Your Big Opportunity – The Sunday Snippet – [4.28.14]

Forget the giant strategy deck. There’s a shorter (and better) way.

Business strategy is notoriously difficult to articulate, absorb and execute. Strategy sessions often begin with 2-inch thick PowerPoint presentations and then devolve into foggy, multi-tangent discussions with a barely perceptible plan of action.

John Kotter

       John Kotter

Harvard Business School professor John Kotter and his colleagues at Kotter International, a firm that helps leaders accelerate strategy implementation, have found an alternative that is easier to communicate, more effectively aligns people, and generates and sustains energy. He calls it “The Big Opportunity.”

Here it is in a nutshell: a Big Opportunity articulates in language that is analytically accurate and emotionally compelling an opportunity that will move an organization forward in a substantial way. If you can capitalize on it, it will place you into a prosperous, winning future.

A written statement of a Big Opportunity can be a very useful tool. It is short, like a vision statement. “Short” usually means about half a page

Another is its tone. A Big Opportunity statement should have rational content (like any good strategy) and be emotionally compelling (like any good vision).

Here are some of the basic characteristics of an effective Big Opportunity statement:

Short. Less than a page.

Rational. What, why, why us, why now, and why bother?

Compelling. There is heart in it, and it speaks to the emotions of all relevant audiences.

Positive. It has a positive tone and “burning desire” urgency.

Authentic. It’s in plain English and sounds real.

Aligned. It fits with the future, or at the least, it is aware of any non-alignment and the stresses and strains that will create.

When opportunity knocks don’t over think it. Open the door and invite it in – for a short and simple discussion.

Have a great week.