Roy's Blog: Strategy

July 17, 2017

How to build an amazing strategy in 3 simple steps

Traditional business planning methods are seriously flawed

They are generally viewed as a time consuming and expensive process. People don’t look forward to it; it’s not a “fun” experience.

My strategic game plan process is simple. Answer 3 questions and you have your strategy.

1. HOW BIG do you want to be?

2. WHO to SERVE?

3. HOW do you intend to COMPETE and WIN?

1. HOW BIG? The process starts out with determining your growth goals. how much top line revenue do you want to generate over the next 24 months?
Revenue is the best measure of growth because it is an expression of how the market “feels” about you; it is easily measured understood.
A 24-month planning period forces you to execute TODAY and not wait for the “hockey stick” to happen in year 4 of a traditional 5-year plan. 

HOW BIG drives the strategy. The bolder the growth goal the more aggressive and risky the strategy required to deliver it.
For example, a strategy to generate a 50% increase in revenue would be significantly different that one designed to produce a 10% increase.

2. WHO to SERVE? The second step in the process is to chose the customers you intend to serve. Pick customer groups that have the latent potential to deliver your revenue goals and leverage the competencies of your organization.

And be prepared to dump the customers that are no longer part of your strategic focus.
Keeping them will only drain your resources and waste your time with no economic return.

3. HOW to WIN? The third step is the most critical in establishing your game plan. This is where you decide how to differentiate yourself from others who are competing with you for the auto era you are targeting.

Engage your team in creating the ONLY statement for your organization. ONLY defines exactly how your organization intends to be different from your competitors, and it reads: “We are the ONLY ones that…”
ONLY sets you apart from others by stating what you do that no one else does - the real way to claim a unique competitive position in the marketplace.

When creating your ONLY, avoid aspirational thinking And be granular and detailed in crafting your ONLY. Aspirations merely capture lofty intent and have no place in thinking about your competitive position.

This is not a task for the faint-of-heart. It is difficult to do and involves looking at every nook and cranny in your organization for opportunities to separate yourselves from the pack - brand, service, product, product support, and how you leverage technology are some examples of where you can look to create your ONLY Statement.

Integrate the answers to all three questions and you have your game plan.

“We will grow revenues from $20 million in 2017 to $50 million by Dec 31, 2019. We will focus our scarce resources on insurance and fleet providers in Canada. We will compete and win by being the ONLY distracted driving application that cannot be turned off by the driver of a vehicle.”

There you go. A game plan that is specific, crisp, simple and understandable.

That is focused on execution - develop your strategic game plan in less than 2 days and begin executing on the 3rd.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.17.17 at 04:10 am by Roy Osing
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July 10, 2017

8 practical ways great leaders get ideas from people

What exactly is a “great idea”?

How would you know one if it stared you in the face?

The fact is, an idea is judged to be “great” only when it is viewed in retrospect in terms of whether or not it led to success. iPhone, for example, wasn’t deemed to be an amazing idea until it was a hit with consumers and vaulted Apple shares through the roof.

The real issue is how leaders can generate so many new ideas in their organization, that the chance of hitting the mother load is maximized.

New idea

Leaders should consider these tactics to build momentum for new idea creation in their organizations.

1. Begin by declaring that new idea creation is an essential ingredient of the organization’s DNA; new ideas are necessary to sustain the organization over the long term.
Ensure employees understand that this is not another “program of the month” initiative that can be taken lightly.

2. Implement an idea collection portal for individuals to submit new ideas. Make it simple and easy to use. Invest in resources to quickly evaluate whether submissions have value to warrant further investigation.
Keep the idea originator in the loop with the status of their idea.

3. Ensure the core values of the organization includes creating new ideas. A core value is an activity or behaviour that is vital to the organization achieving its strategic game plan.
New idea generation must be included if any traction is to be made. If you are silent on the subject it won’t happen.

4. Change every manager’s position description to include extracting new ideas from their team members. Every team leader must be held accountable for encouraging the innovation process.
Make “tries” an essential element of every team member’s daily role.

5. Include new idea generation in the performance plan of every team member. Be specific to encourage the right behaviour - come up with 10 new ideas on how to improve the performance of product “A” by year end.
Review progress every 90 days with each individual.

6. Organize new idea conferences and invite all employees. Bring in outside business leaders who have a track record of monetizing new ideas.
Learn how they practically transformed an idea into reality; an idea with no execution is worthless.

7. Ask customers for new ideas affecting your business. These people use your products and services, so what better source of new applications, new features and competitive drawbacks could there possibly be?
I realize that market research is the most commonly used tool to determine what customers are thinking, but it doesn’t go far enough. I’m talking about one-on-one conversations with your users as the BEST way to trigger new ideas.

8. Focus new idea efforts on the priorities of the organization. If “finding and trying new ideas” isn’t one of the top 3 priorities of the organization, don’t expect a flow of innovation. Leaders must declare the importance of building new boxes and dedicate resources to supporting the effort.

A great new idea may just happen by chance, but the probabilities are slim.

Innovation cultures are created when leaders implement simple tactical steps that, operating synergistically, increase the likelihood that they will happen.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 7.10.17 at 04:17 am by Roy Osing
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June 12, 2017

Real progress is not made by being more efficient

Progress in any organization can be achieved in two ways: being more efficient and being more strategic.

In the former instance, progress is achieved by reducing the rate of product or service breakdown, eliminating software bugs, reducing outstanding collectibles, reducing cost to increase operating margins, reducing inventory turns, reducing the rate of customer attrition and reducing employee turnover.

These efficiency gains are targeted to improve operations by a process or procedural change that simplifies the way things are done, reduces cost and improves productivity.


The most common method employed to be more efficient is to benchmark a “best in class” organization and copy their methods.
Followed to its ultimate conclusion, the copycat method results in all participating organizations gravitating to the same internal operational methods and approaches; they don’t bestow any uniqueness whatsoever.

Efficiency driven programs are tactical; they seek to make the organization “machine” work better; progress is measured by assessing the output of a process both in terms of time and quality - delivering the intended outcome right the first time.

Efficiency gains will not move the organization to higher levels of performance in the long run. They may boost operating results in the short term through a period of continuity, but they cannot be relied on to deliver long term success over multiple cycles of economic and competitive change.

Sustainable progress can only come from being strategically efficient; achieving strategic breakthroughs as opposed to applying the efficiency formula to the way business is currently conducted.

Efficiency gains should only be considered AFTER strategic objectives - based on taking the organization to a “new place” - have been set. Determine the strategic progress needed first and THEN look for the efficiency gains necessary to make the journey as productive as possible.


There should be a single focus of strategic progress - inching ever closer to being the ONLY organization that does what it does.

Specifically, creating a customer value proposition that answers the question “Why should I do business with you and no one else?”

This is the real measure of whether or not an organization is making progress strategically; the ability to craft and fine tune over time their ONLY Statement that declares what they uniquely do to serve their customers.

More resource time is spent in organizations pursuing efficiency gains rather than starting down the path of uniqueness.


Because it’s much easier to copy best practices and achieve incremental progress than it is to seek a “special place” in the market that you and only you own.

The thing is, “if there is “no pain”, there’s likely to be “no gain”.

Focus your efforts on being unique in a compelling and relevant way and being efficient in THAT world.

If you’re successful your progress will be measured by product and service innovation, disruptive technology introduced, revenue growth and market dominance, not systems throughput.

Leave “blind” efficiency to the herd.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 6.12.17 at 02:51 am by Roy Osing
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June 5, 2017

For every downside there is always an exciting upside

Many people I associated with over my career were “one-timers” when they ran into an unforeseen problem.

They would typically shout their displeasure - “Awe sh*t” - and make excuses to their boss for why they were unable to deliver the expected result.

They were victimized by the assault of a random event.

Upside downside

They reached back for the “Things happened that were beyond my control” to explain why they were unable to succeed.

Like it’s ok to fail because things didn’t go as planned.

It’s nonsense of course.

There are ALWAYS unforeseen and unexpected events that reveal themselves to challenge the successful attainment of a goal. It is rare that a plan plays out according to its original script; only the naive and inexperienced believe that the plan is immune to the randomness of the marketplace.

That’s not the way the real world works despite school teachings.

Success-driven people are different than the “excuse artists”.

They are naturals at looking at a potentially negative situation and finding “the pony”; they are magnets for an opportunity buried in the excrement.

When confronted with a setback over which they have no control, they deploy these actions to recover.

1. They emphatically declare to one and all their intention to NOT accept they bad hand they have been dealt and that they will find a way to get back on track. They want everyone to know that THEIR brand is all about coming back not giving in.

Coming back

2. They study the forces that caused their plan to go awry; the detailed characteristics of the intervention at play. They work hard to get the facts that caused the problem rather than succumbing to emotion.

3. They evaluate the specific impacts created on the current course of action. They calculate the new plan vector from the old plan + interruptive force. With no counter initiatives where is the original plan likely to go given the unexpected disruption?

4. They look for nuggets; opportunities disguised as a body blow. Given the new force at play how can its energy be harnessed to create an intervention of your own? And a new direction? “This is how it might work” replaces “Damn it didn’t work”.

5. They don’t stop. They continue to iterate through possible adaptations until they find one that will work. Not a perfect solution (for that could only happen with a return to the original plan) but a good “imperfect” one.

Forces in the environment can’t be predicted but successful people can make the best of a bad lot in remarkable fashion.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 6.5.17 at 04:30 am by Roy Osing
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