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108 | HR leadership: How to create a simple but powerful one-page strategy, with Dr Max Mckeown
Episode 10827th October 2023 • HR Coffee Time • Fay Wallis
00:00:00 00:37:58

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Strategy is a topic we’ve explored before on HR Coffee Time (and we’ll look at again in the future) because it’s an important aspect of HR leadership. Whether you’re a seasoned strategist, or you feel uncomfortable and worried when it comes to strategy, this episode is here to help you build your skills and confidence.  

Strategy expert and author of the award-winning book, “The Strategy Book: How to think and act strategically to deliver outstanding results”, Dr Max Mckeown shares: 

  • What strategy is & what it isn’t 
  • How you’re already a strategist (even if you don’t realise it) 
  • Why people doubt themselves when it comes to being strategic 
  • The three parts of being strategic – timescale, scope, & sequence 
  • An example of strategy done badly 
  • An example of a good strategy (McDonalds) 
  • Strategy is simple but simple is complex 
  • Max’s strategy tool, Speed Strategy – where are we now, where do we want to go, what do we need to do to get there, how do we need to do it, what do we need to measure along the route, what is pushing us, what might stop us? 

 

Useful Links 

Buy the Book Recommendation 

(Disclosure: the book links are affiliate links which means that Fay will receive a small commission from Amazon if you make a purchase through them) 

 

Other Relevant HR Coffee Time Episodes 

 

Looking For the Transcript? 

You can find the transcript on this page of the Bright Sky Career Coaching website.  

Rate and Review the Podcast 

If you found this episode of HR Coffee Time helpful, please rate and review it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. If you're kind enough to leave a review, let Fay know so she can say thank you. You can always reach her at: fay@brightskycareercoaching.co.uk

 

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Transcripts

Fay Wallis:

Welcome back to HR Coffee Time. It's great to have you here. I'm your host, Fay Wallis, a career and executive coach with a background in HR and I'm also the creator of the HR Planner. I've made this podcast especially for you especially for you, to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR or People career without working yourself into the ground.

I've covered strategy on the podcast a few times now and I'm sure I'll be covering it again in the future because I know it's a topic that's really important to you. Being able to be strategic and create or shape a successful strategy are skills that are essential for strong HR leadership. Whether you're an experienced strategist, or you don't feel at all confident about strategy, I hope you're going to get a lot from this episode, where we take a deep dive into strategy with Dr.

Max Mckeown. Max is a strategic psychologist with a master's degree in psychology and a PhD in strategic innovation, transformation, and leadership. He is the author of several award winning books, including The Strategy Book, The Innovation Book, and Adaptability - The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty.

Max works as a strategic coach with Fortune 100 companies, and is also a popular keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. I first came across his work when I picked up The Strategy Book, and I couldn't put it down. So many books about strategy are mind numbingly boring or feel like a real slog to get through, but this book was the opposite of both these things.

I've recommended the book constantly since I discovered it. You will have heard me talk about it if you've been part of my Inspiring HR Group programme, and you may have seen me recommending it on LinkedIn or in one of the blogs on my website. So it's an incredible feeling to be able to introduce you to the author of that book for today's episode.

In my chat with Max that you're about to hear, he talks us through what strategy is and what it isn't, how you're already a strategist, even if you don't realise it and you don't think you are, why people doubt themselves when it comes to being strategic. He also shares examples of strategy done well, as well as strategy done badly, and we also learn how to create a simple but powerful one-page strategy using his incredibly popular speed strategy tool.

I really hope you're going to enjoy hearing from him. Let's go ahead and meet Max now. Welcome to the show, Max. It's so wonderful to have you here today.

Dr Max Mckeown:

It's fabulous to be here. Really looking forward to it.

Fay Wallis:

Well, that is great to hear, and I thought we would dive straight in with me asking you for a definition of the word strategy because I know that the word strategy or strategic can literally strike fear into the heart of so many HR and People professionals. Although there is so much talk and so many expectations for HR professionals to be strategic, it can be really hard to know what that actually means or how to achieve it.

So is that how we could start things today with your definitions of what strategy and strategic are?

Dr Max Mckeown:

Absolutely, we could start even before that, I think, for your audience with saying some of the things that strategy is not.

So strategy is not a document, strategy is not PowerPoint, strategy is not a spreadsheet or any of those things. It's not mission, vision, values. Strategy is about shaping the future, which means that strategy is everything that gets you from where you are with what you have to where you want to be. It's everything.

That's necessarily so, because if you can imagine strategy as a path towards the future, if that path requires that thousand steps and you miss out on any one of those steps, you will not be at the future that you wanted. Equally if you head in the wrong direction but you take a thousand steps, you might be a thousand steps in the wrong direction.

All of those steps matter. And that's sometimes the case only in retrospect. You realize that the plan that you had considered at the outset didn't work. Or you made the plan work by going somewhere other than you had originally envisaged. So again, strategy is about shaping the future. Strategy is about getting from where you are with what you have to where you want to be. And essentially, strategy is, if we pull back a second, the opposite of strategy is tragedy. The opposite of strategy is using what you've got to get to somewhere that you didn't want to get to. And it, so the opposite of strategic is tragic. Again, that's a way of behaving that means that you could have succeeded.

You could have got somewhere better, but you misused or, or, or miscombined what you had to get to somewhere you didn't want to get to. I'll pause too, to underline the three meanings of strategic in my work. And I couldn't find them through all my work, my PhD and MBA psychology. I couldn't find them defined properly anywhere to my satisfaction.

So the three parts of strategic are, one, the time scale. So how long into the future you're, you're looking. Then the scope, the kind of size of something. So the layers and levels that something should be judged against. And also the sequence, how you put things together. Uh, and what I've found through research is that people vary hugely on their ability to see those three aspects of the bigger picture.

So some people are really good at getting things done, but they don't look further than tomorrow. Some people are fantastic at looking into the future, but they can't get anything done and start things moving. And some people can do both of those, but they can't see the different levels. So they can only achieve a lot over time, but in their very limited view of what is affected and what is not.

And you need all three parts. And if you don't have that yourself, you really need to reach out to other people, such that strategy is not a solo sport. It becomes something you do with others, whether through books or colleagues or friends, you acquire other people's perspectives so you can see a little bit further.

You can see around corners and you can see the things that otherwise you would miss so that you can prepare for the future. in time, which is really what strategy is about.

Fay Wallis:

It's so interesting to hear, well, you say all of that, Max, but particularly the part about the fact that it hasn't got to be a solo endeavour, that really chimes with something that one of my former guests on the show, Toby Mildon, and I can link to his episode in the show notes for anyone who would like to hear it.

But thinking of your book for a moment, if we come to your book, which as you know, I am a huge fan of, I have been talking about nonstop since the day I discovered it. And it's a book that I recommend to everyone who comes on my group programme, Inspiring HR. I think the reason I loved the book so much is because most books about strategy are incredibly boring or really challenging to get through and yours isn't.

It's the absolute opposite. It's very reassuring because it breaks down all of these different elements of being strategic into very clear and simple and easy to understand concepts. And there's something that I read at the very beginning of the book that just stood out to me straight away and made me think, okay, this is different to all the other books that I have tried to read about strategy and had to give up on.

And that is when you say, I've written it down, so I remember it word for word. You said, you have already used strategy to get a lot of what you have. You got a job, or you got an education to get a job. You might have saved money for a holiday or a home. Maybe you romanced your partner, wife, or husband.

You did something in the past to try to get something better in the future.

I just thought that was such a reassuring message to anyone who's panicking and thinking, oh my goodness, I'm not strategic, I can't do strategy. And I'm guessing that you included that at the beginning because you know from your own experience how much people often struggle with this concept of strategy and start to doubt themselves.

So I would love to know in your experience of helping organizations with developing their strategy, why do you think that people feel like this? Why do you think there is this big struggle and sense of self doubt?

Dr Max Mckeown:

I think in part because it's ill defined. As we we said in the previous discussion that people don't know what it is. So if you don't know what it is, you're continually guessing.

It's a little bit like when you're introduced to somebody that you think you've met before, but you can't remember their name. So you spend the rest of the evening not sure whether to ask them their name, or to just skirt around it, which means you tend to ignore the person whose name you do not know.

That kind of thing. I think it's a little like that, that we know that we should know. But we think that it's about tools and when we think about those tools, we think, but I don't really know how to use them. A lot of people are like that about numbers and accounting. As soon as they move on to the numbers, the accountants or the finance people have all the power and everybody else feels inadequate.

As we move into other people's areas of expertise, we, we feel less competent and then less confident and then we shut up or we pull ourselves out of the discussion. So, so all of those things. I think the other thing that I wanted to do though was, I considered, is it possible to be successful without reading any strategy books or having any strategy qualifications?

And the answer, of course, has to be yes. First of all, if you do the thought experiment, before there were even any strategy books, lots of people succeeded. And then you ask yourself perhaps the next question, which is, is it possible to fail having read all those strategy books and gained strategy qualifications?

And again, the truth is even now, of course it is. And MBAs became famous for a while for being associated with failure. It was the thing that was thrown at them the most. How dare you get an education? You've ruined everything, that kind of idea. And so you can see both of these are not true. Tools do not necessarily bring success and the lack of tools does not necessarily bring failure.

You can imagine a two by two. I'm sure all your HR audience are fond of doing that. And you say, what we want is successful strategy. And what is successful strategy? It's adapting to your environment in time. That's what it's about, getting you somewhere better than luck. And if you hadn't thought about it, and I wanted to reintroduce people to their strategic ability, which predates, is much older than strategic tools or strategy as a word.

It goes back, you know, hominids 2 million years and before us there were other things and all of them have a capacity of some kind to adjust their behavior in the present based on something that happened in the past to get a better future. That's what strategy is about. And I wanted people to feel that and say, actually, I've already got that in my head.

And I've already succeeded at that and therefore I must be pretty good at it. The question is, could I get better? That's one question. And the second question is, what does my organization need me to do formally so that I look good doing the stuff I'm already good at? So that you don't get outflanked by the language and the technical terms that mean that you don't take part in a strategic conversation to your satisfaction.

Fay Wallis:

I know that you're often brought into organizations to help them with strategy. And so you've seen examples of organizations creating fantastic strategies that work really well. And you've thought. Okay, the way that this is all being done is not as effective as it could be. And I also do wonder if that's one of the reasons people don't feel that comfortable with the idea of strategy is if it hasn't been being done well in their organization.

Are you able to give us an example of what you see as a typical scenario of strategy not being done well in an organization?

Dr Max Mckeown:

Okay, I think there's so many things that can go wrong if people think that strategy is something other than that, that it is. If somebody thinks, for instance, that strategy is a document, then they spend a lot of effort constructing that document.

And I've seen it in successful and unsuccessful organizations, they spend months putting together individual PowerPoints that represent HR strategy, operations strategy, say the store strategy, the marketing strategy, all those bits. And then I've seen them combine those into one mega strategy and then argue about whose words take precedence.

That's one version, which, which words, so it's kind of Frankenstein monster, or they stack. all of them into one. Nobody has to sacrifice anything. And they, so they have a longer and longer document that nobody's read. And what people do in that, both those cases is they, they don't really understand. a shared vision of anything, nor a shared understanding.

They're just wordsmithing or arguing about words. Whereas what you really want to do is to get everybody on to the same page. But not only the same page, the shared understanding of what is it that would be necessary to get you to where you want to be, and what might stop you. That's its point. And if it doesn't achieve that, then everybody is going in different directions or is failing to seize opportunities or is potentially even cancelling out each other's efforts.

And it's not like organizations don't fail. I've had clients who have ignored advice and totally gone bankrupt. You know, some very famous examples on the high street and they're gone. And you've told them what to do, and you've warned them about the problem, but they still have not found ways of changing their behavior to become more strategic as a group.

Fay Wallis:

And so having thought about what can go horribly wrong when it comes to strategy, and I'm sure there will be some people listening who are nodding along thinking, oh my gosh, yes, I've worked in an organization like that where it just feels a bit torturous. Everyone's arguing over which functional department strategy is the most important and which wording should go first and everything.

Have you got some examples for us or maybe just even an example of a time you've seen strategy done really well?

Dr Max Mckeown:

I suppose two examples come to mind. One is an example I wasn't part of, which was the McDonald's turnaround, where what they did, it was in the 90s, McDonald's was known for being dirty and the food didn't have a good reputation.

It was cold and, and other criticisms, so bad reputation. And the new CEO who came in said, listen, we need to get on one page the whole strategy so that everybody from the person who is sweeping up and is cleaning the floors all the way up and down, side to side, they all see how their work contributes to the overall strategy and how those actions will contribute to success.

So to give you an example, they found that customers wanted food that was hot, and they wanted restaurants that were clean. Well, at one level, and if that happened, they'd keep buying. And if they kept buying, there would be more revenue. And if they kept buying, there would be more profit. So that's it seems really simple, you say, but all those documents and all that analysis and bring in a big consultancy in all those things could happen.

Surely that strategy? No, it's combining what you've got in ways that allow people to contribute to the whole to get you there. And so suddenly this was stuck in the the staff rooms on the walls in the headquarters in the McDonald's University in the boardroom, the same one page, so that somebody who was cleaning the floors, which they did as part of it, could see, I'm cleaning that floor so that as people walk in, they like it.

I am, in the restaurant, preparing food that's really hot. It's important that I get it there, otherwise people will leave disappointed. All the way up. And everybody who was supporting that, HR and operations, their job was to make that easier. How can we make it easier to keep those floors clean? How can we make it easier for the assembly line to get your burger?

Because that's essentially is all that McDonald's is. A purveyor of fast, hot, clean food. That's it. And that's really what I mean by... bringing everything onto one page, which is a complete, I think, reverse of that other example I was giving, where nothing fits. You've bought a complete outfit that's a mess, or you've bought parts for the wrong car, and you're trying to plug it in, and nothing works, and you say, well, I've bought an engine.

Yeah, but you bought an engine for the wrong car, and you bought headlights for the wrong car, and nothing's going to fit, and you've put the wrong fuel in, like I've done too many times to mention and got stuck on the motorway.

Fay Wallis:

I think the power and the key takeaway I'm taking from you sharing that story, Max, is the power of simplicity and just having such a core message.

It's funny how hard it can feel to get to the point. when you are operating in such a laser focused way. Hopefully it's reassuring for people to hear, actually, that really that is strategy made simple, isn't it? Strategy can be simple.

Dr Max Mckeown:

Not only that, as you know, I'm saying that strategy is simple, but simple is complex.

It's that process of clarifying and connecting and sequencing that allows you to say, look, there's all of this stuff, but we can't possibly, as finite beings, comprehend it all. And not only can't we, nobody in the organization can, and yet people want to know what their work means and how their work adds up to something.

So on the engagement front, but even more than that, they want to know that how to shape what they do in creative ways, discretionary ways, you know, so that it helps. So that, for instance, Southwest Airlines, another example, their CEO was fond of saying that we have a strategy. It's called making things happen.

He was fond of saying, but he was also fond of saying that if you ain't got culture, you ain't got shit. So this is the company that has the highest levels of employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction in all companies in America. And why is that? It's because what they do is say, it's what people do when they have a choice and how to, a line is the wrong word, it's how to magnify each other's efforts to get to the two or three measures

that matter. I mean, if you are measuring more than three to five significant things in your strategic engine, then it's too complex because nobody can comprehend it. So I have lots of clients who will say, Oh yeah, we have values, for instance. So I'll say, Oh, what are they? And they'll say, Oh, there's, um, there's honesty and there's cooperation.

And then they go, I can't remember the rest. And you go, well, if you can't remember the rest, then nobody can remember the rest. And what, what's your mission? Oh, I don't, um, it's something about, um, Oh, I don't know. I'll, I'll send it to you. And you say, but if you can't remember it, then it doesn't guide action at all.

So, you know, keep it simple is the genius. Connecting things is the genius. And that's often why I'm brought in to talk to really smart, dedicated, engaged people, but make sense of it at a sort of higher level. So that you can tweak it to make it go faster. And oil, the, uh, the, the machine,

Fay Wallis:

You talking about measures is, make me think of your book again, unsurprisingly,

And for anyone who hasn't read it, I'm just going to really quickly explain how it's divided up. So the book is divided into six parts. Part one is called Your Strategic Self. Part two is Thinking Like a Strategist. Part three is Creating Your Strategy. Part four is Winning With Strategy, part five is Making Your Strategy Work, and part six is The Strategy Book Toolkit.

All of the parts are incredibly helpful, but I particularly loved the final part, because it's a compilation of all different types of strategy tools for people to choose from that could be helpful for creating their own strategy. Each tool has got a diagram to go with it and is really clearly explained.

This is the part I cannot emphasize enough is the fact that it's not pages and pages and pages to explain each tool. It's all done in just a couple of pages. And for anyone listening, who's wondering what on earth I mean when I say tools, they are things like the balanced scorecard, which is what made me think of this because that's all about measurements. And that's actually one tool that I talked through with everyone on my group programme, Inspiring HR. And that's where the recommendation for your book comes from, because I say, look, this is one tool that I think is particularly powerful, but there's all these other tools in there if you want to take a look at them and see what you think could be helpful for your organization.

There's some examples of other tools that people might have heard of before. It's got things like SWOT analysis and Porter's Five Forces. And I think it's just brilliant to have all of those tools in one place and have them explained so clearly for anyone who's thinking, Oh my goodness, I need to create a strategy or I need to be strategic.

And I just don't even know where to get started with it. But, when we were chatting before, you mentioned that one of the tools has proved to be incredibly popular and I don't think you'd necessarily anticipated it being such a hit. And that's actually your own tool, which is called Quick Start Strategy.

So I would love to ask you if you could talk us through it.

Dr Max Mckeown:

In the new edition of the strategy book, it's known as Speed Strategy. That's become the term that people like the most, but let me give you the origin story. Also, the superheroes should have an origin story. Spider Man is sort of bitten by a spider, clearly Peter Parker.

And in this case, I received a call from a client who saw the very first edition of the strategy book in an airport and bought a copy and he called me up and said, look, Max, love the new book, but I've got a flight to New York and I need to come up with an amazing, I think he said shit hot, but an amazing strategy by the time I get there, this absolutely has to happen.

Can you help me in a very short period of time, come up with that strategy just in that seven, eight hour flight? And I thought about it for a second and I thought, well, really at the heart of strategy were only five, six, seven questions, the core questions of strategy. And that if I could find a way of combining those in a logical way, he could come up with a strategy because he would be able to answer all those questions and they would be able to fit together.

So that's what I did. I did the classic back of the napkin operation. I drew it out, and that was the first iteration. I love the word iteration. Every strategist should realize it. And thought, first iteration of speed strategy, what became speed strategy, and the questions became, you'll see it's on one page, like the McDonald's example that I gave.

It's on one PDF, one A4, or one PowerPoint slide. And we've got all the way around the studio in dry wipe versions. And I do a huge version, which some people have seen in conferences, like two meters by three meters. I'm drawing all sorts of cartoons in it. And it asks, where are we? Where do we want to go?

Those are equal polls. Then it asks, what do we need to do to get there? How do we need to do it? And what do we need to measure along the route? And then it asks two bonus questions that are crucial, which are, what is pushing us and what might stop us? What are the drivers and what are the blockers? And the process is to go with your gut to really think, but top of mind, which box should I fill up at first, absolutely up to you, just start anywhere, and then only list 3, 4, 5 at the most things in each box.

And the difference between this in part and any other strategy tool out there, because it was designed to fill a gap, is first that you don't need to fill very much in. Second, that it answers all the questions. Third, that it is dynamic. It's the connections and the sequences between these answers that matter.

It's not about box filling. And one of the things you have to teach a new user of this tool is to not just create. You know, you've seen on PowerPoints, your listeners will. When there's more stuff they want to write, they just make the font smaller and smaller and smaller until they've put everything into one slide.

It's not that, it's actually the reverse that you described earlier. It's making of the complex something that is simple and clear and say no, but what are the three to five things in each of these boxes and how do they connect together? Is there something missing? What is crucial to get from where you are to where you want to be?

And the difference is really quite remarkable as soon as somebody has that click, because they know at all points what matters and what doesn't matter, and how to judge their success. rather than getting bogged down in the details and the silos. I mean, silos are self created. They weren't just thrown at you.

You did that. You fragmented your actions. You created the silos. You did the meeting culture. So there's no time? That's on you. And that's what happens because people can't see the forest for the trees, but much more importantly, they can't see the path through the forest to their desired destination.

Fay Wallis:

What that's making me think immediately, Max, is if I had that in front of me, and I had to create my strategy, I would find it really hard to put in the where do we need to go part. If someone could magically tell me, I could then put in all the... the bits in the middle, but I know I'm definitely not alone in feeling like that, and I've heard of this...

Dr Max Mckeown:

But what would you, I know I'm jumping in, but what would you, but you must have at least one thing that you'd pop into that final box now. I mean, why do you do HR Coffee? It must be for a reason. There must be some end point. There must be some end point that says, I don't know, be, you're not only the second most popular HR podcast, you want to be the first most popular podcast and throw those other people off the list. So you definitely want that, but why do you want that? There must be a reason. What is the reason? Come on.

Fay Wallis:

What I'm really driven by is spotting when there's a gap, where there's something that could help people. And I knew that there was nothing around career advice for HR professionals and I've been an HR professional, that was my former career.

Someone said to me earlier this week, actually Fay, oh we teach people the lessons that we need to learn the most. So I think often a lot of what I'm creating, although it is for people who are actively in roles now and need the support now, if I, if I look at it, all of these things I know could have really helped me when I was in that situation.

So I'm very much driven by being able to help others and being able to simplify things. At least I hope I'm able to simplify things through this medium.

Dr Max Mckeown:

So that means for you, it's like fill the gap was one of them, fill the gap and help people. And there must be a, and suddenly you've got, well, what, what do you want?

Well, I want to fill the gap. That's a fact. What do you need to, where are you at the moment? There's a gap. So now you've filled in two bits of it off the top of your head. There is a gap. I wish to fill the gap. How do I fill the gap starting a podcast? How do I need to do that? Well, then you, you've figured that out to some extent.

And then you say, how do I measure progress? Well, how many people I get to via my podcast, and then the quality of that interaction. But then you, that's only first iteration, and if I can do that in 30 seconds with you, you then do the next iteration and say, okay, but what do I want as a result of filling that gap?

Or is there some other way of measuring it? Does it matter that I'm number one or not? Or is it the hundred thousand listeners? Or do I need commerce? Or is there other ways of filling the gap like training programs and so on? And I think once you've got your current thinking on a speed strategy you're able to much better respond to kind of strategically to the unplanned or to the insight and you go, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And now I understand what's missing. That's the one. And I should go left rather than right. I should have more interviews, not less interviews. I should do stuff that, I mean, you've produced your whole planner, haven't you? I mean, all of those things. So then you'd say fill gap planner. And then you'd say, well, where do I want planner to go next?

And so little by little, iteration by iteration, we then get to look up there, and instead of being overwhelmed by, you know, we have limited working memory, you use the speed strategy as your memory. And you can respond to it rather than trying to remember it. And then we would be sitting here as a coaching thing saying, Okay, love it, Fay.

Absolutely love the first iteration. What next? What do you think is driving you and what is blocking you? And that is strategy much more than, all the things that make people nervous.

Fay Wallis:

That has just made me feel so much better about the fact that I think I can never see where it is that I'm heading for in the future.

Thank you, Max. I feel like the minute we hit end record, I'm going to quickly write down my speed strategy now and stick it on the wall, so I've got that as a reminder.

Dr Max Mckeown:

While we're on it, the, I mean, that's what we do. I've got one behind me if people were looking. But what I get clients to do is to put, uh, to print out a speed strategy poster, uh, sometimes with a dry wipe finish and put it up there and then just do their first iteration, take a photo of it.

This was Fay's thought on her strategy on this day, right now. And then you just carry on changing it and you compare. You're thinking as it develops and iterates. If it took Amazon and Bezos seven years to figure out how to make money, then why can't it take Dr. Max or Fay a little bit of time to figure out what they want to do and how they want to do it?

But that is part of the strategy process. It's not having an answer right now.

Fay Wallis:

Well, I hope that lots of people listening are as excited as I now feel about giving, I was about to call it the quick start strategy, but it's got the new name now, hasn't it? What's the new name? Remind me.

Dr Max Mckeown:

Speed strategy. Well, you can start with it.

Speed strategy. Yeah.

Fay Wallis:

Speed strategy. I'm hoping it's getting everyone excited into giving speed strategy a try.

Dr Max Mckeown:

And becoming a speed strategist. Become one.

Fay Wallis:

And becoming a speed strategist. If they would like to become a speed strategist, or give the speed strategy a try, where is the best place for them to get the template?

Is it within the book? Well, I know it's in the book. Is that the best place for them to get it from, or is there anywhere else it's available as well?

Dr Max Mckeown:

They should definitely buy the book. Because it is by far the best and most useful strategy book in the world and has been since I've published it. They can go to thespeedstrategy.com and download the template as it was in the third edition of the strategy book and they can do that for free. Just go there. I don't think we even require you to sign up. So go and have a look at that and incorporate that into your life and work. Many people start using it for work and then find that it's so useful for everything that they're doing speed strategies for their children and speed strategies for their relationships with their in laws.

You know, the whole, the whole kabang. Um, and then if you want to interact with me at Maxmckeown.com or you can find me on LinkedIn if you want to receive sort of it. Uh video and updates as we go, but yeah become a speed strategist.

Fay Wallis:

Fantastic. Well, I'll make sure that I put links to all of those things including your LinkedIn profile in the show notes, so that if anyone would like to use any of the resources or get in touch they can really easily they can just use those links. But before I say goodbye, I would love to ask you the question that I try to ask every guest who comes on the show, and that is, would you like to either share a non fiction book recommendation with us all, or do you have a confidence building tip for us today?

Dr Max Mckeown:

The Art of Prudence by Balthasar Gratian, he was a monk, uh, and he wrote a whole set of aphorisms, all of which are applicable to the kind of strategy I often am talking about. I mean, I'm interested in all of it, but he, you just flick through it and you suddenly get things like, uh, don't be the wild card. Or, know how to use your enemies.

And the reason for mentioning that is that that's the day to day strategy of tactics and actions and techniques that allow you to shape and get to where you want to be, that I think are useful and sometimes missing in people who don't view strategy and winning as the most important thing. But I think the good guys particularly need strategies so that they can do good successfully, rather than being the good guys without a strategy and achieve less than they could have.

Fay Wallis:

Well, I will make sure that I pop the link to that in the show notes as well. I'm not sure if it will be ready by the time. This podcast episode is released or not, but I've actually started compiling a long, long list of every single book recommendation that we've had on the show into one article for everybody to access if they'd like to.

So if I have that ready by the time this goes live, I'll make sure that I put a link to that in the show notes as well. And if it isn't quite ready, then hopefully you're all just looking forward to being able to get your hands on it really soon. So all that leaves me to say, Max, is a huge thank you for your time today.

It's been wonderful talking all things strategy with you. That brings us to the end of today's episode. If it's got you all excited about strategy or left you wanting to learn more, I'll make sure that I put links to all the other HR Coffee Time episodes I've created so far that focus on strategy. I'll pop them in the show notes, but to just tell you what they are now, they are episode 102, Boosting your strategic knowledge to step up in your HR role.

Episode 98, HR Insider Insights How to Create a Powerful People Strategy for an SME with my guest Kelly Vincent. Episode 77, How to Create an Effective DEI Strategy with Mitra Rowe. Episode 61, The four pillars that will help you to be strategic in your HR role. And episode 26, How to be strategic in your new HR leadership role.

If you decide to try out Max's speed strategy, I would love to hear how you get on. It's always brilliant hearing from listeners of the show and learning if anything that I've been talking about or anything my guests have been talking about have been put into action. You can always reach me on LinkedIn.

I'm there as Fay Wallis, that's Fay without an E on the end. And Wallis with an IS on the end instead of ACE. Or if you're not on LinkedIn, you can always get in touch with me through the contact page of my website, which is brightskycareercoaching.co.uk and before I say goodbye, can I possibly ask you for a small favour?

If you've been enjoying the show, I'd really appreciate it if you could rate and review HR Coffee Time on whichever podcasting platform you're listening to it on. Ratings and reviews make a huge difference in encouraging other people to give the podcast a try. And I would just love to help as many HR and People professionals as I can with this free weekly show.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate your support. Have a great week and I'm looking forward to being back again next Friday with the next episode for you.

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