Interviewing Stephen Scott

March, 2015

When you think about the military, strict regimen and battle may come to mind. 

But one man is using the discipline behind his approach to help businesses achieve great results. 

Stephen Scott has used the experience he gained during his 22-year military career to support business leaders in better managing their ever-changing environments. 

“The military is very clear about what strategy is and very disciplined when formulating it. It is a very separate activity to planning,” he says. “Strategy is about the key decisions leaders make regarding the deployment of their resources to win a competition. 

“A bit like moving chess pieces around a board, a business strategy should be broad and simple. You make a move in your business to get the upper hand and then asses how your opposition responds to it and be ready and willing to change your strategy again.”

Whether you manage a large corporation or small home-based business, the principles around planning and strategy will be similar. 

Here are his top military strategy tips:
 
Prepare for Change:

Leaders need to become hypersensitive to environmental changes and adapt their strategy accordingly to maintain a competitive edge. 

Put ‘Strategy’ at the Top of Your Mind:

Business owners or managers often neglect their strategy or rarely refer to it. Instead, ‘strategy’ should be discussed regularly in management meetings.

Be Structured in Your Approach:

Create a structured approach to develop a business intuition that allows you to routinely identify changes, register them, assess their impact and create responsive strategies – not reactive strategies.

Delegate Responsibilities:

Give key people with specific skills and knowledge certain areas of the business environment to monitor for change, register it, assess it and recommend a strategic response. 

Develop Habits Around the OODA Loop:

The OODA Loop is an overt thinking process designed by Colonel John Boyd of the US Air Force during the Korean conflict. It is a four-stage cycle where you start with observation (the knowledge and experiences you’ve collected); orientation (what you understand about that knowledge and experience in your business context); decision (what you intend to do with your resources based upon this new understanding); action (get on and execute your strategy and create new knowledge and experiences to observe).

Commit to Positive Leadership:

You cannot not influence. You are influencing all the time, but just because you are influencing doesn’t mean you are leading effectively. So understand and manage it. Leaders must also lead themselves before attempting to lead other. Leadership can only be learned. 

Clearly Share Your Vision:

The moment you have a second person on board is the moment you have a team and you must communicate a vision and a purpose so that person can function in the context you need them to. 

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