Posted tagged ‘Trends’

Changing Patterns in the World

October 5, 2008

The process of determining the strategy to address your vision begins with understanding the changing patterns in the world.

In his book, “Know-How,” Ram Charan invites the reader to look at these patterns and investigate the impact these changes might have on the opportunities that surround us. There are seven questions that he invites his readers to answer:

  1. What is happening in the world today? The most significant trends tend to cross borders (the global financial crisis, shifts in foreign investment, terrorism are example) and industries.
  2. What part of my frame of reference has worked for me? What hasn’t worked for me? This is tantamount to asking what has surprised me and why was I surprised. By addressing these questions, one becomes more sensitive to looking at other possibilities and in other areas.
  3. What does it mean for anyone? It is important to know how other industries will respond to emerging trends as they might allow for a unique capability within your own industry.
  4. What does it mean for us? Answering this question enables you, as a business leader, to identify what new opportunities these changing patterns will create.
  5. What would have to happen? Answering this question allows you to identify a necessary next step that would create a new opportunity.
  6. What do we have to do to play a role? This tells us what we might have to communicate, organize, market, develop (including skills) etc.
  7. What do we do next?

By answering these questions, one frequently sees opportunities that may be capitalized upon.


Preparing a Strategy: So Much More Than a Task

September 2, 2008

Preparing a strategy is not a task. It is also not a deliverable, such as a document or a book.

When a strategy has been created and delivered, it will alter an organization’s focus, and allow its leaders to determine what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and who will be responsible for key elements of the strategic program. A strategy is core to an organization’s identity and a roadmap for creating its future.

Not surprisingly, it is the dialogue and the exchange of ideas that really matters. These ideas, filtered by facts and perceptions and synthesized by a healthy debate, will produce a worthwhile result.

In order to create a well rounded, comprehensive approach, one needs many different perspectives represented in the room. Each person will bring her / his talents, experiences, personal marketing strengths and weaknesses, and biases into the discussions.

The first step in the process is then to inventory the talents and perspectives, and then determine who needs to be added to the conversation to compensate for any weaknesses without compromising strengths. In essence, the intention is to determine what we “know we don’t know.”

There are ten perspectives that should be included when we plan our strategy. They may be sufficiently present in a few people or they may require a body of fifteen, twenty, or more.

1)       Vision. Who has an ability to envision a new enterprise and how it will be marketed?

2)       Creativity. Who can see and avoid conventional approaches and envision and design the unconventional?

3)       Sense of timing. Who understands sequencing and timing? Who can implement steps that will achieve the desired result? The “whens” are as important as the “whats.” This would include choreographing the approach.

4)       Ability to spot key trends. Who understands current social, cultural, and political trends? These are NOT trends within the industry. Rather they are trends in our society at large.

5)       Penchant for details. Execution, execution, execution… Who is the master of details?

6)       Ability to change. Who sees trends within the marketplace and can lead the organization to make the necessary adjustments?

7)       A long-term viewpoint. Who takes the long view? Who’s looking to the future? While successful selling looks short-term, in the here and now, successful marketing requires one to look three to five years out. A completely sales-oriented personality will often have a problem putting together a marketing plan as s/he usually lives in a short-term, tactical world.

8)       Focus. Who can maintain her / his concentration on the steps required to move from the beginning to the end? Entrepreneurs are often tempted to go after more markets than they should. Because it is so difficult to understand a single market well, understanding several well enough to succeed is often impossible. Highly focused entrepreneurs tend to go after markets sequentially.

9)       Passion. Who is the product or service evangelizer? Who feels strongly about your products or services and can express how they will make a difference to our customers? Who believes in our goods and services and their value? Who enrolls others in that excitement?

10)    A technology and information orientation. Who understands technology and information systems? This person must understand what systems can be developed that will have an impact on the organization. Successful marketing increasingly depends on the leader’s ability to make effective use of marketing data and information.

With the right perspectives present, the likelihood of the success of your strategy will grow exponentially.

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