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'Your Profit From Strategy Is An Inside Job'

The problem you might face is that conversations about your inside are not credible in a business context.

But, when you are truthful to yourself, you may recognise that most of your best ideas and decisions – and therefore your income and profitability – come from inside … somewhere.

 

'Why Would You Invest In Your Business?'

You may have noticed that the markets do not stand still. Your competitors want customers – and they may be your customers.

Digital Technology, for example, allows for the ultimate – always on – one to one sales and service.

As you know, Uber has successfully challenged the established taxi markets.

Airbnb has successfully bypassed the established travel and accommodation channels.

You can buy music-track-by-track from Amazon MP3 or iTunes.

 

‘Did you ever wonder what your chair was for?'

Tim Parker is non-executive chair at Post Office Limited.

You may know him as a successful CEO - Samsonite, Kwik-Fit, and Kenwood for example.

Last week Tim visited Bristol Business School to talk about governance as a part of The Bristol Distinguished Address Series.

Speaking as a business practitioner, he delivered a masterclass in 53 minutes and 49 seconds.

(You can get the full version here)

 

'Profit From Strategy'

You are the chief executive.  The firm's strategy and long-term value creation is your responsibility.

Nevertheless, according to Harvard Professor Michael Porter, ‘most companies don’t have a strategy’.

You may not agree, but his words carry some weight.

Porter argues that you create sustainable value in business competition when you 'create a unique company' rather than 'competing to be the best'.

The advantage of a 'unique company' is that value creation is creatively sustainable.

And, that's what we do, with a twist.

 

‘The Problem For SWOTS’

The problem with a SWOT analysis – everybody knows about SWOT – is that very few people know the context in which to use it.

I attended a strategy day hosted by a public sector organisation in Cornwall.

It is quite common to allocate a day to strategy development.  Over the years, you may have been to a few.

This just happens to be one to remember because there must have been forty people in the room.

 

'Allan Leighton, former CEO ASDA'

In 2001, I wrote to Allan Leighton, former CEO of Asda, former chief executive of Pandora, and former non-executive chair of the Royal Mail. (He is the current chair of The Co-operative Group.)

I was finding it difficult to frame my proposition to you, so I asked his advice.

Allan said, (talking about you ...)

‘They want to hear something that is unique, fits their strategy or enhances it, or on a personal level gives them some personal edge.’

 

'Bad strategy is easy to spot'

 Just go to your strategy document and look for the sentence that says, ‘The strategy is …’ (in less than seven words.)

If it is not there, the chances of your success are …bad for you, bad for your business, and bad for the people that work for you.

Sounds gloomy, doesn’t it?

It is.  Let me explain.

I’ve looked at hundreds of strategy documents and can tell you that often the strategy just isn’t there.

Yes, the strategy just isn’t there!

Sad but true.

It often boils down to confusing what and how.

 

‘No right-thinking CEO can rely on Intuition - can they?'

If you can’t sort out your problem and your mind is exhausted with looping back across the same material - without resolving the issue - then consider the words of Paramahansa Yogananda:

'Your mental powers could not act in cooperation and harmony if there were no invisible master of intuition to guide them'.

'Intuition!'

No right thinking chief executive can rely on intuition.  Can they?

In your world of reason and numbers surely this suggestion is only fit for your waste bin?

 

‘Most companies don’t have a strategy’, says Harvard Business School Professor, Michael Porter

You may know Michael Porter as an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher.

Throughout his career at Harvard Business School, he has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing society today, including market competition and company strategy. 

So, when he says to you, ‘Most companies don’t have a strategy’, is it worth a moment to consider if you have one?

 

'Have You Really Got A Strategy?'

The biggest problem you might face implementing your strategy is not widely understood.

Often, even the people who sign off strategy don’t really understand the pitfalls.

And this is a very expensive mistake.

When your senior executives stumble at the starting line, what chance is there of coherent strategic leadership and management?

For the last two decades at least, you will recognise the use of purpose, vision and mission words. 

All the most rigorous strategy documents contain this trilogy or variations of it.

 

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