Archive for May, 2013

The Great Gatsby and Strategy Launches

I just read a review of the new release movie ‘The Great Gatsby’ that said it’s extravagant and will basically blow your mind with the imagery and decadence, but afterwards you’ll wonder what the fuss was about. It made me think of many strategy launches I’ve endured over the years. Big launch, big fuss, then – not much. Which was a pity, because in many cases a lot of analysis, thinking and resurces had gone into it. Here’s 4 reasons why a ra-ra big-fuss launch of your strategy might be a bad idea –

1. People can get the impression that the work is done, the strategy is ‘achieved’, when in fact, the work is only just beginning. The work of implementation. Without it, all the resources that have gone into the strategy development are a complete waste of time.

2. Often staff treat big launches as BOHICA (for the uninitiated this stands somewhat un-charmingly for ‘bend over, here it comes again!). This tends to result in a fairly determined ignoring of the new strategy by many.

3. A big launch can tend to highlight who wasn’t involved, and even if different areas have had representation, this is often forgotten as time passes. It can feel to many like this is something top management are handing down, and that really doesn’t get much buy-in.

4. A big showy launch tends to highlight what you’re intending to change, rather than what you are keeping. A better way to get buy-in is often to start with what is working well, and what is staying the same.

Jenni offers a free report ‘How to think strategically’ at her website –

Faster, Bigger, Better – The America’s Cup and the Problem with Strategy

The race to be the best has seemingly resulted in a human tragedy. Is there a limit, or should there be, in the quest to be the best? I sometimes have clients with a concern about their strategic thinking and planning – a concern that working on a strategy means they have to grow and take over the market. Can you have a strategy to stay the same, they sometimes ask?

In the business world, Governments tend not to like companies that ultimately achieve this quest to be the biggest and best – they are called monopolies and Governments in this part of the world are keen to legislate to stop them from completely destroying their competition. Competition is considered healthy in democracies. And yet, much of the published information about strategy is exactly that – a quest to dominate your niche or market ie become the monopoly.

There’s another problem with the endless quest to be faster, bigger, better – exhaustion. Exhaustion of the people in the business. Exhaustion of the environment as more and more resources are used. Exhaustion of customers continually facing changes to products and services – albeit improvements.

So back to the question about whether strategy can be developed to retain size rather than grow. Firstly we need to understand what strategy is. Strategy is the unique element or mix of elements that give your business or organization a competitive advantage. If you do not have a competitive advantage, you are likely to be forced into a spiral (downward) of simply competing on price. That is the toughest way to have to compete and survive.

Once you understand the niche or market you are in and have established your competitive advantage, it’s then time to decide what your long term goals are. For some of my clients, it is to maintain the same organizational size. It is the discretion of the business owner as to the long term vision and goals. Staying a similar size is perfectly valid, and if your competitive advantage succeeds in making you the most desirable provider in your niche, there are ways to alter price and supply, and to utilise technology to manage growth the way you want to.

Strategic thinking and planning is essential no matter what your growth plans. The human quest to be faster, bigger and better has risks attached and yet it is this competitive drive that develops many of the innovations we value. Ultimately we have to find some way to decide what the limits are and where the risks are too great – to human life and our planet.

Jenni offers a free report ‘How to be a Strategic Thinker’ at her website

Categories: Business and Strategy

It’s tax week – strategy is out the window!

I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, writing and talking about strategic thinking. That’s what happens when you become an expert in something, isn’t it? You spend more time than most other people on that topic, therefore you know more about it. It’s not rocket science. Everything I read about experts suggests that you also must role-model your topic. So for instance, if you are advising others about wealth creation, it adds significantly to your credibility if you are actually wealthy yourself. If you are an expert in organic food, there’s an expectation that you personally buy and eat organic food. You get the picture?

So as I specialise in strategic thinking, it is reasonable to suggest I ought to think strategically myself. By and large, I naturally do – though that’s not to say I don’t notice detail, nor that I always spot opportunities or risks. However I normally do better than this week.

This week is tax week. GST and Income tax all due together! This week strategic thinking has gone out the window. I raced into my bank account and robbed the savings account to pay the tax. Yes, I have an account especially for tax that is supposed to cover it, but it never does quite. Especially when two lots are due at once! So this week there’s no future view, it’s just find the money and pay up. This must be why they say ‘Cashflow is King’.

Does that mean strategic thinking is no use when there’s a short-term crisis? Well yes, actually – in the midst of the crisis is not the time to be doing your strategic thinking, even if you specialise in it. At that stage, it’s survival mode and the focus is very much short-term. However, if there’s been some decent strategic thinking and planning going on, much will be planned for and there will be responses ready. The point of strategic thinking and planning is to help minimise the knee-jerk reactions.

So back to my tax account – guess I better up the automatic payment…..

Categories: Uncategorized
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