Archive for November, 2011

Going forward but looking backwards – a recipe for disaster #strategy

When I was in charge of organisation development in a major company I had to undertake exit interviews when staff left our employment.

I can still remember one young employee, one very good at his job, telling me he couldn’t work for his boss anymore. He explained it was like sitting in the back seat of a car with his boss driving but looking out the back window of the car rather than the windscreen.

A little more research told me he wasn’t making it up. I moved his boss into a new role and put someone in charge of those staff who could lead.

So what is the story here?

Well, in this fast paced changing world you can’t be someone who is looking out the rear window. Sure it has some lessons you can learn but don’t spend too much time there, just use the rearview to seek predictable patterns, particularly from more mature markets! You need to be future ready not past wise.

Being future ready means searching out innovation and innovative ideas, collaborating with colleagues and peers and testing theories and models, particularly with your customers.

Testing means destroying mind sets and challenging sacred cows. Testing means looking at new business models, new markets, new entrants, new pricing structures, resource failures or constraints, partner failures …………… Lots of looking up the road asking what if?

As the great blues guitarist BB King sang, “You better not look down if you want to keep on flying, put the hammer down, don’t look back”

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Business strategy without business modelling – it could be ugly #bmgen

There has been some on-line discussion about the difference between buisness strategy and business modelling.

Well clearly there is a difference. Strategy is around the tactics and actions you are going to put into place to reach your goals and objectives. Modelling is around how all the “operational” components of your business fit together, customers, channels, relationships, resources, activities and partners all linked through your value proposition(s) to deliver your goals and objectives. See the connection?

The best business modelling tool I have used is the Business Model Canvas developed by Alex Osterwalder. Here is a link to a great two minute video showing all about it. I strongly recommend you take the time to look at it.

What is evident is, that to develop sound strategies for the medium to long term you need to innovate your business model.

Broadly speaking you need to take the Canvas and firstly build the model as it is today. You then dissect & innovate the “as is” model having reviewed your business environment to develop a hypothesis, or two or three, on what tomorrows environment might look like. This is then translated into the Canvas, or a number of Canvases to present visual representation(s) of potential future business model(s). Preferably, if practical, you then test the model(s) and ultimately choose one. You then translate the preferred hypothesis into the new business strategy. One based upon logical analysis which has challenged the status quo.

(One colleague suggests, as a method of developing innovative thinking, taking the “as is” model and removing components (post-its) systematically from each of the 9 boxes to make you take a realistic view of your environment and to break any paradigms that might exist. Not a bad approach if your team are stuck developing the future hypotheses.)

Once you have innovated your business model you are in a position to develop the pathways to success and the strategies you need to reach the goals and objectives.

Sure, there are lots of ways of developing business strategy, but a disciplined approach using business model innovation within a collaborative framework does, based on our experience, elicit some of the best plans.

So yes, business strategy and business modelling are different, but they go together like a hand fits in a glove!

We are passionate about strategic planning and business model innovation, your questions are always gladly received.

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4 L’s and strategy planning – will they remember you for the right reasons?

In 1994 the book First Things First: To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, Rebecca R. Merrill was published.

It suggests to us to balance all the elements of our lives.  The part I like the best is “to leave a legacy”.  That is to leave something behind, not just when you are no longer part of this great planet of ours, but even when you move from job to job, inside your current organisation or outside to a new organisation.

I am sure we all want to be remembered for the right reasons!  And whilst we can’t all be Nobel laureates we can make a difference in our own special way.  I wrote in an earlier post about being known as a doer.

So if you are of a mind to leave something when you move on then it is good to put a simple plan together.  Remeber every plan has three basic components; objectives, strategies and actions.   

Objectives – your mission, goal and outome(s) you seek to achieve – measurable and achievable

Strategies – what you broad approach will be to achieving your goal, your tactics and the enabling components/partnerhsips/communications needed

Actions – the distinct steps you will take to make it happen , these are yes/no testable 

You can get it down on a simple one page word or excel document.  Fill it in, place it in an envelope and date the outside.  Leave it in your desk draw and then open it up in twelve months time and review and adjust.

So remember you need to:

Live – live life to the fullest extent possible

Love – love others and be loved

Learn – seek new ideas, information and discard your paradigms

Leave a Legacy – be remembered when you are gone ……………….

At Group Strategy we are passionate about helping individuals and companies to generate superior results, to have them leave a legacy.  It is just a part of what we do.

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“buckle up it’s going to be an interesting ride” – don’t miss this video!

Ericsson have shared their insights with us on the digital future now that broadband is part of every day life.  This is truly worth a look.

See my earlier post on mega waves in the music industry to see how this is affecting business.

How is your organisation preparing for the threats and opportunities this change to the ecosystem delivers?  Try using the Business Model Canvas to test your business model against changes in your ecosystem.

Try and imagine the 3D internet they refer to in the video and how it impacts each segment of the canvas.  Scary but exciting at the same time.  The options seem endless, if we can just imagine them (our paradigms, our experiences and our learnings make this hard to do) and harness the resources to make the changes we need.

Need help on any of these topics then contact me for some further info

As the guy says at the end of the video “buckle up it is going to be an interesting ride”

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