Letting strategy set you free

  • martinvr

  • time December 9, 2014

  • 0 Comment.

Letting strategy set you free

Generally people have a fascination of wanting to know the keys to success, you hear it when questions are asked after a successful business leader speaks at a networking event, ‘how did you do xyz…’.

It was Sun Tzu who said, “all men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”

Many people are interested in asking how something was done or had been made, people will try to copy your work by looking at actions. However they will not be successful if they do not understand your strategy.

Deciphering what business you are in and what business you are not is strategy, and from our perspective that is marketing’s core strength. People get confused by thinking purely on the ‘how’, the tactics.

There is a general thought within industry that with ever-faster change, ‘you don’t need a strategy’ or ‘you might be held back by one’, ‘that the real key is to keep re-inventing yourself’. However, this type of thinking will get you in a mess, we have seen countless businesses ‘chasing after the wind’.

Without an effective strategy, you’re going to spend the next several years executing a plan that is less than lean and leaving a pile of money on the table. Worse, you’ll keep the doors open for savvier competitors to swoop in and take over your industry.

When you nail your strategy, top-line revenue growth and bigger margins come almost effortlessly.

In a world of dynamic markets and changing technologies, competitors might be able to quickly copy any market position or competitive advantage. But as HP’s Dave Packard was once advised that “more companies die from indigestion than starvation.”

Strategic positioning means performing different activities from competitors or performing similar activities in different ways.

Strategic positioning in itself is not enough, strategy and operational effectiveness are both essential to building organisational performance. Superior results can be made through productivity, quality, and speed as spawned from Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma or Total Quality Management, etc. However how operational effectiveness differs from strategy is that it is about ‘how well things are done’, whereas strategy is the driver for what should be done in the first place.

Great brands don’t try to please everyone. They focus on being the absolute best at meeting the needs/wants of a small but fanatical group of customers, then dare to be the absolute worst at everything else. In turn, competitors, in striving to be the best in everything for everyone, actually achieve greatness in nothing – and end up as just average players in the industry.

Strategy guru Michael Porter said it best, ‘it’s at the activity level of the business where true differentiation occurs and the business model is revealed’.

A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve.

So how do you figure out an X-factor? Start by asking: What is the thing I hate most about my industry? What is the choke point constraining the organisation?

If you are looking at ways that can help drive revenue and profit, feel free to give us a call for a casual chat on 1300 235 378.

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