eBook of Strategy-Preview
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Listen: You have a gift of taking complex things & making them understandable!
Listen: Strategy is much more than just the map….
Listen: Do people like change in management?.....
Listen: It takes a unique leader to pull all of this together….
Listen: Emotional intelligence - ability to process emotions…
Listen: Critical thinking - “double movement of reflective thought”.....
Listen: Culture is how we all talk to each other…..
Listen: Why is culture so important?…
Listen: Strategic planning means you've got to do more than just talk about it…..
For decades, the terms strategy, leadership, and culture are often discussed independently, interchangeably, and often with little definitional clarity.
Dr. Schell's eBook of Strategy
explains what they mean.
Strategy is the map to the destination.
Leadership is the guide along the path.
The guide should be trustworthy.
The guide should make good decisions.
Culture is how the leader and the group interact.
Five Essential Topics in One Paper
Strategy is the roadmap to success
Leadership guides the path
Trust is part of Leadership
Decision Making in Leadership
Culture forms from Behavior
EXCERPT (2 of 33 pages)
Author’s Note: The Mortgage CEO
My firm and I support mortgage lenders of all shapes and sizes. Some lenders are depository mortgage lenders, and some are independent mortgage companies. Some exceed $40 billion in annual volume, but most are $5 billion and less. Some clients are top mortgage originators or mortgage brokers who desire to become the CEO of a mortgage bank they own. Those who envision themselves as the CEO of their national mortgage bank are the target audience I had in mind when selecting this whitepaper's content and complexity. One of the fundamental principles for success is that there is a minimum standard of sophistication for sustainable success, which this whitepaper attempts to exemplify. That said, the elements of strategy, leadership, and culture described here, particularly the sections on self-denial and decision making, are universally applicable.
The terms strategy, leadership, and culture are often discussed independently, interchangeably, and often with little definitional clarity. For decades, business scholars and behavioral scientists have scoured the success of companies across the country to examine the elements of strategy, leadership, and culture. These behavioral explorers applied statistically founded root cause analysis to dissect the definitions of these terms. Within this whitepaper, I reference the works and findings of many notable scholars, including:
Dr. Bernard Bass Expert on Leadership: Transformation, Transactional, Charismatic
Dr. Michael Porter Expert on Strategy, Creator of Five Forces Model
Dr. Peter Drucker Expert on Culture, Creator of Management by Objectives
Dr. Kurt Lewin Expert on Behavioral Science, Creator of Change Model Theory
Dr. W. E. Deming Expert on Psychodynamic Theory, Creator of Total Quality Management
Dr. Jeanne Liedtka Expert on Strategy, Leadership Authenticity, and Design Thinking
Dr. Cam Caldwell Expert on Mortal Leadership, Business Ethics, and Self-deception
These exceptional thinkers' discoveries extend from their advanced research efforts that provide much of the structural foundation for this whitepaper's content, which is further augmented by thousands of research publications I examined during and after my doctoral programs. These scholars help to bring clarity and understanding to the terms, strategy, leadership, and culture. I’ve assembled an explanation of these terms in this whitepaper in the hope of enabling mortgage lenders to understand and apply the value of these concepts to achieve sustainable profitability. This whitepaper excludes the use of non-scientific articles or books in favor of reliance on statistically validated findings examined and published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals by Ph.D. authors.
Strategy identifies a company's future, the resources and capabilities required to deliver a product or service to the market successfully, and the steps needed to generate a profit from the strategic activity. The sustainability of any business depends on achieving profitability and the generation of an acceptable return on investment (ROI) for the owner/manager and any non-management equity investors. This is the result of a validated strategy. The following list briefly encapsulates the essential elements of strategy:
Strategy defines where you are going (vision)
Strategy describes what you do (mission)
Strategy establishes how you behave, which forms culture (values)
- Strategy examines how sales activity will be generated (marketing plan)
Strategy creates the financial forecast based on the marketing plan (business plan)
Strategy provides the basis for organizational design (organizational design)
Strategy identifies the best-fit leadership style and structure (leadership design)
Strategy examines your ability to accomplish the objectives (self-assessment)
Strategy identifies how you will get there (objectives)
Strategy implements the objectives to fulfill the mission (execution)
Strategy creates a mechanism for staff to accept the change (change management)
Strategy adjusts to feedback to embrace your market dynamics (feedback-loop)
Leadership is an extension of strategy as the leadership role must embrace and embody the elements of Strategy. The leadership style that effectively directs a construction crew's activity is different from the leadership style to inspire a group of software designers. It is also best for the Leader’s personality to align with the leadership style best suited to address the Strategic plan. It is common for a management team to form based on the different skills and leadership styles required to achieve the plan. When employees are heard and appreciated by their leaders, they are more likely to engage openly and honestly. This is evidence of authentic leadership and will likely lead to sustainable comradeship built on mutual trust and respect. The following list briefly encapsulates the essential elements of leadership:
A leader inspires the staff to believe the firm’s vision
A leader listens to the staff and develops trust among the staff
A leader informs the staff about the firm’s objectives
A leader encourages staff to accomplish the objective
A leader teaches the staff how to perform all functions
A leader orchestrates the activities of the staff
A leader measures the firm’s output and adjusts behavior when required
A leader makes data-driven decisions to adapt to market dynamics
A leader perpetuates culture by embracing and exhibiting the firm’s values
Culture is formed from the interplay of strategy and leadership as managers and employees interact to accomplish the strategic plan's objectives. Although the strategic values will define how individuals should behave, it is the actual behavior of leaders and assertive employees that drive the formation and preservation of culture. From incubation to maturity, forming a stable corporate culture may take many months and likely years for culture to solidify as people begin to embrace and replicate culture to others.
An employee who feels mistreated and ignored will likely create challenges for leaders. Outbursts of yelling and similarly divergent behavior by employees and leaders undermine attempts to implement a vibrant and consistent corporate culture. Within an office where yelling and screaming are commonplace, the pervasive culture is one of fear and intimidation, which research has repeatedly demonstrated is counterproductive to an efficient operation. Unfortunately, such detrimental practices continue to persist in mortgage lending, likely, in part, due to the self-denial cognitive dissonance discussed in the leadership section below.
The following list briefly encapsulates the essential elements of culture:
Culturally accepted behavior is identified in the values statement
Culture forms over time and is more vulnerable in smaller companies
Culture is reinforced by the behavior of leaders and employees
Culture is dramatically impacted by a firm’s hiring practices
Culture is diminished when a branch that does not share the firm’s values joins
Culture is impacted by forceful and verbose employees
Culture is impacted by a leader’s tolerance of behavioral violations
Culture is how a firm’s employees behave irrespective of a Leader’s statements
Strategy, Leadership, Culture balanced
Application of Strategy, Leadership, and Culture
A fantastic strategy that leverages a market opportunity and is supported by a firm’s validated strengths is likely to succeed irrespective of authentic leadership or vibrant culture.
A high-demand product will generate sales regardless of other factors, just as mortgage lenders experienced during 2020. A rising tide floats all boats.
The key is to achieve sustainable profitability over decades, not a single event or short-term win. Over time, a firm that implements a values statement championed by competent leadership as well as all strategic planning elements, including the self-assessment (SWOT), employee-focused change management, is likely to achieve long-term profitability.
The best outcome for a firm’s shareholders and stakeholders, including its employees, is to achieve the trifecta of validated strategy with authentic leadership and vibrant culture.
Research indicates that it is difficult to accomplish this outcome. That being said, this whitepaper attempts to equip its readers with a plan of action to achieve exactly that.
The above is 2 out of 33 pages.
Following is the actual table of contents.
© 2021. Dr. Andy Schell