in your organisation.” (Please make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)