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Strategic Discipline Blog

Create Your Strategic Learning Cycle

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jul 15, 2013

We’ve discussed the challenges of change, the present shifting economic environment, often described as VUCA, filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.  The rules of survival today in the marketplace are similar to Darwinian, “Never sit still.”

So what does your company need to do to meet the uncertain economy, marketplace and continuous change that is occurring?  According to Dun & Bradstreet only 7 percent of the 9 million companies currently registered in the US are over fifty years old.  How do you prevent your business from becoming a casualty in the present economic environment that swallows up and destroys most promising businesses?

You need to develop a structure and process that provides your business with four linked action steps – learn, focus, align, execute. This is the Strategic Learning Cycle. Strategic Learning Cycle resized 600

Together they embody the The Five Killer Competencies:

  1. Insight: The ability to make sense of the changing environment
  2. Focus: The ability to create an intense focus on the right things
  3. Alignment: The ability to align and mobilize the entire organization behind this strategic focus
  4. Execution: The ability to implement fast
  5. Renewal: The ability to do these things over and over without stopping

Strategic Discipline provides the structure and accompanying process for following the Five Killer Competencies within the four linked action steps.

Within Strategic Disciplines Meeting Rhythms (Cadence of Accountability) monthly meetings are designated for a segment dedicated to the intention Learning, Planning and Solving.  Recommended is an hour or more each monthly meeting spent on learning/training.  With an executive team this could encompass working on some area of strategy that your company may need to identify or review.  Examples might be identifying Core Values, Core Purpose or building your Strategy Statement, Inside Advantage or Brand Promise.  You may need to determine your BHAG, X-factor or profit per X. Remember; Strategy is one of the Four Decisions with the specific result to generating top line revenue growth.  If your business is struggling to increase revenue, dedicating time to strategy is the area your business should be focusing on.

The Learning, Planning, Solving portion of the monthly meeting might encompass the relationship aspect.   Learning how to positively reinforce employees or simply discussing how to improve employee engagement.  Training may include an internal focus or new industry news.   New software, changes competitive dynamics, or new products and services is timely information to present.  Regardless, by adapting the monthly meeting discipline a strict time and frequency is created for learning and training within your organization. 

Annual and quarterly meetings provide time to focus and align the business with the top priority of the company. They also offer time to renew.  Each year and quarter your executive team should be reviewing the current plan, or building a new plan for the forthcoming year with the intention of following the insight, focus, alignment and execution process.

Weekly meetings offer the opportunity to implement/execute.  Each meeting should review progress on priorities and collect customer and employee data that provides insight into the changing market place dynamics and internal and external environment.

Strategic Discipline when followed correctly achieves the disciplined approach to a successful Strategic Learning Cycle for your business. 


Topics: Strategic Discipline, Cadence of Accountability, meeting rhythms, Strategic Learning, Five Killer Competencies, Strategic Learning Cycle

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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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