Sarah Thrift

What Creates Change in a Leader

by Sarah Thrift on January 12, 2020

One of the mysterious and exciting things when I work with people on a Leadership Development program is what will bring a change, a leap forward.

If I could name just one thing it would be attitude. If you care about your development, if you want to respond to feedback about you, then even if you have no idea how, nor maybe even understand some of the feedback you have been given, you will succeed by the desire to do so.

Curiosity is a key part of this attitude. Rather than wondering who said X about you on your 360 report, you seek to understand what they seeing about you, their experience of you. Despite what people sometimes think when we review their 360 report, hardly ever has someone given you feedback in your 360 report to be vindictive. They have had an experience of you and even if you can’t relate to it, this doesn’t take away from this being their experience of you.

People who are curious and so try to understand the feedback, will find a way to understand. They will put themselves in other shoes, they will ask questions of people they work with to learn more about their impact on others, they will take the 360 feedback not as an affront – even if it is disappointing or even hurtful – but as a precious clue that can lead to insight about themselves.

Back to many things in life, if you really want to you will.

If you want to understand your 360 feedback, you will get to a point where you see what others are seeing about you.

When you see what others are seeing about you, you can decide if you want to do something about it.

And if you want to do something about it, you will find a way. You might need to watch who does what you are wanting to change well – and see what you could adapt from their behavior. You might need to try different, less familiar, behaviors – in a way that is still authentic to you.

It might go wrong some days.

But with practice, you will succeed


Is Strategy Dead?

by Sarah Thrift on March 29, 2016

In our ever faster moving world, is strategy and planning redundant?

Are Plans a Waste of Time?

by Sarah Thrift on September 15, 2014

Of late, I am hearing lots of comments like the following:

  • “Business plans are dead. Who does business plans?”
  • “Plans are for large and slow-moving companies, not for entrepreneurs.”
  • “I don’t want to waste time on plans. No time for that. We need to get on and deliver.”

I couldn’t agree more with not wanting to waste time on plans. But is that the same as saying that all time spent on plans is a waste of time?


I don’t think so – and here is why.

  • A plan provides a focus for the work to be done, the interdependencies of different pieces of work, and helps ensure alignment of activities among the team. In my experience, not having things written down is a recipe for a diffusion of effort and activities. This is because typically, each person has their own unique perception of what needs to be done. Often these differences seem subtle but lead to a significant dispersion of effort.
  • Learning from the feedback on a product or service is a key part of developing it for the good of customers and the business. How to test views on a product or service and get robust feedback is an art and requires thought – which should form part of the plan. For example, the plan should list very simply what is being tested for and how this will occur.
  • A good plan provides clarity on what success looks like and in what timeframe this should be expected. This provides shared goals for everyone and enables the work done to be cleanly be evaluated against these success criteria.

A plan need be neither long nor tortuous. Rather, plans should be short, succinct and precise. They should be thought of as an aid to structuring the work to be done in a way which maximizes learnings and hence most helps the organization with future decisions. In this way, they can provide clarity, facilitate alignment and be a tool to navigate and drive success.


The Scottish Question

by Sarah Thrift August 17, 2014 Decision-making

On September 18, Scotland will decide whether to become an independent country. Regardless of the outcome, Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First »» Read the full article

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Shared Passion as an Organizational Force

by Sarah Thrift May 15, 2014 General

Take a moment to think about the things in your life that you are passionate about. Now imagine you could »» Read the full article

Women Entrepreneurs as a Catalyst for Change

by Sarah Thrift April 6, 2014 Women

Today in America there are over 8.6 million women-owned businesses, contributing nearly $3 trillion to the economy and employing 23 »» Read the full article

The Khan Academy and Sal Khan’s Book

by Sarah Thrift March 16, 2014 Non-Profit

Sal Khan is quite a wonderful person – I am in awe. He is pioneering enormous change through the Khan »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results #6: Evolving your products/services

by Sarah Thrift March 3, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

Welcome to the final part of our 6 part series. This week we are looking at the importance of evolving »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results #5: Fail Small, Succeed Big

by Sarah Thrift February 24, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

We are making great progress. We have an idea and we know how to express it clearly. This week’s article »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results #4: Keep it Simple

by Sarah Thrift February 17, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

Welcome to week 4 of this series of ideas that produce results. Over the last 3 weeks we have discussed »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results #3: Align or Waste Time

by Sarah Thrift February 10, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

Last week, we talked about ways to prioritize as a way of focusing on the most important idea. This week »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results #2: Prioritize Your Ideas (Or, Choose or You Lose

by Sarah Thrift February 3, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

Last week, we looked at how to ensure your idea will meet a genuine need. But suppose you have lots »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results #1: Meet a Need

by Sarah Thrift January 27, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

So you have an idea, or several ideas. That’s great! But how do you know if it is going to »» Read the full article

Ideas that Produce Results – Announcing 6 Part Blog Series

by Sarah Thrift January 20, 2014 Ideas that Produce Results

I am delighted to announce a series of 6 articles on Ideas that Produce Results, starting next week and published »» Read the full article

New Beginnings

by Sarah Thrift January 1, 2014 General

On the first day of the New Year, here are some thoughts for making the most of this new beginning: »» Read the full article

Majority of Company Strategies in Jeopardy

by Sarah Thrift December 18, 2013 Strategy

Strategies are so often put at risk because it’s not really understood or known by those who actually have to »» Read the full article

Online charity donations: Sarah quoted in Investor’s Business Daily article

by Sarah Thrift December 16, 2013 Uncategorized

Sarah Thrift, CEO Insight Consultancy Solutions, Inc, was quoted in today’s Investor’s Business Daily article by Sheila Riley on the »» Read the full article

Successful Strategy Requires Organizations to Lean In

by Sarah Thrift December 16, 2013 Strategy

One of the things I see most with clients is the challenge of making strategy a reality. A good strategy »» Read the full article

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Have we Forgotten How to Think?

by Sarah Thrift December 5, 2013 Strategy

As I was on a 6 hour drive yesterday, I got thinking about how lucky I was to have to »» Read the full article

Being Comfortable with Ambiguity

by Sarah Thrift November 20, 2013 Strategy

Developing good strategy is a tricky thing to do. It means asking expansive, open-ended questions. It means being creative and, »» Read the full article


Seeing the Path Forward and Sticking to it

by Sarah Thrift October 12, 2013 Strategy

What makes someone good at both developing and delivering a strategy? In my observations of colleagues and clients, three traits »» Read the full article

Ten Top Tips for Working with Consultants

by Sarah Thrift September 17, 2013 Tips

So you are thinking of hiring consultants? How do ensure the impact far outweighs the cost? Here are my top »» Read the full article


Honing your Decision-Making Skills

by Sarah Thrift August 12, 2013 Decision-making

I have just been reading the new book by Chip and Dan Heath: “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in »» Read the full article


Decision-Making Traps

by Sarah Thrift July 12, 2013 Decision-making

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” Leonardo Da Vinci The 1998 article by John S. Hammond, »» Read the full article


10-10-10 Thinking

by Sarah Thrift June 12, 2013 Decision-making

Some decisions are really challenging. We may have done the groundwork, we may have thought long and hard, we may »» Read the full article