# 7 - Winning in Fast Times
by Randi Brenowitz
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# 7– Winning in Fast Times
today's warp-speed world, an approach that accelerates strategic
thinking and action is essential. To win, your team must decide
what you want your tomorrow to be, and then resolve to make it
happen faster than the rate of change in your competitive environment.
This is, in the words of John Warden III and Leland Russell, Winning
in Fast Time (GeoGroup Press, 2001). Their Prometheus Process
is a systematic and proven method for designing winning strategies.
It's simple enough for everyone to grasp, yet sophisticated enough
to use in planning, executing, and completing projects of any
scope and complexity.
to Greek mythology, Prometheus gave both forethought and fire
to mankind. Warden and Russell believe that today forethought
and fire (passion) are the fuel for high-performing teams. Prometheus
is both a mindset and a method for rapid, decisive, strategic
action. Its essence is simple: think strategically, focus sharply,
and move quickly. The Prometheus process was originally developed
for the Desert Storm Air Campaign. If you're like me, it will
take some effort to read beyond all of the military metaphors
and examples. It's worth the trouble, though, as the process has
been well adapted to address the issues and concerns of teams
and organizations in private industry.
Prometheus process is built around four fundamental imperatives:
Design the Future imperative is about painting a clear
and compelling picture of your team's destination, measuring strategic
success, and defining the rules of conduct for the organization.
After considering the business, economic, and political context
in which your team operates, you can design a future picture --
a clear and compelling description of what you want reality to
be for your team at some point in the future. The Prometheus process
then has you work back from the future -- not forward from the
Target for Success imperative is about selecting the right
targets for action and then defining the desired effects. Warden
and Russell suggest that you create a system map of your organization
by asking, "What components -- people, process, and physical
things -- make up your system." Then ask "Which actions
will result in the greatest probability of having a system effect?"
These are your targets. They suggest a parallel approach where
you tackle several targets at once so that the overall impact
of your efforts will be sufficient to move the team closer to
the future picture.
Campaign to Win imperative is about aggressively executing
your systems strategy and monitoring your progress. This is the
phase of Prometheus in which you create parallel projects and
organize your team for success. The process stresses action and
does not confuse planning to act with action. This is the place
where strategy and planning meet tactical actions.
Finish with Finesse imperative is about planning for product
or process "end of life." To remain a perennial winner,
you must plan the endgame in advance. This means that you must
define the criteria for the end of our project or program, thereby
ensuring that you maximize and retain your financial and technical
gains, that you will be able to quickly recognize when something
is not working, and that you end in a manner that leaves you in
the strongest possible position to launch your next effort.
and Russell give some cardinal rules to follow while going through
the Prometheus process. My favorites are: think like an architect
and not like a bricklayer, execute "good enough" plans,
and focus on the future. These three will help you to follow the
Prometheus process and bring strategic thinking, sharp focus,
and quick action to your team.
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Group Strategic Services, Inc. offers a unique blend of traditional
and on-line tools based on the concepts discussed in Winning
in Fast Time to create strategic action with virtual or co-located
teams. Contact them at 949-250-9060 or www.geogroup.net.
Centre for Strategic Management offers Executive Briefing Booklets
and PDF articles that you can download from www.csmintl.com.
6 & 7 in Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
by Bossidy & Charan (Crown Publications, 2002) have a wealth
of information on getting the right people to execute your strategy
and on connecting your strategy with your operating plan.
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