Roy's Blog: Strategy

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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6 practical ways to make change easier for people


  • Posted 6.5.17 at 04:30 am by Roy Osing
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May 15, 2017

6 practical ways to make change easier for people

There’s always a quid pro quo to successful implementation of any new idea.

“If I accept your direction and agree to help you (execute it) what do I get in return?” is the hidden question behind any change.

“What’s in it for me?” is the question that most implementation planning rarely asks.

What's in it for me

It’s expected that the idea will sell itself.

That people in the organization will see the light and rally behind it regardless of personal consequences. That their loyalty to the organization (and receiving a regular paycheque) will trump any negative impact the change may have on them individually.

This is rubbish of course but I would say the majority of changes sought by organizations do NOT have the detailed “What’s in it for me?” work done to make them successful.

I was recently asked by a major corporation to speak to their management team on the subject of change management. Their board had decided to move the organization to a new more modern building. Period.
The problem was that in the move, people lost many benefits they had in the old facility; smaller (or no) work stations and short commute times for example.

I was asked to come in and put a good face on the decision and provide some tips on how to deal with the employee fallout that was happening.

My challenge was that they had not done the “What’s in it for me?” work as a part of the implementation planning. Or if it was considered it was assumed not to be a big deal; that employees would be persuaded that the bigger picture would outweigh any impact the move would have on them personally.

And they would buy in.

Not likely.

Employee buy-in only happens when people can see personal benefits. Hygiene factors such as a more comfortable work environment and a shorter distance to work; career factors such as greater promotion potential and salary lift all play a more important role than the “strategic benefits” of the planned change.

Negative benefits

What are your options to sell the change if it is asymmetric in favour of the organization, and the planned change removes benefits for employees?

1. Come clean. Own up to the personal negatives of the decision. Trying to “put lipstick on the pig” won’t work; trying to finesse the downside exacerbates the situation.

2. Meet with employees to get a more granular understanding of the personal negatives of the change. Ask for opinions on how they could be addressed.

3. Emphasize the personal positives even if they are few. Look to the future and explain what will be done to make up for the hit people are taking today.

4. Be available 24X7 to answer any questions individuals have. Staff the “We’re Here” support service with your most empathetic and caring people not staffers who want to push the high level strategic reasons for the change.

5. Sweeten the offer. Add some personal positives to the plan in recognition of what is being taken away. Make the extra investment; the return will be worth it.

6. Put leadership in the hot seat to defend the plan. Leaders accountable for the change decision need to feel the hot breath of angered employees to appreciate the personal negatives of the plan. Take the punch; the leadership brand is at stake.

Any planned change requires quid pro quo work if implementation is to succeed.

Don’t rely on lofty strategic reasons to persuade anyone to support change efforts.

Make it personal.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.15.17 at 06:17 am by Roy Osing
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May 1, 2017

The best way to offer an opinion on anything

Nothing is absolute. Ever.

I am often asked for my views like…

- “What do you think of this TV ad?”

- “Is this a good blog post?”

- “Please read this product plan and give me your comments.”

- “Do you think this is the right career choice for me?”

- “Does this website design work?”

- “Will shareholder value increase with this strategic partnership plan?”

My answer - I HAVE NO IDEA!

Yes, I can give you a response based on my personal judgement and biases and the baggage of my past, but if you want an objective perspective, I don’t have enough information.

The missing ingredient to form a reasoned judgment is CONTEXT.

Unless I understand what you are trying to achieve, I should keep my mouth shut.

Keep your mouth shut

But my concern goes further “an outside expert” like myself being asked for an opinion on a particular issue.

Individuals INSIDE an organization constantly ask one another these types of questions all the time.

And, again, the answers by many are coloured by the role they perform, the department they are in (and it’s priorities) and the personal points of view they hold on the subject topic.

Organizational dysfunction is created when context is absent from day to day tasks and decision making and silo thinking pervades the internal environment.

People do their own thing, reaching their own conclusion on what’s important and what’s not.

Dysfunction is removed when strategy drives what people do and how they do it. Strategic context describes the priorities and forms the basis for all decisions made.

“What do you think of this TV ad?” is answered within the strategic context of the organization. If the strategy is to emphasize providing personalized solutions to consumers, the ad is evaluated in terms of how well it expresses the strategy.

Once the ad has been verified as being “on strategy” in terms of WHAT the message is, then and ONLY then does personal opinion have a role in assessing the value of the ad - although HOW the ad expresses strategy through its “look and feel” continues to restrict the amount of personal bias that should be allowed to enter the discussion.

Remarkable organizations are amazingly disciplined in terms of “living their strategy” through the array of tactics they use to execute it. Each tactic has a direct line of sight to the strategy; variances are not tolerated.

Look up

Individual performance plans are orchestrated around strategic context; bonuses are paid when people “look up to the strategy” and deliver results that are consistent with what the organization wants to achieve.

People need a context to “hang on to” as the guide for what they do. Make sure you know what yours is when you are asked for a comment or when you are setting your priorities.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.1.17 at 06:07 am by Roy Osing
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