Breaking Down Template Thinking

Differentiating and prioritizing opportunities is a primary function of the strategic plan. This is important to remember because we so often get sidetracked with all the different sections and points that typical outlines demand to be part of a ‘finished’ plan. Remember that plan templates were developed over time by two sorts of authors. The first is the inspired, successful company that discovered a form that works. The second is the academic who has studied the inspired, successful company that discovered a form that works. From those two sources come all sorts of ‘proven’ processes and plans. Funny thing is…The run away successes almost always deviate from the standard. They succeed specifically because they blaze an inspired trail. So where to begin? 3 pointers: Start Simple and Straightforward. If your strategy feels foggy then your people will be lost in it. Let Your Strategy Limit You. If your strategy offers nothing but … Continue reading

Throw Off The Covers

Have you identified the project in your organization that will shift the ground all your competitors compete on? Have you protected it from suffocation under layers of corporate security blankets? No matter what kind of organization you work at, there is a good chance the idea is there — In a business plan, maybe in development. And, more than likely covered in security blankets. Alice Rawsthorn identified corporate security blankets as a prime culprit in a recent article, Why The Overwhelming Number Of Design Flops? (April 8, International Herald Tribune). Included in her list of blankets was ‘My Competitor Did It’ and ‘Design by Committee.’ Ground shifting innovation is moved by two key forces within any organization: Vision and Fear. When conceptualized, vision drives truly innovative ideas. It attracts key talent in your organization. It drives energy and excitement that something astounding is working its way through the pipeline. But then the … Continue reading

The Ostrich Strategy

Sometimes an industry faces a long term threat that appears so overwhelming that the long term strategy appears to involve sticking management’s collective heads’ in the sand, hoping the problem goes away. Now, it turns out that an ostrich does not stick its head in the sand. An ostrich is smarter than that. An ostrich learns to lay low, head to the ground, blending in with the scenery until it is time to jump up and run. Or jump up, kick and run. Or bite, kick and run. An ostrich keeps its options open. Many strategic plans appear to do the same thing with long term threats. The threat gets mentioned, maybe a study group is formed, maybe a bit of research is assigned. True believers in the importance of the long term threat might even be given a ’special project’ to concentrate on. Truth be told, this is just … Continue reading

No No No

Methods of saying ‘no’ to your boss or co-worker — Business Fables “Learn the Art of Saying No.” provides ten. ‘No’ seems to be the most difficult word to use in a business relationship, maybe any relationship. ‘No’ carries with it disappointment from every angle. The receiver didn’t get what they wanted, the giver couldn’t make the receiver happy….probably the only thing worse than saying no is saying yes when you shouldn’t. For example: “Yes, we’ll do that.” — but you don’t. “Sure, I’ll rush that.” — but now ten other folks get their stuff late. “I would love to speak at your meeting.” — but you wouldn’t and your attitude shows. “Lets move forward on all these projects.” — and each one gets too little funding to be done well. “We’ll add that feature right now.” — even though it adds more complexity than benefit and destroys lead times. ‘No’ is … Continue reading

It’s The End Of The First Quarter — Do You Know Where Your Plan Is?

Have you pulled out this year’s marketing plan to see if you are still in the right ballpark and still in the game? Next week is the last week of the first quarter. Set some time aside to pull your performance reports together (especially if this isn’t done automatically) for your programs and overall performance. Gather your team together and ask yourself the following questions: Did we do what we set out to do? If no, why not? Did we perform the way we expected? If no, why not? What worked and didn’t from a program perspctive? Why? Have there been any changes internally or in the marketplace that means your plans for the next quarter need to change? If so, what & why? Do all involved teams know your plans and expected performance for 2Q07? Do you have good communications flow internally and externally to build toward maximum effectiveness? … Continue reading