Roy's Blog: December 2009

December 11, 2009

Be good at anticipating but amazing at reacting

Business Strategy 101 gives us many tools and techniques to build “the perfect plan”.

It offers structure in the SWOT process. It provides analysis in demand and forecasting models. It provides decision-making frameworks to assess the merits of various alternatives.

BS101 is a mature discipline that has definitely helped organizations chart a course for their future.

That said, I have two issues with it.

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1. BS101 is far too complicated; too expensive; too time consuming in relation to the benefits realized and it raises the false expectaion that the strategy will actually work as planned in a world full of rapid change and unpleasant surprises.

I covered this in an earlier article. If the essence of the strategy can’t be counted on to succeed why don’t we simplify the planning process so that it is not overly onerous and complicated? So that it is expedient and not costly?

I have seen the folly of relying exclusively on BS101.

This alternative has been road tested in the real world. Dumb down the strategy building process, get your plan ‘just about right’ and execute it better than your competitors.

2. BS101 is that it says virtually nothing about what I call the principle of response. Successful companies are brilliant at reacting to surprise events they did not anticipate and those that are unable to adapt struggle and die.

How many strategies have you seen unfold the way you originally planned? I have seen none; it is the impossible dream!

The principle of response is the essence of the practice of planning on the run: Plan - Execute - Learn - RESPOND (Adjust) - Execute….

The essentials of planning In response to unexpected forces:

1. Keep the strategy buiding process simple

2. Get to the GUT issues you are facing

3. Plot a course of action

4. Execute flawlessly

5. Learn what works and what doesn’t

6. React to your results and adjust your direction

6. Continue executing

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 12.11.09 at 07:23 pm by Roy Osing
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December 5, 2009

Benchmarking is the enemy of being remarkable

Benchmarking is a key component of the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy introduced in the 1960’s by the Japanese to the western world and adopted by many organizations seeking to improve their overall performance.

TQM topics such as DRTFT (Do it right the first time) and PONC (the price of non-conformance) and the Quality definition (conformance to requirements) pervaded the teachings of organizational leaders and were the hot topics of the day.

Enemy

On top of the TQM concept pyramid was benchmarking Best in Class organizations with the following performance improvement process:

1. identify the organization that excelled in the operation that you believe requires improvement

2. map their system to define how they perform the operation

3. define the actions necessary to incorporate their operating systems, processes and methods with the hopes of improving to their levels of performance.

Copy the best organization you can identify with the objective of in hopes replicating their performance.

The benchmarking process is beneficial to improve the performance in some aspect of an organization’s operations.

But it incorporates a copy algorithm and as such does little to make you unique and stand-out from your competitors. 

The maximum benefit you can achieve is best in class levels of performance which may return better operating results than previously obtained but unless you vault beyond these levels true differentiation is unlikely to happen.

Define best in class and establish them as the level to BE DiFFERENT from.

Look at organizations outside your particular line of business.

Pole vault

Set the best in class bar and then go beyond it.

Better operational performance doesn’t give any organization a competitive edge or remarkability.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like…
Your strategic plan should be 24 months not 2 years
Are you practising these 16 strategic acts?
3 things to make your strategy more relevant

  • Posted 12.5.09 at 05:42 pm by Roy Osing
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December 2, 2009

3 simple questions will produce a terrific business strategy

I am convinced that the reason many organizations don’t develop a strategy to move them forward is due to the complicated and expensive process touted by most strategy development practitioners.

Numerous people gather in a room for a strategic planning session Subject matter experts descend of the group and try to impress everyone with their detailed knowledge of the many governing factors that need consideration in the strategy building process, and many days are consumed (yes, I’ll say it: wasted) to get the essence of the strategy ‘perfect’.

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Notwithstanding the fact that a plan will never be perfect no matter how much analysis and time is put into it, the all-consuming plan takes so much time and energy of the planning participants there is insufficient tme left to develop how the plan will be executed in the trenches by real people.

Normally the services of a third party firm are used to both facilitate the session and provide expert content to the plan direction and efficacy. This is a clever way of avoiding having the people responsible for the strategy’s success taking ownership of the direction taken by applying heir own opinions and good judgement. They are presented with material, ask questions about various aspects of it and in the end most of the time agree with it.

Given that eventually any strategy or plan must result in action, the BE DiFFERENT planning process is predicated on the premise: keep it simple, get to the gut issues quickly and ACT.

Minimize the strategic essence planning time; maximize the implementation action planning time.

Loosen up on strategy development; tighten up on execution.

This is the process I have used both as an executive for TELUS where I was responsible for leading many different types of businesses of various sizes and competitive maturity.

Answer 3 questions and you have your strategy:

1. HOW BIG do you want to be? Define your growth goals first.

2. WHO do you want to SERVE? Select the customer group that has the potential to deliver your growth goals.

3. HOW will you compete and WIN? Declare how you will be different from you competition.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 12.2.09 at 02:06 pm by Roy Osing
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