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Vistage Resource Speaker

In the Driving Seat: Translating Strategy & Execution into Traction.

Mike Richardson, Vistage Resource Speaker and Chair of four Vistage groups, offers the following variants of his Vistage Resource Speaker topic:

In the Driving Seat:  Translating Strategy & Execution into Traction.

Variant a) Introductory Session

In the introductory session I introduce members to a new school of thought about the myths and secrets of organizational agility and our ability to be translating strategy and execution into traction, avoiding wheel-spin.


After experimenting with various approaches, I now do this introductory session with just a flipchart (i.e. no Power-Point) and a streamlined handout/workbook to facilitate interactivity. Indeed, we start with a round robin (as an integral part of your check-in if you do that before the speaker session) of “who are you, what do you do, and, thinking about your agility as an organization, team and executive, what question do you want answered in our session today?”, so that they get to drive the agenda and the interactivity starts immediately.

First Hour up to the Break

Using stories, examples and mini case-studies, we piece together the whole challenge, the whole problem and the whole solution of your members being In the Driving Seat of their businesses. I help them understand that it’s a three dimensional challenge, just like In the Driving Seat of their cars, for which I help them put on their 3D glasses to see the challenge through new lenses. I give members a pair of 3D glasses as a take away reminder and we start and end with two stories to anchor this paradigm shift of mindset in place. As a result, I open their minds to changing their relationship with some key attributes of their agility challenge (time, luck, focus and leadership) and 13 driving disciplines for doing so.

After the Break

We then progress into 3 modules (corresponding to 3 of the 13 driving disciplines) providing practical, take-away value which members can leverage immediately:

  • The Central Role of Meetings (at the core of Organizational Agility and Execution Excellence)
  • A Strategic Plan on One Piece of Paper (Strategic Tri-Fold)
  • Traction Planning (an agile, journey oriented approach to strategy and execution)

In Conclusion

To conclude, I ask members to think about what gear they are in (1st, 2nd, 3rd, top-gear, over-drive – which I explain) with their process of translating strategy and execution into traction and what one thing they will do to shift up into the next gear. Throughout, members are pointed to the online toolbox organized around the 13 driving disciplines, where they can download immediately implementable templates, tools and other resources, many of which are free.

Variant b) Follow-up session

For groups who have had the introductory session above, follow-on sessions can be tailored to:

  • Review other modules of the 13 driving disciplines (The Chair and I can discuss/agree beforehand which mix would be most relevant).
  • Review the visual overview model of Execution Excellence, as part of the 13th driving discipline entitled “!ntegrating our Enterprise Execution Capability and Capacity”.
    • This model embodies all 13 of the driving disciplines as an integrated system and provides a platform for discussion of the integration challenge.
    • The execution capability and capacity of our enterprise is more than the sum of the 13 parts – often all of the parts are there but the whole hasn’t emerged – some integration is required, to combine the art and science of a unifying architecture of execution.
    • This doesn’t happen by accident (hence the “!” in “!ntegrating”) and includes recognizing and teaching execution as a system and a discipline, of accumulating knowledge, tools and techniques, broadly and deeply throughout the organization.
  • Spend more time helping members do Traction Planning for their business and/or their role in their business.

Deepening members’ understanding is facilitated through the use of multi-media content (videos, Power-Point visuals and using the electronic Traction Plan tool, real-time).

Variant c) For Vistage-Inside Groups

This topic is also especially relevant to Vistage-Inside Groups, for which we can really leverage the benefit of having the CEO and Executive/Management team together.


In the 3 months before the session, I will coordinate with the Chair to tee-up the session for maximum value, according to the Chair’s hopes and wants, in concert with the CEO and/or his/her designated coordinator if the Chair desires. This can include:

  • Reviewing existing strategy/execution processes, artifacts and other materials
  • Mapping these into the Execution Excellence model to produce a visual collage to show over-laps, under-laps and opportunities for stronger integration, alignment and attunement
  • Producing draft versions 1 of key artifacts


During the session, we will do some education and orientation (along the lines of Introductory Session in a) above before the break) followed, after the break, by reviewing the draft artifacts and building a Traction Plan together, electronically, real-time.


By 9am the following morning, the Traction Plan will be e-mailed to the Chair, CEO and/or his/her designated coordinator, together with links to the other templates, tools and resources which surfaced as being most relevant to the next phase of their journey and shifting up into a next gear. I will also be happy to debrief with the Chair, in concert with the CEO if the Chair desires, to strategize how best to help the CEO and team sustain the process/discipline going forwards.

Variant d) For VCG Groups

This topic is also especially relevant to Vistage Chair Groups in several ways:

Our Journey as Chairs: helping us as Chairs be In the Driving Seat of their journey from start-up, to success, to significance. Topics covered are:

  • How does our agility get tested as Chairs?
  • What is our personal brand architecture as a Chair (underneath the umbrella brand of Vistage) to act as your True North?
  • What is our personal Traction Plan to shift up a gear with creating traction, building momentum and unfolding your desired trajectory of start-up, success and significance?

Our Journey as a Chair Group: helping us as Chair-Groups be In the Driving Seat of our journey, getting what we want from the process and the experience. Topics covered are:

  • What are our sources of wheel-spin and what is that wheel-spin costing us?
  • What is our default future as a result?
  • What is a new future we desire?
    • Mission/Vision/Values/Value-Proposition?
    • Key Success Measures?
    • Core Strategies?
    • Embedding all the above in a Strategic Tri-Fold for the Group (a strategic plan on one piece of paper)
  • Building a Traction Plan together, electronically, real-time.

Our Role in Helping Facilitate the Journey of our Members, in Business and in Life: helping us as Chairs strengthen the framework for our groups, to better facilitate our members in translating strategy and execution into traction:

  • Leveraging more value from our speakers, helping our members link and accumulate the body of knowledge as a curriculum, and closing the loop on a recurring basis for application and utilization
  • Leveraging more impact from our non-speaker days to create continuity and clarity
  • Leveraging more guiding influence in between the group meetings and our one-to-ones

Considering Booking Mike for my Resource-Speaker Topic?  This Should Help You Decide – Who, What, How and Why:

Who: My topic is most relevant for members who are frustrated with their attempts at “strategic planning and implementation” and don’t understand why they are not seeing the payback from their investments of time and money.  They are fed up with poor execution, especially from their executive leadership team of direct reports, and they are unsure how to make a start in becoming more agile as an organization in increasingly turbulent times.  Read more at my contributions to the Vistage “Executive Street” Blog.

What: My topic will help them understand the whole-problem and solution whereas, typically, most “strategic planning & implementation” approaches only address part of the problem.  See topic description online at Vistage Village:  In the Driving Seat:  Translating Strategy & Execution into Traction (Vistage login required).

How: The first half of the workshop positions the concepts and models, to change the paradigm most members approach “strategic planning & implementation” with.  The second half of the workshop gets the members working with some key tools.  I use a color handouts, supplemented in some variants of the session with videos and visual aids in PowerPoint, to reinforce the power of visual tools and metaphors in an agile approach.  They can access these online together with other supplementary online resources, tools and templates which can be downloaded, many for free.   Thus, they can begin executing immediately and easily.

Why: My topic is increasingly relevant, thought-provoking and unconventional for unconventional times: because turbulence is increasing all the time and our agility as an organization is being increasingly tested; because many executives don’t understand the integrated challenge of Execution; because unconventional times call for unconventional approaches.  Read more in the article on Vistage-View entitled, “Organizational Agility:  Four Driving Disciplines (Vistage login required)”.  In this resource-speaker topic we will review these four driving disciplines, amongst others, and give your members experience of working with tools and templates which embody them.

Reasons Why-Not

If you want a speaker on conventional “strategic planning & implementation” in which members will spend considerable time working on Mission, Vision etc.

If your group doesn’t have much patience for more intellectually challenging topics and the persistence to hold-in-mind the problem long enough to work through complexity.

If you want a speaker who will play it safe to score all-5’s on content and delivery.

Reasons Why

If you are more concerned about your members’ ability to execute, develop their organizational agility and understand the whole problem and solution, of which a strategy process is just a part (the first of the four driving disciplines in the Vistage View Article referenced above). They will be introduced to a tool (Strategic Tri-Fold), amongst others, to work on Mission, Vision etc.

If are concerned to hold your members accountable for sustaining their learning curve and mastering the complexities of the whole, not just the parts, of their role as a CEO or a Key Executive. They will be introduced to the concepts of simplicity this side of complexity, simplicity on the far side of complexity and the nature of the learning curve in between.

If you want a speaker who will push the envelope to score all-5’s on some different dimensions: changing beliefs (mindsets), changing behaviors (disciplines) and changing results (profitability and growth), helping your members have a better strategic perspective and grip on their businesses. Often, all-5’s on these dimensions translate into all-5’s on the dimensions of content and delivery, but sometimes they don’t – typically when there is a misalignment of expectations outlined in this table.

The Bottom-Line

This 3-hour workshop will help your members create traction on a higher road of execution, organizational agility, profitability and growth.  Clearly, in 3-hours, it can only be a start – but with your help and access to the additional online resources mentioned above, they can build momentum.  It will also help you do the same with your journey as a group, having a better strategic perspective/grip on your evolution.

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