Roy's Blog: Strategy

February 27, 2017

7 ways leaders can think differently to achieve strategic goals

It’s not good enough to rely on traditional methods; leaders must think differently to create value for their organizations.

The “silver bullet” for leaders is to loosen up on the process for setting business goals and tighten up on execution required to achieve them.

Organizations are trapped in the same-old strategic planning process of lengthy analysis, subject matter expert presentations and application of theoretical strategy-building precepts promulgated by consultants and academics.

Boring

What theoretically makes sense rarely works in the real world where people, technology, changing priorities, regulations and the unpredictable all collide in a “perfect storm”.

I come from the practical side of business.

I believe that if you can’t execute the strategy in a world of imperfection, the strategy is useless. After all, results are more interesting than the theoretical pristineness of the plan and the extent to which it conforms to pedantic norms.

7 ways of thinking differently to achieve strategic goals…

1. Spend 20% of your time on WHAT you want to achieve; 80% on HOW you intend to achieve it. Execution detail is generally given the short shrift.
For some reason leaders assume they can pronounce a new strategy to the organization and miraculously it will get implemented. Nonsense. The granularity of your implementation plan will determine your success.

2. Get comfortable with imperfection. We have this phobia about getting the strategy perfect. We spend an additional 4 weeks of planning time trying to make it more “perfect”.
It’s a ridiculous notion for two reasons: first there is no such thing as a perfect anything so stop trying to chase the illusion; second, as soon as your strategy is put to bed, it’s obsolete as unpredicted environmental events are felt.

3. A strategy really understood is one that can be broken down into a handful of objectives intended to successfully execute it. An action plan with 25 things to do suggests that the team that created the strategy doesn’t clearly understand it well enough to focus on the critical few actions necessary as opposed to the many possible actions that could be taken.
Focus on the MUST, not the POSSIBLE.

4. Beware of the “yummy incoming”. Yummy is my way of describing over-the-transom demand that might be fun to chase, but it’s off strategy. Ignore off-strategy demands on your time and resources, you can’t afford them.
Stay on strategy and have the guts to turn away “opportunities” that suck you dry.

Yummy incoming

5. Establish role clarity for everyone in the organization in terms of what they have to do execute flawlessly.
Dysfunction occurs when direct line of sight for people hasn’t been defined and included in performance plans.

6. Cut the Crap! Stop doing the unnecessary so you can execute the necessary. It’s impossible to take on “the new” when you won’t let go of the old.
You don’t need more resources, you need to get rid of stuff that may have had relevance yesterday but not today.

7. Kill the “dumb rules” that make your customers and employees “go nuts”. Customers won’t engage with stupid policies in their face which frustrate them when they engage with you. Cleanse your inside with policies made to control customers; free them to transact with you on their terms.

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

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  • Posted 2.27.17 at 05:31 am by Roy Osing
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February 20, 2017

The ONE way to create a memorable customer experience

There IS a secret ingredient to mixing a brew of remarkable customer experiences.

And it’s not about your service strategy.

And it’s not about the theory of customer behaviour.

So much is being written about how to build an effective customer experience strategy.

In fact advice and direction is “raining down” on organizations looking to establish “The Experience” as a competitive advantage.

Experience

Here’s my thinking.

I don’t think creating memories with an organization starts with strategy or study of consumer behaviour at all.

In fact I believe you can have a mediocre strategy and know sh*t about consumer behaviour theory and still deliver mind-blowing experiences.

The most common experience is created when two humans engage with one another. Yes, human-meets-technology creates an experience but it pales in comparison with the more frequent human interaction (I would argue in any event that the human - technology interaction should be modelled after the human - human one. It’s the benchmark that people use to set expectations).

The critical ingredient in human-to-human contact is emotion.

Does the server really care about taking care of the customer? Do they have the basic instinct and innate desire to serve others?

Because if they do, they will deliver crazy amazing experiences regardless of the specifics of the strategy.

Customer experience

These types of people would create dazzling experiences even if the strategy merely said “We intend to provide world class customer service” (YUK!).

“Head west” with your experience strategy but be obsessed with recruiting people who are born with the “caring virus”); who are “sick” with it and who naturally spread it to their colleagues.

Ask THEM how the human - technology interaction should look.

A pristine strategy without people who “love” people will go down in flames because execution is not an intellectual exercise; it’s achieved through acts of emotion on the frontline.

A vague strategy fuelled by human being lovers will deliver amazingness involuntarily.

P. S. And it’s NOT a training issue. You can’t train people to “love” other people. You can train ‘em to “grin” but that’s as far as it goes.

Just saying…

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

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  • Posted 2.20.17 at 05:44 am by Roy Osing
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February 6, 2017

Employee incentives can payoff BIG TIME if…

Incentive programs are capable of achieving not only improved operating and financial and performance, but also “fun” in the workplace with an accompanying boost in employee morale.

But there’s a HUGE caveat: to be effective incentives must be driven by the strategy of the organization; they should never have a “life of their own”.

To make incentives an effective tool, follow these 5 rules:

1. Introduce a “strategic filter” to evaluate the worth of any incentive proposal. If a proposal can’t pass the strategic alignment test, modify it so it complies or don’t introduce it.
An incentive plan NOT directly linked to strategy will create dysfunction and confusion in the workplace.
Incenting sales to flog products, for example, when the strategy is to build intimate customer relationships might make sales happy but it produces zero return on investment as a tool of strategy.

2. Don’t copy what others do. “Me-to” incentives are boring and show employees that your not really interested in creating something special for them.
Morph what “the incentive herd” is doing into an approach that ONLY you provide.

3. Use one-time “contests” liberally in the workplace. They surprise employees and encourage greater participation. I introduced “dumb rules” contests to identify internal rules and policies that customers hated. It worked; employees had a blast, we made significant progress “cleansing our internal environment” and customer service results improved.

4. Communicate “the achievers” far and wide in your organization. You want to maximize involvement and realize the corresponding benefits.

5. Measure and track the benefits of each incentive program. Learn from how they perform; eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Avoid jumping on the incentives bandwagon unless you put the discipline in place to reap the benefits.

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

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  • Posted 2.6.17 at 05:27 am by Roy Osing
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January 23, 2017

Once you create it how do you keep it? 7 factors that will sustain differentiation

A competitive advantage is hard enough to create; it’s even more difficult to keep.

It’s inevitable. Once you carve out your uniqueness in the market, the “competitive hordes” see it and copy what they like.

Everyone loves benchmarking the best, so once you step out and lead the pack, expect others to dissect what you’ve done and pick out their favourite morsel.

There is no preventing this. It’s one of the few things in business that CAN be predicted with certainty.

Once you’re “done” your work, it’s not over. You have to keep your feet moving.

You need to put in motion actions that will sustain your market position.

These 7 tactics will help.

1. Monitor the execution of your strategy monthly. Be obsessed with your performance. Dig into the revenue numbers. If you fall short, determine EXACTLY why. And then take immediate action to resolve (and monitor that).

2. Assess the value you provide. Is your value proposition still relevant? Are you continuing to address a real compelling need your target customer group has expressed?
Many companies have died by becoming complacent and assuming they continue to be relevant. They see margins decline and see it as a cost problem. It rarely is. It’s a revenue problem. They slash and burn their organization but spend no time assessing relevance.
They often cut out service and marketing capabilities that are sorely needed to rebound.

3. Create a strong social media presence to monitor what people are saying. Act immediately on any concerns raised over your performance.

4. Test your competitive claim with both customers and employees. Successful organizations have a clear statement of how they are different than their competitors. They answer the question “Why should I buy from YOU and not your competition?” in a compelling way.
Your positioning statement must meet the test of “Is it relevant?” (does it continue to address the high priority needs of the target group) and “Is it true?” (do you actually do what you claim?).

5. Stay close to your main competitors. Their actions in the market are useful in assessing if there are actions you need to take to sustain your momentum. Look for any activity they have had with your customers.

6. Continue to bear down on delivering memorable experiences for your customers. Competitive advantage is more about how people FEEL about you than the cleverness of your product.
“Emotional” experiences produce unforgettable memories which translate into your customers never wanting the exit door to find someone better.

Feel

7. Review your marketing plans and programs to ensure you are moving inexorably to “ME” and away from flogging to the masses. A focus on the individual drives you to create unique solutions for them personally. Catering to the masses dilutes your customer attention rate and your brand; heroes for people earns the right to do business with them for a long time.
Keep the move to “ME” going!

Driving your competitive stake in the ground is merely the beginning of a never ending journey of continual renewal.

Stay with it.

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

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  • Posted 1.23.17 at 04:49 am by Roy Osing
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