Just Seven Things

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Archive for the category “Strategy”

Elevator Pitch Methodology

A brilliant methodology for a good elevator pitch is described by Mike Southon in his FT Column. He first describes how in sales there is the concept of “golden nuggets”. He identifies that customers have very short attention spans and can only remember three things about your product whereas the average marketing team tries to cram 50 amazing features into your literature:

‘The problem is…. that as soon as you mention the fourth golden nugget, the first, and probably the most important one, drops out of their memory.’ The simple methodology for a good elevator pitch ‘centres around five ‘P’s: Read more…

The Change Planning Toolbox: 10 Initial Steps

This is intended as a checklist to start any personal or corporate change project. Just take a blank sheet/ screen and start answering the following:

Initial planning questions:
1. What are you trying to change?

2. Who is involved in the change?
2.1. Do they want to change?
2.2. What do they need to change?

3. What does the changed future look like?

4. What are the top 3 blockers to change that require specific strategies to overcome them?

Detailed Planning Steps:
5. Clearly articulate objective: what does the changed vision/ goal/ future look like?:
5.1. Write down in technicolour detail.
5.2. Use this as an initial engagement step with those involved in the change (i.e. facilitated brainstorm/ meeting away day)
5.3. Create a clear list of benefits that will be enjoyed when change is achieved

6. Go public with the change vision: be clear on how those affected by the change will be kept engaged and informed

7. Create a clear and detailed timebound plan with detailed sub-projects, tasks and next actions needed to achieve the vision in 5. above, whilst ensuring the blockers in 4. above are addressed:
7.1. The actions all need to be concrete and measurable.
7.2. They must include clear accountabilities and ‘sprint’ milestones that effectively breakdown the overall change project into manageable chunks capable of completion and celebration (see 8.)
7.3. You must also create specific sub-projects for overcoming blockers and resistance to change as well as communication and engagement steps included in this list

8. Communicate and celebrate successful achievement of change chunks.
8.1. Ensure these are timed to maximise the positive internal (and any relevant external) PR impact: you’re aiming to create change momentum here.
8.2. Ensure that real small rewards are earned/ enjoyed – even if it’s just a round of drinks with the people involved in achieving the sub-goal or giving yourself a small treat

9. Keep on reminding all involved (those identified in 2, 5.2 and 7.2 above) about the clear list of benefits that will be enjoyed when change is achieved (you created this list in 5.3. above). You need to treat this step as a communication sub-project in its own right

Starting:
10. Take a planned action
10.1. Repeat 10.

Strategy as Stress Survival

Nearly thirty years ago the Thomsons sold out of print newspapers, selling The Times and The Sunday Times to Murdoch. In 2007 they sold their college textbooks arm for a $2bn premium, making an offer for Reuters with the proceeds in the same month Murdoch increased its newspapers exposure with its bid for Dow Jones.

The FT’s article (30/12/09, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson) exploring family businesses and long-term strategic decision-making also highlights the importance of paranoia and values in business leadership.

Without long-term planning and the projection of risk exposures, a company cannot look to add value over time. Past this management speak though, a healthy self-awareness and translation of leadership team stress, paranoia and questioning into strategy evaluation and revision/ actions is fundamental.

Allan Leighton (sits on several boards, inc. Selfridges and BSkyB) is quoted in another FT article (6/1/10, Judgment Call – What is the right attitude for leaders to take this year?):

‘Stay close to the detail of your business, worry frequently, don’t be complacent, and look after your people. Survive and thrive.’

‘Business needs to adapt to the new realities and get on with driving momentum, being proactive and looking for ways to keep edging forward, remembering that flat is often the new up’

Strong leadership is not a one person game. The leader – in position because of knowing what those who would be led need to be led – drives both the momentum and the action, but should also drive the questioning. Historic decisions of even the last month should be re-challenged in light of all current data and experience.

The fulfilment of the mission and big hairy audacious goals should provide the direction and framework; this should equate with the company’s best ability to deliver total stakeholder return over time (defined in both monetary and non-monetary terms).

What happens day to day, week to week and month to month should be guided by a clear bridling of your stress and paranoia as a leadership team in pursuit of the right strategic decision-making/ revision-making.

Continually switching strategies or strategic procastination/ incontinence are both unacceptable. Continually questioning yourself and whether you are doing the right things now – based on your business values – to achieve your long-term mission, is a necessity.

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