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Entries in strategy (39)


Dealing with speed

Constant evolution and competitive edge.

My phone asked me to upgrade several apps today. It often does, and I dutifully did so. If you want to avoid OMG territory when people borrow your phone, that’s what you do.

Today’s installations likely ironed out a few earlier bugs. Some added a new capability. Others look a bit different but most look much the same.

When it comes to consumer trends, ‘up’ is the new black. We are encouraged to constantly upgrade. We are upsized, often literally, and we are regularly upsold.

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Struggling to get the big picture?

Try cycling.

What will the issue be today? Cash flow? Customers? Operations? There’s always something going on. It’s not just business. Life is a big to do list: family, education, career, housing, finance. There’s a lot to manage.

We are supposed to be guided by strategic vision – standing astride our world, emotionally detached, leading others and ourselves through the maze of ordinary day-to-day stuff.

That’s a pretty dumb expectation.

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Reframe your business thinking

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The lever you need to press is attitude.

We often think we are letting go of old ideas when in reality we are just adjusting our grip. Our lateral notion of change turns out to be cosmetic, not fundamental.

We sometimes see change only in physical terms, like an actual product or an operational process.

Those things are an outcome of change, not a driver of it. What needs to shift first is attitude.

Exactly what is a lateral idea in business?

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Timing and luck

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Are successful people right, lucky or both?

In the mid-1980s, I listened to Nobel prize-winning finance professor, William Sharpe, address the Hong Kong Society of Securities Analysts.

Sharpe was one of our heroes, having developed the Capital Asset Pricing Model, or CAPM. (We don’t need to go into that here but for investment geeks CAPM is up there with sex).

Then the professor told us it was impossible to consistently beat the market.

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Beer Mat Strategy

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A few ideas can be better than a lot.

What was Steve Jobs first strategic call when he returned to Apple in 1997?

According to biographer, Walter Isaacson, he slashed 90% of existing product development. On a whiteboard he drew a simple alternative plan.

It was a two-by-two matrix. The columns were Consumer and Pro; the rows were Desktop and Portable. Four market segments; four products. Everything else was eliminated. Apple was reborn.

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