Tag Archives | strategy

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Know Yourself

What is the essence of your character? Said differently, what matters to you? This isn’t just a touchy-feely question, it’s the bedrock that describes who you are. What is deeply felt and has meaning for you will ultimately inspire you to do your best work. Until we understand that essence, we are unable to guide  More

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Customers Love Beats Technology Innovation

Public statements notwithstanding, more business plans in Silicon Valley are built around technology than around customer relationships. It’s just the way it is; we’re talking about technology companies, right? The problem is that, given time, all technology either becomes obsolete or a commodity. With the increasing pace of technological change, this is happening sooner rather than later. The risk in building on technology rather than customer relationships is that you are never more than a wrong turn or two away from putting your business survival at risk. Customer relationships provide your business with more options, and strong relationships can be very forgiving of the occasional misstep, meaning your business is more resilient and your plans can be bolder. Further–and perhaps even more important–technology-centric business models limit your offerings and growth potential, so they are associated with lower valuations over the long term.

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When the Best Defense is Growth

If your business is targeted by a larger competitor, the natural response is to want to play defense — to squeeze pricing, take special care of the channel, maybe do some promotions and guerrilla marketing. We’d never advise you to take your eye off a competitor, but the defensive reaction isn’t always the best way to fight. A larger competitor will expect you to do these things, and will usually be well prepared for siege warfare. They’ll be ready to match your pricing and outspend you in the channel in order to drive you out of the market.

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Hope is Not A Strategy

Executives at the helm of companies from small firms to large enterprises spend much of their time thinking about how to drive growth. But putting those thoughts into action can challenge even the most seasoned leader. Often executives focus on the “what” of strategy at the expense of the “how” — neglecting the “how” makes success a long shot.

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Avoiding Strategic Failure

I’ve watched strategy being developed within companies like Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and Nokia. I’ve seen strategy created by individuals. I’ve seen the big suits of Bain and McKinsey at work. I’ve seen it done well, and occasionally I’ve seen it done poorly. Having read more than 100 books that define the best thinking on strategy, I’ve noticed that following the existing methods often doesn’t yield success.
It’s not just the methodology. Here are five reasons strategy fails in businesses:

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