As with the other chapters in this section, entire college courses, books, and consultants specialize in the defining company strategies. Again, as with other chapters, the articles in this section only cover a few selected topics. Establishing and then executing viable strategic plans is the most important aspect of meeting the first principle of this entire series: Stay in Business. As discussed in Principle One, the fundamental notion is that someone will put you out of business. The only question that you need to answer is, will it be you or will it be someone else? Your strategy and its effective execution will determine the answer to that question. Unfortunately, many companies unconsciously make the wrong decision and do go out of business. As described in chapter 2.02 of this series, business failure is the norm and not the exception.
The key to long-term success is the establishment of viable strategies that allow a company to grow and morph in response to changes in markets and the competitive landscape. The seemingly ever-increasing rate of change and the number of disruptive technologies and business approaches requires that companies in every sector constantly consider ways to keep themselves relevant. Most of the 27 articles in the five sections of this chapter deal with that particular aspect of strategy.
Chapter Sections and Summaries
- Basic Concepts
Step back and understand that tactics and strategy are part of the same business-planning continuum and their impacts on each other need to be considered simultaneously.
- Customer Considerations
It is easy to focus on internal issues during the development of strategies. Never forget that the focus must always be on the customer.
- Set the Rules
Quite simply, avoid fair fights. Always think about how you can change the rules of engagement. Fair fights mean that you could lose 50% of the time!
- Resource Optimization
Develop strategies based upon the actual available resources. Learn to play the cards you are dealt.
- Pitfalls and Derailments
The only thing that is certain is that your plan will encounter unforeseen issues and events. Think about would could happen and develop contingencies accordingly.
Chapter Articles and Summaries
Introduction to Strategy
Clearly developed and implemented strategies is the key to the success of every business.
It's a Continuum
Think about the strategic implications of every tactical activity and vice versa.
Equal But Not Separate
Separating tactics and strategy, but treating them as equals generally causes severe consequences.
Methodical Strategic Innovation
Use a methodical approach when strategic planning to help make conscious business decisions.
Set the Stage
Ask some basic questions before formulating this year’s strategy.
Strategy Blink Test
To avoid envisioning a bright, but unrealistic future, ask hard questions during strategy formulation.
Don't Watch the Kernels Pop
Let others worry about keeping the trains running on time, while you plan other destinations.
It's Strategic Isn't
Strategic plans need to be based on some simple, objective, and consistent criteria.
The Most Important Factor
Strategies need to focus on ensuring that customers actually experience value.
What Customers Want
Build your strategy on what the customer clearly wants, not what you want.
What You Want
Build your strategies on what the customer wants, but also take your needs into account.
Avoid Fair Fights
Fair fights imply equal odds of winning and losing. Figure out how to tip the odds in your favor.
Be Careful of Game Films
Studying the past is useful, but remember future events will unfold differently than expected.
The Same But Different
Build optional capability into your offerings, but then carefully release it.
Share the Vision
Explaining why you intend to follow a particular path is critical to gain support.
Starting with the end goal, look backward to determine what is needed, and by when.
The Resource Battle
Resources are always in short supply. Focus on de-risking your approach to gain acceptance.
Feed the Weak
Reallocate resources from stronger elements to the weakest element to increase overall resilience.
Match Don't Build
Examine outsourcing tasks first and only apply internal resources if no alternatives can be found.
What Just Happened
Unplanned events invariably occur. Think about what could happen and how you will respond.
44 Weeks in a Year
Take into account that with a few exceptions, purchases are not made linearly throughout the year.
A 4 Week Slip Always Impacts December
Identifying potential alternative actions to avoid missing a forecast should be part of the strategy.
Confidence in your core assumptions and position may be misplaced leading to negative surprises.
Bob and Weave
Game plans and strategies need to be flexible to accommodate variations that are likely to occur.
Failure Root Causes
Ego, timing, and execution are three major root causes of strategy failures that can be avoided.
Off-Site Can Be Off-Base
Well-intentioned strategic activities always have a lower priority than daily routine activities.
A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
Strategic plans often are viewed as putting the status quo at risk, causing resistance.