Managing Your Business

in Times of

Great Uncertainty

TOOLS
& EXAMPLES

While the AI-eCoach blog serves primarily as a learning center, the need for some application guidance seems vital — to illustrate concrete ways in which the blog content can actually be used.

Leadership: How to Rate and Improve Your Skills 

At long last, I finally settled on a couple of tools that readers might find of value as they negotiate the new normal world. The first of these addresses what appears to be a major need for assessing and improving leadership skills. As noted in a recent blog post, what’s out there right now does not square with what I know about leaders based on decades of experience working with all kinds.

There are thousands upon thousands of theories, assessment tools, coaching services, and similar items available today aimed at developing leaders in organizations. My take is that the majority of these are actually management skills development products and services, missing the mark in that managing and leadership are very different.

This observation led me to thinking about what I would see as being a better-focused way to assess and improve leadership skills. What might I consider using myself, assuming that I have some fundamental leadership abilities to develop?

The result is a simple toolset that is presently under development and should be available for use on this site well before the next ice age arrives. I hope. An outline of what I am trying to design appears in the above-referenced blog post.

If you would like to be notified if and when the toolset is ready to go, please email me with your contact information. I will also send along a few progress reports from time to time to reassure you that progress is indeed occurring.  

 

Leadership: Organizational Agility Measurement and Improvement

The second toolset is aimed at what I perceive to be one of the most important areas of need today: how to assess and improve your organization’s agility. In today’s world of rapid major change, unpredictability, and unfamiliarity, the only effective management and leadership processes that I can see have to be based on agility. 

Agility is a pretty general term but it roughly means the ability to monitor your environment, to use small action steps to test and learn, and to restructure your organization around agile concepts. A recent post addressed this increasingly vital requirement in an overview. 

Again, looking for what might be available today to help leaders with assessing and improving agility turned up only some very academic and complex bases for tool design. One in particular seems especially well developed but it took about 150 pages of pretty dense verbiage to describe. I am into simplicity these days.

So, a second simple toolset is presently under development under the same timeframe as the one above. I will be posting in more detail on this effort in the very near future (it is mid-June 2021 right now).

If you would like to be notified if and when the toolset is ready to go, please email me with your contact information. I will also send along a few progress reports from time to time to reassure you that progress is indeed occurring.

 

Is the economy getting better or worse?

Well, the stock market seems happy enough but stock prices measure nothing much of importance to a business. A much better indicator in my mind is something that measures consumer spending broadly. Real people buying real stuff.

If you look at monthly retail sales for the US as a whole, it shows the lockdown initial hit clearly in March-May of 2020. Then there is a strong recovery of this spending – even pushing well above the steady long-term uptrend into 2021. Note that the yellow trendline is a 12-month moving average.

I don’t know about you but this looks to me like very good news. If I was doing some business planning, I would have confidence in this trend persisting for at least a year. Consumer spending has huge momentum in the absence of a giant black swan.

In the absence of another giant black swan. Hmmm. Good thing black swan are unforeseeable in nature and magnitude. If we are indeed facing yet another black swan situation, then organizational agility will be critical.

The upturn in the 12-month moving average line may well be evidence of significant inflation appearing. This would not be a black swan since analysts have been predicting this for quite a while but maybe we are seeing a “grey swan”? What remains unforeseeable is the magnitude and duration of the likely inflation event. Again, practice agility