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Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change
 
 

Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change [Kindle Edition]

Chris Ertel , Lisa Kay Solomon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Moments of Impact is a book on a mission: to eradicate time-sucking, energy-depleting workshops and meetings. In our fast-changing world, organizations have important challenges and opportunities to address—and no time to waste. Moments of Impact delivers the single most useful resource for managers and leaders who need better strategic conversation—now—to shape the future of their organizations.

Moments of Impact is an essential guide for ambitious leaders who get assigned the hardest and most vexing strategic issues in their organizations, for entrepreneurs trying to manage board expectations, for social change agents pioneering new business models for community impact, for hopeful educators and healthcare practitioners trying to transform slow-to-change industries, and for enterprising students committed to tackling global challenges.

Drawing on decades of combined experience as innovation strategists, Ertel and Solomon articulate the purpose, principles, and practices of well-designed strategic conversations. They weave together a lively and compelling mix of social science theories and research, interviews with more than 100 thought leaders, organization leaders, and practitioners, as well as dozens of anecdotes and practical cases from diverse organizations. The book also includes a sixty-page Starter Kit with diagnostic questions, best practices, tips and suggestions, and recommended readings to enable you to put the ideas to work immediately.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4492 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (11 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DPMHP0S
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful handbook in back section 12 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very much to the point with lots of observations and tips as to why traditional approaches to meetings may not work. The back section then has a guide section which acts as an ongoing handbook on how to design effective strategic meetings. Extremely esay reading and good tips throughout
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By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
There are times when all of us find ourselves involved in especially important, usually complicated, and perhaps even upsetting situations, situations that have serious implications and potential consequences. An offsite strategy retreat, for example, or an onsite meeting to formulate a budget, or a free-wheeling brainstorming session to generate ideas to develop, answers to questions or solutions to problems. These and other situations have strategic significance and require careful preparation for what Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon characterize as "moments of impact."

They cite an excellent example in 2012 when Neil Grimmer, co-founder and CEO of Plum Organics (a baby food company launched in 2007), believed that his company had reached an inflection point. The details are best revealed in the book but, for present purposes, I can reveal that teams were assigned to complete a war-gaming exercise that would recommend a course of action based on the teams' research. They produced a plan that would enable Plum to dominate the organic baby-food market by capturing "both the higher and lower ends with a one-two punch, using separate brands but the same supply chain and distribution networks."

It is possible but highly unlikely that a traditional approach would have succeeded. According to Keith Sawyer, "Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas," as the two Plum Groups did. As Ertel and Solomon explain, "A strategic conversation doesn't feel like a regular or a brainstorming session. It is its own distinct type: an interactive strategic problem-soling session that engages participants not just analytically but creatively and emotionally.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great strategy. Great book. 26 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover
I'm a big believer in strategic conversations, and this book hits the nail on the head. If fact, I've come to think that the lack of true, meaningful, strategic conversations in business may be one of the greatest obstacles any business faces. This is the only book I've seen yet that addresses this important leadership skill head on.

I appreciate the way the authors have laid out the steps in creating, managing, and leveraging strategic conversations. Much like design thinking methodologies, they propose very simple, relevant and easy to adopt methods. I particularly like the last section, called "Starter Kit", where the authors give very succinct suggestions for each step in the process, framed around "ask this", "do this" and "try this". I think this simple guideline will be very helpful. I would also like to note that the visual design and information architecture of this book is very well done. Therefore I would recommend this book to any business leader, who wants to not only solve problems, but to solve the right problems. Great strategy. Great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 15 Oct 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
insightful, speedy delivery
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concisely Profound 21 Feb 2014
By Jarod Holtz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There are two types of challenges in our world: 1) Technical Challenges that, however complex and difficult, can be solved using well-honed skills applied to well-defined problems; and 2) Adaptive Challenges that are tangled, poorly defined, open-ended and call for a host of different skills and approaches that are rarely transparent. Which type do you think are the easiest, most straightforward, and intuitive for humans to approach and solve – especially in an organizational setting?

In this volatile, uncertain, seemingly chaotic moment in history making good strategic choices requires harnessing smart people, with different perspectives, in a disciplined but creative way. "Moments of Impact" seems to be the manual for designing collaborative conversations to tackle those seemingly impossible adaptive challenges that by their very nature require much more than a solitary genius searching for a silver bullet in an armory.

Luckily the authors embrace what seems to be a new paradigm for writing brilliant books of consequence which in the past would often require a semester-worth of studying to truly grok. From the table of contents to the chapter summaries and the carefully crafted core principles this design allows for the reader to engage different topics, at multiple levels of detail, and at their pace. For example, the 60 page “starter kit” is a perfect synopsis of how to design a strategic conversation and it’s a quick read. If you can’t find a few hours for it, then you’re probably not interested in strategic conversations that will really work.

A concise but profound read that will change the way you think and act in your efforts related to strategic conversations.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great strategy. Great book. 26 Feb 2014
By Thomas Lockwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm a big believer in strategic conversations, and this book hits the nail on the head. If fact, I've come to think that the lack of true, meaningful, strategic conversations in business may be one of the greatest obstacles any business faces. This book addresses this important leadership skill directly.

I appreciate the way the authors have laid out the steps in creating, managing, and leveraging strategic conversations. Much like design thinking methodologies, they propose very simple, relevant and easy to adopt methods. I particularly like the last section, called "Starter Kit", where the authors give very succinct suggestions for each step in the process, framed around "ask this", "do this" and "try this". I think this simple guideline will be very helpful. I would also like to note that the visual design and information architecture of this book is very well done. Therefore I would recommend this book to any business leader who wants to not only solve problems, but to solve the right problems. Great strategy. Great book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to replace "time-sucking, energy-depleting meetings and workshops with high engagement strategic conversations" 27 Mar 2014
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There are times when all of us find ourselves involved in especially important, usually complicated, and perhaps even upsetting situations, situations that have serious implications and potential consequences. An offsite strategy retreat, for example, or an onsite meeting to formulate a budget, or a free-wheeling brainstorming session to generate ideas to develop, answers to questions or solutions to problems. These and other situations have strategic significance and require careful preparation for what Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon characterize as "moments of impact."

They cite an excellent example in 2012 when Neil Grimmer, co-founder and CEO of Plum Organics (a baby food company launched in 2007), believed that his company had reached an inflection point. The details are best revealed in the book but, for present purposes, I can reveal that teams were assigned to complete a war-gaming exercise that would recommend a course of action based on the teams' research. They produced a plan that would enable Plum to dominate the organic baby-food market by capturing "both the higher and lower ends with a one-two punch, using separate brands but the same supply chain and distribution networks."

It is possible but highly unlikely that a traditional approach would have succeeded. According to Keith Sawyer, "Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas," as the two Plum Groups did. As Ertel and Solomon explain, "A strategic conversation doesn't feel like a regular or a brainstorming session. It is its own distinct type: an interactive strategic problem-soling session that engages participants not just analytically but creatively and emotionally.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Ertel and Solomon's coverage.

o Welcome to "VUCA World" (Pages 8-10)
Note: VUCA refers to an environment of non-stop vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
o What Moments of Impact Will Deliver (15-16)
o Lessons from the Godfather of Strategic Conversations: Pierre Wack (19-23)
o The Five Core Principles of a Well-Designed Strategic Conversation (26-29)
o Key Differences Between a Well-Organized Meeting and a Well-Designed Strategic Conversation (33)
o The Three Types of Strategic Conversations (41-52)
o The Picture in the Puzzle Box (80-81)
o Four Framing Pitfalls (81)
o Frames That Propel the Conversation Forward (96-98)
o Get a "Shell Space" That Works & Next, Make It Your Own (101-106)
Note: One of the best is Room 20 at MIT, generally characterized as "utilitarian" and "Spartan."
o An Agenda Is Not an Experience (118-120)
o The Emotional Design of Strategic Conversations (127-128)
o Memorable Experiences Can Trigger the Desire to Act (137-138)
o Designing Strategic Conversations as Moments of Impact (163-164)
o Creative Adaptation Beats Creative Destruction (166-167)
o Starter Kit (173-232)

I commend Ertel and Solomon on their skillful presentation of material that focuses on various key practices: Define Your Purpose, Engage Multiple Perspectives, Frame the Issues, and Make It and Experience. In this instance and indeed throughout the book, they identify a "what" and then devote most of their attention to explaining "how" and "why."

In a concluding chapter, "Make Your Moment," they suggest several key points to be kept in mind:

o Start with a "ripe" issue (i.e. one about which there is a sense of urgency)
o Fight for the time necessary to do it right (but never waste time)
o Lead with empathy for everyone involved
o Put all the core principles to work
o Simplify, simplify, simplify (channeling Albert Einstein: "Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler.")
o Start small, then build
o Prep like hell (channeling Sun Tzu: "Every battle is won or lost before it is fought.")
o No kamikaze missions! ("Never lead a strategic conversations where the basic conditions for success aren't met.")

When concluding their brilliant book, Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon observe, "Designing great strategic conversations is challenging and rewarding work that can also be fun. Most important, it's one way that just one way that one person can have an outsize impact on the future of an organization -- and beyond. So go ahead, make [begin italics] your [end italics] moment. And when you do, don't be too surprised that you're pushing on an open door."

I agree while presuming to add that it's nice to know that, meanwhile, you are also well-prepared to open a door that is closed and locked...or to find another.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Currently climbing up the charts as one my favorite books ever 17 Mar 2014
By Leon Hassid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Currently climbing up the charts as one my favorite books ever. In my role I often deal with internal clients in the context of trying to help them implement different tools, methodologies, and tactics that we develop at the parent level. Sometimes they are supportive and sometimes they are not.

The book’s references to the “yabbuts” has really revolutionized the way I have decided to deal with such conversations from here on out. So if you deal with internal clients that are not required to do what you tell them to do and the only way to convince them is through consultative and strategic conversations, then this is a book for you. And that's just one main reason for my strong "buy" recommendation.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't just read it, Use it 18 Feb 2014
By Steven Weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Moving people from point A to point B in their thinking is probably the most important activity human beings engage in.
I've tried to learn how to do that better from the scientists, who have a set of abstract arguments about human nature and communication and persuasion ; and from the 'magicians', who just seem to know intuitively how to do it, and continually surprise me with just how good they are.

I've often wondered if someone could synthesize those two perspectives and make the results accessible to and usable by normal people like me, who are just trying to get better at it, and enjoy the process more.

Chris Ertel and Lisa Solomon have done it. This is a wonderful book that is a pleasure to read and from which just about everyone will learn, but that's not the point. The point is to use it.
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