'Grayson Perry, Masculinity, Strategic Leadership'

Grayson Perry - artist, transvestite, All Man – investigates the underlying symbolism of the City of London in his latest episode, Rational Man.

Monochrome with a large penis could be one description.

That might do a disservice to the financiers who opened their doors but we are grateful to them.  We can’t escape the fact that men rule this world.  And - come to that – most businesses.

Common sense is viewed through the lens of masculinity. 

But where has that got us today?


'All Experience Is Subjective'

Gregory Bateson is recognised as one of the most influential minds of the 20th century.  His book Steps To An Ecology Of Mind examines the nature of the mind.  

His experience in anthropology and communication theory through to his studies in alcoholism and schizophrenia contribute directly to problem solving and strategy.

Bateson's relevance to strategy is the acknowledgement that all experience is subjective.

What follows is a conversation between father and daughter from the Metalogue:What Is an Instinct - written up in the same book. 


'Strategic Leadership Is A Big Problem'.

It’s not that you don’t care.  Probably the opposite is true. 

Leadership models have relied on executives driving, collaborating and even serving their businesses – as if a mental model would do it.

But it won’t.

Models of leadership conceptualised in the mental realm still miss the secret ingredient.  And that’s why there are large levels of disenchantment under the surface.

This was a problem in 1981 – when I gave up a career in advertising - and it’s still a problem today. 


'What can Dr Martin Luther King Jnr teach you about strategy?'

If you want to develop and articulate strategy you can do a lot worse than studying Dr Martin Luther King Jnr.  President Obama has and he won 2 presidential elections.

In business we are not so good.  And probably the main reason is that thinking is isolated from feeling and character.  To put it another way, strategy is disconnected from purpose and values.

And purpose comes first!  Let me explain.


Say One Thing and Do Another

The 2008 economic crisis in The West might not have been so bad had there been hope.  But the citadels of leadership were crumbling at the same time.

In business, wilful corporate fraud and corruption was evidenced by Enron at the start of the 21st century.  The Catholic Church was embroiled in allegations of child sexual abuse in many parts of the world - going back over the last 50 years.  And the British Parliament expenses scandal finally emerged into the light in 2009, after a battle with House of Commons Authorities over a Freedom of Information request.    


Money and Spirit on the same page – Strategy for a New World

If you go to business school to study strategy you will learn how to analyse, use logic and explore different models which relate to the world we live in, the industry and the firm.

These models focus on data: but, even if a project promises a 20% return on capital employed, this isn’t how you make your decisions.

Over the next few weeks and months I will write in more detail about this new way to approach strategy but here is an outline of the frame within which the ideas will be explored.

·         Purpose


‘You’re about to get a revisionist view of strategy’ says Harvard Business School Professor.

Cynthia A. Montgomery, Harvard Business School, stumbled on an insight that was to forever revise her view of strategy.

‘You’re about to get a revisionist view of strategy.  It’s not that what you’ve learned is incorrect.  It’s that it’s incomplete’ she says in the introduction to her book The Strategist, first published in 2012 by Collins.

And – using my own words – this incomplete view is the lack of meaning executives, owners and entrepreneurs articulate in their business strategies.  ‘Does your company matter?  


Does The Devil Have The Best Stories?

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Theravada Buddhist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar – British Burma. 

In 1988 she spoke out against the rule of dictator U Ne Win and the military Junta, urging democracy and human rights.  She finally emerged after 15 years of house arrest on November 13th 2010, having subordinated her freedom until civilian government was restored.

At her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2012 she says,

‘Often, during my days of house arrest, it felt as though I was no longer part of the real world.’


'Do feelings have financial value?'

The financial value of your brand lies in its ability to generate and sustain future cash flows.

If you want to monetise the value of your brand then forecast future cash flows and discount back to present day value using discounted cash flow technique (DCF).

Brands normally support price premium, distribution and loyalty.

The premium is supported by R&D, technical competence, service; tone, style and experience - a gestalt of technical evidence, thoughts and feelings.


‘A thought without soul conviction behind it has no value’, says Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.

The same is true for you, your business strategy and your brand.  Good strategy catches the wave of your soul’s conviction.  Good strategy catches the wave of your purpose, radiates previously unseen direction and frames decision making.

And good strategy saves you time and money otherwise invested in poorly conceived business growth plans and unsuitable acquisitions.