Byron's Babbles

Top 50 Strategy In Action Indicators

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 4, 2013
Strategy in Action

Strategy in Action

As I stated in my earlier post today, Strategy In Action, I spent this week in the classroom at Harvard University learning to be a more effective leader at being strategic in the Harvard Graduate School of Education program Strategy In Action. This was a program made up of an outstanding curriculum with the learning being facilitated by the incredible Harvard faculty, Elizabeth City and Rachel Curtis. Part of my homework this afternoon is to develop commitments that I will follow through on when I get back to my school tomorrow. To enable this process I did what I have done for other programs I have attended and created a Top 50 List. In this blog post I would like to share this list and my leadership commitment. Here are the Top 50 Strategy in Action Indicators:

 Top 50 Strategy In Action Indicators

Created By: Byron L. Ernest

December 2-4, 2013

Harvard University


1.     Use the data as grist for our mill

2.     Beware of  “analysis paralysis”

3.     Most people think from the outside in [what, how, why]. The highly effective lead from the inside out [why, how, what].

4.     People don’t buy what you do…they buy why you do it!

5.     Being strategic asks three questions: 1. Why 2. What 3. How

6.     Six habits of strategic thinkers:          







7.     Use the “Week in Review” to strategize your life

8.     We need to study all strategies and find out which we are really doing, and which we are just saying we are doing

9.     Some things are necessary, but not sufficient

10.  The most common place strategy falls down; it’s in the leader’s head, but nowhere else!

11.  Much of what we do is in the hard/high impact quadrant

                        Good news: We’re focused on the stuff that makes an impact

                        Bad news: We don’t have the capacity to do it all

12.  SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

13.  An effective team is the primary mechanism for driving work

14.  An effective team results in engagement in and ownership of the teams work

15.  An effective team sets the tone for culture

16.  Building blocks of an effective team: Shared purpose (why), right people (what), processes, structures, agendas, and accountability (how)

17.  People want to do challenging and consequential work

18.  The same people in Number 17 do, however, want clarity

19.  Lots of little steps take you to great places

20.  A meeting’s purpose is not to have people go through all they are doing to make themselves look good. It is about what is being done to add value to the work of highly effective student learning.

21.  Having stakeholders pre-load the agenda with important items is a best practice

22.  Think about a “value added” approach. We need to think about how we measure “value added” to each position, strategy, and theory of action

23.  It’s about the work, not about the people

24.  We need to make sure all our team members understand how their daily work contributes to the strategic plan

25.  Root Cause Analysis: It complicates our thinking, thus keeping us from chasing shiny objects

26.  It’s easier to be unclear to keep from upsetting team members, but in the end the team becomes dysfunctional and everyone is unhappy

27.  When doing a Root Cause Analysis don’t forget to include the actors (who)

28.  Be specific and descriptive, not judgmental when obtaining and analyzing data

29.  Three kinds of data available to us: 1. See 2. Count 3. Hear

30.  Must be intentional with data use

31.  If you don’t see it…it does not exist

32.  Is the only reason we are looking at certain data because someone else is watching it? ie. State, authorizing agents, et cetera

33.  The goal of data is to have a robust look at the whole picture

34.  Data use ladder: Data, Interpretation, Conclusions, Actions

35.  Describe data without judgment

36.  Must have specificity of evidence

37.  We tend not to look deep enough into successes; it is easier to study failures

38.  We must look for patterns in the data

39.  There is freedom and excitement thinking expansively; this in turn enables audacious thinking

40.  Audacious thinking creates a North Star to move toward

41.  A vision is bold, vivid, compelling, audacious and moves beyond incrementalism

42.  Book recommendation: ThinkerToys

43.  What if…  – think about the conversations that can be started with this

44.  Use the what if… structure to think outside the normal constraints of your own context

45.  When you live in a box it is difficult to open it and think expansively

46.  It is also really hard to step outside of the box if someone opens it

47.  SWOT – Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

48.  The value of SWOT is more in the process, shared ownership, and the communication shared in doing the exercise as opposed to the product

49.  Brutally Honest Truths: Theories of Use – If…Then…

50.  Make sure to mine things for the resource they are!

I will present my commitment here in form of an If…Then… Brutally Honest Truth Theory of Use. If I improve my leadership to tie together the instructional/academic and operational processes of the school then our entire staff will function as one cohesive and high functioning team. But, right now I am bouncing between the two without balance. My commitment is to provide leadership in a way that all our team members understand how their daily work contributes to the strategic plan and the most important part of all our jobs – educating children!

Leading for Success

Leading for Success

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Jack Ford said, on December 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Wow. You hiring? I’m joking, but my hat’s off to you for an incredibly well thought through list and a powerful concluding action statement.


  2. […] I guess it is why I have become such a student of strategic planning. This two dimensional leadership is really the essence of strategic planning – making resource allocation today that will affect the future (Maciarello, 2014). It requires deliberately allocating resources to projects that are directed toward securing the future of your organization. Yet, in my case, short-term results are necessary to take a school off the “F” list this year. So, short-term results are necessary, and this necessity may require making trade-offs between short-term and long-term results. You can read a couple of my posts on strategic planning by clicking on Strategy in Action and Top 50 Strategy in Action Indicators. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: