Scrutinise: Drivers

If you want to equip your business for success and to grow strongly you need to look at certain areas of the business itself. You will need to scrutinise your business, and in particular, scrutinise drivers.

This is all about knowing what to focus on and drilling down with ruthless efficiency to the absolutely critical drivers of successful.

Starting a business from scratch and having little money in the bank focuses your mind in a way that running a multibillion-dollar business never does. It brings the key drivers of performance into sharp relief. I promise.” According to Sallie Krawcheck.

The frustration here is that there are so many possible things you could look at in your business, and yet you have limited time, resources, and opportunities. What you want to do is focus only on those things that will drive your success. The answer is to be ruthless with those things that should not be taking your time, focus and attention. What will drive your future success?...

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Activate Strategy: Review

We live in an imperfect world, as you may have observed. Whilst we think we can fully control our environment; control is ultimately an illusion. Things change, so we must adapt and be agile, and not lock ourselves into strategies without considering their progress.

All strategic milestones need to be reviewed on a regular basis. In our Stragile Method the 12 month milestones are reviewed every 90 days. I like 90 days. It's long enough to get something done and short enough to create a sense of urgency.

In Stragile we don't create 90-day targets for the whole 12 months. We just set the target for the first 90 days. That way we have an opportunity to review, consider, and learn from the actions we have taken. We also consider any changes in the environment, both internally and externally. The environment check and the learnings from actions, combine to inform our next 90-day targets.

In my view Les Brown was slightly excessive when he said, “Review your goals twice every day...

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Activate Strategy: Ownership

Let's take a moment to talk about ownership, not ownership of a company but ownership of milestones. You’ve begun to activate your strategic map. You've identified the actions you need to take for future success. You’ve clearly articulated those with simple, measurable, demonstrable milestones. Nice work!

Your next step is to ensure that total responsibility for the delivery of a milestone lies with a single individual. One person. Your role as a leader of the team is to ensure that the capabilities of the milestone owner, mirror the needs in the milestone. For example, a people related milestone should obviously sit with someone in Human Resources.

Spreading milestone ownership across the leadership team, and with other key individuals, allows a broad front of action to occur. It means you can achieve a lot in a hurry.

People own what they help to create, and when they are given responsibility for what they have had input into, you double down on ownership. This...

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Activate Strategy: Milestones

There are three phases to Strategic Mapping, Appraise, Align and Activate. Let’s talk about activate. This is where the rubber hits the road, by taking action. The talking’s over it’s time to do something. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many well-meaning strategy sessions deteriorate into ineffective talkfests. Ultimately it is only action that will move you forward.

The other constraint I’ve observed is a desire to have the perfect way forward before action is taken. In a fast-moving environment you will never have a perfect solution, because you have imperfect clarity.

The answer is to create momentum and have a process and culture that allows for review and response. At the core of that is clear and simple milestones.

Mike Huckabee said, “It's when ordinary people rise above the expectations and seize the opportunity that milestones truly are reached.”

Individuals can become frustrated by complexity when milestones aren’t clear,...

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Align Strategy: Focus

We've been talking about how to Align from a strategic perspective. We've learned how to identify trends and how to create Success Factors. The third leg of the stool here is to Focus.

We know the broad areas where our strategic investments need to be applied; this is about making sure that we are laser focused on the right areas to invest. By invest I mean the ability to create characteristics and capabilities that will drive our future success. Whilst it may mean financial it also means the application of other resources including time, people, and attention.

“I believe that in life, you have to give things your best shot, do your best. You have to focus on what needs to be done, do the right thing, not the popular thing.” According to ex UK PM, David Cameron.

One of the clear indicators and a source of frustration for organisations when they have no focus, is a lack of traction. It's the difference between a shotgun approach which scatters resources into all sorts...

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Align Strategy: Factors

Today we're talking about Success Factors. These are the factors that will drive success in our organisations, given the trends we've identified that will shape our future. This is all about aligning with the future operating environment and the characteristics we need in our organisations to succeed. What are those factors?

Nina Tassler noted that, “failure is a fundamental factor of success.” I think it's important to note at this juncture that we will not be able to predict with 100% certainty the characteristics we need to be successful in the future. Just as the trends can only be drawn from our observations, and as such are imperfect, so too are the Success Factors we're looking to build. However, we can and should draw some conclusions, start implementing them and begin to observe the impact. We will fail and should learn to fail fast and fail forward, as they say.

One of the frustrations of those who seek to bring change is the perfectly natural instinct to...

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Align Strategy: Trends

Today we're talking about trends, those things that will define our future operating environment. Dick Clark said, “I don't set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.” in that little phrase is all the wisdom you need to align your organisation to the inevitability of a changing environment.

When you don't align to trends you are always, catching up and never getting ahead. Always in the crowd, and never ahead on your own, enjoying the freedom of demand with low competition, and the economic rents that engenders. Quite simply your organisation becomes reactive rather than proactive.

We all want to get ahead of the curve. If we analyse and understand trends we can understand what our future operating environment will look like, and start to shape our companies and organisations to be future capable.

It's very true to say we can't predict the future. In a very real way, we do only see in part, but we can look at what is impacting us now and deduct and...

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Appraise Strategy: Opportunity

When we're talking about the need to appraise from a strategic perspective, one of the most important components is understanding opportunity. What are the opportunities, are they good are they not so good?

I love this quote from Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Unfortunately, it is very true. If we are to look at opportunities, there is usually hard work involved. We often must try and fail, to learn where those opportunities are. Whilst occasionally they do drop into our laps, it is a very rare phenomenon, unfortunately.

A frustration I often hear from business leaders is that there's a lack of opportunity, but what is more common is when they say there is so much opportunity. What we want is to identify the best opportunities. Good can be the enemy of great, just as perfect is the enemy of done. If we constantly chase new opportunities we never land the existing ones and fail to move...

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Appraise Strategy: Capability

When we want to appraise from a strategic perspective, one of the key elements to consider is our capability. Whilst I believe we should always begin with the ‘end in mind’, I think it is wise to also look at what are we good at now, what do we have in place, where is our area of expertise, what are we known for. In short what is our capability currently or core competencies? Whilst we may have to adjust and grow and change our capabilities, knowing our starting point is important in appraising strategically.

“Success means at least you are finding full potential to who you are in terms of your intelligence, your capability and competence: you are finding full expression to who you are. This is important according to, Jaggi Vasudev. Whilst he was referring to an individual, I believe it also holds true for the organisation.

When we are not mindful of our capabilities, we can ask an organisation to do things that is literally not capable of doing. This can lead to...

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Appraise Strategy: Purpose

Our reference point today is the ability to appraise strategically. Strategy doesn't live in isolation from a ‘reason for being’. Today we’re talking about purpose, but from a strategic perspective. Strategy almost by definition must be aligned to the organisations purpose. I think there's something innate in us that needs to have a sense of purpose, we need to be part of something that's larger than ourselves, to be fully activated.

Robert Byrne, said, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” I like that. There is a sense of, potential being released, when we find a sense of purpose and direction.

When organisations lack clear purpose, a few things happen. A lack of purpose can lower motivation, as people ask themselves, “why am I here?”, “what's the point?”. Clear purpose can be a clarion call, engender alignment, cooperation and be a great motivator.

What we want from our purpose is ultimately a sense of direction, borne...

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