Why Your Strategy Goes Off the Rails and How to Fix It

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Strategy
Reading time: 2 min.

Most of our time at work we focus on Do: getting done all the stuff that needs to be done.  This is sometimes called Execution. We rightly invest time, energy, and money improving our Do.

Sometimes, we pull back to examine What we should be doing (and why we should do it).  This is sometimes called Strategy. We should focus on making our What better and better.

Too often, though, our Strategy and Execution (our What and Do) go off the rails. Try as we might, the strategy didn’t work as we hoped; what we wanted done didn’t get done. It’s frustrating and exhausting.

Why the struggle? Partly it’s because there are so many market and internal pressures. Partly it’s because keeping everything in check demands lots of willpower. But mostly it’s because our strategies are missing two factors: We and Can.

We: If our strategy isn’t a win for everyone who matters (clients, shareholders, team members, and the community), they will resist. The resistance may be active or passive. To the extent everyone sees our strategy as a win for them, they will jump in.

Can is our head game. If any of us (especially the leaders) have fears, uncertainties, or doubts (most often seen as “Yeah Buts“), our strategies and execution (our What and Do) will suffer. If we have negative judgments/beliefs about ourselves, others, the situation, or the world, our strategies and execution will fall short. The good news is that fixing our head game is simple to do.

To fix our strategies, let’s invest in What We Can Do.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Fall in Love with Your Vision

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

So used to expecting things not to work out, we limit our vision of what think we or our businesses can achieve. Or, perhaps, we allow our vision to be swamped by “yeah buts” (thoughts of fear, uncertainty, doubt, worry, anger, regret, or guilt).

Damn.

What if, instead, we loved our vision? Imagine what would happen if we spent more moments thinking about how exciting, satisfying, and fulfilling our visions are.

My guess: the results would dramatically contrast what we’re used to seeing from our old “yeah but” thinking.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Luke-M Snoopy via photopin (license)

There Is No Law

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marketing, Money, Sales and Influence, Strategy
Reading time: 1

There is no law that says we have to compete on price. Despite what people say and what we may fear, we do not need to lower our prices in order to succeed.

The law that does apply is the law of supply and demand. If we honestly provide something rare and valuable then people will happily pay more. What’s rare and valuable? Our understanding of and ability to serve our clients, our ability to work well with others, and our commitment to something bigger than ourselves or this transaction.

Instead of price-cutting, we can race to the top by listening, caring, serving, and improving.

Yes.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: This does not mean we get to raise our prices just because we think we deserve it.

PPS: Another way to see it: we will have all the money we want as a happy by-product of listening, caring, serving, and improving.

 

Today’s photo credit: Eric E Johnson Law books 2 via photopin (license)

We May Be Undercharging

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marketing, Strategy
Reading time: 1

Profit pressure may come from burgeoning costs or poor planning. But often it comes from not charging enough. Many of us feel we need to compete on price because that’s what the market demands.

Really, though, it’s because we still have to do the work of focusing on our ideal clients, listening to how they explain their challenges, building our products and services to address those challenges, then demonstrating how we help, why us, and why now.

Let’s serve our clients well and compete on value.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Korona Lacasse 20160331-3543-E2 via photopin (license)

The Essence of Good Strategy

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1

Good strategy requires clarity about the present, clarity about the future, and a good dose of ignorance about the past.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We only have to ask, “What is true now? What do we want to be true and why?”

PPS: We capture the past with the present: everything important from the past is found in our present. We leave the rest alone because focus on the past will keep us rooted there.

 

Today’s photo credit: Ib Aarmo My great grandfather’s chess pieces via photopin (license)

Customer or Customer-Service?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Marketing, Strategy, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

Customer-service oriented leaders go out of their way to ensure that clients have the best possible experience with their companies’ products and services. Laudable.

Customer-oriented leaders go out of their way to understand what the clients need, want, and desire now and in the future. They then design their companies’ products and services to meet those needs, wants, and desires. Freakin’ amazing.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We excel when we turn the cameras away from ourselves and toward our clients.

 

Today’s photo credit: Matt@PEK Onboard A380 First Class – Lufthansa via photopin (license)

The Siren Songs That Tempt Every Leader

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, Strategy
Reading time: 1

Trying to figure it all out and get it all done are the siren songs of leadership. They snare us every time.

We can avoid the rocks of micromanagement and the shoals of overwrought strategy by leading instead of deciding or doing. We have more than enough to do as captain of the ship. Our work is getting clear on desired outcomes, setting up rules of engagement so that everyone can win, believing (really, really) we will succeed, tracking and tacking, and getting out of the way so that others can execute.

Let them do the figuring out and executing.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: One sign that you are headed for the rocks: the sense that it’d just be faster if you did the work instead of them. Steer away! Pure siren song, that.

 

Today’s photo credit Lorenzo Costa – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, Link

What To Do When You’re In The Quick-Fix Trap

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

We can get trapped thinking we need a quick fix. Maybe we want a long-standing problem (e.g. not enough sales) to go away (e.g. by hiring someone to take over sales). Or perhaps we hope our problems will go away when someone discovers, picks, or rescues us.

But quick fixes rarely work. They miss what’s really going on.

Our desire for a quick fix masks our real needs: a bit of courage and a new habit or two to get us and our companies where we want to go. We don’t need to be rescued; we need the habit of winning while helping others to win. We don’t need someone take over sales; we need to have the whole company adopt a trustworthy sales process.

Quick fix? Think instead of the underlying habits we really need.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit:
Joe Loong
cc

Better Business Decisions

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Strategy
Reading time: 1

We will make much better business decisions when we slow down. We will then be able to take some time, go for win-win, ask a few trusted advisors, and use our logic plus our gut-smarts.

We need not slow down too much.  But we do have to give up on the myth that our value is in coming up with the answers.  Our job is to make sure that decisions are made well and in a timely way

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Brandon Carpenter cc

Just Add And

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1

We believe in trade-offs: we can have either freedom or structure, money or doing what we love, short-term profits or long-term sustainability, good looks or good personality, I win or you win, openness or security, low price or good quality, etc.

These apparent dichotomies create intractable problems and limit our health, wealth, and happiness. Yet they are based on not much at all. Who says we can’t have both?

In fact, we can solve many of our problems with one little, powerful word: and.

Instead of saying, for instance, “We can have profit or ensure everyone is well-paid,” we can ask, “How can we be very profitable and make sure everyone is well paid?” This unleashes our creativity and opens possibilities.

Just add and.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: A Fork In The Road via photopin (license)